Humanitarian Aid Finally Arrives

The regime received humanitarian aid in Maiquetía, an admission of sanctions not being an impediment and a reflection of chavismo’s failure to manage the resources received by the country all these years.

Photo: LibreMercado, retrieved.
  • On Wednesday, the regime received humanitarian aid to face the COVID-19 pandemic, with supplies donated by Unicef, PAHO, WHO and even the U.S., as USAID director general Mark Green announced. “This is a joint effort to deliver vital supplies for their distribution to health centers and the most vulnerable communities,” said Peter Grohmann, humanitarian coordinator in Venezuela. Delcy Rodríguez and Jorge Arreaza repeated several times in Maiquetía that there were also Russian supplies, as expected. The UN reiterated the reasons that make us a specially vulnerable country against the pandemic: seven million Venezuelans who needed humanitarian aid before coronavirus, the drop in oil prices, the impact of the quarantine on the economic activity and our hospitals without supplies, no sanitary conditions and interruption of public services. 
  • Nicolás received the “Chinese medical mission” that came to Venezuela, to collaborate in containing the pandemic. He reported that only one more positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed, making our total 167 cases, one of the lowest figures in the region. He also reported two deaths, a 58-year-old man in Miranda state and a 63-year-old in Lara state, making it 9 deaths by coronavirus in the country. Nicolás reiterated that patients isolating in their homes must be hospitalized to avoid new cases and said that many of them refuse to leave their homes. He said that the quarantine has been enforced in 85% of the country and praised Russian and Chinese help. He reinforced his political fixation with China by saying that they’ll always be together (!) and the Chinese ambassador assured us that we’ll succeed (!). 
  • A Chinese doctor in Miraflores said that the pandemic has been contained and patients have received proper treatment, but it’s necessary to keep running tests and taking more drastic measures to find asymptomatic patients. Nicolás said that they’ve done 112,512 tests, reiterating that the goal is doing one million during this contention phase. This figure isn’t verifiable. 
  • The gas shortage is getting worse. The restrictions on oil exchange for fuel with Venezuela, known as swaps, remains the epicenter of Pdvsa’s collapse, which didn’t produce enough gasoline for internal consumption in the last few months. Reuters reports that reducing shipments of fuel to Venezuela is part of Donald Trump’s extreme pressure campaign against the regime. The militarized rationing of gas has interrupted the supply of food and has prevented chronic patients from moving to their regular treatment, in the same way it has prevented doctors, nurses and other health personnel from getting to work. 
  • Vladimir Padrino López said that the curfew in Táchira state has been 100% effective. He didn’t say anything about overcrowding and abuses of Venezuelans who have returned and were confined when they came back.  
  • Aristóbulo Istúriz reported that they’re analyzing with experts how to strengthen the Cada Familia Una Escuela plan, reiterating that they’ll explain the whole strategy after Holy Week. The University Education Minister only said that the University at Home plan guarantees access to school, but didn’t explain anything else. 
  • The survey conducted by the expert health commission appointed by Juan Guaidó revealed that failures of the electric system increased by 94.55% since March 18th, two days after the quarantine was imposed. The decrease in water supply went from 90.26%, on March 18th to 93.81% on April 7th. Irregularities in transportation service reached 97.35% in the same period. 89.83% of Venezuelans don’t have savings or any steady income to face the quarantine. Only 9% has resources available from a week to a month and a little over 1% has the capacity to cover their expenses for a month. Fuel shortage in the country is at 98.7% and failures in food distribution are at 79.77%. Regarding the health sector, the survey revealed that there’s a 41.67% facemask shortage and 66.67% gloves shortage. In addition, 87.50% of health centers have no soap, an important resource to stop the spread of COVID-19, and there are no sanctions that block its imports. 
  • U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliot Abrams said that the U.S. proposal for a democratic transition in Venezuela isn’t a straightjacket, suggesting there are thousands of items to negotiate. Regarding the negotiation with military and other questionable people, he said that in processes like this one, you don’t choose who you’re negotiating with, and used the South African example to explain that almost no Apartheid criminal went to jail. 
  • Former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield warned that in order for the American proposal to work, it’s mandatory to expel all ELN and FARC guerrillas from the country, and their leaders, warning there will be no foreign invasion. 
  • The European Commission presented the EU’s support plan to contain the pandemic, and a 15.6 billion euros fund was announced, out of which 918 million will be used to help their allies in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
  • 1.5 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the world and 87,000 people have died, according to figures by Johns Hopkins University. These numbers suggest an increase of 70% in the death rate and 50% more infections in less than a week. 
  • The IACHR exhorted American states to protect the integrity of prisoners during the pandemic, considering the unsanitary and overcrowded conditions in jails. Even Iran has released political prisoners, but not the Venezuelan regime. 

Venezuela maintains a notorious disparity in its figures, compared to our neighbors. Colombia surpassed 2,000 cases when they confirmed 274 more cases in a day and 55 deaths. Brazil has confirmed 15,927 cases, an exponential jump when they confirmed 2,200 new cases in one day and 133 deaths, for a total of over 800. Interestingly enough, even with those numbers, their correlation between infections and deaths is lower than Venezuela’s. This is serious. Wash your hands. Stay home.

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.