- Tareck El Aissami, economic vice president, headed on Monday the commission for “price agreements for essential sectors,” an event that was attended, according to state media, by producers and sellers. The newly appointed oil minister said they reached an agreement on fair prices and it’s based on dialogue between productive forces, emphasizing his firm disposition to understand them. El Aissami added that the third strategic line of work is economic growth (announced for the seventh year in a row). He thanked businessmen and assured the dialogue will continue so the imposed prices stay in sync with reality.
- Tareck El Aissami, sanctioned and accused of drug trafficking by American prosecutors, is, according to the Official Gazette 6531, the new minister for Oil and Energy and Asdrúbal Chávez is the new president of PDVSA. Both positions were held by Manuel Quevedo since November 2017, with red numbers: production dropped by 1,120,000 bpd. Decree no. 4.190 gives El Aissami the power to restructure and reorganize the Oil Ministry to “guarantee the country’s energetic safety and protect the industry against external, internal and multiforce aggression.”
- Communications minister Jorge Rodríguez announced four new cases of COVID-19 in the country, for a total of 329: a 9-year-old boy and a 17-year-old teenager in Nueva Esparta state, tied to the baseball academy were an outbreak occurred, and two women who came back from Brazil, one in Bolívar state and one in Anzoátegui state. Rodríguez said Bolsonaro was irresponsible for allowing the exponential growth of coronavirus, adding that they had done 440,966 tests (14,699 tests per million inhabitants). He didn’t mention if those are rapid response tests, instead of PCR tests that are done in other countries.
- Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López condemned (in a strange statement) how the U.S. government tried to frame the Simón Bolívar training ship for drug trafficking. He added that the U.S. is trying to justify a military intervention in Venezuela. The minister didn’t mention how they found out about the operation, if there are officers involved or detained or why a ship carrying drugs would be an excuse for a foreign military invasion.
- From May 1st, minimum wage will be 400,000 bolivars, according to an announcement by the Work Ministry. The black market dollar closed at 194,936.77 bolivars, meaning the new minimum wage and the food bonus equal four dollars.
- Prosecutor general Tarek William Saab said that the people who planned the party in Los Roques in violation of the quarantine had another party in Altamira, which is why they have house arrest orders. “The owner of the apartment in Altamira had weapons and drugs. He’s detained at the (National Police HQ),” he said.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo celebrated talking to Juan Guaidó about “the frame for democratic transition in Venezuela and his efforts to protect Venezuelans from COVID-19.” He reiterated the U.S. support for the National Assembly. Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza replied mentioning the figures of infected and dead patients in the U.S. and suggested “taking care of your serious humanitarian crisis” instead of “meddling in Venezuelan internal affairs.”
- The AN foreign relations commissioner, Julio Borges, said he has information about 15 flights coming from Iran, meant to increase the presence of officers and Iranian groups in Venezuela. “We know about the strengthening of the alliance between Nicolás Maduro and Tehran,” said Borges, adding that these flights are “a danger to peace and security in the region.” Yesterday, at 1:43 p.m., the fifth direct flight from Tehran landed in Las Piedras (Falcón).
- Nicolás said that he talked over the phone with South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, and they allegedly discussed strategies for containing COVID-19, congratulating him for Freedom Day and agreeing to increase cooperation between both countries.
- La Voz de América reported that the humanitarian situation in Venezuela will be discussed in the UN Security Council, by request of Belgium, France, Germany and Estonia.
- Several countries in Europe started going back to normal on Monday, with optimism after the most recent figures of cases, recoveries and deaths in Spain, Italy and the UK. The Latin American epicenter is still Brazil (over 66,500 cases and 4,543 deaths). The U.S. surpassed one million cases and 60,000 deaths. Colombia reported 5,597 cases and 253 deaths, and alongside Argentina and Ecuador, is considering slowly lifting the quarantine. There are 3,037,452 cases and 210,842 deaths in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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