Yellow Fever is Back

Yellow fever is back in Venezuela; Chavismo and the quote-unquote "opposition" met and debated about electoral guarantees; the case of children beaten by soldiers angers our public sphere.

Photo: Crónica Uno, retrieved.

That was said by Jorge Rodríguez, more of a confession than an accusation. Last night, after all the pictures of Nicolás with his prêt-à-porter opposition, Rodríguez talked about the “incredible advances” that, allegedly, have laid the foundation for a true reconciliation, so frank that those who called themselves “members of the opposition” laughed about every joke he made against the rest of the opposition. Talking about the voice of the victims on a day with police repression, like the children tortured in Anzoátegui by the GNB, also went too far. Rodríguez only praised the value of voting and electoral guarantees “so we all feel completely safe.” As if it were an accomplishment, he talked about an exchange of oil for food and medicine, even when chavismo hasn’t presented the nation’s budget or been accountable for years. He threatened to tell his version of the truth about the Norwegian dialogue “if the opposition insists on its version.” Now repeat the phrase “Someone around here is lying!” but looking at the picture of the people in the Miraflores staircase. 

The Rest of Chavismo’s Agenda

– In a Diplomatic Corps meeting, Nicolás’s vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez, showed her concern for the human rights of people protesting everywhere but in Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela.

– In that same meeting, Nicolás’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, said that the Monroe Doctrine will never be imposed over Latin America: “On the contrary, we won’t allow anyone standing between democracy and the freedom of our people.” 

– Diosdado Cabello said a new vice-presidency for religious affairs (?) will be created and called for a civilian-military march on Thursday with the same route that the student movement announced. 

– All major chavista figures, including Nicolás and Jorge Rodríguez, mentioned Carlos Caballero’s accomplishment (the man holding the “Guaidó estafador” sign at the march) for being more relevant than the actual protest. 

Yellow Fever Reappeared

The Venezuelan Public Health Society and the Let’s Defend The National Epidemiology Network issued an alert after a case of yellow fever was confirmed in the state of Bolívar, after 14 years without the disease. The Health Ministry hasn’t published information about the case or issued an alert, but Venezuela must formally report it to international institutions, due to the risk to a population that isn’t vaccinated, having the vector (mosquitoes) in all of the territory (increasing the odds of an epidemic) and the poor access to an epidemiologic report that chavismo just doesn’t want to publish. Doctor Julio Castro wrote about the case for Prodavinci. 

Children Left Behind 

Unicef celebrated the Children’s Rights Convention’s 30th anniversary. In Caracas, psychologist Abel Saraiba, from Cecodap, presented data about children in migration. 

At least 930,020 children and teenagers were left behind by Venezuelan migrants until October 2019, meaning more children have been left behind than there’s people in Nueva Esparta. Forced migration directly impacts children and teenagers and in 2019, one out of every five migrants left one kid in Venezuela, according to Cecodap’s estimates. 51% of those are cared for by their grandparents. In 96% of the cases, parents and children say they talk regularly, WhatsApp being the means they use the most. Only 11,8% of the children declared they’re receiving any kind of psychological care, while 88% report they get remittances (10 to 50 dollars a month per child) and “the remittances help, but they don’t solve the children’s problems,” said  Saraiba. 

Children Tortured by the GNB 

Abel Saraiba gave guidelines for the case of an 11-year-old boy in the Escuela de Formación de Guardias Nacionales in San Tomé, Anzoátegui. On a video by his uncle, the boy (with a weird mix of fear and bravery) says that a captain called Arellano hit him, slapped him, pulled his ears, dunked his head in water and gave him electric shocks just because he played with figurines from a nativity scene. Saraiba explained that the “Prosecutor’s Office has the responsibility to investigate the events (…) They can act because children’s rights are public order affairs,” he said. 

The Non Country 

– Today was the day of the Virgen de Chiquinquirá, icon of Zulia, one of the states hit the hardest among this complex humanitarian emergency. 

– Economists of the BCV estimate that up to 40% of transactions are made in dollars, and calculate that remittances are around $3,000 million. This data is an incentive for the regime, a great reason to not correct the causes of forced migration. 

– Few people attended the protest called for Monday, and they were dispersed by the PNB at Libertador Ave. in Caracas. 

Movements on the Board 

– U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence tweeted that the U.S. supports Juan Guaidó and all Venezuelans in their fight for freedom: “Venezuela deserves a safe, prosperous, democatric future.” 

– The Montevideo Mechanism called all Venezuelan actors to go back to a “broad, credible and inclusive” dialogue to have peace and stability. The group asked for releasing political prisoners and reiterated its concern for the humanitarian situation, rejecting the use of force and human rights violations. 

– “We agreed on a proposal for the next steps about the four phases established in the Montevideo Mechanism,” says the text. The phases are: immediate dialogue for direct contact among relevant actors, negotiation for presenting results of the dialogue phase, commitment for subscribing agreements after the negotiation and, lastly, implementing the commitments. 

– The Audiencia Nacional agreed to deliver Hugo “El Pollo” Carvajal to the U.S., since there’s enough evidence pointing at continuous and organized behavior in favor of drug trafficking for 20 years, selling weapons to FARC in exchange for drugs and scorting shipments of cocaine. 

– Pilot Víctor Fossi Grieco pled guilty of smuggling a shipment of gold valued at five million dollars, that he hid in an aircraft landed in the U.S. coming from Venezuela, last September. 

Great Things Also Happen 

– Stefano DiCristofaro illustrated Isa Saturno’s book, Conejo y Conejo, and he won the People’s Choice Award by Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators, part of China’s Children’s International Book Fair. 

– Nolan Rada Galindo, Venezuelan photographer and journalist, is a finalist in the Premio Leamos, with his beautiful chronicle “The Other Name: A Story about Baseball” and “El Astronauta” the short film by Manuel Trotta is officially in the run for an Oscar nomination in the Best Short Film category (only 150 out of 140,000 short films make the cut.) 

Pedro Jaimes Criollo, who was arbitrarily arrested for a year and five months for sharing public information (Nicolás’s plane route) came back to Twitter with a new account: @MeteoAero. We go on.

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.