Photo: BBC retrieved

The Red Cross will coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela, as announced this Friday by Francesco Rocca, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

They expect to start working in 15 days and have over 1,500 volunteers to help them. They’ll be focused in the health area and no details were disclosed to avoid risks that could compromise their work, emphasizing that humanitarian aid will be exclusively distributed by the Red Cross. Rocca explained that this operation is a response to the complex humanitarian emergency Venezuela’s going through, and that the principles of transparency and impartiality will prevail. “Our work will be neutral and impartial; we won’t accept interference of any kind,” he said, adding that since Thursday, March 28th, they’ve been working so that their partners and donors provide support. A bit later, Elliott Abrams, U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela, said that the United States would be willing to give part of their humanitarian aid to the Red Cross if it can indeed reach Venezuelan citizens.

An important triumph

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó had already said on social media that humanitarian aid is a fact.

Thus chavismo ends up admitting the complex humanitarian emergency they’ve denied for years, even to the point of criminalizing humanitarian aid and discrediting those who have been requesting it, calling them beggars; leaving a terrible balance of people dead, wounded and arrested at the border, during the attempted humanitarian aid entry on February 23rd. Many lives could’ve been saved if chavismo had admitted the crisis before, not to mention the millions who decided to emigrate to try and find safety. In an attempt to diminish this political defeat, chavismo sent Tareck El Aissami to collect “charity” from China, in what’s allegedly the first of many shipments, to guarantee medical supplies, medicines and surgical material for the public health system. Although it comes from China, El Aissami wants to sell it as “an exercise of sovereignty, independence and dignity.” Odd, isn’t it?

Battle, for peace?

This Thursday, Nicolás called for a rehearsal of the mobilization of “Peace squads” for the march scheduled this Saturday in the context of what he called “operation in defense of freedom” taking the opportunity to restate all the theories about the collapse of the electric system that has kept the country in the dark and inoperative (cybernetic and electromagnetic attack, fire and sniper shots). Yesterday from Yaracuy, Diosdado Cabello exhibited the exercises they were carrying out, claiming that they’re ready to “go into battle for peace,” reminding all chavista authorities that the exercise is “an obligatory instruction”. Later, Vladimir Padrino López opened a flight simulation center in Yaracuy, calling it a milestone of Russian-Venezuelan cooperation: “This center allows us to integrate all systems to increase our expertise in the battlefield,” he said, an undeniable priority for a nation without electricity, water, food or medicine. Padrino López said a Sukhoi MK2 simulator and “a rifle-assembly plant” are being built in Maracay.

The Russia-U.S. clash

This Friday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that he was planning to discuss with his Venezuelan counterpart mechanisms to increase oil exports from Venezuela, while the U.S. has instructed oil intermediaries and refineries around the world to further reduce their dealings with Venezuela or face sanctions. Also this Friday, U.S. Security Advisor John Bolton cautioned Russia and other pro-Nicolás countries, not to send troops or military equipment to Venezuela because that could be considered as a direct threat to the region’s security. Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza rejected these statements: “John Bolton should focus on guaranteeing U.S. security. It seems that someone’s paying him more to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs.” Padrino López also spoke of Bolton claiming that they’d like to have a relation of cooperation with the U.S., “but since we’re nobody’s slaves, we’ve been unable to (…) Bolton has been writing to me, asking me to do the right thing. Mr. Bolton, we’re doing the right thing, we’re respecting people’s will and protecting them.”

Other movements on the board

A ruling of Ecuador’s Constitutional Court will allow Venezuelan citizens to enter that country without passports, only showing ID cards. This measure was requested by the Ombudsman’s Office of Ecuador, where estimates indicate that about a quarter of a million Venezuelans are currently living.

UN Secretary General António Guterres is concerned about the restrictions that opposition leaders in Venezuela have been suffering while carrying out their activities, according to spokesman Farhan Haq, in response to Juan Guaidó’s political disqualification announced by Elvis Amoroso. Meanwhile, Luisa Ortega Díaz said on Twitter that she sent notices to several prosecutors requesting their cooperation to trace and confiscate the assets of Elvis Amoroso, his son and relatives, as part of a criminal investigation against him for corruption and money laundering.

In Cartagena

During the opening ceremony of the Inter-American Press Society’s (IAPA) half year meeting in Cartagena, Colombian President Iván Duque said that the action for Venezuela is about stubbornly defending democracy, human rights, branch autonomy and free press. In his view, what we’ve been living in Venezuela for the past 20 years is a “dictocracy” caused by the weakening of all freedoms. He asked for the IAPA’s meeting to show the whole world that defending democracy isn’t and shouldn’t be related with geopolitical balances. OAS chief Luis Almagro said that the international community can’t discard any mechanism to solve Venezuela’s crisis. “It would be immoral towards the suffering of a nation, with severe human rights violations,” adding that the mechanisms with which “20th century dictatorships were ousted aren’t transferable to the 21st century” and that’s why no option should be ruled out.

For Almagro, this “usurping dictatorship” involves a “very Cuban dictatorial management dynamic, mixed with organized crime.” Meanwhile, José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch for the Americas, announced that next week, they’ll present a new report on Venezuela with the help of doctors from Johns Hopkins University who are assessing our humanitarian crisis, recommending “concerned” UN chief Guterres to pick a side and declare Venezuela’s as a humanitarian emergency, because otherwise, it’s impossible to activate other international mechanisms.

At 7:05 p.m., there was another blackout in at least 21 states in the country. These aren’t scheduled cuts or power rationing plans, but the imbalance of an already fragile system.

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