Photo: Reuters/C. Jasso

We Could Have Anywhere Between 1,000 to 4,000 Cases a Day

Such is the estimation by the National Academy of Physics, Math and Natural Sciences, while Feliciano Reyna keeps warning about the disaster that’s coming our way and we waste time analyzing Operation Gedeón

  • The National Academy of Physics, Math and Natural Sciences published a document about the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Venezuela and its potential trajectory, in which, using epidemiology models, they estimate that we’ll reach the peak between June and September. In the most conservative projection, we’d have 1,000 cases per day, in the worst possible scenario, we’d have 4,000. The Academy insists on the amount of PCR tests being insufficient and proposes decentralizing diagnostics in other labs, as the sole measure to increase the proportion of diagnoses patients. They also say that the number of cases reported so far isn’t accurate: they estimate that the best case scenario is that COVID-19 is 67% underdiagnosed, and 95% in the worst. “The epidemic won’t stop,” says the document, and adds that the “flat curve” is unlikely due to this estimate.
  • Human rights defender Feliciano Reyna said that in 25 years working with vulnerable people, he’s never received as many calls asking for help as in the last few weeks: “There’s no longer the option of generating revenue on their own or receiving remittances from family abroad, they’re going through difficult circumstances because of lockdowns, too. Here and abroad, entire families’ livelihoods have been compromised.” The urgent action is a mechanism to inform the public about human rights violations and keeping them from happening. Reyna said that urgent actions are necessary “to mitigate the damages inflicted upon most of the population for lack of access to food, work, and basic public services like water, cooking gas, electricity and transport.” 
  • Venezuela is the fourth country in the world that needs urgent aid, and the country with the highest rate of inhabitants with food insecurity: 9,3 million people, according to the World Food Programme. Food insecurity spreads all over the country, even in the states with the lowest rates, 25% have food insecurity. We have to consider migrants and refugees who are also in an acute food insecurity situation. Feliciano Reyna insists on the regime having to adopt urgent measures, including tasks they haven’t done yet: provide updated information about food insecurity, health, access to basic services, etc, obtain and provide critical humanitarian food and nutrition assistance for vulnerable groups; support food production, transport and commercialization and strengthen the supply chain and agricultural systems. The gas shortage and the collapsed economy and health system are reasons to promote an agreement for urgent action, but this hasn’t been an incentive for chavismo so far. 
  • To mark a week of talking about this topic, Interior Minister Néstor Reverol reported about the capture of three alleged members of Operation Gedeón in the Colonia Tovar. Their names are Jairo Bethelmy, Franco Jonathan and Evan Rincón. 
  • On the phone, Delcy Rodríguez reported that in the last 24 hours they had confirmed 12 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 414. She said 11 cases are imported and one community transmission case. Out of 12 cases, four are in Amazonas state, two in Táchira state, two in Nueva Esparta state, and one case per state in Falcón, Carabobo, Bolívar and Miranda. 
  • Former councilman Junior Pantoja is imprisoned by court order after his arrest last Friday, during the operation against Petare’s gang leader Wilexis. He was charged with weapon and ammunition trafficking. Lawyer Joel García denounced that state security forces “placed five 9mm bullets in his shirt pocket” upon detention. 
  • Also on the phone, Nicolás scolded his people: “I’ve been seeing a relaxed quarantine in public events. This can’t be. We’re going to discipline the quarantine. No more massive events, zero public events (…) We had 14 cases yesterday, 12 cases today, there’s an increase.” He hasn’t read the National Academy of Physics, Math and Natural Sciences’ document. 
  • JJ Rendón resigned this morning to his advisor position in the caretaker government. 
  • Last night, state tv station VTV reported that Clíver Alcalá Cordones’s nephew and seven other alleged mercenaries involved in Operation Gedeón were arrested in Petaquirito, Vargas state, roughly an hour from Caracas. 45 people tied to this operation have been detained.
  • Lots of people are going through tough times with the water supply in their communities; journalist Miguel Villavicencio (@prensakike on Twitter) shared a video showing citizens fiercely fighting for water in Guanare. “Rodríguez María Fernanda,” who became famous on social media last year for her mannerisms and sincerity during a demonstration, also expressed her exhaustion because of the routine for water. 
  • The Wall Street Journal published a piece about the only topic chavismo has cared about this week. It says pretty much what all of them said: Jordan Goudreau’s plan, in addition to being suicidal, had been infiltrated from the beginning, didn’t have enough funds and recruits barely ate. The focus is Clíver Alcalá Cordones, who they interviewed a couple of times in Bogotá and showed them his invasion and overthrowing plans on napkins. The highlight came when Clíver said the Venezuelan intelligence apparatus (trained by Cubans) was his biggest concern, because they never stop working, which makes his open confession about a plan that was never secret even more suspicious. The worst part is that he assures that Colombian intelligence knew about Clíver’s plan and that the CIA participated in at least one meeting where the plan was discussed. It’s impressive how much easier they do chavismo’s job as long as it hurts Donald Trump. Now you know what Jorge Rodríguez will be talking about today.

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.