Apocalypse Without Gaita

Your daily briefing for Monday, August 13, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

Zulia State remains in the dark, it’s been long enough to spoil food and equipment, to beat any resistance records in a state characterized by its high temperatures, along with humidity and the serious compounded effect of having no access to any other service, losing communication capacity, as well as unhealthiness levels due to a garbage collection service as fleeting as the brief periods with electricity. Maracaibo mayor Willy Casanova has parroted Minister Luis Motta Domínguez’s key messages, asking citizens for patience, understanding and trust amidst their apocalypse, justifying what they can’t solve with “sabotage” and “terrorist attacks.” Zulians are being tortured; on top of hyperinflation, crime, the lack of gasoline and cash, a state without electricity is inert. Only modernity made Zulia inhabitable, it’s inhospitable without it. Additionally, after the explosion and fire of the high tension line in the Rafael Urdaneta bridge, vehicle transit is limited. Delcy Rodríguez was in Maracaibo and spoke like a militant, not like a vice-president. Governor Omar Prieto wrote last night “we’ll start seeing the positive results in the electric system,” meanwhile, last night blackouts were reported in Valencia, Carabobo State.


The other great tragedy to the south are floods, with much less data about Amazonas State, considering its notable level of land and communication isolation, which the government hasn’t bothered to explain; with the rains affecting Apure State due to the flooding of rivers Meta, Cinaruco and Orinoco, leaving hundreds of flooded homes, while Civil Defense national director Randy Rodríguez claims they’ve acted timely, offering figures of active officials but not of affected citizens, without explaining whether shelters have been set up, how they’re supplied, how to help.

Journalist Pableysa Ostos wrote several tweets to explain the severity of the situation in Bolívar State with numbers, based on the Orinoco river’s rising level, which places Ciudad Bolívar on red alert because there are only “five cms. left to surpass the historic levels of 1976.” That historic level has already been surpassed in Caicara del Orinoco, while Paula and Club Náutico are still below the red alert. 10,000 people affected by this situation have been reported in Bolívar alone, and the government says nothing.

A call

Lawmaker Juan Requesens’ family said that after 120 hours of isolation, they got a phone call from the arbitrarily arrested parliamentarian. In their statement, they say that he spoke of his condition and asked them for personal hygiene products. Although they ignore the reasons that made this call possible, they emphasize that they’ve been barred from seeing him (same as his lawyers) which keeps them concerned about lawmaker Requesens’ physical and psychological integrity.

Francisco “Paco” Palmieri, U.S. acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, wrote on Twitter: “Maduro and his secret police continue to disregard the rule of law in their arrest and illegal detention of constitutionally elected National Assembly member Juan Requesens. Latest example in a long litany of human rights abuses.”

Amazing chavismo

With the severe issues discussed this Sunday, Nicolás wrote last night just to lament the death of Egyptian Samir Amin; more moved for losing an example of the fight against capitalism than for the consequences that such a practice reveals in the country.

Transport Minister Hipólito Abreu said that the Metro de Caracas’ problem is the amount of users: in his view, since the system was created for 700,000 users and now serves 3,000,000, it’s obvious that it would work poorly! He explained everything associated with lack of maintenance and investment with the “economic blockade”; he denied the shortage of parts (the problem is speculation), he didn’t talk about gas prices because it’s not part of his faculties, he attributed any possible improvement to the transport census and back to the Metro, he claimed that they have a plan and in 15 days “we’ll reach very interesting operational levels.” Meanwhile, former Foreign Minister Roy Chaderton urged yesterday to keep our eyes open to the threat of Colombian oligarchy, with some relief because even though they “Think themselves as being superior and more civilized than us, we’re more.” He spoke of our military superiority (?), claiming that the regime isn’t isolated and solidarity is growing, and remarking that Venezuela is an example of democracy. Sadly, that military superiority Chaderton boasts about is denied with ever official complaint of sabotage and “terrorist attacks” to explain the collapse of public services. Former PSUV lawmaker Aldrin Torres and his wife Rebeca Núñez were found dead, after being missing for 11 days.

We, migrants

Quito confirmed this Sunday that the government decreed a state of humanitarian emergency to tackle the mass flow of Venezuelans in a situation of human mobility, opening several temporary shelters: “In each shelter there will be 20 people, members of family groups, and parents won’t be separated from their children,” explained municipal spokeswoman Alexandra Ortiz Mosquera, estimating 240 Venezuelan migrant family groups in Quito, 57 members of which are in a “double risk” situation, as they’re people affected by disabilities, pregnant women, minors or elderly citizens. This decisions includes the mobilization of resources according to the basic humanitarian needs of mobility groups: a place where they can sleep, get primary health care and food. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued a report about Venezuelans entering Ecuador, declaring that our exodus “is one of the largest mass population movements in Latin American history,” saying that the flow is increasing, that many Venezuelans are moving on foot “in an odyssey of days and even weeks in precarious conditions” and that many run out of resources to keep travelling and become more vulnerable, even turning to begging.

That’s how the week will start. We go on.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.