There Will Be More Refugees

The Venezuelan diaspora is a more serious affair than many want to see; as the continent continues in upheaval, chavista officials work as if everything's perfect at home.

Photo: Eudebates, retrieved.

On Monday, the International Solidarity Conference started in Brussels, to call for “urgent and coordinated action in favor of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.” According to studies conducted by UNHCR, the number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees will go from 4.5 million to 6.5 million people next year. Eduardo Stein said that most of these people move in Latin America, which increases the challenges for governments receiving this diaspora, one of the world’s largest displaced crisis and the largest in the history of  the region. This happens amidst new restrictions, like compulsory visas and xenophobia. António Vitorino, IMO general director, highlighted the support that Latin American and Caribbean countries deserve and need, for sheltering millions of Venezuelans. “This is the world’s less funded refugee crisis. The international community is simply not doing enough. And I’m under the impression that they are not aware of the severity and the urgency to do more,” said Federica Mogherini. “Every day, thousands of Venezuelans leave the country. At the moment, there’s no end in sight,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, adding that “we need more humanitarian aid, and fast.” 

Who will listen?

The Non Country 

– The blackmarket dollar reached 26,000 bolivars on Monday. That’s a 44% increase from October 21st to October 28th. It caused a 30.7% devaluation that substantially affects the last minimum wage increase. 

– Deputy Amelia Belisario condemned the humanitarian and hospital crises. She said there’s no access to information on the healthcare system, which makes the situation worse. Belisario said that 70% of hospitals don’t have running water or electricity and the shortage of supplies and medicine in the country can be as high as 90%. 

– Diosdado Cabello said that electing a new National Electoral Council has to go through the opposition agreeing in the National Assembly. He said that in the negotiating table (of chavismo and itself) “the new Electoral Branch is being revised”. Remember: according to the Constitution, only the National Assembly can appoint these authorities. 

 – Nicolás’s agriculture minister, Wilmar Castro Soteldo, tweeted that the “industry transference” to governors of Portuguesa, Guárico, Apure, Cojedes and Anzoategui’s “protector” has started, to advance in the goal of “consolidating productive alliances.” 

Setting Fire to Ashes 

“Chile had 40 years of savage neoliberalism and that’s why the Chilean people have been in antineoliberal rebellion for ten days,” said Nicolás, back in the country and on his variety show. On Monday, he complimented the Misión Robinson, saying that for 14 years Venezuela has been illiteracy free, something that the very figures from INE contradict. He called his trip to Azerbaijan a “success” and said that the U.S. State Department was going to destabilize the country to stop his trip. “They wanted to do something ridiculous, they were going to set fire to Venezuela last week (…) Imperialism orders the group of stupid people from the opposition in Venezuela,” said Nicolás, assuring that they wanted to sabotage teachers, oil and social life in the country, as if that were necessary, as if they weren’t destroyed already. He asked people to fervently work together in the school system, “from schools to missions” and, once more, Nicolás and Aristóbulo Istúriz ignored the teachers’ demands, lied about the reach and condition of schools, high schools and universities, told the story of a sector that only exists in their propaganda scripts. That’s far, far from the country that endures teachers’ mass resignation and school desertion by children and teenagers for reasons as terrible as hunger, lack of school supplies or hygiene products. Nicolás only talks about himself. He’s the axis of his most recent concerns. That’s why he thinks he can set fire to what he has already burned. 

What’s Next 

– A team of advisors to caretaker President Juan Guaidó wants to file a suit on Tuesday for voiding the PDVSA 2020 bond in a NY court. The legal strategy seeks to protect Citgo from any embargo from bondholders who were expecting a $900 million payment in capital and interests. Last week, the U.S. government froze any action from bondholders against Citgo until January 22nd, 2020. 

– The U.S. government issued a license that allows software company Adobe Systems to provide products and digital services in Venezuela, said the company on Monday. 

– International teacher federations met to sign a ten-point agreement that they’ll present to Nicolás’s education minister, Aristóbulo Istúriz, on Wednesday. The items include eliminating the Onapre factor that stops them from earning more than minimum wage, establishing a tabulator to assign salaries according to hierarchy and increasing the salary with the payment of the accumulated difference from 2018. 

– The AN’s Sub-Commitee for Women and Gender Equality and Transparencia Venezuela created an alliance to receive accusations of violence against women through an app developed by the organization: “Dilo Aquí”, available on Android and iOS. They guarantee protecting the identities of victims. 

Unrest in the Continent 

Argentina: Alberto Fernández defeated Mauricio Macri in the presidential election on Sunday. Macri invited him for breakfast at the Casa Rosada and, after he left, Fernández said he wanted to “guarantee an orderly transition.” The Central Bank restricted currency exchange even further, $200 dollars a month “to protect the reserves.” This will seriously 

impact the volume of remittances. The Buenos Aires Stock Exchange dropped 3.90% in a highly volatile round. 

Bolivia: the protests intensified with blocked traffic in the main cities of the country, to force  Evo Morales to go to a second electoral round. Meanwhile, those supporting the cheater block the highways, answering his call to lock the cities and push them to move. Opposition candidate Mesa ruled out a possible negotiation with Morales. At least 30 people have been injured in the protests, including one person with a bullet injury. 

Chile: in front of the Palacio de los Tribunales de Justicia, they demanded sanctions against those responsible for deaths and tortures against the people detained in protests. Later, there was violence among protesters and police, around the Casa de Gobierno in Santiago. After hours of turmoil and barricades, there was a large fire in a mall in downtown Santiago. President Sebastián Piñera made changes in his cabinet, betting on younger politicians and more women. The extraordinary protest on Friday in Chile makes the contrast between the violent images from today even harsher. Violence contributes nothing to democracies. 

 – Colombia: the election on Sunday turned national politics on its head, since the party Alianza Verde got several of the most important positions in the country, like the mayorship of Bogotá, which went to former senator Claudia López. Party Centro Democrático was the biggest loser, which is President Iván Duque’s party and is led by former President Álvaro Uribe.

Panama: the National Assembly advanced in the discussion of controversial constitutional reform, while workers and university students protested against it. They protest because these changes won’t contribute to transparency and better institutional performance, and some people demand a constitutional reform to write a new one. 

Uruguay: Frente Amplio (which has governed the country for 15 years) won, but will have to go to a second round, because Luis Lacalle Pou, Partido Nacional candidate,improved his numbers and got the support of the opposition, which could give him parliamentary majority. Another electoral campaign begins now, which will measure Daniel Martínez and Lacalle Pou’s capabilities. 

I’ve been missing in action these days because of poor internet connection and now electricity, too. The country catches up to everyone, instability is the only constant here.

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.