Happy With Sanctions

Photo: @jaarreaza

This Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed economic sanctions on the regime’s foreign minister Jorge Arreaza and Carol Padilla, judge in various cases against dissidents. This happens the day after Arreaza claimed that if the U.S. takes over the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, chavismo would do the same with the American embassy in Caracas.

Carol Padilla is in charge of the case against lawmaker Juan Requesens; she was also responsible for the case of councilman Fernando Albán, who died under State custody. That’s why yesterday, his family filed a formal request before the Inter American Court of Human Rights against the regime; the judge also signed the search warrant against Roberto Marrero, caretaker President Juan Guaidó’s Chief of Staff, and also the arrest warrant against lawmaker Julio Borges. Arreaza said that these kinds of actions make him “stronger”, following the line of comments Tareck El Aissami made on Wednesday, claiming that sanctions have sparked the interest of an amazing number of foreign investors who want to work in Venezuela. Later, Arreaza shared his pictures with Roger Waters, for whom I only have one phrase: “Wish you were here.”

Where’s Gilber Caro?

The National Assembly denounced the arbitrary detention of lawmaker Gilber Caro, released from jail in June, 2018, after a year and a half in prison. Caro was arrested, as a violation of his parliamentary immunity and that’s why Parliament holds “the usurping regime responsible for the lawmaker’s life and integrity.”

His colleagues Adriana Pichardo and Delsa Solórzano said he was arrested at night in an arepa diner and that the restaurant’s employees were arrested along with him. Caro was detained in January, 2017, after being accused of conspiracy. His preliminary hearing was postponed 10 times and he was held in various common prisons, suffering cruel and degrading treatment. He was released with severe malnutrition and unable to talk about his cases due to restrictions imposed by the courts.

Teaching with lies

Nicolás fabricates what he can’t produce, what he hides and thinks he can make only with tall tales. This Friday, in a graduation ceremony of the Simón Rodríguez social program, Nicolás praised the “powerful education system that Venezuela never had” and claimed that we have a schooling rate of over 90%, but with the goal of reaching 100%. Although all public and private schools have examples of how the complex humanitarian emergency has affected the schooling rate, from families who don’t take their children to school because they can’t feed them, to the State’s very orders of suspending classes due to severe electricity and water supply problems, Nicolás said that the schooling level in elementary, secondary and university education has been raised every year; he also said that public schools have had enough budget, ignoring all the protests of teachers, the notable lack of investment in the area (which can be proven by checking the national budget) and the amount of schools that have shut down because hyperinflation made their maintenance inviable.

With a loudspeaker

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó continues promoting Operation Freedom in his national tour. Yesterday, he held two rallies in Aragua State: “The time has come. See you on the street on May 1st. The time is now. We must go all in because Venezuela will be reborn, never doubt that,” said Guaidó, insisting on the need to act in coordination.

He reminded attendants that the Aid and Freedom Committees will be sworn in this Saturday, April 27. Once more, he had to use a loudspeaker because the regime has arbitrarily detained the various teams hired for logistics (stage, sound, etc.) in his events. “They wanted to sabotage us because they fear the word, they fear the truth; they can’t face us, and much less the truth,” said Guaidó, before restating the importance of articulating public employees and Armed Force officials, asking them to “rebel against the usurping regime” with symbolic actions.

About the shipwreck

Lawmaker Robert Alcalá said that nine people have been rescued from the shipwreck of the boat Jhonnalys José that sailed from Guiria, Sucre State, headed to Trinidad and Tobago. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) cautioned that 21 people are still missing and emphasized: “This tragic incident highlights the extreme risks on sea journeys and other irregular cross-border movements undertaken by refugees and migrants. It also underscores the desperation of those forced to flee their homes and the extraordinary difficulties faced on their journeys.“

Just this Thursday, Eduardo Stein, Joint Special Representative of UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration, demanded more financial resources to assist the thousands of Venezuelans fleeing from the crisis daily. NGO Trinidad Tobago Venezuela Solidarity Network cautioned that the cases of shipwrecks might increase due to the number of Venezuelans attempting to reach the island to join the registry of migrants that will start on May 31st.

Other movements

Russia urged the U.S. government to “put an end to the policy of blackmail,” after the financial sanctions imposed on Jorge Arreaza. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed that his government is outraged by the decision that proves an “increasingly aggressive strategy to discredit international diplomacy and replace it with impositions and economic pressures and cynical policies.” Perhaps the next $200 million payment of the Venezuelan debt to Russia (which expires in autumn) also explains Lavrov’s indignation. If only the Russians were as outraged for every Venezuelan dead for lack of medicines as they are about sanctions. An mission of the OAS and the Casla Institute met with Emilio González, mayor of Gran Sabana municipality: “the only indigenous mayor in Venezuela, now removed from office by the dictatorship, offering testimony on the massacre of Santa Elena de Uairen,” in the words of OAS chief Luis Almagro, who met with Raymond Knops, Netherland’s State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations, to discuss the impact of Venezuelan migration in the Americas and how our crisis affects the region’s stability.

Amidst hyperinflation, recession, shortages of food and medicines, and precarious public services, chavismo called for “celebrating” the exit from the OAS on the street this Saturday. Talking about cynical policies, eh?

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