Moral Blockade

Another patient of the JM de los Ríos Children's Hospital died while Maduro approves millions of euros for military equipment. A prison riot in Acarigua 30 prisoners dead and 18 police officers wounded. Guaidó denounced that the ELN launched an attack against Colombian forces from Venezuelan soil. The food basket keeps rising. Both Trinidad and Tobago and Ecuador will apply restrictions for Venezuelan migrants.

Photo: VTV

This Thursday, another patient of the JM de los Ríos Children’s Hospital, 7-year old Robert Redondo, died while waiting a bone marrow transplant that never happened. Also this Thursday, Nicolás approved 6.8 million euros to produce machine guns and 50 million euros to make propaganda with the tragedy of these children, saying that the transplant program stopped because of sanctions. It’s a lie, the state suspended the transplant programs in June, 2017, and the patients’ mothers denounced on April 9th the urgent need for transplants and filed a complaint before the Ombudsman’s Office with no answer yet. Geraldine Labrado, Robert’s mom, said in April that her son didn’t want to die. Yesterday she said: “This isn’t on the blockade, it’s on them, their negligence, their lack of conscience.”

These deaths could’ve been avoided, but chavismo violates the right to health and also mocks the results, manipulating the story, minimizing the pain of mourners, turning these kids into one more resource in their propaganda system. They’re vile, they’re low.

Massacre in Acarigua

This Friday morning, there was a riot in Acarigua’s General Police Command, in Portuguesa State. In his complaint, Humberto Prado, head of the Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons, explained that the riot started on Thursday night and left a balance of 30 prisoners murdered, seven wounded, and 18 police officials injured. That command has space for some 250 people but houses 540, representing over 200% of overcrowding.

Prado emphasized that the people responsible are “those who turn police dungeons into common jails.” On May 16th, there were problems in that command and prisoners threatened to start a “bloody riot” if the authorities didn’t heed their requests, cautioning that they demanded the presence of representatives from the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ombudsman’s Office to negotiate.

The massacre in Acarigua proves that prisoners had weapons and grenades in their power, which is the State’s responsibility; as usual, no State authority has spoken about the case. The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights condemned the incident, expressing concern for the great levels of violence in Venezuelan prisons; urging the State to implement immediate measures to guarantee the lie and integrity of prisoners and demanding an investigation on the events, not just to establish the responsibility of perpetrators and masterminds, but also the responsibility of the authorities, by action or omission.

How are you leaving, Nicolás?

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó said that the opposition must keep speaking to the Armed Forces in order to build the transition, restating that military involvement is necessary to guarantee the new government’s stability and governability. “Time isn’t on Maduro’s side, but against Venezuela,” said Guaidó, adding that most Venezuelans want a political change and it’ll be the regime that decides whether transition will come by force. Aware that being the majority isn’t enough, but that it’s necessary to exercise it through labor sectors and street actions, he asked not to give in to despair: “There’s a much more powerful unity of cause, Parliament has clear interlocutors and it’d seem that we have our capacities well oriented, no we can’t fail on the intangible: we can’t give in to despair and distrust again,“ emphasizing that the opposition has managed to resist, insist, advance and rebuild the social tissue. Guaidó denounced that the ELN attacked two Colombian border posts from Venezuelan soil.

Briefs and serious

  • The basic food basket’s price was Bs. 3,343,584 in April, according to Cendas: a Venezuelan needs 84 minimum wages to purchase the basket. The amount for all the items is equal to $557.26. The price variation compared to March was Bs. 852,435, and compared to April 2018, it’s 240,697%.
  • This Friday, National Guard officials fired tear gas and pellets against protesters in San Cristóbal, Táchira State, as they demanded fuel supply after three days of waiting.
  • This Thursday, Nicolás announced that he’ll make an immediate investment in the company Huawei, sanctioned by the United States for alleged espionage on behalf of China. Yesterday, Juan Guaidó criticized the investment of those resources amidst the complex humanitarian emergency: “It’s evident that he’s completely disconnected from the suffering of Venezuelans,” he said.
  • Regime interior minister Néstor Reverol announced that the fuel situation in Zulia “tends to improve,” due to the arrival of a ship with “240,000 barrels of gasoline (…) We’re covering 75% of supply,” blaming sanctions for all the variables describing the collapse of the Venezuelan State.
  • The parents of Ángela Aguirre, the girl murdered two months ago in Bolívar State, denounced that “evidence has been tampered with” and that there are serious irregularities that compromise the justice process, including the fact that the prosecutor recused from the case still has access to the file. The culprits were accused of femicide, sexual abuse and omission to aid a person in distress; they were sentenced to prison in common jails, but they haven’t been transported yet.

Movements on the board

  • Fenced in by Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation yesterday.
  • Juan Guaidó’s diplomatic team in Washington, represented by ambassador Carlos Vecchio, took over the Venezuelan embassy yesterday.

  • “This small nation can’t become a refugee field for the Venezuelan population,” said Trinitarian Prime Minister Keith Rowley this Friday, announcing that his country will restrict the flow of migrants and that the authorities will deport Venezuelans coming to the island illegally. Rowley conveniently mixes the concepts, but it’s worth restating, considering UNHCR’s most recent document, that they’re not migrants, they’re refugees fleeing an unprecedented crisis.
  • President Lenín Moreno announced that Ecuador will start demanding visas of Venezuelan migrants, saying that some 2,500 Venezuelans entered his country daily, and that our migration is “not only a regional problem but also a source of instability for several countries.” Lawmaker Julio Borges cautioned yesterday that migration will increase “if the countries don’t act more strongly against Maduro.”
  • Lawmaker Carlos Valero said that in the coming days, he’ll take the case of the two boats that left Guiria and went missing before the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration and UN Special Representative Eduardo Stein. Yesterday, Stein answered the Colombian government’s demand for more resources to assist the Venezuela migration, concerned because our migration flow “doesn’t stop and it’s actually increasing,” and adding that “the resources are donations from other countries.”
  • “Nicolás Maduro won’t be able to revert the democratic transition that’s taking place in his country, but the military must also support this change (…) there’s no way Maduro’s regime remains in power indefinitely,” said Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo yesterday.
  • Chief European diplomat Federica Mogherini and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez agreed on the “urgent need” to promote a peaceful end to the Venezuelan crisis. An important Cuban diplomat said in an interview with Bloomberg that Havana is ready to help, although Nicolás must be in the negotiation table.

Last year, Ediciones Ekaré published “Conejo y Conejo,” a story written by my dear Isa Saturno, beautifully illustrated by Stefano Di Cristofaro, about two good friends who argue about guavas and split… and then live other things, just like the ones all friends live. That wonder was chosen by Banco del Libro among the best books for children and teenagers, and I just want to cheer Isa because this is a well-deserved recognition. May we never lack a good book and much less a good friend, even less if it’s a rabbit.

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.