The Hardest Part Is Yet to Come

The hardest part of the pandemic in Venezuela is yet to come, and experts say we should prepare for a rougher emergency. The regime takes advantage of the moment to practice its usual cruelty

Photo: Palacio de las Academias; TáchiraNoticias

  • Delcy Rodríguez, Nicolás’s vice president, reported 701 new cases of coronavirus, a new daily record, for a total of 17,859 cases they’ve admitted to. The states with the most cases are: Caracas (332), Vargas (66), Miranda (65), and Zulia (44). Rodríguez also reported four new deaths, for a total of 158 deaths they’ve admitted to. On the other hand, Nicolás announced that he’ll open the Poliedro on Friday, with 1,2000 beds for patients who are asymptomatic or present mild symptoms. He also announced that they’ll use vertical gyms and missions’ headquarters for other patients. Libertador Mayor Erika Farías, in Caracas, reported that there are 66 hotels available for patients and returning migrants. 
  • Infectologist Julio Castro reported that Venezuela is the country that least modified its mobilization patterns ever since the pandemic started. He said that the more mobility, the more likely the virus is to spread. He also considers that this data shows that the quarantine and the 7×7 strategies haven’t been effective. 
  • Venezuela should be prepared for a mortuary emergency in case the pandemic gets worse, warned Susana Raffalli, a nutritionist specialized in humanitarian emergency management. She insisted on the Venezuelan state providing information so people know how to care for a patient at home or what to do with a body: “We have to learn how to live with this. We have to know a worse phase is coming. We’ll support any effort by any delegation that pushes this process for the country,” she said. 
  • A terrifying video from Torbes municipality in Táchire went viral on social media, where they’re punishing people who don’t wear facemasks with forced labor and humiliation. Humiliation is a violation of human rights, not a teaching method. 
  • The Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences Academy, which was threatened with prison a few months ago, proposed several guidelines to handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Venezuela: 1) Developing a communication strategy for prevention that teaches how to stop the spread and explains the risks associated with the virus, with transparency. They also suggest a process of sanitary education of the population; 2) Increasing the diagnostic capabilities and decentralizing it, to allow running from 8,000 to 10,000 PCR tests daily and guarantee results in three days at the most; 3) Incorporating around 6,000 sanitary tracking devices to detect and follow up contact; 4) Isolating asymptomatic patients at home, not in concentration camps, hotels, Poliedro, vertical gyms, hospitals… at home! The patient should choose the center for isolation and it shouldn’t be mandatory because mandatory confinement violates human rights and promotes the evasion of diagnosis by patients themselves;  5) Supplying and guaranteeing a functioning health system, private and public, and trained health personnel with personal protection gear; 6) A team of experts to design public policy for minimizing the impact of the pandemic on the population, and flexibilizing the quarantine with transparent criteria, including a system of epidemic surveillance and preemptive measures. Hopefully they’ll listen instead of threaten them. 
  • “I don’t want to be a candidate for deputy. You know very well what we want: you out of power,” replied Henrique Capriles to Nicolás, who challenged him to run for deputy on Wednesday in a mandatory TV and radio broadcast. He assured Nicolás wouldn’t stand one single round in a democracy. He also presented his agenda and talked about what should be discussed. “What is December 6th good for? (…) I don’t know if that’s the day of civil rebellion in our country. The opposition has to play its cards right. The opposition must come back with strength to advance towards this goal that is political change,” he said. Capriles criticized the caretaker government and said that we have to shake the board. Without naming Guaidó, he said: “That’s over. We have to rebuild, untie the game, think about the majority of the country, see how they can express their opinion.” He added that the opposition is destroyed and it’s at its worst moment in 21 years. 
  • Fedenaga president Armando Chacín talked about the gas crisis, which is severe again in the entire country. He denounced the serious crisis of cooking gas distribution.
  • The National Assembly announced the creation of a new human rights observatory that will have the mission of controlling, documenting and tracking violations in the country. 
  • Yesterday, Nicolás’s regime used state media to promote Iranian supermarket Megasis, which took over the spaces expropriated from Éxito and Cada. “The sanctioned countries can complement each other,” said the Iranian Economy vice minister. They celebrated “women’s favorite area” with “all kinds of plastic containers to keep food.” Chavismo hasn’t been able to put their favorite products on their shelves: Polar products. 
  • Former New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson, celebrated last night that Gustavo Cárdenas and Jorge Toledo, two executives of “The CITGO 6” are out of jail and were granted house arrest. Richardson thanked Nicolás and minister Jorge Rodríguez “for their act of good faith and for participating in productive dialogue on American prisoners.” 
  • U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo reiterated that neither Washington nor President Trump would negotiate with Nicolás’s regime: “The policy is not negotiating anything other than their exit,” he said. 
  • One of the lawyers in Colombian citizen Alex Saab’s defense team, says that the case could last from six to nine months, and compared Saab’s case to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s. “The fact that Saab has money, doesn’t mean that he obtained it illegally (…) There’s no evidence that Saab made money with illegal activities, those are political allegations,” he added. 
  • OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said that chavismo-madurismo used the term “revolution” to install a dictatorship that destroyed the country: “The negative impact of Venezuelan and Cuban dictatorships in the hemisphere are immense, because they destabilize democratic political systems with induced polarizations.” 
  • Reactivating Latin American economies will only be possible if the contagion curve is flattened, said CEPAL and PAHO in a joint report. The document proposes that health, economy, social and productive policies are implemented in a convergent and interrelated manner, always prioritizing health. 
  • Alicia Bárcena, CEPAL’s executive secretary. assured that there’s “no dilemma between economy and health, health is always first,” and added that countries should invest in public health until they reach at least 6% of their GDP, with a special emphasis in primary health care. “Full economic activity can’t start again until we have the virus under control and a low contagion rate,” said PAHO’s director, Carissa F. Etienne. Latin America is the epicenter of the pandemic, with over 4.5 million cases and almost 190,000 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.