Criminalizing Doctors and Patients

The regime’s answers to the pandemic are absurd and counterproductive, including a denial of reality and repression of those who point out obvious facts

Photo: El poliedro; Caracas del Valle al Mar

  • Nicolás’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, reported 418 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, for a total of 10,428 cases they’ve admitted to. Zulia, the Capital District, Miranda, Sucre and Monagas are the states with the most cases. She also reported four new deaths, for a total of 100 COVID-19 deaths. Earlier, Nicolás said that he’d use the Poliedro’s parking lot (a somewhat big concert venue on the outskirts of Caracas) to provide medical attention and hospitalize infected patients. He explained that all patients must be hospitalized, including those who don’t have symptoms, which is absurd. On the other hand, the Doctors’ Collegiate of Zulia reported the death of neurologist Ramón Galué Arévalo, a doctor at the Maracaibo Military Hospital. In total, 10 doctors have died in Zulia because of COVID-19. In addition, there are complaints from medical personnel at the Central Hospital in San Cristóbal, Táchira state: they’ve been threatened with FAES visits and legal action if they refuse to work, even though they don’t have personal protection gear. Governor Laidy Gómez denounced the lack of supplies and rapid response test kits and asked the Health Ministry to send supplies. 
  • Now we have a “Productive Wednesday” (!) segment on Nicolás’s show, after seven years of recession, two years of hyperinflation and four months of quarantine. He dared say that during the first semester of the year, animal production had increased 25%, and the same went for “distribution of animal protein and vegetable production.” Unbelievable. And he ordered a restart to the AgroVenezuela great mission, after the sowing season, and fine tune the details that can push and strengthen sovereign production. He said that there are people who are devoted to “destroying CLAP” and insulted them, as usual. 
  • Crónica Uno’s photo coordinator, Gleybert Asencio, and motorbike messengers Ronald Montaño and Yonathan Torres, were detained today while they covered COVID-19 patients being taken from La Palmera Hotel in Los Caobos. They were accused of faking testimonies (?). Marco Ruiz, from the National Press Syndicate, reported that captain Luis Vargas Vizcarrondo announced that covering isolation centers is forbidden. In the end, the Crónica Uno’s team was released, but the hostility from the National Guards is still there, and they’re trying to stop the media from showing what’s happening. 
  • The IACHR condemned the detention of political scientist Nicmer Evans and expressed their concern for the circumstance, criticizing the Anti-Hate Law, which “contemplates vague and ambiguous charges and criminalizes politics in detriment of freedom of expression.” 
  • Lawyer Lilia Camejo reported that detained military officers haven’t been allowed family visits in four months, because they’ve been under extreme confinement. She said the measure is arbitrary and warned about its psychological damage, a violation of human rights. Camejo emphasized that some of these men are in delicate health conditions and they require urgent medical attention. 
  • CEPAL reported that the pandemic will make the regional GDP contract by a historic figure, 9.1% in 2020, and it will increase the unemployment rate by 13.5%. The Venezuelan economy will be the most affected, 26% contraction. It’s the worst registered economic contraction and it will take the GDP per capita in the region as it was in 2010.  Labor indexes will also deteriorate considerably: the unemployment rate will increase by 18 million more people than last year and reach 44.1 million people, a figure significantly larger than those observed in the international financial crisis a decade ago. CEPAL projects that the world poverty rate will increase by 37.3%, with which the number of people affected will go from 185.5 million in 2019 to 230.9 million in 2020; Latin America is considered the world’s most unequal region and has had 3.5 million coronavirus cases and 150,000 deaths. Brazil has had 2 million infections. Peru, Chile and Mexico have had almost 3 million cases. Those four countries are in the top ten most infected nations on the planet. 
  • The Delaware court accepted today a document presented by Jorge Rodríguez Moreno, a member of Henri Falcón and Avanzada Progresista’s team, who requested former special attorney general José Ignacio Hernández and ambassador Carlos Vecchio be ordered to show “their communications pertinent to the relations with Crystallex”. They also asked the DOJ to update information on the investigation about “possible violations to the Law Against Corrupt Practices Abroad by Hernández and Crystallex.”
  • The Prime Minister of Cape Verde, Ulisses Correia e Silva, said they’re ready to present his government’s actions regarding the case of Colombian citizen Álex Saab, if they’re called to international organizations. Journalist Nelson Bocaranda reported that Saab underwent a “complete medical exam” to corroborate his health before being handed over to the U.S.; Bocaranda added that after they finish the exam, they’ll “decide when the trip will take place” but Saab can appeal, a process his defense already mentioned. Yesterday afternoon, Cape Verdean TV station TCV broadcasted a video of Saab walking inside a court. 
  • Thanks to her relevant trajectory as CNE director, which apparently stimulated her pedagogy and research skills, Sandra Oblitas was appointed dean of the Universidad Bolivariana. There are no elections for the authorities of the Universidad Bolivariana.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized the importance of the international community continuing to pressure Nicolás “until the Venezuelan people regain their freedom.” He said that the UN has found “more devastating evidence of severe violations of human rights by Maduro’s regime, citing over 1,300 extrajudicial executions for political reasons in 2020 only.” Nicolás’s Foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, assured that Pompeo has the wrong information regarding human rights in the country. 
  • Admiral Craig Faller, commander of the U.S. Southern Command assured that they are still working on the assignment against drug trafficking routes coming from Venezuela, focusing on international criminal organizations and he’s sure they have ties with Nicolás’s regime. Faller thanked the cooperation of Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize.
  • The OFAC issued a new amendment to the Executive Order on the PDVSA 2020 bonds, forbidding current bond holders to act before October 20th against CITGO. It’s the fourth modification on that license dated October 2019. 
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s report states that the independence of the Venezuelan judicial system has been undermined, and that human rights violations persist. The report also states that “human rights violations victims face great obstacles to access justice.” She called on Venezuela to establish an independent and impartial process to appoint judges and prosecutors through a transparent, public process. She also requested “timely, exhaustive, independent, impartial and transparent” investigations about “violations of human rights that will take the perpetrators to justice.” Nicolás’s ambassador, Jorge Valero, rejected the report but the international community supported it: Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Georgia and the Czech Republic. There were also interventions by representatives of Colombia, Peru and Argentina. Nada al-Nashif, the second authority of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented the results of their investigation at the Orinoco Mining Arc. It’s unflattering and it will allow other countries to back their pressure against chavismo.

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.