Nicolás’ credibility and the trust in the measures announced this Friday could be measured this Saturday in the number of closed stores and people trying to get supplies. The electronic payments system bounced between inoperative and slow platforms, so many had to invest a lot of their time turning their money into goods: anything’s worth more than a bolivar. The passionate discussions on social media were split between the inapplicability of the measures and their political rather than economic nature, but outside, the uncertainty for what’s coming turned full 3D. Even naively, many understand that few companies will be able to pay a minimum wage of Bs.F 180 million, so the most common discussion in the lines I made was “how many people will be fired on Tuesday?”
National unity and general strike
Opposition leaders called for a national strike on Tuesday, August 21, as the first act of protest against the measures announced by Nicolás “against hyperinflation and hunger,” promising to give more tails about the activity this Sunday. Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular backed the proposal and made their call to a general strike. Voluntad Popular’s statement reads: “Venezuelans must now come together, discarding any past or present difference, so we can join forces and rebel against the country’s main enemy and traitor: Nicolás Maduro,” calling for building the strength to start an active general strike to recover Venezuela.
Photo: Prensa Presidencial
Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez tried to explain the keys of Nicolás’ economic recovery plan, restating that: it comes into force on August 20; there will be a single fluctuating exchange rate based on DICOM auctions; the new minimum wage is equal to half a petro (Bs.S 1,800); the VAT increased to 16%, while the Tax of Large Financial Transactions (IGTF) will range between 0% and 2%; and the entire plan will be carried out without issuing inorganic money to avoid increasing the fiscal deficit. Sadly, he was also unable to explain where the government’s going to get the organic money to cover this monstrous adjustment. He also said they’ll open 300 exchange houses in hotels and airports to enable foreign currency transactions, omitting the date when they’ll start working. For some reason, he claimed that “the criminal dollar disappears completely” and there will be no way for cash to be smuggled to Cúcuta: “we gave them a funeral blow.” Rodríguez had the gall to claim that the new economic model “seeks to increase purchasing power” and that social protection mechanisms will remain in place to avoid “imperial attacks” that seek to depreciate and destroy the bolivar.
More amaze from chavismo
El Pueblo Venezolano recibirá el combustible necesario a través de un Subsidio Directo, para defender nuestros recursos y evitar el contrabando. PDVSA cuenta con los inventarios necesarios para atender la demanda nacional. Evita las colas innecesarias por rumores infundados!!! pic.twitter.com/shsyxIbenb
— Manuel Quevedo (@MQuevedoF) August 18, 2018
The Supreme Tribunal of Justice’s Criminal Cassation Chamber approved a request for Spain to extradite former Oil Minister and PDVSA chairman Rafael Ramírez, accused of embezzlement, evading bidding processes and criminal association. They’ll also request that Colombia extradites exiled prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz, and one of the prosecutors under her administration, Zair Mundaray. Ortega Díaz is accused for her alleged involvement in the crimes of treason; usurpation of authority; use of forged public document; use of forged seal; concealment and retention; false complaint or accusation and criminal association. Mundaray is accused of treason and usurpation of public functions.
Additionally, the Criminal Cassation Chamber approved another request for Spain to extradite two former chavista officials accused of corruption: Luis Mariano Rodríguez Cabello (alleged frontman for Diego Salazar) and José Ramón Sanchez Rodríguez, who allegedly helped launder State money through Banca Privada d’Andorra. Besides the corruption that destroyed the company he chairs, Manuel Quevedo wrote: “The Venezuelan people will get the necessary fuel through a direct subsidy, to defend our resources and prevent smuggling. PDVSA has the necessary inventory to attend the national demand. Avoid unnecessary lines for unfounded rumors,” inspiring great trust among citizens. Meanwhile, lawmaker Juan Requesens has been a prisoner in SEBIN El Helicoide for 11 days, and his family has been unable to see him.
Cientos de refugiados provenientes de Venezuela fueron expulsados hoy de Brasil por turbas que asaltaron y quemaron sus campamentos en Pacaraima. Todos los ataques sucedieron luego de que cuatro venezolanos atracaran a un brasileño. pic.twitter.com/ElWy2zBCRO
— Daniel Blanco (@DanielBlancoPz) August 18, 2018
A camp of Venezuelan migrants in the Brazilian city of Pacaraima was attacked by neighbors. Apparently, the attack came after some Venezuelan citizens assaulted an area neighbor, which turned into a violent protest that destroyed immigrant camps. The authorities of Brazilian border states have spoken many times about the impossibility of attending a mass exodus like ours and of maintaining the few social services in the area, which sparked the attempts to close the border through court orders, which have been dismantled by federal authorities. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry already expressed concern for the incident, but not for the reasons that force so many to flee. And just this Friday, the Foreign Ministers of Brazil and Ecuador expressed their own governments’ concerns for the crises of Venezuela and Nicaragua.
All of this takes place after Ecuador started demanding that Venezuelans show their passports when attempting to enter their territory and after the announcement of the Peruvian Interior Minister and his Migrations Superintendent demanding the same, starting on Saturday, August 25. There are already complaints about discriminatory treatment in both borders. That’s why OAS secretary general Luis Almagro said that it was necessary to keep the doors open for Venezuelans, because they’re victims “of the worst humanitarian crisis the continent has ever seen, which has created the largest exodus in the Americas,” adding his concern because this crisis will intensify. Meanwhile, Colombian President Iván Duque and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis agreed on sending an American hospital ship in a humanitarian mission to help Colombian authorities mitigate the crisis caused by the Venezuelan exodus: “This is an absolutely humanitarian mission. We won’t sent soldiers, we will send doctors,” said Mattis.
Kofi Annan, the famous diplomat and first black African to become a UN secretary general, died yesterday at 80 years old. His performance was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. In this circumstance, let’s remember one of his famous phrases:
“Human Rights are your rights. Take them. Defend them. Promote them. Understand them and insist on them. Nurture and enrich them, they are the best of us: give them life!”Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.