Sole Responsibility

Photo: El Comercio retrieved 

Nicolás’s Foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza said on Friday that the process of rearming FARC dissident leaders is Colombian President Iván Duque’s “sole responsibility”. He said: “It’s amazing that, in a condemnable action, Iván Duque has the nerve to place blame on third parties and people his responsibility in dismantling the peace process and violating the commitments that the Colombian state had assumed and signed.” He encouraged the parties involved in the peace process to exhaust all options to avoid the people’s suffering, and without rejecting rearmament, he said that “the arbitrary decisions” Duque has made openly violate the peace process agreement, an argument very similar to Iván Márquez’s. Arreaza assured that he’s talking to other countries that accompanied the Colombian peace process to “define immediate strategies that will allow reestablishing contact between the parties involved” and almost at the end of his speech, he dared mentioning his concern for the reactivation of the armed conflict. 

The non-country

– Aquiles Hopkins, president of the Confederation of Agro-Producers Associations, said that the decline in corn production is significant, this year is only half of what was produced in 2018. He exhorted authorities to develop new policies to recover the sector. 

– ANC-imposed attorney general, Tarek William Saab, said that 6,610 people have been processed for illegal commerce and traffick of strategic materials, like cement, copper, aluminum and steel, among others. He read tons of numbers, as if anyone cared about a report that doesn’t mention the explanation about why these crimes are happening so often, in addition to the evidence of lack of state controls and this administration’s complicity by action and inaction. Too bad he didn’t mention the gold.  

– Regarding Saab’s report, journalist Clavel Rangel said: “Most of the people detained are poor. People who had to migrate within the country in order to survive, some are workers of companies like Minerven, that this government ruined and now wants to make it seem like nothing happened.” 

– According to the BCV rate, that estimates 22,186.89 bolivars per dollar, the dollar rate has increased by 96.96% in August. 

Imported workers

Nicolás’s variety show was a meeting with workers from 25 countries. Without explaining who pays for their tickets or their hotels, he greeted the Venezuelan working class, the same class that’s been demanding wages in dollars for weeks. Nicolás’s dissertation was an arrogant exercise because it doesn’t matter that the fact that he remains in power costs lives (displaced and lost), only because “he’s a tough cookie.” He praised China and Russia, and warned about threats to India and Iran, he announced that the Monroe Doctrine is being used against him and said that all of this serves to “revert the emergence of a pluripolar world.” While public employees earn less than $2 a month, he said that he’d create a new model of the working class, and as if he had money to spare, he proposed holding an international congress of working classes to create a world with an alternative to neoliberalism. 

He celebrated reaching 8 million signatures in the No More Trump campaign (there’s budget for propaganda, I guess) and announced (the same day that Saab talked about 6,000 cases) that they had captured a group of Pdvsa managers, military officers and Corpoelec workers that smuggled oil in the Tachira border. Can he be more cynical? 

Oh, Michelle!

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, considers that the most recent U.S. sanctions have been harsh and too broad: “If the sanctions get worse the only thing we can expect, unfortunately, is that there will be more migration because poverty will get worse.” Bachelet said that even though there are different versions about the talks between Nicolás and the United States, the important thing is that the governments are open to keep talking in order to make progress, but that it shouldn’t replace the dialogue that should happen between the government and the opposition. About her visit, she celebrated having the opportunity of meeting without restrictions with representatives of the government, the opposition, civil society and families of the victims of political violence, and said that she insisted before the highest authorities on how important it was to have a permanent presence in Venezuela.

We, the migrants

Eduardo Stein, special UNHCR and IOM representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, announced that 4,3 million Venezuelans have left because of the economic, political and social crises that we’re under. Stein said that, for now, “we don’t see when this massive movement will end” and warned that there are more vulnerable Venezuelans by the day, that need for international protection and access to basic services and employment opportunities. He also said that “there’s no doubt that the situation of Venezuelan migrants and refugees is surpassing the capabilities of the countries and the region in general,” reason why he asked a coherent regional response to face this “unprecedented humanitarian challenge.” The governments of Colombia and the U.S. and the Venezuelan caretaker government, announced today that operations for receiving humanitarian aid in Colombia have been completed. Iván Duque’s government assured that they’ll continue supporting Venezuelans’ humanitarian needs. 

Movements on the board

– Colombian Defense Minister Guillermo Botero Nieto announced nine paramilitary officers died, the day after he ordered an attack against the group of FARC commanders who violated the peace agreement. The minister said that these groups are in Venezuelan territory, near the border with Colombia and they’ll be treated as residual organized groups. 

– The Colombian Foreign Ministry announced that minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo met “for the first time with his Venezuelan counterpart, Julio Borges, after he was appointed by caretaker President Guaidó.” They agreed to work together against dissident FARC members that rose back in arms. 

– Journalist Sebastiana Barráez, military source expert, said that ever since August 25th, Rubio inhabitants in Tachira State, are talking about helicopters flying over the Kinimarí military base. Barráez says “with them, the new commander and tanks sent from Russia arrived (…) and the next day, 80 Russians and a small group of Cubans.”  According to an officer at the base, Europeans are there to install radars, antennas to block signal and drone training. 

On August 30th, we commemorated the Victims of Forced Disappearance Day, created by the UN to push governments to stop this terrible practice. Forced disappearance is committed by state agencies, violating multiple essential rights. These cases of temporary forced disappearance have increased in Venezuela, and have been followed by denying official information about the detentions and whereabouts of victims, as a common practice of chavismo’s state terrorism. I went through this with my husband: ever since he was detained on March 11th to when he was brought to our house on March 12th for a raid, no institution assumed responsibility for Luis Carlos’s detention, nor provided information about his whereabouts. 

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