Photo: Panorama, retrieved.

Teachers started the national strike to decry their terrible conditions and low wages. In Caracas, the national coordinator of the Democratic Unity of the Education Sector, 

Raquel Figueroa, said that on the first day of the strike, 85% of 27,000 public schools joined the protest. She also said that several private universities and schools joined in. The teachers’ testimonies are moving and clear about the violation of their rights. Crónica Uno dedicated an article to the Education Ministry’s order to supervise and report back the list of teachers who joined the national strike. In any case, the federations called for new protests on Wednesday. 

Stand by Teachers 

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó expressed his support for the teachers’ and health workers’ protests on October 22nd, and said that the protests are the consequence of Nicolás insisting on remaining in power. He thinks that the goal of these protests is demanding a rescue of democracy and that the Venezuelan people won’t get used to the onslaught of the complex humanitarian emergency: “We have to stand by teachers, they’re protesting for our children’s education,” he said, adding that the only solution to the crisis is free elections. He also said that the only institution capable of legitimately electing the new CNE’s board of directors is the National Assembly. Guaidó condemned how Nicolás’s government used the State’s resources to finance violent groups in the region. 

Only the National Assembly 

During the session this Tuesday, the AN rejected that new CNE authorities are appointed in chavismo’s roundtable, with their prêt-à-porter opposition. That’s why most deputies approved an agreement reiterating that they’re the only institution that, according to the Constitution, can appoint CNE authorities. The document states that the AN is committed to “developing all political, institutional and social actions that are needed to defend the right to vote” and achieve “free and fair presidential elections for the 2019-2025 period.” In addition, they described all the guarantees required for this to happen. The AN approved three agreements: one to ratify the commitment of the Legislative Branch to workers and back the ILO’s report on Venezuela, one rejecting mines being handed out to chavista governors and one demanding an impartial investigation of the murder of Voluntad Popular leader Edmundo “Pipo” Rada.

The Non Country 

– The ANC stripped deputy Juan Pablo Guanipa of his parliamentary immunity, after a TSJ sentence. José Luis Bermúdez made the request and it was approved. Guanipa had called for a protest on Thursday, October 24th to demand better basic services. 

– Guanipa answered that he doesn’t recognize the illegitimate decision made by the ANC and the TSJ. Guaidó backed Guanipa and said that “the regime is proving that they’re afraid of street protests of October 24th in solidarity with Zulia, and on November 16th in Venezuela.” 

– Bloomberg says that U.S. officers are debating a last strategy to protect Citgo from bondholders. Remember that the Pdvsa 2020 bond payment ($913 million) is due on October 28th. 

– Meanwhile, Chinese company CNPC is backing out from contracts with Pdvsa as a consequence of unpaid invoices. Transactions with Chinese oil companies represented 13% of production in August. 

– Believe it or not, Nicolás announced on Tuesday that from November 1st, Christmas will be celebrated: “The guarimberos guaidosistas who want to make a mess will only find gaita and Christmas joy,” he said. 

Movements on the Board 

– The EU expressed great concern for the “severity of human rights violations in Venezuela, as was reflected in the UNHCHR report,” as a response to Venezuela being elected as a member to the UN Human Rights Council. 

– Switzerland informed about the first formal accusation against a suspect tied to the Petrobras-Odebrecht scandal. The accusation, against a “citizen of Swiss and Brazilian origins” whose identity wasn’t revealed, is based on suspecting that under his work as a financial middleman, he was an accomplice in bribing high ranking officers and money laundering activities. 

– Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said Venezuela is “articulating the violent protests that have happened in countries like Chile and Ecuador.” The accusations come after Nicolás’s declaration confirming his ties with the unrest. 

– Nicolás’s friends Erdogan and Putin generated an agreement for the Syrian area occupied by Kurds; Russian and Turkish troops will join Syrian troops for surveillance. They agreed that the Kurds only have a few hours to abandon the area. 

Unrest in the Continent  

– Panama: both articles that sparked university protests (99 and 104 of the Constitutional reform) will be eliminated, said National Assembly President Marcos Castilleros, because according to university authorities, they undermine university authority and their public nature. The students’ protest ended in clashes with public order forces of the National Assembly. 

– Bolivia: irregularities in vote recount in the presidential election and accusations of data fraud sparked citizen protests and the resignation of Antonio Costas Sitic, vice-president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, because of the “unwise decision of not publishing the results.” With 95% of the votes already counted, Evo Morales’s advantage is now 8.76 percentage points, not enough to prevent a second round against candidate Carlos Mesa. Foreign Minister Diego Pary suggested that the OAS should send a commission to La Paz to audit “the ballots one by one”. The OAS Secretary General accepted analyzing to verify the integrity of the electoral process. After calling for a strike, protests against Evo started, including rioting and clashes against the police, who weren’t shy in their use of teargas.  

– Chile: protests continue amidst rioting, fires and looting, while the state of emergency continues. According to the Chilean Vice-Secretary of Interior Rodrigo Ubilla, 15 people have died, dozens of people have been wounded and thousands detained. Military presence hasn’t been enough to appease the country, this is why the Executive Branch ordered a curfew in several cities. Sebastián Piñera met with political parties, however, opposition groups like the Socialist Party and Frente Amplio refused to attend. 

– On Tuesday night, Piñera announced measures to comply with demands. In his statement, he asked forgiveness for his lack of vision regarding the country’s problems and announced that there will be an adjustment of minimum wage, pensions and better health care: “This social agenda won’t solve all the problems that Chilean families endure, but it’s a huge and significant effort to improve the quality of life,” he said.   

Because of the regional elections in Colombia on Sunday, October 27th, the border with Venezuela will be closed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Citizens won’t be allowed to cross to Venezuela or vice versa.

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