Photo: Reuters retrieved
Hurt by the electoral defeat in 2007, the one that stopped him from running for office for eternity, Hugo Chávez asked Fidel Castro for advice. Fidel was interested in helping him, considering of course the oil revenue that he could benefit from. Reuters covers in detail the rise of Cuba within the Venezuelan Armed Forces to repress military dissidence. Guaranteeing absolute control over the military in order to remain in power, that was Castro’s suggestion. Both treaties signed by Cuba and Venezuela, imposed strict surveillance within the Armed Forces, to identify potential rebels or conspirators. What’s now the Dgcim, the military counterintelligence unit, widely known for torture cases, was used to spy on the Armed Forces under the concept of “internal enemy”. Moreover, according to the documents Reuters reviewed, Cuba was able to train soldiers, restructure parts of the Army and train intelligence agents in Havana. When you can, read Angus Berwick’s piece, he talked to over 20 Venezuelan officers and intelligence officials:
Five million, like the town square?
After he greeted a deserted town square in Vargas State with “there’s the people, look!” Nicolás dedicated his variety show again to the issue of productivity, this time inspired by “innovation”. That’s why he claimed he wanted to give every Venezuelan a water tank to guarantee water supply, he heard Tareck El Aissami’s stories about how plastic will turn into revenue, approved funds for the Home Optic Fiber Plan, a service that according to him will bring “high speed internet” to pilot states: Miranda, Zulia and Capital District. Yes, you read that correctly, Zulia. He also inaugurated, remotely, a Data Room in Guarico, happily listened to a summary of Delcy Rodríguez’s visit to Russia and assigned her to create a national recycling system. He repeated that he has 5 million signatures to “tell North American imperialism: no more blockade, no more aggressions!”
Too bad he talked about generic cooperation agreements, but still the news broke about Rosneft, Russian oil company, becoming the main manager of Venezuelan oil, sending it to China and India and helping counteract the loss of traditional operatives that are avoiding it for fear or violating U.S. sanctions. Rosneft became the largest buyer of Venezuelan oil in July (40% of all shipments) and the first half of August (66% of shipments). Rosneft, which produces around 5% of oil in the world, is handling shipment and marketing operations of most Venezuelan oil exports, guaranteeing that Pdvsa can keep supplying its buyers. Technically, Rosneft isn’t violating sanctions because they get the oil as part pf the agreement to pay debt. Remember that on Wednesday we found out that Pdvsa reduced its debt to Rosneft from 1,800 to 1,100 million dollars.
Let them come?
Nicolás’s Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López said during an Armed Forces event that “the U.S. is applying a military siege strategy against Venezuela.” He said that they’re ready to respond to any attack: “Let them come! Hundreds of centaurs will meet them, they’ve revived the dignity of our people (…) And if they’re ready to attack us, well we’ll answer: ‘We’re ready! Let them come!’”
Let’s talk human rights
Human Rights Watch and ten other human rights organizations signed a document where they suggest the UN Human Rights Council establish a commission to investigate the severe human rights violations in Venezuela. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will give the commission an updated oral report about our situation on September 10th, after her report in July, and all the organizations agree that the victims of the humanitarian crisis deserve an answer from the commission “that assures respect for their right to truth, justice and reparations,” said José Miguel Vivanco. The IACHR updated precautionary measures for children and teenagers in the JM de los Ríos Hospital and extended them to 13 wings of this healthcare center, considering that children and teenagers in those wings are also in a critical situation and their rights at risk of suffering irreparable damage.
We, the migrants
Colombian Migration director director de Christian Krüger informed about a “contingency plan” that will be implemented in the Rumichaca, Nariño port of entry to avoid a possible increase of the migration flow, since starting August 26th, Ecuador will demand visas from Venezuelans who wish to enter the country. After the measure was announced, Colombia registered a 30% increase in migration flows. Venezuelans have to have a passport for the new visa, criminal records, $50 and an application submitted in person or in their embassies in Caracas, Bogota or Lima. Very few Venezuelan refugees will be able to meet all the requirements.
Movements on the board
– U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Ottawa that their policy on Venezuela hasn’t changed, despite the contact with chavismo, and reaffirmed that Nicolás remaining in power is an obstacle for democracy: “There won’t be free elections in Venezuela if Nicolás stays in power.”
– U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said his country could accept chavista officers in a potential transition government, as long as they’re not wanted by U.S. justice or facing drug trafficking charges, naming Tareck El Aissami and Diosdado Cabello.
– Admiral Craig Faller, chief of the Southern Command, said that the only military concern regarding Venezuela is planning for the day after Maduro leaves power and supporting the democratic transition.
– The Canadian Foreign Minister will travel to Cuba next week for a third discussion about the Venezuelan situation. Chrystia Freeland said “it’s important to explore all options for a resolution to this situation.”
– Apparently, the MLB put its relations to the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League on hold, while they make sure that their affiliate players’ participation is consistent with the Executive Order against Nicolás’s government. Almost 70 Venezuelan athletes play in the MLB in the U.S.
The messages from government officials comparing the fire in Notre Dame to the Amazon rainforest fire, without mentioning the tragedy in the Orinoco Mining Arc, are unacceptable. But, if you care about this planet, please recycle, don’t throw light bulbs or cell phone batteries in the trash and use fabric bags when you go grocery shopping. You can help by doing that.