Those Who Walk

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.

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  1. “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.”

    Can somebody please clarify what this means? Did people or companies sell their USD for Bs at 60.25 per? If so, who was/were the buyer(s)? is it just the BCV? How is it an auction if the rate is fixed.

    I am confused. But I am pretty sure a private person cannot sell Bs for dollars at 60,25, or this would be a very popular “auction”.

    • The only rational explanation would be someone laundering money. Anyone with dollars had to know that the market rate would/will continuously separate from the controlled price. Thirty percent in less than a week, let the good times roll.

      • Waltz – perhaps, but I’m just trying to understand what it actually means. What is auctioned? Are B’s auctioned by the BCV, and individual buyers fork over their USD for these Bs? Or is it the other way around? She uses the term “traded” – but this obviously is NOT an arms-length transaction between an unforced buyer and an unforced seller at that artificial exchange. Whoever is selling the Bs is making out big time, and the seller of the USDs is giving away the store.

        And, the term “auction” does not go with “traded” unless the auction is without reserve. Maybe the term “negotiated”?

        • Another Gringo, looks like you still have, internet, electricty,etc. Judging by the radar and speed if the storm it looks like tomorrow may be the worst day for you guys. I hope your house sits on higher ground! Keep the water wings handy!

          • Aloha Tom,
            This storm went from Hurricane Godot to Phantom of the Ocean. Other than our usual couple of rain squalls, just another nice breezy partly cloudy day out here on North Shore. Just as well, because I already ate all the cheezy poos and Maui onion chips. to be fair, this end of the state got its 40-50 inches of rain in 24 hours or so back in April, and the road still done open except “residents only convoys”. In fact, we’re going to get in one of those convoys later day and hit happy hour (shhh, it’s really 2 hours) at the local watering hole to celebrate.

        • I don’t think it is very important to understand the background to the trades of $543,000. The crucial fact is that daily trades were less than a million. Compare that with the turnover of forex in London, Tokyo or New York – tens of billions a day. For an economy the size of Venezuela’s a few years back, free market foreign exchange trades would total at least tens of millions of dollars a day. $543,000 is equivalent to the occasional drip from a faucet that has ben turned off.

          • Bernard,
            Understood completely. Half mil is almost a down payment on a house in San Jose Calif. I was (still am) curious as to how this “auction” takes place. An auction (to me) usually means more than one person bidding for something, and the highest bid “wins” by paying the amount they bid for he item being offered for sale.

            Based on Guach’s response, this is not that.

    • Can you trust any pseudo-journo who misrepresents redenomination as “devaluation”? Many of the low level pro-establishment mouthpieces are just repeating the talking points they have been given, but all the main line establishment “news” organizations are also in on this (e.g. Bloomberg).

    • Another gringo, we all how this all works. Nothing changes here in kleptozuela.

      The usual formula: some Enchufado got some dollars, but at the dicom rate, and then off to deposit in some offshore bank. make up some bullshit paperwork saying he used the dollars to legally buy something for import. dont import shit and then sell the dollars on the black market.

      The amazing fact is that it was only $545,000. Even if that Turko bought actual merchandise to bring in and sell stuff, that could not even supply a small town for long. Which tells me that these guys are broke as a joke. If they were auctioning off millions of real dollars, then we might have to be worried that Chavismo could survive this Titantic disaster or at least keep ship afloat for a bit longer.

    • WZ,
      I am certain that the foreign reserves are gone.
      A few years ago, the regime was trying to sell a bond with a US $5 billion redemption value, I don’t remember the interest rate, for US $1 billion. At the time foreign reserves were claimed to be US $10 billion. Not much different than the US $9.44 billion the regime still reports as being in foreign reserves.
      I don’t even think people as stupid as these economically challenged wonder boys would sell a note at an 80% discount to face value and in essence pay 5 times the interest rate, if there were other options.
      The regime publicly despises the US. Yet the criminal members have used US banks, own US real estate and sell to US oil companies.
      Maduro’s nephews are even living in US jails. They just can’t get enough of us!

    • Oh, all of the gold was gone long, long ago.

      Now, all of the gold being mined, is gone (stolen) before anyone knows about it.

      The gold deposits outside of the country are DEFINITELy gone.

  2. “the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal)”
    How many Latin American quasi governmental organizations draw salaries, convene working groups, travel for fact-finding (junkets), hold meetings, make speeches, issue proclamations, write reports, and stand by while el pueblo suffers? Latin Americans love that.

  3. The following comment is not going to be very popular. How old are those kids in the photograph? About the same age of the ones who died in the protests? Vuelvan caras, carajo!

  4. For the $ “auctions”: stats are made up, since the Govt. said that they would not offer $, and no private source (even laundering) will sell at 6/+, well below market (DT 8+, others even 12); private sources will not risk disclosing to Govt./other criminal organizations personal data/provenance of their $; previous Govt. $ auction iterations, when the Govt. actually had some $ available, were plagued by non-delivery of $/and even their original Bs. to successful bidders; the Govt. probably has zilch for non-encumbered foreign reserves, and has even sold off most/all of its SDR’s (RD, dixit).

  5. The auction is probably some govt lackey selling a limited amount of USD at 60.27 BsS to another giovt lackey to give the impression that this is the “official exchange rate hoping the market will follow. It is still a rate fixed by the govt although it pretends the rate floats by auction.

    It doesn’t work unless everybody can exchange at that rate. Otherwise the black market rate is the real rate.


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