Photo: NBC News

IMF Warns the Venezuelan Crisis Has No Precedent in the Region

The economy and the pandemic put together generate an unprecedented catastrophe in Venezuela, while Guaidó thanks Sergio Vergara and J.J. Rendón for resigning positions that they never should have had in the caretaker government

  • Deputy Ángel Alvarado presented the National Assembly’s CPI estimates: inflation increased 80% in April, for a total cumulative increase of 341.61% between January and April 2020, and the annual rate is  4,210%. Alvarado explained that the acceleration in April is due to the “jump that the currency exchange did during this period and the needs of the Executive to increase spending to pay bonuses.” The official exchange rate has almost tripled since the quarantine started, and the BCV has injected 22 billion bolivars into the economy (32%); the cherry on top is the absolute paralysis of economic activity. We don’t produce, while the amount of bolivars circulating increases and stimulates the increase of prices. Those who can do it, buy dollars to protect their savings while the bolivar devalues. To understand the tragedy Nicolás has achieved: inflation average in the world is 4%.
  • Juan Guaidó accepted Sergio Vergara and JJ Rendón’s resignation, after accusations and evidence tying them directly to Operation Gedeón. Guaidó thanked them for their service and commitment. According to the document published by the National Communications Center, Vergara and Rendón called all sectors to support Juan Guaidó and establish an emergency government. Juan José Rendón, general strategist for the Presidential Committee, wrote in his resignation letter that he’s stepping aside in order to not affect Guaidó’s work “or devaluing the fight of so many dignified Venezuelans.” He said that since August 2019, his “absolute priority is the end of the criminal narco-dictatorship” and adds: “I offer my apologies for not being able to share at that moment the explorations, the careful, responsible and confidential analysis that was being carried out when we looked for new alternatives and options, the reasons of our silence are obvious today.” That night, Juan Guaidó wrote: “I thank and recognize the commitment you’ve demonstrated with Venezuela, and the step you take towards the fight we’re fighting, for liberty and democracy. Our country still counts on you. Good luck with what’s to come.” 
  • In the last 24 hours, eight new cases of COVID-19 were reported, making 422 as the total number of cases. There are three in Aragua state, two in Vargas state, and one case per state in Falcón, Miranda and Nueva Esparta. Nueva Esparta remains the state with the highest number of cases (130), Miranda follows with 101 and Aragua with 37. About the tests, Delcy Rodríguez said that they’d done 520,317, without making the distinction between PCR to rapid response tests, and not specifying how many people. She said that 2,855,180 people took the new survey on the Patria system, updated on Monday. 
  • A worker of PDVSA’s maritime unit was arrested for criticizing Maduro in a meeting with company leaders. Eudis Girot, executive director of the oil workers union said that Bartolo Guerra was arrested on Friday by military intelligence officers: “The only thing he did was telling the truth about the subhuman conditions they work in and the devastating corruption.”
  • The IMF warned that the Venezuelan crisis represents a social and macroeconomic disaster that has never been seen in the region: “The Venezuelan case isn’t a decade lost, it’s a decade of gigantic setbacks,” said Alejrandro Werner, director for the Western Hemisphere. He pointed out that a new increase in migration might worsen sanitary and economic vulnerabilities of receiving countries. 
  • Before dawn on Monday, GNB officers detained three men who are allegedly tied to Operation Gedeón too. It happened in San Miguel de Carayaca, Vargas state. The captured “deserting sergeants” are José Manuel Mendoza and Jesús Colmenares and civilian César Altamar Sarmiento. Later that day, the Navy tweeted about another capture in Vargas, with no specific information. 
  • Julio Borges decried how Delcy Rodríguez’s trip to Trinidad and Tobago in late March, with several PDVSA executives including Asdrúbal Chávez, had the goal of “signing oil and gas agreements behind the country’s back, giving our resources away for free.” This trip was criticized because the COVID-19 crisis had already been declared a pandemic. 
  • Chavismo’s allies finally woke up, with a one-week delay, and published many communiqués expressing pretty much the same thing, they’re so similar that they all look like they were written by Nicolás’s Foreign Ministry. The Sao Paulo Forum demands the U.S. government stop threatening Venezuela with an armed invasion and they reject sanctions, which they call a blockade. Former President Dilma Rousseff presented the communiqué by the Puebla Group, tying Operation Gedeón with the decision to expel chavista diplomats from Brazil: “The invasion was stopped, but Venezuela is the target of a genocidal blockade,” they wrote on their Twitter account. The Puebla Group rejected clandestine military actions and expressed solidarity with Maduro. 
  • There have been over 4.1 million COVID-19 cases in the world, with 285,945 deaths and over 1.4 million patients recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is reaching 1.5 million cases, almost one third of the total cases in the world. Coronavirus has caused 20,150 deaths and there have been 359,975 cases in Latin America and the Caribbean. One third of the countries in the region have received help from the IMF. Brazil, with 11,519 deaths and over 168,331 cases, has developed a mortality rate of 6.8%. In Colombia, where the second phase of gradual economic reactivation started on Monday, there have been 479 deaths and 11,613 confirmed cases. 
  • “Governments are now facing a difficult decision, not between life and economy, but between deaths by coronavirus or ruined lives by poverty, other diseases, hunger, overcrowding and psychological consequences of isolation,” wrote Alejandro Gaviria, rector of the Los Andes University in Bogota. That’s what governments do, but chavismo gloats about its wonderful performance, even though there’s plenty of evidence to prove our crisis, our complex humanitarian emergency and the vulnerability with which we face this pandemic, which will inevitably continue developing.

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.