Photo: The Hill, retrieved.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Wednesday that the coronavirus is now pandemic: in two weeks, the number of cases out of China multiplied by 13 and the number of cases tripled in countries where it was present. “Pandemic” doesn’t mean the disease’s seriousness or its lethality, but its expansion. The idea is to make Health ministers take measures to decrease mass expansion. The WHO announced that there are over 118,000 cases of coronavirus in 114 countries. The Pan American Health Organization reported over 1,200 cases in the continent. Most cases (over 1,000) are in the USA. Over 4,300 people have died from complications after contracting the virus.
- Today, March 12th, Nicolás Maduro addressed the nation regarding the coronavirus pandemic, saying there are still no confirmed cases in Venezuela but, just preventively, flights to and from Europe and Colombia are suspended for a month, starting on March 15th. All major gatherings of people are also suspended. Although Cuba has allegedly sent medicines, supplies and medical kits were requested to China. The request is, at the time of writing, unanswered.
- El Salvador, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Guatemala are imposing quarantine over travelers from Europe or China. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele declared the entire country in quarantine for 21 days. Bolivia, Honduras, Jamaica and Cuba reported their first cases. Donald Trump suspended all flights to and from Europe for 30 days to contain coronavirus. The measure doesn’t include the UK. Since Thursday, following a recommendation of Colombian authorities, people who enter Colombia through international bridges must do so wearing masks.
- The opposition moves towards a unified command that will articulate street protests against Nicolás’s regime. Juan Pablo Guanipa, first vice-president of the AN,explained that the command is trying to “turn all fights into one” and deputies must back all efforts. The AN will start supporting a protest of the health sector on March 12th.
- Lawyer, diplomat and writer Alfredo Coronil Hartmann was released from Sebin’s cells. They left him in front of the Conferencia Episcopal Venezolana building.
- Joel García, Juan Requesens’s lawyer, said that Sebin and the Public Ministry might call it “safekeeping” instead of arresting Renzo Prieto, as they did Requesens, even when this term doesn’t exist in Venezuelan law. This way, they evade issues about the deputy’s immunity. Juan Pablo Guanipa said that, according to Venezuelan law, what happened to Prieto was a “forced disappearance.”
- The Inter Parliamentary Union condemned FAES’ actions against Venezuelan deputies and demanded freedom for Renzo Prieto.
- Conatel is now on the “press freedom digital predator” list that Reporters Sans Frontières published on the World Day of the Fight Against Cyber Censorship. The regime controls Conatel.
- The AN’s Finance Commission published the inflation figures for February (22.4%); the cumulative inflation January – February 2020 was 102.4 % and annual inflation 3,276 %. A family of five needs 255 dollars to survive, since the basic food basket is 18,382,068 bolivars.
- A second Mexican company with no expertise in the area will receive millions of Venezuelan oil barrels in March. Schlager Business Group showed up this week on Pdvsa’s shipping programs, according to public registries from another Mexican company called Libre Abordo runs Schlager. This would be the second Mexican company to receive millions of oil barrels from a food exchange program, said Reuters.
- Pdvsa is offering discounts of up to 23 dollars per barrel amid the global collapse of oil prices. Merey oil is being sold at 16 – 18 dollars under the Brent oil, to attract buyers who fear U.S. sanctions. Oil barrel production costs are anywhere from 10 to 12 dollars, not including the 33% fee they pay the government.
- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presented a report about human rights during 2019 and said that Venezuela is one of the worst rated countries in the area. The report highlights how the PSUV has used power in an authoritarian manner and accuses the government of being the main perpetrator of abuses like extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, torture and arbitrary detentions.
- The Chief of the U.S. Southern Command, Craig Faller, said that the U.E. will increase its military presence in the hemisphere in 2020, to “reassure our allies and fight some threats including drug trafficking.” He also said that democrats all around the world should “cooperate” with the Venezuelan government to achieve what this country deserves: “A free, prosperous economy.”
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