Those Who Walk

Your daily briefing for Thursday, August 25, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Edu León – Univisión

The thousands of Venezuelans moving on foot, with their lives in a backpack, covered with towels and blankets, have calibrated the dimension of our humanitarian crisis. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the General Director of the International Organization of Migration urged the international community to support the region’s countries that are receiving our migrants, saying that they’re working to support them in this complex human mobility situation, including, among other things, humanitarian needs, the guarantee of safe transit and socio-economic integration.

Peru had already cautioned about the possibility of granting humanitarian visas to people in vulnerable situation such as children, the elderly and pregnant women, explaining that requiring the passport doesn’t meant “closing the doors,” just having a better immigration control. This Friday, Ecuadorian justice accepted the precautionary measures requesting the lifting of the measure demanding Venezuelans for their passports, proposed by the Ombudsman and the Public Defender.

Last night, Ecuador’s government explained that they’ll comply with the ruling, but in case migrants don’t have their passports, they’ll demand that the ID card be validated by an institution recognized by their government or apostilled.

When lying takes lives

In the most recent report issued by the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal), forecasting a 1.5% expansion for Latin American economy, we’re the exception. The same day that the Pan American Health Organization announced their technical cooperation for strengthening healthcare in the areas most affected by the floods (Amazonas, Bolívar and Delta Amacuro) and that the head of the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation, Freddy Ceballos, explained that the sector is only 21% operational (with the risk of dropping due to new cost structures after the colossal wage hike,) Health Minister Carlos Alvarado claimed that Venezuela is capable of producing 60% of the medicines it needs after the recovery of pharmaceutical companies Quimbiotec, Espromed, Profármaco and Laboratorios Miranda; adding that we have one of the “most complete immunization plans in Latin American and the world.”

An expert in labor matters

Nicolás’s great idea to conclude the 1st Revolutionary Health Congress is to create a High Command to carry out he approved proposals. It makes if he says that while sitting beside Minister Alvarado. The high command for public health will also have the goal of eradicating divisions (not epidemics) and separation in policy, because issues such as the state of hospital infrastructure are secondary. Nicolás proposed establishing “maximum sale prices for all medicines in the country, updated with the economic recovery plan,” so he asked his ministers to coordinate a meeting with all pharmaceutical sector company owners to make decisions on production, import and prices. He also asked for a proposal to “centralize the payroll for the entire healthcare sector” so they can establish a unified, petro-tethered salary table: “You know I’m an expert in labor matters,” he said. Enough to ignore the healthcare sector’s labor demands for two months.

More from the amazing chavismo

Five weeks had to pass for Nicolás to tell Bolívar state citizens: “Count on me to overcome this phase of floods.”

People are still struggling to assimilate the bus fare increases announced by Delcy Rodríguez (although she didn’t say when they’ll start being applied) and her brother, Minister Jorge Rodríguez spoke yesterday of the payment Nicolás will make to independent carnet-holding workers for Bs.S 720; strengthening the goal of zero fiscal deficit. Rodríguez also denounced the sale of carnets de la patria at the border to smuggle gasoline, promising a surprise for evil buyers.

According to Nicolás, 18 million Venezuelan have already registered in the transport census. Compared to the $40,841 traded in the first DICOM auction after Nicolás’s announcements, $545,378.15 were traded in yesterday’s auction, according to data published by BCV. They also notified the sovereign bolivar’s coming depreciation: a dollar costed Bs.S 60.25.

Cilia’s sons

Before celebrating because the government exported 66 tons of fish to Vietnam and the United States, or because PDVSA chief Manuel Quevedo announced that he’s going to invest on the San Nicolás refinery (Aruba) while a judge ratified that mining company Crystallex may proceed with the embargo of Citgo assets, you should know that according to The Associated Press, Matthias Krull’s testimony includes a group known as “Los Chamos” with whom he cooperated to launder $200 mllion from PDVSA and that group is tied to Yoswal, Yosser and Walter Gavidia Flores, Cilia Flores’s sons, who are now being investigated as part of the network that has embezzled hundreds of millions of dollar from Venezuela to southern Florida. Meanwhile, the government announced in Official Gazette that the Added-value Tax (VAT) on sumptuary services and goods increased to 31%, replacing the Tax Unit (TU) by the American dollar as indicator of the definition of limits for the “sumptuary” category. In other words: VAT dollarization, at least for sumptuary goods and services.

Tensions, more tensions

“If Venezuela’s dictatorship doesn’t end, the migration won’t stop,” said Colombian President Iván Duque in an interview with the BBC, emphasizing that Colombia doesn’t support any military action against Nicolás’s regime and asking his peers to insist in all diplomatic formulas to accelerate the dictatorship’s fall. Regarding the migration issue, Duque emphasized that his government won’t close the borders for fleeing Venezuelans, but he added that “Colombia won’t be on its own the solution” to the migration problems the region’s facing due to Venezuela’s high migration flows. “I think we have to argue before the United Nations Security Council so we can show that Maduro’s harboring Colombian terrorist groups,” said Duque; a statement supported by Ricardo Gómez, general commander of the Colombian Army, who said that they’re investigating whether former guerrilla men Iván Márquez and Géner García (AKA Jhon 40) are in our country. They also believe that Hernán Darío Velásquez (“El Paisa”) could be here.

These are complicated days, my friend, but 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.