Enough Dead Children

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

Five patients of the Hematology service at the J.M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital have died in less than a month. They all required a bone marrow transplant and their parents warned about their urgent conditions on April 9th. The state ignored their request for help, and did the same with the protective measures issued in favor of those patients. This sad sequence of deaths isn’t the first in this hospital, because between 2017 and 2018, 12 children died due to a bacteria that developed in the equipment of the Nephrology service, and despite the complaints and the pain, little changed in the available resources to guarantee the right to health. That explains the recent deaths of Giovanni Figuera (6), Robert Redondo (7), Yeiderberth Requena (8), Erick Altuve (11), and Yoider Carrera (2) who died last night. In the protest in front of the hospital yesterday morning, relatives, nurses and doctors denounced that these children died not only because it was impossible for them to get a transplant, but also because they had difficulties accessing chemotherapies, antibiotics, laboratory tests and imaging studies.

Lying as a rule

It’s despicable that chavistas are lying about these children’s cases. The lack of investment in health is already terrible, but blaming sanctions for the lack of medical attention is horrible. The truth is that the regime accumulated a debt of over 10 million euros with the institutions that processed the agreement for transplants, and these debts caused the program’s suspension. In fact, in the order presented by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza as proof of the “blockade,” in 2018 the Bone Marrow Transplant Association in Italy (ATMO) said that attending 90 patients costed 1.6 million euros, but in oficial orders in 2019, that figure changes to 5 million euros to assist 24 patients, an inflationary record worthy of Venezuela. So even though PDVSA can use his bank accounts in Gazprombank to direct 56 million euros for Cavim to manufacture machine guns and military uniforms, it can’t pay ATMO the accrued debt.

Nicolás’s tale

Yesterday, Nicolás broadcast part of his meeting with PSUV’s political high command, who allegedly processed the proposals they gathered in a dialogue session. He repeated that “$30 billion were blocked with sanctions” and that last week, ten gasoline tankers were sabotaged, but he focused on the possibility of contaminating the exercise in Norway: “This is the dialogue of the revolutionary force with the extremist opposition (…) We seek human and constitutional solutions,” he said, claiming that they seek national dialogue, not coup-mongering. “It’s very important in this situation that we don’t stay on the defensive or resisting, but rather that we go on the counteroffensive to improve everything that can be improved,” and asked his supporters (if he has any) to get ready for parliamentary elections now. By the way, this rhythm of daily broadcast doesn’t favor his message that he’s in command.

The non-country

  • Néstor Reverol announced this Monday the incorporation of 7,991 applicants for forest firefighters and rangers, among members of the Bolivarian militias, the Chamba Juvenil and Chamba Mayor programs. Training will take two months in the National Experimental University of Security (UNES): “They’ll graduate on July 31st, on World Ranger Day,” said Reverol, although he forgot to mention that these officers have no equipment, uniforms, vehicles, water tankers or supplies to control fires.
  • Reverol also appointed his vice-ministers Edylberto Molina and Humberto Ramírez to investigate the Massacre in Acarigua.
  • The Banking Bureau (SUDEBAN) met with representatives of public and private banks to define the incorporation of financial entities as issuers of a biometric system and to implement alternative payment systems, including the creation of a “national switch” that will “offer the population greater comfort, trust and security.”

  • “This husk, after you’ve used it and the enemy comes to attack, you take several husks, throw them into the wheels of any tanks that come, and you can be certain those tanks will stop dead on their tracks,” suggested bold Agriculture Minister Wilmar Castro Soteldo, who also said “you can hit them in the head.” Sadly, he didn’t reveal the reach of such a sophisticated weapon.

Briefs and serious

  • Timoteo Zambrano thinks that a partial agreement between the opposition and the regime is necessary to appoint new National Electoral Council board members, but that means reincorporating PSUV’s caucus to the National Assembly: “We must also incorporate those in exile, we’re talking about 27 deputies,” the neutral legislator explained.
  • Metro de Caracas increased its fees to Bs. 40, a 3,900% hike that appears on Extraordinary Official Gazette N° 6.457, where the Transport Ministry also announced the new costs of urban transportation, all below the Bs. 500 fee being charged at the moment.
  • The committee of relatives of the people missing in the boats that left from Güiria to Trinidad and Tobago, denounced that they’ve been the victims of negligence and mistreatment on the part of local and national authorities responsible for rescuing the crews. However, there are signs that these are actually human trafficking cases.
  • RCTV was pulled off the air 12 years ago. Their open signal was shut down and their equipment was stolen.

The Oslo problem

El Pitazo says that the representatives for Nicolás and caretaker President Juan Guaidó concluded this Monday, May 27th, the second round of meetings in Oslo, Norway’s capital, where one of the points in discussion was holding presidential elections by the end of this year.

The meetings were once again held separately, at the Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s headquarters. A group of experts is mediating, among them one of the negotiators in the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Regarding elections, one of the points of contention is whether Nicolás will be allowed to run, as well as who will guarantee transparency in the polls, a role that’s being offered to various international organizations such as the United Nations. Opposition representatives asked the dismantling of paramilitary groups known as “colectivos”, as well as access to humanitarian aid and releasing political prisoners.

Other movements

  • Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin, U.S. Special Envoy Elliott Abrams and cardinal Baltazar Porras met last Thursday to “align the stances of the U.S. and the Vatican in the same strategy, dealing with the negotiations that are taking place in Oslo with Norway’s mediation.”
  • Deputies Ángel Alvarado, José Manuel Olivares and political leader Darío Ramírez presented Plan País yesterday in Buenos Aires.
  • Podemos, the Spanish party that benefited so much from Venezuelan public funds, lost 68 lawmakers and lots of power in all autonomous communities, and just because of that, Pablo Iglesias promised self-criticism and went from demanding a coalition with Pedro Sánchez to offering his “help”. No please, I’m not laughing.

In the South American Athletics Championship, Venezuelan Lucirio Garrido got two gold medals after winning the 800 meters and 1,5000 meters competitions; Ahymara Espinoza won gold in shot put and Luisarys Toledo in the heptathlon.

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.