The Negotiation in Barbados

Negotiations between both governments (Maduro's and Guaidó's) continue in Barbados. Vladimir Padrino keeps his post, but other figures are removed from the board. Venezuela remains a quite dangerous nation. Judge Afiuni's "liberation" isn't quite so. The region struggles with Venezuelan migrants.

Photo: Crónica Uno, retrieved.

Norway’s government managed, after several days of talks between the mediators and the parties, to have the opposition led by Juan Guaidó and Nicolás’s team to get back to dialogue, this time in the island of Barbados. The idea is to advance in the search for a solution to the crisis. The statement from Oslo reads: “Negotiations will be carried out continuously and expeditiously.” Guaidó explained that they’ll attend the meeting for respect to the Kingdom of Norway’s mediation, “to put an end to the tragedy that Venezuelans are suffering (…) to establish a negotiation for the end of dictatorship,” thus overcoming the suspension caused by the murder of Captain Acosta Arévalo (whose body hasn’t yet been handed over to his relatives) and the repression that blinded Rufo Chacón in Tariba. Meanwhile, chavistas proclaimed themselves the kings of dialogue, peace and understanding. Over 4 million migrants and refugees scattered around the world are evidence of that, right? Last night, Nicolás even said that he’d proposed six points to continue talks. Nobody believes in chavismo’s willingness for a serious negotiation, but it’s a process that must take place to honor the will of each government that supports the Venezuelan democratic cause.

Ratifications and changes

Nicolás announced on Sunday night some changes in the Armed Forces, including ratifying Vladimir Padrino López as Defense Minister and Admiral Remigio Ceballos in the Operational Strategic Command; but Jesús Suárez Chourio, general commander of the Army, was replaced by Alexis Rodríguez Cabello. Both Navy and Aviation commanders were ratified, but Fabio Zavarse Pabón is now leading the National Guard, replacing Richard López Vargas, while Manuel Bernal Martínez is now the Militia commander, replacing Carlos Leal Tellería, who will continue heading the Food Ministry. For Rocío San Miguel, head of NGO Control Ciudadano, Padrino López’s ratification means that Nicolás chose “not to upset the balance at the core of power,” and she adds that the appointments of Rodríguez Cabello and Zavarce Pabón “are a clear concession to the power exercised by Diosdado Cabello and Néstor Reverol over these components.“

Violence is also ratified

Venezuela is the South American country with the highest levels of violent deaths during 2017, reporting almost 57 intentional homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Global Study on Homicide, published by the United Nations Office against Drug and Crime. Only El Salvador has a higher murder rate than ours, with 62.1. The study says that while the global homicide rate has declined in the last quarter of a century, between 1991 and 2017, Venezuela experienced “the most dramatic increase” of violent deaths in all of America, going from 13 to 56.8 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants. Political instability, along with unemployment, has had “a general negative effect” in Venezuela, says Andrada Filip, the study’s researcher and coordinator. The risk of being murdered in Venezuela is exceptionally high for males between 15 and 29 years old: the homicide rate for this age range was 200 for every 100,000.

Bachelet was deceived

Despite the Supreme Tribunal’s announcements about the end of precautionary measures in substitution of freedom in favor of judge María Lourdes Afiuni and Braulio Jatar, it was revealed this Monday that no court in the Metropolitan Area of Caracas acknowledged the decision in favor of judge Afiuni (she still can’t leave the country, talk to the media or use social media) and Jatar himself said yesterday that when prisoners are released this way, the regime “pulls us out of the cage and throws a chain around our necks.” That’s why yesterday Diosdado Cabello rejected the report presented by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, claiming that it was “made and written by imperialism (…) Bachelet signed the report in the office of Elliott Abrams, United States Special Envoy for Venezuela,” said Cabello and called for a march next Saturday to express this rejection.

We, the migrants

Colombia will decree the regularization of labor conditions for Venezuelan immigrants to guarantee them the salaries established by law: “We can’t allow the main asset of migrants to be merely cheap labor,” said Deputy Labor Minister Andrés Felipe Uribe, who revealed that they’ll issue a work authorization. Additionally, Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa suggested on Twitter to grant aspiring Venezuela nationality, sparking thousands of xenophobic responses. Meanwhile, UNHCR and the International Organization of Migrations celebrate the adoption of a roadmap that will facilitate the integration of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region, with an agreement by 14 governments of reinforcing cooperation between the transit and destination countries, strengthening measures against transnational crimes, sexual violence and fighting discrimination and xenophobia. The commitments include the convalidation of academic diplomas, healthcare coverage and the creation of information and assistance centers. The information card on regional mobility was presented as priority to strengthen documentation and registration efforts.

Other movements on the board

  • Enrique Iglesias, special advisor of the European Union for the Venezuelan crisis, met on Sunday with representatives of Venezuela’s diplomatic missions, in the morning with caretaker President Juan Guaidó, and in the afternoon with regime Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez. Delcy’s office posted dozens of pictures and stories, while Guaidó’s office merely issued a statement from Voluntad Popular.
  • In its most recent report about Venezuela, titled “No debate without space,” the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) makes an in-depth analysis of the devastating effect that the National Constituent Assembly has had on democratic institutions and the rule of law.
  • Reuters says that PDVSA has sold oil to a small Turkish company without refineries but with ties to Nicolás’s regime. The Iveex Isaat Group started to buy Venezuelan oil in April, even though it was created less than a year ago with a capital of $1,775, with residential construction as its main activity. The company is owned by Miguel Silva, a Venezuelan businessman who leads the Venezuelan Chamber of Exporters and worked in the Housing Ministry.

Yesterday, the Puig cookie factory in Las Tejerías, Aragua, was burned down. According to journalist Gregoria Díaz, “”a grenade caused the disaster” and off the record, it was revealed that the company refused “to pay bribes to criminals in the area, who had threatened managers and employees,” destroying in a great fire, the company’s production, jobs, memory and desserts. The Venezuelan state and its security bodies are responsible for controlling the possession of grenades, aren’t they?

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.