Denying Reality

Photo: Contrapunto retrieved

Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez met with representatives of the United Nations System and asked them to correct the figures they’ve recently published “without consulting the national government,” so in her view, “they add to the political agenda of aggression. We’ve asked them to correct them scientifically and professionally.” Since coherence isn’t her forte, she said the regime agreed to broaden and deepen the cooperation with the United Nations System and that she asked to incorporate aspects of the Plan de la Patria. She also thanks the UN for their cooperation in health (claiming that health indexes have improved!), although she forgot to mention that they haven’t published epidemiological bulletins since 2016 and that, according to the World Health Organization, we’ve gone back in diseases that were eradicated, such as diphtheria and malaria. Delcy invited the UN to “join the integral plan to assist the victims of the economic blockade war” and denounced “a genocide against our country.” Sadly, she didn’t say they’re the executioners.

The non-country

  • According to the Center of Documentation and Analysis for Workers (Cenda), the price of the food basket in May was Bs. 1,218,147 ($193.72), 41.8% more than in April. The minimum wage in Venezuela is Bs. 40,000, about $6.36, has a real purchasing power of 3.3% of the basket, so a family needs 30 minimum wages to cover their basic food expenses.

  • Citing secondary sources, the OPEC reported yesterday that our oil production dropped by 35,000 barrels per day (b/d) in May after a light recovery in April, and daily pumping is 741,000 bpd, less than half the average pumping of 1.9 million barrels per day (mb/d) recorded in 2017. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the plans of state-run consortium Rosneft to exploit new gas deposits in Venezuela (Patao and Mejillones) located in the Paria peninsula.
  • Yesterday, health sectors and neighbors of El Valle, Coche and Santa Rosalía protested because the Coche Hospital has been closed for seven months. Fetrasalud secretary Pablo Zambrano said that six companies that were working to repair it are now down to two and Dr. Carlos Prosperi explained that this hospital could be assisting between 800 and 1,200 people but “there’s no will to recover it.” However, the National Bureau for the Defense of Socio-Economic Rights (SUNDDE) announced as an achievement the start of an investigation on private health centers for “alleged overbilling, payments in foreign currency and other similar situations.”

Let’s talk about human rights

  • The home of former deputy Liliana Hernández was raided this Thursday, as well as that of his assistant Vizculy Mejías.
  • Deputy Carlos Valero denounced that deputy Eliezer Sirit and journalist, Jhonatan Petit, were detained while accompanying the protest of the families of the lost people who sailed last Friday from Falcon.

  • Raúl Isaías Baduel’s family denounced his enforced disappearance after he was taken to another holding facility. Baduel was presumably taken to a top security prison in Fuerte Tiuna, where National Assembly Vice-President Edgar Zambrano and Major General Miguel Rodríguez Torres are also imprisoned.
  • Edgar Zambrano’s wife, Sobella Mejías, said that he was able to see him in Fuerte Tiuna for the first time since his detention and that it “was the first time he saw the light of day” in 36 days.
  • #LacavaSecuestraEstudiantes is the hashtag used to denounce on social media the arbitrary arrest of Luis Yaguarate, member of the University Council of the University of Carabobo.

  • Deputy Ezequiel Pérez Roa denounced a new ecocide in the Valle Plateado sector located between Tachira and Merida, where coltan and silver are being illegally exploited, compromising the entire surrounding habitat. Even with this information, our Ecosocialism minister celebrated the delivery of the report about Biological Diversity in Venezuela. I told him off on Twitter and he denied the obvious: diversity has little worth if the state is crumbling.

A cultural offense

During his mandatory broadcast yesterday, Nicolás was never as overflowing as when Roger Waters thanked him for the cuatro the regime gave him, perhaps because of the language, perhaps the strange legitimacy that he thinks this gives him, but this Thursday, he once again imposed his face on screen for the launch of the Cultural Offensive Plan 2019, accompanied by charismatic Ernesto Villegas, an ace of chavista heritage. Thus, Nicolás approved huge amounts in bolivars for: a meeting of audiovisual producers; holding the 15th International Book Fair; making a festival of new Venezuelan films; he also approved the creation of the Cultural Economic Engine (?) and authorized the creation of the Social Protection Fund for culture workers. He inaugurated the National Center of Patrimonial Conservation and Restoration in absentia, and baptized in situ a commemorative edition of the Angostura Speech. The cherry on top? He dared to say that “We can’t let the Venezuelan editorial industry go to waste. We have to give it resources, support, cleverness (…) We have to call private national and international editors, and find a solution so that the editorial industry can return, reemerge and expand.”

Movements on the board

  • According to AP, Vatican representatives are taking part in a meeting about the crisis in Venezuela organized by the Swedish government in Stockholm. Representatives of the European Union and Cuba also went to the meeting.
  • “We’re not part of that meeting, I think the secretary general has always said that his bona fides office is available,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, regarding the meeting in Sweden.

  • Russian Foreign Vice-Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that he plans to visit Venezuela in coming weeks. Ryabkov also said that there are still no plans to meet Elliott Abrams, U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela.

“Stop having kids” is the title of an op-ed written by Colombian journalist Claudia Palacios about the proportion of pregnancies and childbirths of Venezuelan migrants in her country, a summary of prejudices and low empathy, not against the nationality but against poor women, as if reality could be changed with her statement. It’s always good to talk about family planning, but blaming a population that has had no access to sexual education or birth control because the state they’re fleeing from didn’t provide them that, is increasing their condition as victims.

 

The incentives for Venezuela to keep fleeing haven’t changed and it’s horrible that Venezuelan women are being stigmatized for childbirths. I’m seriously concerned by these campaigns such as “Peru first,” “Colombia for Colombians,” not only because of xenophobia, but also for the refusal to understand that human rights are equal for everyone, that the rights of a refugee don’t undermine those of a native citizen. We go on.

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