Chavismo Is Failure

Maduro celebrated a Barrio Adentro anniversary the exact day the humanitarian aid arrived to fix the mess Barrio Adentro caused. The Central Bank managed to sell gold despite the sanctions, making the bolivar bleed out in the process. The AN will step up will step up and try to keep track of our tragedy.

Photo: BBC

At least five years of complaints with information about the dimension that our crisis was reaching to the point of becoming a complex humanitarian emergency; five years where human rights activists were discredited, mocked and even threatened for the constancy or roundness of their statements; five years where they should’ve kept records of people who died for lack of medicines they needed. The humanitarian aid that arrived this Tuesday to Venezuela will attempt to alleviate the collapse caused by Nicolás’s regime. Contrary to chavista statements, this aid comes despite of them and all the spokespeople who denied the crisis. The caravan of Red Cross trucks transporting medical supplies, electric plants and medicines sums up PSUV’s failure, right on the day where they sought to “celebrate” 16 years of the Barrio Adentro mission that dismantled the healthcare system because that’s what Chávez wanted. To all activists (belligerent and silent) who contributed to exposing the emergency, who built statistics, who dared speak out despite the risks, thank you so much.

Lying was the only option

Precisely this Tuesday, Jorge Valero, the regime’s ambassador before UN institutions, said that the United States has used humanitarian aid as a smokescreen to prepare an invasion, and denied the humanitarian crisis holding U.S. sanctions as the explanation for all our problems. Meanwhile, in Caracas, the Red Cross started delivering humanitarian aid in Caricuao and the 23 de Enero neighborhood, where they distributed recipients to store water and water purification tablets, as chavismo kept ignoring the evidence of their failure and obsessively repeated that the supplies arrived “thanks to Nicolás,” with his authorization, scrapping any respect for neutrality, mocking the request of not politicizing the aid, which even the Venezuelan Red Cross also did.

“All Red Cross directors were impressed when I told them about the Barrio Adentro mission,” said Nicolás, claiming that they’ve thrown away $79 billion on that white elephant in 16 years. According to him, the country already has humanitarian aid coming from China, Russia, Belarus, India and Cuba, but he didn’t explain where, nor what criteria were used for distributing it.

Why is humanitarian aid crucial?

  • Lack of medicine: for example, about a million people contracted malaria in Venezuela, representing the highest increase of this disease in the world, due to the speed and the amount of cases. The decline of the healthcare system has been the trigger for this great 60-year setback, because malaria is prevalent again almost all over the country, also jeopardizing South America, considering our forced migration rate.
  • Service failures: Yolanda Pérez, head of Hidrocapital, keeps selling as an accomplishment that the institution that should guarantee water supply is now delivering recipients to store water, without any instruction to prevent greater health problems than the ones we already have. By the way, Corpoelec will rotate the blocks of their power rationing plan, although the schedule has been ignored and the power cuts has been longer than announced.

  • Lack of infrastructure: journalist Carlos Iván Suárez (@carlosi_suarez on Twitter) shared a video from Portuguesa State in which a group of people are trying to fit a wounded person in a garbage truck because there are no ambulances.

I cite these three examples to show that a nation going through a complex humanitarian emergency is a drama, that requiring humanitarian aid isn’t reason for celebration, and that arrogantly saying that the only way to deliver it is going through the filter of his approval doesn’t exalt Nicolás but incriminates him. It’s worth noting: the Archdiocese of Cucuta donated a million communion hosts to Venezuela to cover the demand of the Holy Week because there isn’t enough wheat in the country for the churches.

Selling gold, destroying the bolivar

According to Bloomberg, Nicolás’s regime sold around $400 million in gold, despite the sanctions imposed by the American government on the state-owned mining company Minerven and on the metal. According to two people familiar with the transaction, the amount is about nine tonnes of gold. The procedure was reflected in the Central Bank’s total reserves, which dropped to $8.6 million since April 12th. Close to $5.1 million of that is gold. Additionally, the official exchange rate abruptly increased by Bs. 781.04 to reach Bs. 4,100, 23.53% increment and 19.04% in devaluation for the bolivar. “DICOM’s rise comes because that stabilization of the exchange rate in March and the relatively low inflation regarding previous months as a consequence, was completely unsustainable,” said lawmaker Ángel Alvarado. And the black market rate increased to a little over Bs. 5,000 after the artificial stability caused by the fierce measures on the legal banking reserve.

In the National Assembly

Next week, the AN will publish a national statistics service to cover the regime’s void of information.

The service will publish information on monthly inflation, economic activity, food basket, daily DICOM and black market exchange rate, oil indicators, poverty indicators published by Encovi, and hospital figures coming from the national hospitals survey. Additionally, during the session of the consultative committee this Tuesday, an agreement was approved rejecting Guyana’s stance on the Esequibo and its Atlantic face and the decision to resort to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule over the matter.

Attorney José Ignacio Hernández said that the ICJ has no jurisdiction to deal with Guyana’s claim. Caretaker President Juan Guaidó called for another open assembly on April 19th.

Movements on the board

  • Chile will extend the validity of expired Venezuelan passports and ID cards for two years to carry out legal operations in that country.
  • María Faría, Venezuelan ambassador in Costa Rica, announced that they’ll reactivate the consular record of Venezuelans in the next few days.

  • Jorge Arreaza denounced that Costa Rica’s government “flagrantly violated articles 22 and 25 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Venezuela could retaliate due to the illegal takeover of its diplomatic office.”
  • President Donald Trump is expected to activate this Wednesday a regulation that will allow lawsuits in the U.S. against foreign firms doing business with Cuba. Additionally, his Security Advisor John Bolton will announce new sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, the countries he called the “troika of tyranny.”

The battle to get news in a country in chaos” is the title of an article published by TIME about the efforts Venezuelans make to overcome censorship. Restricting the access to information is a cause that Nicolás has pursued tirelessly, that’s why the internet is our last resort. TIME highlights experiences such as Bus TV, journalists who report the news on buses; “What’s going on?”, an effort of Venezuelans abroad to sum up the new in a simple and nice format; and the Public Information Service that reports news on audio messages. That’s why 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.