- Last night, Nicolás’s Communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, reported two new deaths and 130 cases of COVID-19 in Venezuela, for a total of 4,048 and 35 deaths. The two latest victims lived in Zulia state, a 52-year-old construction worker and a 57-year-old cook.
- Zulia governor Omar Prieto reported that, despite the 580 cases of coronavirus, they don’t plan to impose a curfew in Zulia and even said that the Las Pulgas market could reopen within the next 15 days. However, the board of the Doctors’ Collegiate of Zulia declared that the state is in red alert because of the growing number of cases and demanded a security system in hospitals, because they have the unofficial figure of 44 infected doctors in Zulia, where “two doctors have died” and two doctors are in the ICU. Those doctors haven’t been added to the figures in Caracas.
- On Monday, the “radical quarantine” week started, in order to decrease the local contagion rate in ten states, but other than closing down the subway in Caracas, suspending public transportation and the prohibition to mobilize with checkpoints between municipalities, life on the streets was pretty normal. The lack of public transport was so bad that some Metro train stations will be operating on Tuesday, for people with credentials and authorization to work. In fact, there are cases of doctors, nurses and health workers who weren’t able to get to work.
- President Donald Trump reacted on Monday morning to the commotion that his interview with Axios generated, after the revelations of his second thoughts about recognizing Juan Guaidó, and his potential meeting with Nicolás. On Twitter, he wrote that “unlike the radical Left,” his position will always be against socialism and with the Venezuelan people, that his administration has always expressed being for liberty and against “Maduro’s oppressive regime” and added that the only way he’d meet Nicolás would be to negotiate a peaceful removal from power. He didn’t name Juan Guaidó. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: “Nothing has changed. We still recognize Juan Guaidó as the leader of Venezuela.”
- Soon after, we saw the news on state media that Nicolás is willing to meet with Trump: “My answer is that, as I met with Biden and we talked respectfully for a long time, I’m willing to meet with President Donald Trump whenever necessary.” In January 2015, Nicolás asked Brazil for a discreet way of approaching then vice president Biden, during Dilma Rousseff’s inauguration, but it was Uruguayan José Pepe Mujica who managed the meeting, when they were both waiting to congratulate the president. Mujica grabbed Biden and put him directly in front of Nicolás. He said, because of the threat of sanctions: “Our relations shouldn’t be like this” and Biden jokingly said: “If I had your hair, I’d be the president of the United States by now.”
- In a hearing, the Public Ministry accused journalists Marco Antoima and Mimi Arriaga of promoting hate, a crime that’s on the Anti-Hate Law, which is a law that didn’t go through the National Assembly. The “victim” of this alleged crime was Nicolás, the adorable. Antoima and Arriaga are under house arrest, can’t leave the country and can’t issue statements for the media.
- A family of five needed more than 1.8 million bolivars per day to buy the basic food basket in May, which was 55,376,516.36, meaning 9.4 million (20.5%) more than in April, according to CENDAS. The minimum wage is still 400,000 Bs.
- UNHCR representative Jozef Merkx evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants in Colombia. Colombian Immigration estimates that 75,000 people have made the trip back in the last three months, a small percentage (4% to 5%), and the UN is working on the needs of the people who stayed in Colombia. “We understand that at least 60% of the Venezuelan population doesn’t have an income and that makes it even more complicated. People are desperate but they also know it isn’t easy.” Merkx talked about the vulnerability of not having legal status and an increase of discrimination against Venezuelans, but insisted coronavirus has no nationality. Working together to stop infection is a duty. On Monday, David Smolansky warned that the Venezuelan migrant crisis is the one that has received the least money from the international community, even though it was recently announced that they had 1,300 million dollars to help Venezuelans in receiving countries.
- Deputy Julio Borges, commissioner for Foreign Affairs, assured that Iranian advisors trained the Armed Forces in increasing the control on communications in the military. Borges assured these actions are part of Cuban efforts to “control the country’s communications in the country and different chains of command in the Armed Forces.”
- Álex Saab’s defense introduced on June 18th a habeas corpus petition that will be evaluated by Cape Verde courts, a move that could set Saab free despite the extradition request by the U.S. The petition, according to Cape Verde laws, must be reviewed and answered in five days. Two arguments for the petition: that it was a political arrest and that the Interpol’s memo was issued an hour after the arrest.
- Nicolás’s regime blamed U.S. sanctions for not paying UN quotas, according to a letter published by Samuel Moncada on Monday. The debt, of over 21 million dollars, has prevented Venezuela from voting in the UN since January: “Every time we’ve tried to pay, the transaction has been rejected or the funds have been returned to our bank accounts,” said Nicolás’s representative.
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