Gold for Chavismo, Hunger for Children 

Demonstrations build up while chavismo pretends all is well; our diaspora suffers its vulnerability; Nicolás Maduro discovers what was missing from his project all along.

Photo: El Universal, retrieved.

On their protest on Wednesday, the National Teachers’ Association warned that they’d only talk to Nicolás about their demands if the current Education minister Aristóbulo Istúriz resigns. This is unlikely, because Istúriz also has a post as social development vice-minister. 

The association’s secretary of complaints, Griselda Sánchez, said that teachers would go on national strike because “we don’t want to keep picking children up from the floor because they fainted from hunger. That’s not guaranteeing anybody’s right to education.” The testimonies of teachers rule out official propaganda and confirm that children go to school without uniforms, supplies or food. Even the teachers can’t get to school because they can’t afford their own bus fare. The president of the Venezuelan Professional Teachers Association, Euribíades Verdú, announced a 48 hour general strike on October 22nd and 23rd to demand better salaries. 

More Conflict 

– The Professional Nurses Association announced that they’d take to the streets again, demanding better salaries and adequate working conditions. The president of the Caracas association, Ana Rosario Contreras, said that they’re joining the teachers’ “fair protest.” 

– Workers of Ferrominera Orinoco denounced the destruction of basic services companies in Guayana and rejected the new minimum wage. “We’ll continue putting up a fight,” said union leader of Ferrominera, Degrain Marichales.  

– Merida governor Ramón Guevara rejected the measure of creating corporations for social protection in opposition states. He said that this will limit income even further. 

– The AN’s Interior Policy Commission also rejected these corporations and the hand-over of gold mines as a way of obtaining resources. Deputy Dennis Fernández said that Nicolás intends to undermine the governors’ powers and with it, he violates popular sovereignty. 

Another Tailor-made CNE 

Nicolás’s regime and his useless prêt-à-porter opposition announced a working table to elect a new board for the National Electoral Council and discuss electoral guarantees, international observation and auditing of the entire process. Nicolás’s Communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, announced that they’d also debate the ways to discuss with citizens the renewal of CNE authorities, and said that during the 2020 elections everyone who wants to observe the process will be able to do so. It seems as if they’ll also debate the possibility of proportional representation, so they’ll present a draft law for this mechanism. 

And More Tables 

Jorge Rodríguez also said that a new “table for economic affairs” had been installed, to reject sanctions and establish the exchange of oil for medicine and food. Rodríguez dared to say that the items established for dialogue with the tailor-made opposition have been fulfilled: reactivating the Commission for Truth, defense of the Esequibo and freedom for political prisoners. He expects ANC-imposed prosecutor general, Tarek William Saab to make new announcements about releasing political prisoners on Thursday, October 17th. Secretary general of MAS, Felipe Mujica, said that the goal of these working tables is to broaden the discussion with the political sectors that are taking part, and he questioned the opposition that backs caretaker President Juan Guaidó because they don’t work for a real solution to the crisis. 

Two Casualties in Military Aviation 

Sebastiana Barráez, journalist specialized in the military source, reported about the deaths of General Virgilio Márquez and Captain Nesmar Salazar during an accident on a Russian-made Sukhoi fighter while they were taking off from an air base in Guarico. As soon as it took off, the aircraft took a sudden turn and forced them to eject, which only worked for one of them (Márquez), although his parachute didn’t open. Salazar died in the fire. Rocío San Miguel said that “it’s not normal for a combat airplane like the Sukhoi 30, with proper maintenance, to present failures in the control system at take off,” and that it’s not normal either that the ejection system fails, because it’s designed to work at “zero feet, zero knots.” San Miguel asked: “Who’s responsible for these deaths?” saying that Venezuelans have a right to know the results of the investigation and warned that “the case can’t be closed with post-mortem promotions,” as it often happens. 

The Missing Piece! 

After 20 years of chavismo in power, the chavismo that erased all margins of progress, Nicolás had an epiphany during his variety show: “The piece that was missing for 21st socialism was science, so 21st century socialism can truly be scientific, Christian, Bolivarian, humanist, chavista and profoundly scientific.” His show focused on presenting advances and proposals in science and innovation, about data from the National Census of Creators, Scientists and Innovators that, according to him, registered 16,413 people. He also approved 650 million bolivars to finance scientific projects and said that he’d present evidence for new attempts at “guarimba” that will start in November, offering jail time for all participants. The same man who continues to celebrate Ecuadorian indigenous people for “breaking the IMF” admits that he won’t tolerate protests, how about that?

We, the Refugees 

NGO Aldeas Infantiles SOS warned about the risk of humanitarian aid programs’ collapse for Venezuelans in the border with Colombia, because of how many people are staying there after so many countries started demanding visas. The NGO warned that aid services are exhausting their resources and that social, sanitary and education services are saturated, emphasizing the Venezuelan migrants’ vulnerability, specially children who traveled without their parents or stay in shelters, increasing the risk of abuse, sexual exploitation, human trafficking or forced recruitment by armed groups. 

Provea decried the deportation of Venezuelans from Mexico, people who were forbidden access after air travel, with their documents in order and were isolated for up to 12 hours without food: “Mexican authorities said the procedure was only forbidding entry, without specifying the cause,” said Provea. 

Movements on the Board 

– The U.S. will allow Venezuelans with expired passports and valid extensions to apply for visas. But, you know, in Venezuela, there’s no U.S. Embassy, so they must apply in Bogota. 

– Uruguay’s opposition candidate, Luis Lacalle Pou, criticized Tabaré Vázquez’s policy regarding Venezuela: “It’s a national embarrassment what the Frente Amplio government has done with Maduro’s dictatorship (…) We are so embarrassed,” he said in a forum with businessmen in Montevideo.

– King Felipe VI of Spain will visit Cuba in November for Havanna’s 500th anniversary, said Foreign Minister Josep Borrell. 

– Chief for Latin America of the British Foreign Ministry, James Dauris, talked to Juan Guaidó “about the need to achieve free and fair elections in Venezuela through political agreement.” 

– Pope Francis expressed his concern for the Venezuelan people in the Pan-Amazon Synod. When he greeted Mgr.  José Luis Azuaje, the Pope expressed his “prayers and concern for the Venezuelan people.” 

– The Chilean government called on the international community to prevent Venezuela from being elected tomorrow as the new member of the UN Human Rights Council. 

Journalists of Armando.Info, forced into exile because of their investigative work, received the María Moors Cabot Award last night, for their coverage of the Clap scheme, Odebrecht bribes, among many others. Well deserved!

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.