The National Assembly Protects Assets

Photo: Noti Espartano retrieved

On Tuesday, there was plenty of activity in the National Assembly (AN). They approved an “Agreement for reaffirming Venezuela’s historical position about the mechanisms for resolutions for the Esequibo controversy. They also approved rejecting the “real estate census” that Nicolás’s government proposed, carried out by people who are unqualified. The National Assembly also approved using 2 million dollars in U.S. accounts to pay lawyers who are working in the defense of Venezuelan assets abroad. The use of these funds must receive approval by PDVSA’s ad hoc board abroad first. They also approved “Agreement for backing the integral political route that allows for transparent, free elections as a way out of the crisis” after an intense debate that showed the deep differences among opposition factions. The agreement ratifies the validity of the AN’s attributions and the mandate of 167 deputies, ratifies the AN’s commitment to overcoming the complex humanitarian emergency and rebuilding the country, backs caretaker President Juan Guaidó’s proposal in the Norwegian mediation process, and recognizes the international community’s call to find answers with this mechanism. 

70 Years Ago

Oil exports have reached the lowest level in the past 70 years, according to Bloomberg’s tracking data, the state oil company only exported 495,000 bpd in September, an amount that was the reference in 1950. Professor Francisco Monaldi made the number less dramatic and said that “Venezuela exported between 500 and 600 thousand barrels per day” explaining that in this moment, Venezuela produces less than Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and almost the same as Ecuador. Marianna Párraga, oil source journalist, affirmed that exports, even though they were low, they were over 550,000 bpd. On the other hand, Pdvsa has 3 million barrels stuck at sea, with six ships on the coast, to alleviate the storage in land, already at capacity, because they haven’t been able to move it due to the sanctions. However, believe it or not, Venezuela will preside the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries on October 3rd in Equatorial Guinea, informed the Oil Ministry. 

Chavismo, a Criminal Organization

Nicolás’s vice-president Delcy Rodríguez, “updated” her thesis about the “ criminal organization” led by Juan Guaidó. Its end is to strip the country of its assets abroad, talking specifically about Citgo and mining company Crystallex.  According to Delcy, Guaidó is the chief, Carlos Vecchio is a “participant”, and so is José Ignacio Hernández, “the criminal mind who’s been behind stripping Venezuela off its assets abroad and especially in the U.S.” In an interesting (self)descriptive exercise, Rodríguez said: “It’s an ongoing felony, they’ve gone after the country’s assets, after Pdvsa, after Monómeros, after our assets in the Caribbean, after our gold, bonds, they’re negotiating already, they want to sell them for three pennies.” When you can, check on Bloomberg how Nicolás’s relationship with Turkey became a financial lifeline that allowed him to sell the country’s gold reserves and remain in power, for now. 

The Non Country

– ANC-imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab charged six officers of the Anaco Police (Anzoategui State) for cruel treatment against inmates. On Twitter, Saab, who by the way was also a governor of that state, informed about appointing two human rights prosecutors for the case. 

– Nicolás’s variety show celebrated the start of elementary school, alongside Education Minister Aristóbulo Istúriz, who said that over 2,500,000 students had started school, for a total of 8,244,052 students this year. This is how they mocked all those families with children and teenagers who can’t send them to school because of the humanitarian emergency, hyperinflation and the collapse of basic services. The number doesn’t even match the official data from 2018. 

– Nicolás ordered Aristóbulo to start a plan, building 100 schools and 100 high schools, that contemplates using tablets with educational content. However, his point of view of development made him insist on every school having a vegetable garden and a henhouse: “We’ll find one million hens and you’ll (the students) will build it yourselves.” It’s a cruel way of delegating the state’s responsibility to provide for school cafeterias, that are empty today. 

Russia, Oh, Russia

Venezuela honored the most payment scheduled to Russia, informed the spokesperson for the Russian Finance Ministry, without disclosing the exact number. The Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in April that Venezuela had to pay 200 million dollars this Fall, after we paid 100 million in interests in March. Rosneft  said in August that PDVSA’s debt had decreased by $ 1,100 million by the end of the second quarter of 2019, out of the 1,800 million dollars it owed in the first quarter of the year. Russian Foreign Vice-Minister Serguéi Riabkov said on Tuesday that military technicians had arrived to Venezuela in a planned rotation, to perform maintenance services in military equipment, emphasizing that in Venezuela “there isn’t and shouldn’t be any increase” of Russian military presence and especially “no contingent”. 

Movements on the Board

– The U.S. announced restrictions on Cuban officers’ visas. The reason: “Coercive and exploitative practices” of Cuba’s medical missions abroad. The U.S. denied the Cuban Health Minister’s visa to attend a PAHO meeting. 

– Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley, as a Caricom spokesman, said that the countries of this region are against activating the TIAR and reject the OAS’ position. The oil that chavismo gave away keeps bearing fruit. 

– Miguel Pizarro, presidential commissioner for the UN, informed about asking for the assistance of the World Food Programme to strengthen food security in Venezuela. 

– Foreign relations commissioner Julio Borges met with AN deputies in Colombia. The meeting’s goal was to coordinate different measures of international pressure against the dictatorship and agreed on actions to see to Venezuelan migrants’ needs. 

Peru still hasn’t sorted out their institutional limbo, but it appears that the decision is in the hands of the Constitutional Tribunal. They will decide if President Martín Vizcarra’s decision to dissolve Congress is lawful and if Congress acted according to the law or not when they removed Vizcarra and appointed the vice-president, Mercedes Aráoz, as interim president. In any case, Aráoz was formally accused on Tuesday of usurping functions and resigned as vice-president on Tuesday night. 

 

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.