Yucca and Sardines

That's what workers from the formerly great oil industry eat every day; Pensioners protesting for their lousy pensions are furiously repressed—An odd socialism indeed

Photo: Amwal al Ghad

  • Amid a coronavirus pandemic, senior citizens protested on Thursday for the pensions they receive from the Venezuelan state. They were repressed by PNB and GNB officers and colectivos (chavista paramilitaries). 
  • According to deputy Richard Blanco, the repression was an order by Leonardo Malaguera Hernández, known for abuses against citizens and journalists. They took journalist Carlos Julio Rojas, who coordinates the Defense Front of Northern Caracas and Juan Ovalles, president of the Retiree Association of the Caracas Metro. They were released at 8:00 p.m. but we didn’t know where they were held for the nine hours they were detained. Journalist Esteninf Olivarez was also attacked when she tried to stop them from taking her cameramen. There were protests in other states of the country, like Lara and Aragua. 
  • TSJ seized political party Movimiento Republicano and ordered the appointment of an ad hoc board. Through sentence 019, they declared Manuel Rivas y Heriberto Cárdenas’s petition valid, for the alleged violation of party members’ collective civil rights. TSJ ordered that Manuel Rivas become the secretary general.
  • The CNE imposed by the TSJ reported that the members of subalternate organisms of the National Electoral Junta were elected yesterday with the help of Nicolás’s prêt-à-porter opposition representatives. Nicolás and chavismo are the only ones “valid to participate” in elections this December. 
  • Oil workers still protest to demand the payment of a $150 bonus and restitution of their benefits: “You are no workers’ president. The 300,000 bolivars we make per week aren’t enough to buy one chicken. We have to eat sardines and yucca almost every day. On Tuesday 21st, El Palito refinery was reactivated and on Thursday had to be shut down again for several leaks in the cracking and distillation towers, terrible news for the oil production industry,” said the workers. They were expected to produce 20,000 barrels per day. El Palito has the capacity to produce 140,000 bpd. 
  • On Thursday, 449 new COVID-19 cases (new record of daily cases) and 5 deaths were reported in Venezuela, for a total of 13,613, said Nicolás’s vice president Delcy Rodríguez. Out of the new cases, 438 are “local contagions” and the states hit the hardest are the Capital District (180), Miranda (90) and Bolívar (79). Yesterday was also the day with the highest death toll, for a total of 129. 
  • Sucre’s Health Department reported the death of epidemiologist Jesús Azuaje, who worked at the Cumaná Hospital. Deputy José Manuel Olivares said Azuaje endured a hard battle against COVID-19. 
  • The governors of Yaracuy and Miranda reported they have coronavirus and Nicolás’s Oil minister, Tareck El Aissami, said that he “recovered with 72 hours of rest”. 
  • The president of Caracas’ Nurses Collegiate Ana Rosario Contreras assured that two units for COVID-19 patients could be inaugurated this weekend at the Vargas and Luis Razzetti hospitals. She added that there aren’t enough health workers to care for patients in the Caracas Poliedro, with a 60% nurse deficit. 
  • The PNUD joined other institutions in proposing a temporary basic income during the pandemic, so the population can stay home and stop the spread of coronavirus. Between 378 and 521 million Latin Americans could benefit from this measure. “It’s an unprecedented health crisis like we haven’t seen in decades, but it’s also a governance crisis, because it has tested the system’s capacity to respond in health, education and economy,” said PNUD director Luis Felipe López-Calva. 
  • “Does Venezuela have any element to assure it’s a democracy? Because we’d have trouble mentioning one (…) there’s no separation of powers, no free elections, human rights are violated, there’s torture and prison time without a trial,” said Uruguayan president Luis Lacalle Pou. Nicolás’s Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said that Lacalle Pou “is using ideology for his foreign policy” (!) 
  • The U.S. Treasury Department issued sanctions against Santiago and Ricardo Morón Hernández, for “supporting Nicolás Ernesto Maduro Guerra and corrupt activities by members of his father’s illegitimate regime.” The Treasury Department considers Nicolasito and the Morón Hernández siblings as “central figures in the Venezuelan oil industry.” 
  • Carlos Vecchio denounced that during the first half of 2020, Nicolás’s regime sent 348 million dollars in our best oil, the Merey, with 33 tankers loaded with over 13 million barrels. 
  • Alex Saab’s defense presented a request against his extradition before the Cape Verde Supreme Justice Tribunal, said his lawyer José Pinto Monteiro. When she addressed the case yesterday, Cape Verdean Justice minister Janine Lélis, ratified the government’s duty to cooperate in drug trafficking and money laundering crimes: “We have a rule of law and Cape Verde is known for being a democracy, with independent courts.” 
  • There have been over 15.4 million cases and over 631,874 deaths in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has had over 4 million confirmed cases and  144,223 deaths. In Latin America, there have been over 4 million cases and over 170,000 deaths, and that number may be higher because of under registration of cases. “The curve is accelerating because the virus is affecting people in the poorest and most overpopulated countries,” said George Gray, PNUD’s chief of strategic policy.  Brazil has had over 2.2 million cases and 84,082 deaths. Mexico has had 370,712 cases and 41,908 deaths; Peru has had 371,096 cases and 17,654 deaths and Colombia has had 218,418 cases and 7,373 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.