We Lost DirecTV, Too

Closing the digital satellite television company leaves millions of Venezuelans without access to information, isolated, and 600 people are without a job now

Photo: France24

  • In this version of a country, which has been halted, confined, with severe food insecurity, without electricity, water, cooking gas, fuel or internet connection, DirecTV shut down its operations, a private company with 26 years of history and 45% of the pay-TV market in Venezuela. Where no other service reached, there were DirecTV antennas. This explains the general commotion and the enormous amount of people feeling sad about AT&T’s decision, owner of DirecTV, when they explained on Tuesday that it’s impossible to abide by American and Venezuelan legal requirements. The company left 600 people without a job and turned off the light on information and entertainment amid the quarantine. Now, when the sum of all evils is heightened, millions of people will reach a whole new level of confinement.
  • On January 7th, 2019, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued sanctions against seven people and 23 institutions for being involved in corruption schemes and tied to Nicolás’s regime, which has been getting sanctions since 2017. Among them is Raúl Gorrín Belisario, Globovisión’s president. On January 31st, 2019, the Department of Treasury issued a new executive order to broaden PDVSA’s operational restrictions and with that, increasing the pressure on the regime. American laws prohibit companies from working with sanctioned individuals. At the same time, Venezuela was forcing DirecTV to broadcast channels like Globovisión and PDVSA TV. That’s why AT&T decided to cease operations in Venezuela, and what matters here are the sanctions against Raúl Gorrín and PDVSA, while society pays the price of what chavismo decided: to turn this into a collective sanction. 
  • The AN approved on Tuesday an agreement to support the protection of Venezuela’s Central Bank (BCV) assets, to ratify that those assets property of the BCV abroad can only be managed by the BCV’s ad-hoc board. They also approved the draft exhorting institutions of the caretaker government and society to not discriminate, exclude, estigmatize or violence against the LGBTQIA+ community, especially amid the pandemic, which has affected it even more. The AN’s Commission for Family committed to investigating the death of an 11-month old baby after a vaccination program in Chacao. The AN also approved an agreement supporting president Juan Guaidó’s government, who insisted that the only opportunity for Venezuela is establishing a national emergency government. 
  • In the last 24 hours, 131 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Venezuela, a record number for the third day in a row, bringing the total to 749: in merely four days, we have detected 63% of the total of cases registered since March 13th. Jorge Rodríguez said that 110 cases were confirmed on the borders, 16 local cases and five cases from contact with travelers. Regarding active patients, 383 are asymptomatic, 99 present mild respiratory insufficiency and two are in the ICU. On Tuesday, Jorge Rodríguez said that 43,089 Venezuelans had returned to the country and according to him, they’ve done 616,562 tests, which represents 20,552 tests per million inhabitants. Rodríguez said that the Colombian authorities weren’t being careful enough when guarding illegal pathways on the border, but other than the curfew, the quarantine and the use of facemasks, he didn’t announce any public policy despite the exponential growth of cases. 
  • Over 7,000 Venezuelans are overcrowded in 300 houses in the La Parada sector, in the Norte de Santander department in Colombia: “There are pregnant women, kids and seniors. The situation is truly sad because they get here and they stay. The truth is that, as municipal authorities, this is really hard to handle,” said mayor Eugenio Rangel to El Espectador.
  • Venezuelan displaced indigenous communities in Brazil and Colombia are “dangerously exposed” to COVID-19, warned UNHCR on Tuesday, which estimates that almost 5,000 people from the Warao, Eñepá, Kari’ña, Pemón and Ye’kwana communities are out of their territories, without papers and in vulnerable conditions. 
  • The World Bank warned that the coronavirus crisis could bring 60 million people to extreme poverty, a threshold of $1.90 per day. They highlighted that a severe contraction of migrant remittances is expected, with a drop of over 20% compared to 2019. 
  • The U.S. Department of State sanctioned the Chinese company Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited, for providing services to Iranian company Mahan Air, accused of transporting gold from Venezuela. The statement warns that other companies still providing services for Mahan Air could be sanctioned as well. 
  • Ecuador, undergoing an economic crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic, will shut down embassies in Venezuela, Mexico and Iran and will get rid of state companies, announced President Lenín Moreno when he presented his plans for reducing public expenditure. 
  • Colombia’s Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo announced that they’ll conduct an investigation to see if there are indeed informants for the chavista regime in their intelligence institutions, as Jorge Rodríguez assured on Monday. 
  • There have been 4.8 million COVID-19 cases in the world, 323,221 deaths and 1.6 million recovered patients, according to Johns Hopkins University. Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed 500,000 cases. The U.S. is still the country with the highest number of cases in the world, with 1.5 million cases and 90,000 deaths. Brazil registered 1,179 in 24 hours, their worst figure so far. There have been over 18,000 deaths and over 270,000 confirmed cases. Peru has had almost 100,000 cases and 3,000 deaths. Colombia has 16,935 cases and  613 deaths. Chile registered its sixth day in a row with over 2,000 cases. The WHO agreed to be audited for their management of the COVID-19 crisis.

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.