The First Iranian Tanker Has Arrived

No sanctions or threats were able to stop them and the isolation hasn’t stopped the spread of COVID-19 cases, either: 1,121 cases have been confirmed

Photo: El Comercio Perú

  • On Sunday, 111 new cases of COVID-19 were registered, for a total of 1,121. Nicolás said that 18 of those are “local” cases, and 93 are “imported,” and he talked for a long time about it, since, according to him, from May 16th, the increase of cases can be explained with people coming from Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador y Peru. Now he’s taking time to discriminate cases by origin and border. He added that until Sunday, they had done 804,004 tests. He mentioned a high number of cases in Santa Cruz del Este, in Baruta municipality, Caracas, where they’ve had no running water for a month but he didn’t mention that. Five days after the governor of Zulia mentioned it, he talked about the spread of cases in downtown Maracaibo, mentioning only nine cases. Governor Omar Prieto announced he’s closing Las Pulgas market indefinitely, after calling it an epicenter of the spread. 
  • Nicolás said the operation to escort the first Iranian ship had been successful, that it entered Venezuelan territory and talked about “the Armed Forces patrol by sea,” Venezuelan waters and said that the entire operation was carried out without a glitch, with no threats in the sea, making the story about American threats and the blockade disappear. The creative development of cooperation between Venezuelan and Iran was a tall tale: he said that they’ve been strengthened in the last few years, that both countries have decided to “strengthen their ties and cooperation” against U.S. sanctions and that they’ve made agreements on energy, science, economy and industry. He was more thankful to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani than Chávez this time, and that’s saying something. 
  • Professor Francisco Monaldi tweeted a thread about this tragedy Nicolás is calling a victory: Venezuela had an installed capacity of refining 1.3 million bpd and supplied the domestic market, in its peak at around 800,000 bpd, almost half of it was gas. 
  • Venezuela exported refined products including gasoline but after the chavista destruction, the refining infrastructure operates below 15% of its capacity and doesn’t produce gas. Last year, they imported around 150,000 bpd refined products in disadvantageous business deals. 
  • We’ve given gas away for free for decades, at too high a price for the country and its citizens. The subsidy is higher than the one for education and health sectors combined. When gas consumption is at its lowest, there isn’t any: they can’t even supply a demand that’s less than 25% of what it used to be. The world is flooded with cheap gas and Venezuelans are paying the most expensive black market rate in the world. Sanctions make it harder to import gas, but it has to be done because they destroyed our refineries. Iranians didn’t know where to store their gas inventory, and found who’d take it and paid upfront. 
  • Eudis Girot, director of the Sole Federation of Venezuelan Oil Workers reported that the Fortune Iranian tanker will unload the first part (350,000 barrels) at the El Palito refinery. The ships are carrying 700,000 barrels of gas and 300,000 barrels of additives to process fuel. Experts agree in saying that 1.5 million barrels of fuel will last two to four weeks, depending on how it’s sold. 
  • Deputy Alfonso Marquina rejected the detention of a man with Down Syndrome. Luis Pérez was detained in Lara state, for joining a cacerolazo. He also published two names of other people detained for the same reason in the same state. 
  • OAS secretary general Luis Almagro rejected the arrival or Iranian tankers and called it “an attack against peace and stability of the region and an unacceptable provocation by Iran.” Almagro reiterated he rejects Iranian military and intelligence officers’ presence in the region. 
  • Since they were too busy thanking Iran for sending gas that they paid for, it took them a couple of days to react to the ruling of Delaware Federal Court and on Sunday, Nicolás’s Foreing Ministry rejected the decision of a U.S. federal judge allowing the Crystallex trial to go on, which threatens PDV Holding’s Citgo. Arreaza thinks the U.S. is interfering to “confiscate PDVSA’s assets in the U.S.,” says the memo, which doesn’t mention that Crystallex’s assets were nationalized by Chávez, funnily enough.
  • Human Rights Watch  will present on Tuesday a new report about the complex humanitarian emergency and COVID-19 in Venezuela, alongside public health experts from Johns Hopkins University.

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.