Photo: The National

Michelle Bachelet Insists

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights repeated that systematic human rights violations and the unfortunate conditions of the Venezuelan population persist, worsened by the sanctions in some cases

  • Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner, denounced in a new report that the pattern of arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and torture for political reasons persist in Venezuela. She regrets that political actors haven’t been  able to reach a negotiated solution to solve the crisis in the country. She assured that Venezuela hasn’t advanced towards a credible, democratic electoral process and condemned the recent decisions by the TSJ, which diminish the possibilities of building democratic conditions. She mentioned the low salaries, the prices of food and terrible failures in utilities, and the precarious health system. She said her office hasn’t been able to access DGCIM or SEBIN headquarters and warned about the amount of young people murdered by security forces, since between January and May 2020, “1,324 suffered violent deaths” in state security operations. The report makes 16 new recommendations, that when added to the ones on her previous report, make 39 recommendations in total to improve the situation in Venezuela. 
  • There are no oil wells operating in Venezuela. There were 119 in 1997. Oil production collapsed in June because of the drop in demand, the price and the sanctions for corruption in PDVSA. But chavismo has been destroying the oil industry since 2015. Michelle Bachelet said in her report that even if PDVSA’s oil capacity could be attributed to several factors, “the sanctions against the oil sector have contributed with the drop in production.” 
  • Judge Nigel Teare, from the High Court of England and Wales, decided that the ad hoc board appointed by Juan Guaidó has the authority over Venezuelan gold reserves in the Bank of England, since the UK government recognized Guaidó. Nicolás’s Foreign Ministry rejected the decision and announced that they’d appeal. 
  • NGO Transparencia Venezuela documented in their Organized Crime and Corruption report a state problem, nine criminal groups operating in the country, 15 paramilitary and organized crime groups dominate the territory and exert social control. Researchers mentioned criminal megagangs, alleged “syndicates” in construction, oil and mining, armed colectivos, pranes in prisons, the Bolivarian Liberation Forces or Boliches,the Holding of corruption, drug traffickers, paramilitary groups from Colombia and Bacrim. The investigation shows evidence that the Venezuelan territory is a bridge for international drug trafficking, that many criminal actions are organized in prisons, and that impunity is a factor in increasing violence. They also mention the military sector’s influence in the public sector and their role in crime and corruption. Chavismo, they conclude, built a state-barracks system, and its main characteristics are: institutional violence, colonization of public management and Armed Forces officials in the economy. Violence and repression drove them to systematic violations of human rights and citizens’ liberties. Between 2014 and 2019, more than 800 civilians had trials in military courts, and only during the 2017 protests, 757 civilians were charged with military crimes like rebellion and treason. The last chapter is a proposal for overcoming organized crime in Venezuela. There’s so much left to do. 
  • Venezuela went back on the decision to expel EU ambassador Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa. Nicolás’s Foreign minister and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, agreed on maintaining diplomatic relations, “at a moment when cooperation between both parts can facilitate the way for political dialogue,” says the communiqué. 
  • Cape Verde’s Supreme Court rejected for the second time the habeas corpus petition requested by the defense of Colombian citizen Alex Saab, who’s been called Nicolás’s middleman. He’s still in jail. Last night, President Jorge Carlos Fonseca said that the accusations against Saab are serious and that it’s a “delicate case”. 
  • The U.S. Department of Treasury revoked sanctions on several companies and oil tankers that cut ties with Maduro’s regime. 
  • American prosecutors are trying to confiscate four oil tankers sailing to Venezuela with Iranian gasoline. The claim alleges that the sale was handled by Mahmoud Madanipour, a businessman tied to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which has been classified as a terrorist organization. 
  • Venezuela had 211 new cases of COVID-19, 6,273 cases in total. There were three new deaths (two in Zulia and one in Yaracuy), 57 in total. In the world, there have been over 10.8 million cases and 520,605 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is still the epicenter, with over 2.7 million cases and 128,684 deaths. Brazil has had 1,496,858 cases and 61,884 deaths. Peru has had over 292,000 cases and Chile, 284.541. Colombia surpassed 102,261cases and  3,650 deaths.

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.