Desire To Help

Photo: Juan Guaidó retrieved

This Monday, lawmaker Miguel Pizarro reported that the VoluntariosxVenezuela initiative, the volunteer network that supports the efforts of the Ayuda y Libertad Coalition to attend the complex humanitarian emergency in Venezuela, had registered 90,000 people in just 24 hours, and 9,000 of them are doctors.

Later, along with caretaker President Juan Guaidó, they distributed the first batch of humanitarian aid to the Association of Health Centers (Avessoc), a Catholic organization with 30 affiliate health centers. They delivered 85,000 nutritional supplements equal to 1,700,000 million nutritional rations for children and 4,500 supplements for pregnant women. The delivery “represents 20 rations for each beneficiary and corresponds to the first phase of attention for the most vulnerable populations,” said Guaidó.

According to lawmaker Gaby Arellano, the famine in Venezuela surpasses the levels of war-torn countries or countries that suffered natural catastrophes.

A sanctioned investigator

In December 2015, Elvis Amoroso presented his candidacy as (express) justice to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, being a member of the committee to appoint those justices and with his son as member of the Evaluations Committee. In 2017, he was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for allegedly being involved in electoral frauds, censorship of media outlets and corruption in food distribution programs, and in March 2018, Panama also sanctioned him as a high risk individual for money laundering and terrorism financing. This former PSUV lawmaker and current National Constituent Assembly member until he was appointed General Comptroller, announced yesterday the start of an investigation against Juan Guaidó for allegedly receiving money from international and national instances “without justification” and for presumably concealing or forging information in his property declaration.

Chavismo’s noise

Vladimir Padrino López confirmed that military security at the border between Venezuela and Colombia had been reinforced in recent weeks “not for the show of humanitarian aid (…) the borders have always been guarded, due to the evils that come from the Republic of Colombia: smuggling, drug trafficking,” he said, adding that receiving medicines and food is blackmail. Padrino criticized “the ideologized political show” right before starting the collection of signatures for Nicolás’ letter. Also latched to the opposition narrative, minister Aristóbulo Istúriz used in Táchira a version of one of the slogans of recent protests: “It’s not for the bonuses or for the CLAP, it’s for the country, for peace and Nicolás.” You can imagine his success. Diosdado Cabello merely justified the complex humanitarian emergency with “the American blockade,” cautioning that they never surrender.

Misanthropy? Psychopathy?

In any of the options, the award is for Freddy Bernal who, in order to block humanitarian aid, had the gall to say in Ureña: “We’re not pigs or astronauts to eat dehydrated food (…) You know what we like, compatriots? Eating a piece of meat and have meat stuck between our teeth (…) We don’t need garbage from the U.S. or Colombia.” He said that in front of people who know that the price for a kilo of meat last weekend was about Bs. 15,000, while the minimum wage is Bs. 18,000; people who probably know someone suffering from malnutrition, who aren’t astronauts but could still improve their living conditions with the aid that chavismo refuses to let in. But since they’re active only to react to the democratic cause, the same creators of “bolivarian” assemblies and the #GuaidóChallenge, came up yesterday  with the “country brand” strategy, after the democratic forces presented the Plan País. Strangely, it was launched by Jorge Rodríguez, responsible for the deepest (and most recent) communicational blunders; that he seeks to talk about a country that exports soap operas, after 10 years of having pulled RCTV off the air. Our country brand is sadly tied to forced migration, long lines and poor transportation, to shortages and recession, to hyperinflation. If Nicolás wants to deny that, we must be capable of reminding him.

Less production, more swaps

The research firm Rystad said yesterday that crude production in Venezuela could drop to 680,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2020, from the 1.34 million bpd reported in late 2018. But don’t worry, also yesterday, Manuel Quevedo explained that the regime is open to payment agreements with India, as part of the solutions to sidestep U.S. sanctions. Since we’re buying medicines and other products from India, Quevedo wants to double oil sales and claimed: “India also wants to increase consumption.” Swap agreements might help India balance its commerce with Venezuela. According to Quevedo, the sanctions mean that Venezuela has lost $20 billion in revenues, but he didn’t say in how much time, sadly.

Movements on the board

Italian Vice-President Matteo Salvini expressed yesterday his full support for Juan Guaidó to oust Nicolás and hold free elections. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, currently in Colombia, will visit a humanitarian aid organization to gather information on Venezuelan refugees. Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo announced that his country will be the venue for the Lima Group’s next meeting.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie spoke about the humanitarian aid that the regime refuses to receive “because they don’t want to lose control of what little food is left, which they distribute as political clientelism.”

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera said that “the social and humanitarian tragedy in Venezuela is of such magnitude and gravity that I think the time for meditation and diagnostics is up, and now it’s the time for action and solutions.”

Meanwhile, Argentina’s Mauricio Macri will meet this Wednesday with Tabaré Vázquez in Uruguay, with Venezuela as the central topic. Juan Guaidó spoke about the world conference that will be held in Washington on February 14th to raise awareness among governments, multilateral institutions, companies and NGOs about the Complex Humanitarian Emergency, to increase the aid and articulate efforts.

Juan Guaidó’s delegation met with Vatican officials, who expressed Pope Francis’ proximity to all Venezuelans who are suffering and emphasized the concern “for urgently finding a fair and peaceful solution to overcome the crisis.”

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