Two Dollars a Month

Photo: BBC retrieved

The price of the black market dollar rose dramatically on Tuesday, in some indexes it’s valued at a little over 20,000 bolivars per dollar. Asdrúbal Oliveros, Ecoanalítica director, explained that this “spike” is a consequence of PDVSA and other state institutions made large payments in bolivars and the companies that were paid used them to buy dollars: “In a shallow market, with little supply and demand the price overreacts,” said Oliveros. The spike doesn’t cover the overvaluation. The dollar’s still cheap compared to what it should be. Luis Vicente León said that “it will decrease its speed while the exceeding bolivars that stimulate the current demand run out. Afterwards, we’ll have more inflation, more overvaluation and another devaluation.” Let’s say this again: the World Bank establishes as the threshold of extreme poverty living with less than $ 1,90 dollars per day. Today, Venezuelans’ monthly minimum wage and pensions are barely $2. Add to this amount the availability and access of public services and you’ll understand why the migration crisis won’t stop. 

The Cuban “miracle”

On Tuesday, the AN discussed the complex humanitarian emergency and its effects. Caretaker President Juan Guaidó  insisted in the need for a humanitarian channel to assist the most vulnerable population, while the UN and the Red Cross keep delivering aid, emphasizing that there are 7 million vulnerable Venezuelans. Far from this data, Nicolás used his variety show to praise the contributions that Cuban medicine has given Venezuela. He spoke about the achievements of the Milagro Mission and their ophthalmic surgeries, where allegedly 6 million people were treated and he said that they’re creating graduate ophthalmology programs to give continuity to the mission. He also spoke about a documentary that tells the effects of Cuban medicine in diabetes patients in Venezuela since 2008 and that they’d managed to prevent amputations for over 217,000 diabetes patients. There’s no way to verify or compare this data. Once more, he attacked UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet for saying that the state discriminates when providing social services. He said that 7 million people have signed against Donald Trump and his Executive Order, all relevant topics to tackle the complex humanitarian emergency. 

Forceful choices

Amid the judiciary branch break, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, issued a ruling in a case that’s over ten years old. Sentence Nº 324 demands changing the rules for calling and holding elections for university authorities whose terms have expired, it orders new elections in the UCV in the next six months, it demands that the Electoral Registry guarantee equality among voters; which refers to the votes of students, professors, alumni and workers being worth the same, and a condition to be elected as an authority, has to be winning in three of the five groups and also get half of the votes in all five groups. This sentence affects eight other universities and it suspends articles in the Law of Universities, changes the process and legislates, usurping the functions of the National Assembly. 

Attorney General José Ignacio Hernández wrote: “This is not a sentence. It’s a political decision that generates no duty to obey. The regime, using the TSJ, wants to crush what’s left of university autonomy imposing its tyranny.” 

The non-country

– The president of the Venezuelan Seed Association (Avesem), Aurelio Sánchez, warned that the price of vegetables will increase for lack of supplies and raw material for the sector: “We should be sowing over  80 thousand acres of vegetables, and at the moment we don’t even reach 20 thousand”. The shortage of seeds has been reported since 2015. Sánchez said that seeds aren’t imported because of the 20 million dollar debt they have with suppliers.

– In Venezuela, 1,180 cases of sexual abuse and an increase in femicide have been reported so far this year, said Cicpc director Douglas Rico, stating that the authorities have “answered to 63 %” of these cases,” and have arrested 627 people.

– Zulian government secretary Lisandro Cabello, said that everyone who sells dollars or other foreign currency will be arrested, since “only the institutions authorized by the government can make this kind of transaction.” He said that every person who has dollars must say where they got them “because that may be drug trafficking, money laundering or other felonies.” 

– Crónica Uno reported on the contraction of the construction sector. Ten years ago, the private sector built 80,000 homes in the country, but since 2016 they don’t even build 1,000, which represents a 99% drop. The Venezuelan Real Estate Chamber said that the situation couldn’t get any worse. Its president, Carlos Alberto González, said that three years ago they were “already hitting rock bottom” and that controls, lack of trust from investors and hyperinflation are some of the problems that sector endures.

We, the migrants

“The migration crisis stopped being a regional issue and it has become a global one,” said Yukiko Iriyama, UNHCR representative in Colombia, adding that people now arrive in more vulnerable conditions and require more humanitarian support. UNHCR Colombia and Ecuador work together to develop contingency plans and with them, help Venezuelans stranded because of the visa requirement to enter Ecuador. The plan would cover shelters, food, hydration and health. Over 40 NGOs in America say that the visa imposed by Ecuador violates international obligations regarding human rights while Juan Guaidó repeated that the migration crisis will get worse while Nicolás is still in power and explained that the visa “makes those who can’t comply more vulnerable.” 

In Colombia, health ministers and authorities from over 11 countries agreed to create a vaccination card for Venezuelan migrants, among other measures to care for people fleeing Venezuela, like reducing malaria mortality and morbidity, preventing and treating migrants with HIV/AIDS and non-transmissible chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and hipertension.

Colombian President said in Peru that “the dictatorship in Venezuela eliminated liberties, productivity and impoverished the people,” generating an unprecedented flow of migrants and reaffirmed that “while the dictatorship keeps ruling, these flows won’t stop and they”ll bring more negative repercussions,” so he asked to support the sanctions required to isolate Nicolás. Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra said that because of Venezuela’s critical and dramatic situation, they “agree with Colombia and many other countries in the world, that we should find a solution to return to a democratic process.” 

 

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