Chavismo’s Tailor-Made Mujica

Photo: TT News Agency/Fredrik Persson/Reuters

Nicolás’s Foreign Ministry made a huge effort on Wednesday trying to prove they had support for the agreement on Monday with the tailor-made opposition. Statements from the Alba, the Frente Guasu, an invitation from the Cuban Foreign minister to an event in November, and the memo for the European Union highlighting the importance of the agreement, in an attempt to stop individual sanctions for suspending the Norway negotiations. Even Nicolás’s vice-president Delcy Rodríguez said they expect faid judgement from the U.S., recovery of diplomatic channels and dialogue with their government. But kast night, secretary general of MAS, Felipe Mujica, ruined all those efforts. He yelled, insulted and dismissed the possibility of debating, as a chavista would do… part of the risks of working with prêt-à-porter opposition. 

The Useless and Their Homophobia 

On a debate on TV with Gustavo Tovar, who besides from questioning the agreement signed on Monday called Felipe Mujica a traitor, got this answer from the same man who assured that with the agreement Venezuelans would have dialogue, negotiation and politics to build solutions: “Tovar there’s nothing else to do, this is how animals argue (…) you can’t yell at me and say the anything you want, and saying it from Miami, you’re a homosexual!” he said five times in a row, revealing the full scope of his indignity. Earlier he told Shirley Varnagy that no presidential elections are foreseen in the agreement and that we have to wait until 2025 to have them. Mujica managed to take away even more relevance from former presidential candidate Javier Bertucci, who said: “Pride can’t be more important than people’s needs (…) We won’t measure who’s stronger here and who’s more legitimate.” 

Let’s Talk Oil 

The EIA published weekly figures of oil imports for last week, showing how imports from Venezuela have remained at zero from the week that ended on May 17th. In 2018, average Venezuelan oil imports to the U.S. were 506,000 barrels per day. Pdvsa suspended some of its operations and cut production because of the high inventory accumulation after the U.S. sanctions were imposed, which have scared buyers and shipping companies away, according to documents obtained by Reuters. Inventory increased to 38 million barrels from the end of August to September, its highest level since early 2018. Pdvsa’s storage capacity  is around 65 million barrels, but many tanks are inactive for lack of maintenance: “We’re mere days away from having to shut down production in some fields in Eastern Venezuela,” a Pdvsa executive said. From January to August, production dropped 60% according to non-official figures. 

The Non Country 

– On Wednesday morning, the Metro de Caracas activated a single temporary route from Chacaíto to La Hoyada, because of “system failure” (Metro users reported a derailing in Parque Carabobo), while workers protested the precarious state of the system. 

– The IVSS informed that on Monday September 23rd, they’ll pay the October pension. So that’s 40,000 bolivars or two dollars. 

– According to AN data, the school year started with an absenteeism rate that’s around 80%. Deputy Bolivia Suárez said that the crisis marked the start of the school year for students and teachers and that out of 8 million children, only 3.5 have enrolled in schools in the country. 

– Suárez emphasized that in addition to absenteeism, teachers desertion should be mentioned, failing public services, the lack of a Programa de Alimentación Escolar and the state of disrepair in schools: 90 % of them aren’t in shape for receiving students. 

– Transparencia Venezuela published a report about the irregularities of the Cucuta case, published on PanAmPost, saying that “there isn’t evidence about Rossana Barrera and Kevin Rojas (…) had ties with the humanitarian aid.” They add that the information was based on a false premise of attributing the power to manage humanitarian aid to people that were only responsible for assisting military and police officers. 

Let’s Talk Human Rights

The IACHR expressed concern for the journalists Pedro Jaimes and Jesús Medina still being in jail, because of rules that arbitrarily criminalize exercising freedom of expression in Venezuela. Human Rights Watch accused FAES of committing “extrajuditial executions” especially in lower income areas and said that since 2016, almost 18,000 people have died in situations resisting authority. “In a country where the justice system is used to persecuting opposition members instead of investigating crimes, the Venezuelan security forces are taking justice in their own hands, arbitrarily killing and detaining who they think are committing crimes without any evidence,” said their director for the Americas José Miguel Vivanco. Today, the Venezuelan Teachers Federation rejected the attacks against teachers at the protest of September 16th, and demanded Aristóbulo Istúriz for an answer about these violent actions. 

Movements on the Board 

– UN secretary general António Guterres said that he plans on taking advantage on the General Assembly session to talk to Venezuela and Colombia and ease the tension between both nations. 

– Guterres dismissed meeting with caretaker President Juan Guaidó if he goes to the General Assembly: “No, that’s not in the plans,” he said, adding that the UN kep “regular contact” with the Venezuelan opposition. 

– Julio Borges asked countries that are participating in the General Assembly to increase pressure against Nicolás’s government and Cuba. 

– The Spanish government expressed its concern for the end of negotiations in Venezuela and encouraged the parts to go back to dialogue, and demanded an accelerated response to the humanitarian crisis, warning it gets worse every day “with the respective impact on the countries receiving Venezuelan migrants.” 

– UN High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomed the liberation  “even if it’s conditional of the Venezuelan AN vice-president, Edgar Zambrano.” Bachelet demanded the authorities release the rest of the political prisoners. 

– Donald Trump appointed Robert O’Brien to replace John Bolton as the White House national security advisor. 

– O’Brien used to be an advisor for hostage situations, led a department in charge of the judicial reform in Afghanistan, was a member of the commission for the UN Security Council and served in the Army. 

– Foreign ministers on countries in the TIAR will meet next Monday in NYC to discuss the defense pact for the Venezuelan crisis. 

President Mauricio Macri inaugurated in Tucuman (North-Western Argentina), a daycare center built with the money in Antonini Wilson’s briefcases. 

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