Mocking the Old

Your daily briefing for Thursday, August 30, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: EFE retrieved from El Carabobeño

This Wednesday, pensioners and retirees descended upon the headquarters of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS) to protest in rejection of the carnet de la patria as a requirement to collect payment. There were heartbreaking testimonies, between the uncertainty for the payment method and the certainty that it wouldn’t be enough to cover the necessary food and medicines.

In the morning, the IVSS still had no idea what the payment method would be for over 4.3 million pensioners in the country, but the spokeswoman who was sent to the demonstration of retirees said: “The payment of pensions will be made as usual. Go to your banks with your laminated ID card to collect your pensions, it’s not through the carnet.”

Later, Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez ratified this information: “You can collect your payment in the bank if you want. You can collect as much as you want however you want,” and although he recommended the use of “digital wallets,” he said that registering for the carnet de la patria won’t be obligatory to receive payments.

Nicolás’s “plan” changes every day, it broadens or narrows according to the whims of whoever talks about ti. There’s a peculiar interest in showing us the huge improvisation that seals their macabre social experiment.

More from the amazing chavismo

According to Minister Rodríguez, Venezuela has the largest number of protected immigrants in the region. After his memorable explanation of the 800 working hours per month, any information is questionable, but he was in the clouds today, estimating the government’s investment on health, housing and food at three billion dollars for more than six million Colombian, Ecuadorian and Peruvian migrants who allegedly live here. He promised to show in the next few days the salary scale for the public administration and the food bonuses, which haven’t vanished.

In addition to this promise, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said that salary scales for the Armed Forces will suffer changes because otherwise they “would be unviable.”

Meanwhile, Tareck El Aissami signed “agreements” with businessmen to regulate the prices of house cleaning and personal hygiene products.

And while Nicolás pleads for new investors who can see the country as a land of opportunities, the company Smurfit Kappa said that the government took over their business in the country for 90 days. In a similarly encouraging line, Carolys Pérez explained that the ANC is filing actions against businessmen and shop owners who don’t comply with agreed prices, choose not to open shop, hoard or speculate: “The law will reach them,” the ANC member said gleefully.

Induced failure

Electric Energy Minister Luis Motta Domínguez and National Guard commander Richard López Vargas should resign for their terrible administration, to maintain the electric service and to protect it. Yesterday, several states in the country suffered service failures, affecting the facilities of the Maiquetía airport, through mobile phone services, all the way to the shutdown of the Metro de Caracas, which once again forced thousands of citizens to walk.

Minister Motta claimed hours later that the blackout was caused by a cut transmission wire in Valles del Tuy: “We’ve already started the investigations to determine the possible culprits of this incident,” he said before adding that these actions are sabotage.

As I wrote this, the electric failures persisted in some states, besides Táchira and Zulia, states that keep suffering blackouts several hours long: darkness rules over there.

Passports and freedom

The lawmakers in the National Assembly’s Delegate Committee approved an agreement to extend passports both within the country and abroad for Venezuelans whose documents have expired. Alleging that the government’s inaction violates article 56 of the Constitution, the agreement establishes that “the expired passports of citizens are hereby extended” for a period of five years starting with this approval, and they’ll inform the accredited diplomatic corps in the country about the contents of this agreement so they’re aware of the measure.

The Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed its concern for lawmaker Juan Requesens’s situation and the irregularities denounced by his lawyers, relatives and colleagues, about the violation of due process and the disrespect for human rights. The IACHR urged the State to carry out a diligent, serious, transparent, independent and impartial investigation; notifying that they’ll continue monitoring lawmaker Requesens’s situation.

We, migrants

Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, criticized the late international pressure on Venezuela, pointing out that his office was nearly the only one that denounced the decline of human rights, which the nations never did. In this regional emergency caused by the mass exodus of Venezuelans, the OAS convened for September 5 an extraordinary session to discuss it, which will be attended not only by member States, but also representatives of the International Organization of Migration and the UNHCR.

While President Michel Temer said that his government could set a daily limit for the number of migrants that will enter Brazil from Venezuela, Peruvian authorities in Tumbes agreed of setting up a temporary shelter and provide transport for Venezuelans crossing from Ecuador, as announced yesterday by the locale’s Civil Protection director, Abraham Rodríguez.

The scheme of xenophobia

Yesterday, the Peruvian government denied the presence of xenophobia or a hate campaign against Venezuelan migrants, as Nicolás claimed on Tuesday: “We’re calm and certain that these statements are far from the truth, we fully discard them, we can’t accept them,” said Enrique Bustamante, undersecretary of Immigrations and Consular Services. Throughout the day, the State’s propaganda system focused on fueling this new story that joins the “300 people burnt” during 2017 protests, the economic war and the blockade that coincidentally, they were able to beat down in order to sell 66 tons of beltfish to Vietnam and the U.S. The official script about how 89 Venezuelans returned to the country has been shameful; including the testimonies of returned citizens about their enslaving work timetables and denigrating jobs, just because they’re lowly tasks. Minister Rodríguez’s performance doesn’t help either, but that’s chavismo for you.

The exchange rate resulting from the DICOM auction was Bs.S. 61.12 per dollar, adding another depreciation to the newly-issued currency. Pure trust, Nicolás.

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.