Changing the Approach

The Citgo saga carries on, with investors doing all they can to renegotiate their deals; a new "conspirator" seems involved in the multinational money laundry and corruption scheme; the state of Nueva Sparta is in serious risk of drought.

Photo: Prodavinci, retrieved.

A committee of investors in external Venezuelan debt bonds requested the U.S. government to review the measure that forbids PDVSA 2020 bondholders to exert any action after the non-compliance deadline. The request comes after a ruling following a petition from caretaker President Juan Guaidó’s team, before a New York court, in which they argued that using Citgo as a guarantee needed approval from the National Assembly, a step that Nicolás didn’t comply with. In October, Venezuela didn’t pay around $900 million and the U.S. changed the license freezing any action against Citgo from bondholders until January 2020. Bondholders called the lawsuit “unnecessary” and said that, in order to hold an orderly, consensual renegotiation of the external debt, Guaidó’s government must “drastically change its approach.” 

The Conspirator 2 

Alejandro Betancourt, founder of Derwick, who received millions of dollars from a corruption scheme that intended to take $1,200 million from Pdvsa, could be one of the people accused in a federal case in Miami that’s also investigating Nicolás’s stepchildren: Yosser, Walter and Yoswal Gavidia Flores. Even if Betancourt hasn’t been identified by his full name in the documents, several sources familiar with the investigation confirmed to the Miami Herald that he is the “Conspirator 2” that shows up among the dozen others with protected identities, part of criminal charges. Betancourt founded Derwick Associates a decade ago and obtained thousands of millions of dollars in contracts with the government for building new electricity power plants. Derwick has been accused of receiving payment at outrageous prices. Currently, federal courts in Miami, Houston and New York are handling several cases of embezzlement, bribes and money laundering activities coming from Venezuela.

The Non Country 

– A boy died from dengue fever in the Carabaño Tosta Hospital, in Aragua, said doctor and deputy José Trujillo, who also reported that three minors also died in that state from the same cause. Rain, water storage and terrible garbage collection policies help mosquitoes reproduce, warned the doctor. 

– Sanitary authorities notified the PAHO about 520 confirmed cases of measles between January 1st and October 31st, 2019. 71 other cases have been confirmed after the September bulletin, no deaths have been reported. Zulia is the state with more cases this year. 

– Crónica Uno reported the beginning of the 15th National Census, about which the Instituto Nacional de Estadística has said nothing, even if they’ve already glued posters with QR codes on buildings and businesses in Caracas, called the “real estate ID”. Everything about this “census” has been shady. Check out the article when you can. 

Margarita Is a Tear 

Nueva Esparta governor Alfredo Díaz warned about the state running out of water if Nicolás’s regime doesn’t make an investment to stop the shortages: pumping stations aren’t purifying the water and none of the 23 desalination plants is working. In Margarita, they spend up to 45 days without supply, which makes it even worse that chavismo is promoting the Inter Institutional Cooperation Agreement between minister Evelyn Vásquez and the Red Cross; it’s also worth mentioning that minister Néstor Reverol’s tweets, as the vice-president of public works and services, announces the progress in “optimization of public services with the goal of fulfilling the Plan de Acción 2020’s first quarter.” They don’t care about reality. 

Clandestine, Refugee and an Idiot 

Deputy Juan Pablo Guanipa, currently in hiding, asked to keep hoping for a democratic solution and said that Nicolás “is a disaster” and “criminals, drug dealers, guerrillas, paramilitaries, organized crime and countries like Cuba” keep him in power. Guanipa thinks that we have “every chance to end this situation”, that’s why he asked to intensify “pressure that will allow a democratic solution to the crisis”. Deputy Freddy Guevara has been a guest of the Chilean Embassy for two years, where he took refuge in November after a case was filed against him related to the 2017 protests. Finally, mocking the political climate, Eduardo Semtei (Avanzada Progresista) said that Nicolás’s defense minister Vladimir Padrino López is among the candidates for a new National Electoral Council, in addition to Hiram Gaviria, Rodrigo Cabezas, Leopoldo Puchi, Maripili Hernández and Luis Vicente León.

Movements on the Board

– Mark Lowcock, joint secretary general of the UN OCHA, arrived on Monday to evaluate the humanitarian emergency and strengthen cooperation between humanitarian agencies that are working in Venezuela. Arreaza took pictures with him already, of course. 

– The entire propaganda apparatus was loud regarding the visit of Prime Minister Gastón Browne, from Antigua and Barbuda, who came to officially become a member of the Banco de la Alianza Bolivariana (BanAlba).

– Browne reiterated his support for  Nicolás: “We keep defending universal principles of non-intervention in internal affairs and complete respect for other countries’ sovereignty”. He was also photographed with vice-president Delcy Rodríguez. 

– Joaquín A. Pérez Ayestarán, Venezuelan representative before the UN, said on Monday that Venezuela officially handed over the MNOAL presidency to the Republic of Azerbaijan. 

Turmoil in the Continent 

Bolivia: protests against an alleged electoral fraud favoring Evo Morales arrived to 

the headquarters of public institutions in many cities. A FAB chopper, where Evo was traveling, had to make an emergency landing a few minutes after it took off for mechanical failure, no one was injured. Opposition leader Carlos Mesa said on Monday that democracy’s greatest risk is Evo remaining in power. He said that the peaceful, democratic way to make Evo leave power is the popular vote. 

Chile: hundreds of protesters gathered in front of Congress in Santiago to reject the legislative agenda announced by President Sebastián Piñera, to confront the political and social crises. Chilean justice ordered preemptive prison for a military officer accused of abuse during the emergency state. A 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook several regions in Central Chile.

Cuba: the same day that the dictatorship and its allies inaugurated the Feria Internacional de La Habana (Fihav), with the goal of attracting foreign investors amidst the shortage of foreign currency and oil, and the strengthening of U.S. sanctions, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez condemned the American “pressure” on Latin American countries to obtain their vote against the draft resolution that Cuba presents every year before the UN to reject the embargo. Too bad Rodríguez didn’t mention their income from medical missions, where they treat Cubans like slaves, watching them, illegally retaining their passports and keeping most of their salaries. 

Mexico: in line with his previous actions, Andrés Manuel López Obrador won’t take sides in the diplomatic dispute between El Salvador and Venezuela, because both “are people and countries we respect”. AMLO hosted Argentinian President elect Alberto Fernández in the Palacio Nacional and after the meeting he said they talked like they’ve known each other for years. Fernández said he was satisfied “because I met someone who thinks very much like myself, and has a similar opinion about what must be done.”

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.