During the second day of the 72-hour national strike of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers, educators reiterated their demands: better salaries and better quality of life. Nicolás’s education minister, Aristóbulo Istúriz, still hasn’t met their demands, reason why they called for his resignation. In some states, teachers were threatened by authorities of Education Circuits and officers of the GNB, who told them to leave the streets. In Aragua, Education Circuit supervisor Tania Díaz went to the Unidad Educativa “Meregoto,” in Cagua, to sanction the teachers who joined the strike and all of them resigned at once. The state doesn’t have enough personnel to replace them, they haven’t shown interest in listening to their demands and it seems like, as with the healthcare sector, they’ll let the schools close for lack of personnel, cut the payroll and leave the country without education.
Advances and Threats
Deputy Ángel Medina, a member of the preliminary commission to appoint new electoral authorities, announced that a subcommittee was created to schedule the nominations and determine the profiles, requirements and a timeframe for selecting the nominees to the CNE board. “We want this committee to be transparent.” Caretaker President Juan Guaidó led an event for swearing in the political command units in El Paraíso: “We’ve met with unions, associations and students. Now we’ll swear the political command units, the vanguard, the pillars of democracy. We’ll rebuild Venezuela thanks to you,” he said. Diosdado Cabello snapped back: “We have identified 48,000 communities, 200,000 streets, including where you live, Juanito Alimaña (Guaidó,) and we have militias armed to defend the country.” He also warned that if Brazil expels the diplomats who support Nicolás, they’ll answer proportionately. Diosdado criticized what’s going on with protests in Chile and Bolivia, but his hashtag on his show last night was “Aquí los vamos a joder,” dedicated to the opposition. Coherence won’t be what kills them.
The Non Country
Minimum wage, around $5 dollars a month, only covers 2% of the basic food basket, which is around $300, said Cendas director Oscar Meza on Wednesday: “You need $300 to eat and $600 to cover basic expenses.” Sudeban ordered financial institutions to establish a minimum limit on credit cards of a million bolivars, but Sudeban also forbids that the spending credit surpasses 20% of total loans, so it’s unlikely that the banks will comply. On November 12th, the legal timeframe for the Prosecutor’s Office to formally investigate and charge human rights activist and journalist Luis Carlos Díaz expired. He was arbitrarily detained eight months ago, disappeared for several hours and then they raided our home. He can’t leave the country or talk about his case. We demand the State abide by the law and that this process is delayed no further. Luis Carlos is innocent.
What Happened at the Venezuelan Embassy in Brazil?
Guaidó supporters took over the embassy in Brasilia, in an attempt to seize control over it after certain diplomats withdrew their support for Nicolás. Ambassador María Teresa Belandria said that some officers expressed that they “recognize President Juan Guaidó” and “voluntarily surrendered the offices to the legitimate representation in Brazil.” Belandria asked all officers in the embassy and consulates to make the same decision. Nicolás’s foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said that the offices “were taken by force” and that he holds the Brazilian government responsible for the workers’ safety. Brazil issued a statement condemning “the invasion” even when Brazil doesn’t recognize Nicolás’s government. After ten hours of clashes between Nicolás’s and Guaidó’s supporters, Ambassador Belandria said that they’d be leaving the office.
U.S. on Venezuela
Marshall Billingslea asked the EU to put more pressure on Nicolás’a government, similar to the measures taken by the U.S. and confirmed that he’s working with Latin American governments on a “legal framework” to guide the sanctions against the regime’s officers. Elliot Abrams said that the difference between what happened in Bolivia versus Venezuela is the hand of Cuban intelligence controlling the FANB. Abrams called Hugo “El Pollo” Carvajal’s escape a “scandal” for Spanish justice. Carvajal was going to be extradited for drug trafficking crimes. Craig Faller, in a visit to Jamaica, said that Nicolás Maduro poses a threat for the security of Latin American and the Caribbean: “Maduro’s regime has displaced income from State business with cash from illicit activities like drug trafficking.” On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House of Representatives presented the Caucus for Democracy in Venezuela, an initiative that seeks to restore the political model in the country.
Turmoil in the Continent
– Bolivia: on her first day as interim President, Jeanine Áñez started shaping her government amid violent clashes between Morales’s supporters and police and military officers, with a tragic outcome: two people died and two people are injured. In La Paz, there were severe damages to public property, vandalism and journalists injured. Añez reiterated that she’ll call for elections “as soon as possible” and appointed a High Command for the transition. Police captured Argentine citizen Facundo Morales Schoenfeld, alias Comandante Camilo from the FARC.
– Chile: after mass rallies, the general strike called to pressure Piñera’s government into social reforms, was marked by barricades, fires, looting and violent clashes. The Central Bank announced an injection of capital for $4,000 million to stop the peso from dropping even more. Chilean national team players are refusing to play a friendly match with Peru because of the social crisis.
– Colombia: unions, indigenous people and students supported by opposition leaders called for a strike on November 21st, protesting Iván Duque’s government. The most important workers’ unions invited citizens to reject what they consider Duque’s neoliberal policies.
– Cuba: the King and Queen of Spain inaugurated the photo exposition “Contigo en la distancia”, about Hispanic-Cuban celebrating Agencia EFE’s 80th anniversary and Iberia’s 70 years flying to Cuba, paying no attention to the fact that 60 of those years have been under a dictatorial regime.
– The U.S.: the first hearings for Donald Trump’s impeachment have started. Bill Taylor, the U.S. diplomatic officer with the highest rank in Ukraine, said that Trump’s main interest in Ukraine was “the investigation” on former Vice-President Joe Biden. After he said that he’s “too busy” to watch the public hearing relevant to his political trial, Trump received Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the White House. Trump said he was “a big fan” of dictator Erdogan.
– Mexico: President López Obrador said that “if it’s necessary” he’ll talk to Evo Morales. During his first press conference in Mexico, Morales accused the OAS of being “at the service of the North American empire.” “If my people want it, we’re willing to go back (…) Sooner or later, we’ll be back(…) the sooner the better to pacify Bolivia,” he said. Too bad he didn’t add his responsibility for the electoral fraud to the list of commitments to go back.
While people talked on social media about “UFOs” in several states of the country, product of a low-cost internet company launching 60 satellites, José Luis Rodríguez “El Puma” was awarded with a Latin Grammy. In his speech, he talked about our forced migration: “Venezuelans are all around the world, suffering because of a group that took over a wealthy nation and is destroying it.”
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