An Agreement to Save Lives
The AN and the regime committed to working together against the pandemic, with the PAHO as witness. We reached 1,819 cases of COVID-19 and the chaos in gas stations continues
- The Health Ministry and the AN’s Commission of Health Experts agreed to work together to strengthen the response to COVID-19. PAHO’s representative in Venezuela, Gerardo de Cosio, bore witness to the agreement signed by Carlos Alvarado, Health minister, and Dr. Julio Castro, advisor to the AN. They requested technical support from PAHO to implement this process. The National Communications Center reported on Tuesday that the PAHO will receive resources protected for humanitarian aid: “After several months of efforts, we have achieved the final step proposed by the PAHO to receive the funds: that the dictatorship committed to not block the program and guaranteeing that the resources obtained could be used,” says the statement by Guaidó’s team. The pandemic only worsens already critical conditions of the complex humanitarian emergency, it’s mandatory that agreements are reached in order to reduce Venezuelans’ vulnerability in matters of health.
- The National Assembly debated on imports of gas and the increase on its prices (declared unconstitutional on May 31st), as well as the crisis of cooking gas supply in the country. Guaidó reiterated that the gas payment system (subsidized in bolivars and privatized in dollars) will bring more contraband and corruption. He said that charging for gas in dollars is a mockery, because the minimum wage is still in bolivars. Guaidó expressed his concern for the lifting of the lockdown and the consequences on the spread, because “we lack the capacity to face the exponential spread of the virus.” Deputy Alfonso Marquina warned that we’ll all end up paying in dollars and talked about the chaos at gas stations for lack of instructions, tools for making payments and gas itself. About cooking gas, deputies denounced that there’s also a de facto dollarization, since canisters are found for 9 to 20 dollars, depending on their size.
- Venezuela breaks its record of daily number of COVID-19 cases again. On Tuesday, they registered 156 new cases and another death. They admit to having 1,819 cases and 18 deaths. Jorge Rodríguez reported that 150 cases happened because of returning migrants: 136 people came back from Colombia, three from Ecuador and two from Peru. In addition, nine workers have been infected on the borders and the rest of the cases have been considered as “local” contagion. Rodríguez said that most patients in the country are asymptomatic, with the exception of Zulia, where it presents more aggressive characteristics, so he dared say that it’s a different strain. According to him, they’ve done 987,902 tests. His version of the agreement with the opposition alongside PAHO, is that it was revealed only because it was leaked by the press, a way to delegitimize the efforts and raise criticism against the opposition.
- On Tuesday, gas stations didn’t open early and ran out of gas by noon. Even though chavismo sells this as a victory, it’s only proof of the gas shortage in the country, including accounts of workers saying that they worked with the gas they had before these recent events, and they haven’t received the first truck yet. Long lines are still the norm and citizens are saying on social media that they wasted a day in line, because what gas stations had wasn’t enough for everyone, not even when they rationed how many litres they could pump or paying in dollars. Military officers kept running gas stations with different rules, and social media users denounced that there were a lot of cars who cut the line because they paid more money. None of it was reported on state media.
- Juan Guaidó denounced that security forces raided Ricardo Villasmil’s home, who’s the president of the ad hoc board of the Venezuelan Central Bank, in retaliation for actions to block the Maduro regime’s access to Venezuelan gold in the Bank of England. On Tuesday, they also harassed attorney general José Ignacio Hernández’s parents.
- Nicolás’s regime granted house arrest to Juan José Márquez, Juan Guaidó’s uncle. Márquez was detained in Maiquetía, on February 11th when he was returning from Guaidó’s international tour and was accused of carrying C4.
- The U.S. Treasury Department, through the OFAC, announced on Tuesday that four companies were sanctioned for doing business with the Venezuelan oil sector: “The U.S. reiterates that Venezuelan oil extraction to benefit Maduro’s illegitimate regime is unacceptable and those who enable these activities are at risk of losing access to the American financial system,” said the Treasury Department. The sanctions came after five Iranian tankers traveled from Tehran to Venezuela with 1.53 million barrels of oil.
- Ricardo Menéndez, Maduro’s Minister for Planning, announced the 9th Mixed High Level Commission with Venezuela and Iran to go over cooperation agreements in areas like energy, oil, trade and defense.
- At least 127 journalists have died in the last three months because of coronavirus, many of them after they covered the pandemic in Latin America, reported NGO Campaña Emblema de Prensa.
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