Lunch Break: Goodbye Pedro Nikken, Hello Further Sanctions

Saime head honchos are the target of new American sanctions; a new gas scarcity wave hits the nation; hyperinflation booms in December.

Photo: El Sumario, retrieved.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department issued new sanctions on Monday against officers of the Maduro regime, among them Saime’s former director Juan Carlos Dugarte and current director Gustavo Vizcaíno. Allegedly, they both received bribes for the illegal sale of passports and charged thousands of dollars which ended up in their accounts. Saime is now charging 8 million bolivars for a passport and the extension (a sticker glued to the expired passport) is over 4 million bolivars. 
  • Inflation grew in November up to 35,8%, according to deputy Ángel Alvarado, member of the AN’s Finance Commission, who explained that the increase (almost doubling the figure from October) was to be expected, because consumption increases every final quarter of the year. So, accumulated inflation is now 5,515.6%, and annual inflation is 13,475.8%. “Hyperinflation is still happening and will most likely remain this way throughout the first half of next year, because the chaos that generated it is still there,” said Alvarado, “economic contraction has been too deep.” So deep that there’s a 43% drop of our economy, and the non-oil sector has dropped 78%.
  • After two years of detention at Dgcim headquarters, six Citgo executives are now under house arrest. According to ANC-imposed prosecutor general, Tarek William Saab, they signed a million dollar agreement to refinance Citgo’s debt under conditions that didn’t favor Venezuela. One of them died behind bars, former Citgo president Nelson Martínez.
  • All of the 16 military officers who were guests at the Panama Embassy have left, said Panamanian Foreign Ministry. They’d been there ever since they participated in the failed military uprising led by Juan Guaidó on April 30th. 
  • Juan Guaidó said that evidence on the Junquito Massacre was presented to the ICC, thanks to Wilmer Azuaje and Franco Casella’s actions.
  • Deputy Juan Requesens’s hearing was postponed from its established date on Monday, December 9th and could resume on Thursday, December 12th, said his sister Rafaela Requesens. 
  • Gas shortages are getting worse in several states. According to Rafael Lacava, Carabobo governor, the swell in Puerto Cabello shores has prevented the diluent shipment to be unloaded from the ships, and that’s why fuel distribution has been delayed. 
  • On Monday, the black market dollar passed the 45,000 bolivar mark. 
  • Dominican Republic will demand tourist visas from Venezuelans, starting on December 16th. The rule won’t apply to people who have American, Canadian, British visas or diplomatic passports. Journalist Ewald Scharfenberg said: “I don’t think they demanded so much from the boliburgués colony already living in the Dominican Republic.” Closer to our borders, the director of Colombian Immigration Christian Krüger Sarmiento resigned, an officer known for his efforts to benefit Venezuelans, like a Venezuelan Migrant Registry, which allowed us to gather information and implement public policy regarding migration, as the Special Permanence Permit (PEP) and the Border Mobility Card. 
  • AFP uploaded a video showing dozens of Venezuelan migrants cleaning the Rímac river, one of Peru’s most polluted. The narrator undermines the gesture with his tone, and the comments are a slap of xenophobia. 
  • Juan Guaidó’s foreign policy representative, Julio Borges met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamín Netanyahu, to condemn Maduro’s regime ties with terrorist group Hezbollah: “It’s a severe threat to peace and security of governments. We must raise the alarms about the danger behind this,” said the diplomat.
  • “I’m sorry we couldn’t offer better results all these years. We hit the same decades-long wall in Argentines’ lives: the dollar. With every increase, came inflation and more poverty,” said Mauricio Macri, who will end his term as president of Argentina on Tuesday, the first non-peronista president to finish a term in the past 90 years.
  • Unfortunately, Dr. Pedro Nikken died, a great teacher and human rights activist, former president of the IACHR, and a defender of democracy. Venezuela loses a great civilian, warm and friendly. May he rest in peace and our love to his friends and family.

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.