The UN Studies a Food Assistance Program for Venezuela

While the UN discusses plans on how to best help Venezuela and Pompeo talks of reopening the American embassy in Caracas, Nicolás Maduro’s regime keeps announcing unreliable figures about COVID-19 in the country

  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked on Wednesday about the agenda for Venezuela. He announced plans for reopening the embassy in Caracas (when Maduro “steps aside”) and asked countries to not allow Mahan Air, the Iranian airline flying to Venezuela, to fly over their airspace (sources at the Las Piedras and Maiquetía airports agree on Mahan Air planes being used to move load, says news site El Pitazo). He talked about the role that countries like Spain and Argentina could play in Venezuelan democracy, and about the bond with Brazil and the common interests for recovering our democracy. 
  • Delcy Rodríguez reported two new cases of COVID-19 in Venezuela (for a total of 331), and said the recovery rate is 42.9%  (142 recovered patients). There are 105 asymptomatic patients, 69 with mild respiratory insufficiency, 3 with moderate respiratory insufficiency and two patients in the ICU.She reported that they’ve done 458,737 tests so far (which would mean 15,291 tests per million inhabitants). 
  • The regime now has statements by Nicolás Maduro broadcasted in its TV shows. On Wednesday, for example, he spoke on Diosdado Cabello’s “show,” Con El Mazo Dando, and mentioned that 11 buses left Bogotá with 400 Venezuelans and will come into the country through the Simón Bolívar International Bridge, saying that contagion threats come from Brazil and Colombia and announced the quarantine would be more flexible, but he won’t lift it earlier than necessary.The state of alarm expires on May 13th and there are at least three reasons to extend it: we don’t know at which point of the pandemic we are, there’s no gas to reactivate the local productive apparatus and control over the people’s mobility enables for a better manipulation of public gatherings in an unproductive country amid hyperinflation. 
  • Alimentos Polar said that officers from the National Superintendence for Economic Rights (SUNDDE) and the Integral System for Agricultural Foods Control (SUNAGRO) visited their offices in Caracas. Polar presented their products’ cost structure and reiterated that it’s unreasonable to establish price controls, because they vary with the dollar and the hyperinflation that has hurt the country for at least two years.
  • The Venezuelan Chamber of Dairy Industry (CAVILAC) warned that price controls would “make the sector disappear,” since it’s already undergoing a critical situation. Roger Figueroa, the Chamber’s president, reported that they weren’t invited to the meeting where price controls over 27 products would be established, and they were also ignored for the meeting to sign the actual agreement. 
  • News agency AP interviewed businessman Wilmer Ruperti, since his company brought gas to Venezuela. He said he did a “humanitarian work” to “help the Venezuelan people suffering the consequences of a series of political actions.” Ruperti is famous in the country for helping chavismo bring fuel into Venezuelan ports during the oil strikes of 2002-2003, an action for which Hugo Chávez himself awarded him the Star of Carabobo, a medal usually granted to soldiers for distinguished actions.
  • Venezuela’s humanitarian situation was debated in the UN Security Council, given its deterioration with the pandemic and the conditions that block potential answers. The need to expand UN presence in the country was discussed, as well as the need for an assistance mechanism with FAO, since one third of the population doesn’t have access to the recommended minimum caloric intake. 
  • The U.S. departments of State and Treasury are investigating Mexican company Libre Abordo, involved in a food-for-oil contract with the Venezuelan regime. 
  • 4,500 kgs of cocaine and 28 people that allegedly came from Venezuela were detained in Galician shores: the ship left early in the month from Panama, loaded the drugs on our coast and had been on its way to Vigo for 20 days.
  • There have been 3,189,017 cases of COVID-19 and 227,368 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Latin American epicenter is still Brazil (5,017 deaths and almost 80,000 cases). In Mexico, López Obrador thinks the pandemic has been “tamed”, with 1,569 deaths.

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.