Can’t Flatten the Curve

The week closed with 831 new COVID-19 cases; seven days of radical quarantine start today; Juan Guaidó announces that the register for the Health Heroes bonus will start soon

  • This weekend, 326 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Venezuela: 198 cases announced and three deaths on Saturday, and 128 new cases on Sunday. The total of cases chavismo has admitted to is 3,918 and 33 deaths. Out of the new cases reported on Sunday, 20 are in Zulia state, where Hania Salazar, president of the Nurses’ Collegiate, denounced that conditions in hospitals haven’t improved and warned that there’s still a lack of personal protection gear and no running water. Salazar said that there’s a 30% deficit of nurses, due to lack of transport and low wages, extending the work day and fear of getting COVID-19 for shortage of personal protection gear. 
  • According to Jorge Rodríguez, 835 people have recovered, and out of 3,050 active cases, 2,167 are men and 1,741 are women. He said that 2,645 patients are asymptomatic, while 387 have acute-mild respiratory insufficiency symptoms, 12 moderate insufficiency and six are in the ICU. He said that 60,942 people have returned to the country and 2,414 have tested positive. Médicos Unidos de Venezuela reported the death of Dr. Solanger Escandela in Maracaibo, Zulia. Her death, as the death of the former director of the University Hospital, hasn’t been reported in official bulletins. The week closed with 831 new cases, so no, the curve hasn’t been flattened. 
  • Nicolás’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, announced the special measures that will apply in ten states, including the system for restricting transit between states and municipalities, due to the increase of the local contagion rate of COVID-19. On Monday, June 22nd, what they’ve called seven days of “radical quarantine” began, with all sectors paralyzed, excepting water, electricity, telecom, gas, health, pharmacies and food. The measures are: 1. Closing down the Metro de Caracas and Valles del Tuy, replaced with transportation on the ground, 2. Contention barriers to stop circulation on main highways and roads between affected municipalities and states, 3. Police and National Guard surveillance in public transport stops, and 4. the Communications Ministry will launch a special campaign to warn about the dangers of COVID-19. 
  • Several journalist and human rights organizations have rejected the detentions and disappearances of Mimi Arriaga and Marco Antoima, for an investigation on the alleged management of anonymous social media accounts. Globovisión (owned by Raúl Gorrín) published a piece called “One person detained and three on the run for managing the extortion account VVPeriodistas,” that, in addition to vilifying these professionals, offers a conclusion without evidence, forgoes the principle of innocent until proven otherwise, and violates their human rights. The piece doesn’t have an author. About Mimi Arriaga, Espacio Público reported that she’s been detained for over 60 hours (on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.) and even though she was taken to court, the court declined competence. About Antoima, we know he turned himself in because they pressured him using his son and his son’s mother and that he could be taken to court on Monday. The SNTP campaigned on social media asking for Mimi and Marcos’s freedom, with testimonies by their colleagues, a noble and inspiring exercise. 
  • Juan Guaidó reported that the operation of public health workers registering for the digital wallet  will begin this week, in order to make the payment of the Health Heroes bonus (100 dollars per month, for three months, to doctors, nurses and workers of public hospitals). 
  • Fedeagro reported that, because of the pandemic and the gas shortage, the crops in 2020 will be similar to those of 1971 and 1972 (when Venezuela only had 12 million inhabitants). Celso Fantinel highlighted that corn, rice, sugar cane and coffee crops are drastically dropping: “We could maybe produce 20% to 25% of Venezuelans’ needs,” he said. He added that Venezuelans’ purchasing power makes buying imported goods really difficult. Fedeagro registered that coffee production is around 400,000 and 450,000 quintals, which is barely enough for four months. Fantinel emphasized that the agricultural sector has been in decline since 2010: “In 2008 and 2009 we reached almost 700,000 hectares of corn. I hope we can plant 100,000 hectares of corn between Fedeagro and private producers this year.” 
  • The regime’s Foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, reported on Twitter that Venezuela won’t be attending the hearing called by the ICJ on June 30th, because this court has no jurisdiction in Guyana’s unilateral suit over the Esequibo and in strict accordance with the Geneva Agreement of 1966. Deputy and head of the Esequibo Defense Committee Williams Dávila reiterated that the position of Nicolás’s regime on the Esequibo hasn’t been strong enough and insisted that the controversial issue made it all the way to this institution because of chavismo’s laziness, because they paid more attention to the political strategy of buying votes at Caricom and obeyed Cuba’s order to “stop pushing for” the Guyana topic.
  • Nicolás’s Defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, said that Colombian authorities and paramilitary groups encourage Venezuelans, many of them infected by the virus, to return to Venezuela through illegal passageways. President Iván Duque announced that the Colombian Foreign Ministry will resume activities in July, a measure that will allow Venezuelans to renew their Special Permanence Permit, a necessary document to keep migratory status and formal jobs. 
  • The EU authorized 1.5 million dollars for Colombian homes and Venezuelan migrants during the COVID-19 emergency, said the EU Embassy in Bogota.
  • ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that the case against Nicolás is in its final stages and a decision will be made in the next few months.
  • Because of a preview of an interview with Donald Trump that will be published in Axios and aired on HBO on Monday, social media users have interpreted that Trump doesn’t trust Guaidó because he hasn’t been able to remove Nicolás, despite U.S. support and dozens of nations. It isn’t a quote, but an interpretation that could have been manipulated because of the campaign in the U.S.; Trump might have said also that he’d be willing to meet with Nicolás, an unlikely meeting before November 3rd. We don’t know if this possibility is celebrated in Miraflores, but the announcement could be interpreted as a carte blanche to get rid of what’s left of the opposition. 
  • It was hard to see El Ávila yesterday in Caracas, because of the density of the cloud of dust coming from the Sahara, that made it to several states in the country. This phenomenon happens on the summer every year. Due to several storms, dust from the Sahara crosses the Atlantic and the Caribbean to favor our sea and our flora with many elements (sand, iron, silicium, mercury, phosphorus, etc).

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.