Boring Attempt, Country Plummets

For Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

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Photo: RNV Informativa

This Tuesday, imposed Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab updated the list of people involved in the alleged assassination attempt, which increased to 34, and it might keep growing due to detainees’s accusations.

They’ve issued 27 arrest warrants, 14 people have been taken before court; several of the people involved are abroad, so they’ve issued requests to Interpol. Eight of these warrants have already been executed and six people have been arrested in flagrancy. Saab estimates that there’s solid evidence of what happened spread through videos, WhatsApp audios and testimonies, explaining that the Prosecutor’s Office uses confessions as “queen evidence.” He requested that Osman Delgado Tabosky’s bank accounts be blocked and lawmaker Julio Borges’s accounts be frozen. Additionally, he announced that he’s investigating Luisa Ortega Díaz for her statements regarding the drone flight. Ortega Díaz called him a “useful fool” and said that she’d start proceedings to denounce him before the International Criminal Court.

Requesens’s case

As you know, the first hearing concluded past 1:00 a.m. this Tuesday, with an indictment for the crimes of treason, frustrated homicide, frustrated homicide with malice and for ignoble reasons against seven military officers, terrorism, criminal association, continued public instigation and illegal possession of weapons and ammunition. The judge in charge of the case, Carol Padilla, said that they’ve also confiscated the parliamentarian’s assets and frozen his accounts. Tarek William Saab repeated this information in his report and added that he ordered a toxicological test and a medical and psychological examination, after the humiliating video he repudiated, adding as a sort of explanation that those responsible for it might have been involved in the alleged assassination attempt. Joel García, Requesens’s lawyer, said: “There aren’t enough conviction elements to know that Juan Requesens authored or participated in a punishable deed, in other words, Juan Requesens shouldn’t be in prison.”

The Inter-Parliamentary Union said it was urgent that the government allow an investigation mission from the Human Rights Committee to visit Venezuela, in view of the current repressive streak against opposition lawmakers.

The hearing continues

Yesterday, the hearing for Juan Requesens and the other six detainees started with seven and a half hours of delay. His lawyers shared the lawmaker’s words: “I plead innocent. Two things sustain this regime, first: what’s outside—he pointed at the door (security bodies)—which is the dominion of force; second: the judicial arm, which is you (…) I don’t break or bow my face before anyone. My fight has always been and will always be peaceful, protected by the rights established in our Constitution.”

Requesens’s hearing concluded at 10:30 p.m. He was imprisoned by SEBIN and it’ll be this branch that will decide the holding facility (El Helicoide or Plaza Venezuela.) The file was sealed for 15 days, but it was violated by Saab and his statements. According to lawyer Joel García, “it’s a carbon copy, everything the Prosecutor said, happened.” Meanwhile, lawmaker Julio Borges denounced that the judge in charge of the cause against him is “Diosdado Cabello’s right-hand man,” announcing that he’ll denounce him along with the accusing prosecutors before international instances “so they’re punished for their human rights abuses.”

In the National Assembly

Lawmaker Gilber Caro undressed at the speaker’s podium and with the applause of his colleagues, he said that “a man’s dignity isn’t in the clothing he wears” but in the unity of Venezuelans, adding that they’ll support Juan Requesens and all other political prisoners.

Meanwhile, lawmakers Luis Stefanelli and Jorge Millán called for a citizen rebellion against the measures announced by Nicolás: “We must oppose the increase of gas prices, because it’s an increase against the people,” said Millán; while Stefanelli said that service stations aren’t prepared for this measure, “to identify which vehicle is registered in which isn’t, who holds the carnet and who doesn’t.” The rebellion against Nicolás’s measures will be discussed next Thursday by a delegate committee. Lawmaker Carlos Valero said that they’ve issued the first bulletin about the Venezuelan diaspora, a report they’ll update monthly with data and figures that will allow them to narrate the exodus, the abuses against connationals and consequently take all diplomatic measures.

Amazing chavismo

Four weeks after the floods started, the government declared the six most affected states in emergency. Delcy Rodríguez explained that the phenomenon is the consequence of “the flooding of rivers in Colombian plains (which) have had a tremendous impact” in the rising flow rate of Venezuelan rivers; adding that they’ll install a “rains cabinet” to assist affected families, made up of the Health, Food and Housing Ministers, along with Civil Defense, fire brigades and the military. Hermann Escarrá said to Reuters that the ANC’s preparing a reform of the Constitution that will include a central bank for cryptoassets (the Crypto Central Bank) and a court above the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. “Not even CAP increased gas to international prices. It’s a neoliberal measure, they’re going to privatize PDVSA,” wrote former Minister Rafael Ramírez on Twitter.

More shortages

The same day that Carlos Albornoz, head of the National Federation of Stock Farmers, cautioned about the huge shortage of food that’s coming due to how little they could sow this cycle, recommending that Venezuelans “sow plantains, cassava, beans wherever they can”. Carlos Larrazábal, head of Fedecámaras, confirmed that the government has already issued a written order for business owners to hand over 70% of their production, as if the country’s problem was distribution and not production. Meanwhile, the government paid mining company Gold Reserve $88.5 million with sovereign debt bonds, as part of the conciliation agreement to cover the one billion dollars in compensation for expropriating their assets; they’ve paid $276 million thus far. Additionally, Central Bank chairman Calixto Ortega said that the banknotes with denominations below Bs. 1,000 will stop circulating on August 20 and should be deposited in banks.

We, migrants

The UN increased the estimate of Venezuelans who have left the country to 2.3 million. They say that citizens emigrate due to lack of food and medicines, reporting 1.3 million people suffering from malnutrition. U.S. spokesman Stephane Dujarric spoke of the severe decline of quality in hospitals, of the 100,000 HIV / AIDS patients at risk for lack of medicines and of the return of previously eradicated diseases such as measles, malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria. Ecuadorian authorities study the possibility of creating a humanitarian corridor between the Rumichaca international bridge and the Huaquillas bridge, to ease up the movement of thousands of Venezuelans who seek to reach Peruvian territory. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in Lima: “We share the vision that Venezuela must be held accountable before the international community regarding all the problems, including economic and social issues, which we’ll keep demanding of them,” including ”restoring democracy with a greater citizen participation,” thanking Peru for the initiative of leading the Lima Group.

So far, no authority has reacted to the U.S. investigation which claims that Nicolás might be implicated in a money-laundering network through Malta thanks to a take investment scheme involving the accounts of Cilia Flores’s children: Yosser, Walter and Yoswal Gavidia Flores. Nor have they reacted to news that Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Canada and Paraguay are in talks to denounce Nicolás and other government officials before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

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18 COMMENTS

    • Must get rid of the wreckers, kulaks and traitors. So many traitors, so little time to get them tortured, confessed and killed ….

      MRubio – I am worried that you and your woman will be kulak nos. 1 and 2 in your village.

      I don’t know if Maduro & Co. have it in him to kill off 20-25% of the population, or if the world will let them do so, like the world did with Cambodia (thinking of you, Jimmy Carter). But, those were different times.

  1. The same day that Carlos Albornoz, head of the National Federation of Stock Farmers, cautioned about the huge shortage of food that’s coming due to how little they could sow this cycle, recommending that Venezuelans “sow plantains, cassava, beans wherever they can”.

    FAO Stat: Venezuela
    indicates that grain production in Venezuela fell by more than 50% from 2014 to 2016.
    Cereals, total production, metric tons
    2014 3,597,762
    2016 1,782,236

    Can things get worse? Apparently they can.

    • Oh, yes!

      You have to be old enough to remember both Mao and the Iron Curtain, and the great, continuous famines of China and Russia.

      • Or have an internet connection and sense of curiosity to become informed.

        Highly recommend Stephen Kotkin’s Second Volume on Stalin for better understanding the Russian and Ukrainian famines of the 1930s.

    • On my trip to Punta de Mata the other day, the first outside the pueblo for me in a long while, I saw very little agricultural activity at all. I had heard that the Brazilians were plowing and planting, but when we drove along the side of their prorperty, all I saw was soybeans sprouting. They may have planted some corn farther away from the main highway (a wise thing to do), but I can’t be sure.

      I saw one private farm in Monogas that has something on the order of 50 hectares of corn planted and was told last night that the owner planned to use his harvest for his cattle. Nevertheless, I asked for contact info in order to get a shot at buying during the harvest.

      Now, having said that, good news!

      Just minutes ago, the sons of the fellow from whom I bought most of our corn last year, just left here after dropping off 300 kilos of auyama. They showed up here unexpectedly, but we were happy to get the product. They told me their dad was planting corn along the national highway with another landowner not too far from the entrance to our pueblo. I saw that piece being plowed and planted on my trip to Punta de Mata, but don’t know the owner and the little that was planted was not yet sprouting so I wasn’t sure of the nature of the crop.

      The kids said he’s got 50 hectares in the ground and sprouted (farther away from the highway) and is planning to plant 50 to 100 more depending on rainfall. It’s late, but not too late to make a crop. Very good news for me indeed as this guy has been reliable with his promises and reasonable with his prices. I’ve got two contacts who buy in bulk from me and I plan to contact each to let them know if they wish to buy in bulk and store here at my place, I’ll accomodate them, but that I don’t plan on selling our product in bulk. There’s just too little corn being planted in this area and buying from a greater distance drives up the prices significantly.

      Boludo T, I bet today we’re looking at something less than 5% of what was planted in this area just 3 or 4 years ago. I’ve never seen it this bad.

      Finally, my woman sold the very last of our corn (masa) this morning. I’ve cleaned and mothballed the grinding machine until further notice. We’re done with corn for now.

      • Boludo T, I bet today we’re looking at something less than 5% of what was planted in this area just 3 or 4 years ago. I’ve never seen it this bad.
        My amateur opinion is that Venezuela’s food supply situation by the end of 2019 will be much worse than it is now- and it is pretty bad at present. Declining food production combined with declining food imports- due to declining oil production- will apparently continue. I would be interested in what the Devil’s go-to guy on agricultural production, Carlos Machado Allison @ the Devil, has to say on the matter.

        Wiki: Carlos Machado Allison.

        • Worth reading. It appears to have come out in 2015.El hambre y los días:Carlos Machado Allison: “Es brutal el atraso tecnológico en el sistema agroalimentario.” Excerpt:
          El exministro Elías Jaua también dijo en julio de 2015: “La revolución ha hecho un gran esfuerzo por levantar y recuperar la producción agrícola desarrollando políticas para el sector agrario: subsidios, exoneración del IVA, maquinaria agrícola, sistema de riego, creación del Banco Agrícola, del Fondo Agrario Socialista, pero dependemos de las importaciones porque a pesar de ese esfuerzo, nosotros no logramos alcanzar la línea de crecimiento del consumo”.

          CMA: Está diciendo que fracasó. El Gobierno logró un período de crecimiento de la producción agrícola hasta mediados de la (primera) década de 2000. Hubo crédito barato, maquinaria, subsidios al consumidor, pero después dejaron de pagar, comenzaron a deberle a los productores que ya no hicieron más inversiones mientras que la población seguía aumentando. Gastaron mucho dinero en proyectos como los que se ven en las carreteras de Aragua para producir hortalizas. Esos son sistemas muy complejos de producción que requieren ingenieros agrónomos, químicos a cargo. En Europa son muy rentables. Aquí se pudrieron las mallas. Frente a la Hacienda Santa Teresa sembraron 50 hectáreas de maíz por órdenes de Elías Jaua, que quería tener una especie de vitrina. Se sembró el maíz y nadie lo recogió.

          • Don’t get me started on what Chavismo has done to destroy the country’s agricultural sector.

            Just think where we’d be if a few million mouths hadn’t fled the country.

    • please read Hungry Ghosts: Mao’s secret famine, 1998. Killed off 30 million with barely anyone in the world noticing. Maduro and combo seem to be lurching to similar result. This could have been averted, but.. why act when you can wait for a crap box?

  2. “So far, no authority has reacted to the U.S. investigation which claims that Nicolás might be implicated in a money-laundering network through Malta thanks to a take investment scheme involving the accounts of Cilia Flores’s children: Yosser, Walter and Yoswal Gavidia Flores.”

    Why should Hugo’s kids get all the loot?

  3. “Delcy Rodríguez explained that the phenomenon is the consequence of “the flooding of rivers in Colombian plains (which) have had a tremendous impact” in the rising flow rate of Venezuelan rivers”

    Is she actually blaming Colombia as if they are purposely sending more water in to flood Venezuela? Maybe I am reading something into it.

    • As though there wern’t a mountain range between the two countries…

      It is a combination of sheer ignorance combined with a willingness to invent lies for other equally ignorant people.

  4. So far as I can tell, the story about Maduro being investigated by the U.S. is b.s. It is his three stepsons that are under investigation for a substantial money laundering scheme. Maduro has not been implicated or suspected.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that Celia was in it up to her eyeballs, but left her idiot husband out of the loop.

  5. MRubio
    The language barrier required me to Google auyama. It looks like a squash.
    How does that compare to butternut squash? I believe there were seeds in the Crosman’s packets. I have one hill with probably 4 plants and will easily harvest 100 pounds of butternut squash. A packet with 20 or 30 seeds will produce a lot of squash. It could be that people didn’t try it because they weren’t familiar with it.
    With the proper seasonings it can even be used as pie filling and tastes just like pumpkin pies. I normally just add butter and either brown sugar or maple syrup and everyone likes it.
    I can’t remember if there are any butternut squash seeds in your current shipment. All of the seeds in the shipment are open pollinated and can be propagated as long as the plants are isolated from crossing with other varieties.

    • John, I’d say auyama is sort of a cross between winter squash and pumpkins…….though I guess pumpkins might also be considered a winter squash. The difference between auyama and summer squash like zucchini is that they have a hard outer shell. If stored dry, they last a long time before breaking down.

      Auyama here are traditionally eaten in soups. We eat them steamed and buttered as well. I’ve never had auyama with any sort of sweetness added like in a pumpkin pie, but imagine it would be pretty tasty as well.

      Are the butternut squash a summer or winter squash? I’ve got butternut squash seeds in the frig as no one was interested in them. Folks here aren’t too keen to try new stuff, even when giving them away.

      I tried yellow squash and zuccs from seeds you sent when I first started my garden. I love both. They both germinated beautifully and began growning rapidly. Then the iguanas found them. After shutting down the iguana raids, it started raining and a fungus killed the plants, and quickly. So I decided to back off until the rainy weather drops off considereably and will plant again though I’m now out of zucchini seed. Yellow squash and long-necked squash seeds I still have.

      Basically, I’ve found that in today’s weather conditions, hard rains followed by very hot sun, okra and green beans do the best. I do have assorted types of lettuce planted and most are doing well but I have to keep them covered during the hottest part of the day. Broccoli is doing well, though my woman planted it and it’s a bit too crowded. Swiss chard did well and I’ve replanted. Radish have been hit or miss, though I’ve got another batch growing right now.

      My banana peppers and Anaheim peppers are also starting to produce though I found they grow best if germinated and raised a few weeks under roof until the plants are large enought to transplant. They also need to acclimate to the sun. Some catch on, some drop dead from one day to the next. It’s puzzling.

      As a kid I always had a garden in S. Louisiana, always productive. It’s much harder to grow some of that same stuff here…..probably the intensity of the sun.

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