Rationing With Reserves

Photo: PROVEA

What good are the largest oil reserves on the planet if they can’t be exploited? The fuel rationing continues and that’s why the governors of Monagas and Bolívar have followed the example of the governor of Lara and, starting this Monday, gasoline is sold according to the last numbers on the license plate, purportedly to stave off the mess of fuel shortages while vehicle queues in service stations are several kilometers long and citizens may spend several days waiting. Neither Nicolás nor his Oil minister have acknowledged the drama that’s hitting the regions more fiercely than Caracas, because as with every other important matter, it’s better to keep quiet until noise forces them to speak.

The non-country

  • Health sector workers denounced the irregularities in wages, materials and supplies in the University Clinical Hospital of Caracas, emphasizing the terrible working conditions, including the lack of basic services, cleaning material and the infections suffered by the staff due to hygiene problems. They called for a demonstration before the Health Ministry on Monday, June 10th.
  • The head of the Venezuelan Milk and Meat Institute, Carlos Albornoz, said that per capita milk consumption is lower than the limits established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, demanding the normalization of fuel supply so that products can reach citizens. According to data from the Venezuelan Chamber of the Dairy Industry, milk production dropped to seven million litres in May, in contrast with the 45 million litres in the same month last year.
  • Venezuela ranks 131st in the list showing the protection that Hispanic nations offer children from best to worse, according to a report published by the organization Save The Children. Latin America showed an increase in protection unlike Venezuela, which dropped 32 points due to the 40% increase in the mortality rate of children under five years old and 60% increase in child homicide rates.

Fleeing hunger

The Autonomous University of Bucaramanga (UNAB) developed a research project about Venezuelan migrants in that city, revealing that 63% suffered from hunger in Venezuela in the last three months before fleeing and another 52% lost between 5 and 9 kg in the same period of time. Out of the 1,000 respondents, only 12% has passport or an official permit to live in Colombia. Comparing the results of these reports with those presented in March 2018, “there’s a significant drop in the average income generated by the population, which went from 500,000 pesos to 300,000 pesos, and an increasingly smaller percentage can send remittances to their relatives in Venezuela.” Women stand out among migrants, “taking the risks of migration even despite lacking the economic, psychological and educational conditions to start a transnational migration process.” Additionally, 70% of Venezuelans surveyed says they’re suffering from depression. The UNAB wants this information to serve as a guide to reduce the risks and the consequences of migration, and for aspiring public authorities to incorporate the issue in their government plans, so the impact of this phenomenon can be managed.

PDVSA’s mayhem

This Monday, El Salvador’s Prosecutor’s Office continued the raids it’d been carrying out since Friday on the offices of ALBA Petróleos as part of an investigation for the alleged laundering of PDVSA funds.

Germán Arriaza, head of the the Anti-Corruption and Anti-Impunity Department, explained that the raids also include companies ALBA Alimentos is El Salvador, ALBA Gas and other 24 related with that society. The man responsible for leading PDVSA’s millionaire investment in ALBA Petróleos was Salvadoran politician José Luis Merino. The U.S. had requested an investigation against him for allegedly trafficking drugs and weapons with the Colombian guerrilla FARC. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Justice Department is requesting documents from CITGO Petroleum as part of an investigation on bribes made by American suppliers involving PDVSA.

CITGO confirmed that they received the subpoena and said in a statement that they agreed to cooperate with this investigation, which has already charged 21 people, 16 of them have already pleaded guilty.

In New York

Without fully grasping the temporary suspension of operations of the Canadian embassy in the country, yesterday the Foreign ministers of Lima Group members Canada, Chile and Peru, held a meeting with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union, and the Foreign ministers of Portugal and Uruguay, members of the International Contact Group. The decision of both groups is to increase contacts to contribute to a political, peaceful and democratic solution to our crisis, because the regional impact of this crisis demands a more active role. They restated their support for the National Assembly and said that it was necessary to restore and fully respect its authority, as well as the release of all political prisoners. Both groups will continue denouncing human rights violations and agreed on the gravity of the humanitarian situation, including the migration crisis, therefore they promised to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan population and the affected neighboring countries, underscoring the need to increase international support. In August, Peru will host an international meeting to analyze solutions for the Venezuelan crisis.

Other movements on the board

  • Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov agreed yesterday on supporting a political and diplomatic solution in Venezuela, but disagreed on Juan Guaidó’s role: “Colombia only supports political and diplomatic means,” said Trujillo and Lavrov agreed on rejecting a military solution to the crisis. While Trujillo ratified his full support for Guaidó and the conditions (end of usurpation, transition government and free elections), Lavrov said that Moscow insists on an “inclusive dialogue.”
  • By the way, last Sunday, Colombian President Iván Duque spoke in favor of the unprecedented diplomatic bloc that recognizes Guaidó and the National Assembly as sovereign, so he urged to “keep increasing the bloc but at the same time continue working within Venezuela for the internal fracture within the Armed Forces needed to end the dictatorship.”
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was rougher and said: “Maduro isn’t in command. Maduro is Venezuela’s fool today. There must be a fracture in the Venezuelan Army’s high command. This issue can’t end until that happens (…) The big problem is that the regime in Venezuela may intensify its control, becoming North Korea without atomic bombs; the Russians are involved in that too because there’s oil and gold.”
  • Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: “Russia has informed us that they have removed most of their people from Venezuela,” a tweet that appeared hours after Russian state-run corporation Rostec denied that their specialists had left our country in response to the information published on Sunday by The Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Evangelina García Prince died yesterday. She was an extraordinary women’s rights defender who was Women’s minister and a senator, but above all a teacher, a true scholar on the topics she worked on and defended, creating a legacy that protects many Venezuelans. May she rest in peace.

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