Coronavirus: a New Opportunity for Abuse and Control

Despite failing in applying a permanent emergency state, and militarizing the society, the regime focused on both strategies for controlling the spread of the disease in the country.

Photo: ABC News, retrieved.
  • Coronavirus arrived in Venezuela on Friday 13th, as confirmed by Delcy Rodríguez. Two Venezuelans in Miranda are the first confirmed cases: a 41-year-old woman who had traveled to Spain, Italy and the U.S., and a 52-year-old man who had traveled to Spain. They are both quarantined and the government issued an order of mandatory quarantine for passengers of Iberia flights on March 5th and 8th. They also established their direct contact routes and the indirect were traced back. The status of our healthcare system crisis or how vulnerable we are before the pandemic wasn’t discussed. 
  • The measures to take are: 
  1. Classes are suspended, effective since March 16th. Education and University ministers presented “a plan for necessary attention for homeschooling.”
  2. Using surgical masks is now mandatory at the Caracas subway. “Every citizen is obligated to buy a mask.”
  3. Public meetings, including at movie theaters, are forbidden.
  4. Néstor Reverol, Minister of Interior, explained the protective measures on the borders: 46,500 masks and 90 thermometers. People entering or leaving the country have to do so with masks. Delcy said they’re thinking about suspending work, except for industries that provide basic goods and that restaurants will continue operating but only serving meals to go.
  • Reverol also informed that due to the pandemic, state security forces will be controlled by the Armed Forces, so there’s only one emergency plan. After that; Edylberto Molina, Police System Integration vice-minister, notified directors of police bodies that the Armed Forces would take over command on Friday, he didn’t specify how long the measure will last. 
  • Nicolás said that “no country is entirely prepared to face this pandemic”, as a sort of apology for what they won’t be able to do. Despite several years of ruling under an unofficial emergency state, he decreed state of alarm. He announced “a social quarantine, a collective quarantine”, proposing that half of CDIs exclusively treat coronavirus and revealed that they have tested 80 patients, so there’s only 220 tests left. He also announced that the Escudo Bolivariano III, 2020, Salud Segura exercise starts on Saturday: the military will verify the situation of 46 hospitals and on Sunday they’ll shut down cities, ports and airports. He said that peace quadrants will be the epicenter in the fight against this crisis: “An epicenter of healthcare, police action and attention over the phone. The Venezuelan model to fight this crisis.” 
  • Several TV channels and radio stations went off the air yesterday “for technical reasons,” according to the Culture and Information Ministry. Only state networks recovered their feed during the day: Tves and Venezolana de Televisión.
  • About the coronavirus in the rest of the world:145,337 cases, 5,416 deaths and 70,921 recovered patients in 118 countries. Only one new case in China, and Europe is now the most affected area. There are over 17,000 cases in Italy and 1,266 deaths, 5,200 cases and 133 deaths in Spain and starting Saturday, they’ll impose a state of alarm for 15 days to stop the pandemic. Uruguay confirmed their first four cases and Guatemala their first. They had announced earlier restrictions to cross their border with El Salvador. In Ecuador, there are 20 confirmed cases and one death, and there are 16 confirmed cases in Colombia. Donald Trump decreed a state of emergency in the country and the measure allows the unlocking of up to 50,000 million dollars in federal funds to help fight the disease.
  • Lawyer Alonso Medina Roa reported that  Renzo Prieto, Deiby Jaimes and William Correia remain detained and were charged with financing terrorism and promoting hate. They’ll keep them at FAES headquarters. The actions against Prieto make it unlikely that lawyer Joel García’s demands (humanitarian measures for his defendants, political prisoners Juan Requesens and Roberto Marrero) will be approved.
  • Uruguay retired from Unasur, Telesur and Banco del Sur: “We won’t be part of initiatives based on ideological affinities,” said Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi.
  • Tarek William Saab, prosecutor imposed by the ANC, criticized U.S. sanctions and say that they have affected the purchase of medicine and medical supplies necessary to fight COVID-19. He questioned those who have “made excuses for crime” by applauding sanctions, since that’s “ethically unacceptable” (!). But he exhorted people to stop political confrontation and work together “to stop the blockade.” He informed that on March 4th, in Carabobo, FAES detained six people for carrying 3.775 kgs of uranium, that they were going to sell for 390,000 dollars. They were already charged with trafficking and illicit trade of strategic material, and unlawful handling of substances and dangerous materials.

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.