Photo: AP; Fernando Llano

20,000 Coronavirus Cases in Venezuela So Far

There were almost 900 new cases on Saturday and doctors and health workers have started dying without proper protection gear; 27 political parties are opposing the regime’s parliamentary elections of this December

  • On Sunday, 27 opposition parties agreed not to participate in the elections of December 6th, for considering them a fraud that doesn’t guarantee a fair electoral process. In a communiqué, these political organizations affirm that they have exhausted all efforts to solve the conflict and after summarizing the events that show chavismo’s abuse of power and lack of independent branches of power, they explain that the regime was the one to shut down the electoral path. They call on all sectors to build a “new democratic offense for saving Venezuela,” decrying abstention: “We’re democrats, and we believe in national unity: that’s why we decided to not collaborate with the dictatorship’s strategy.” Caretaker president Juan Guaidó backed the decision adopted by 27 opposition parties: “The democratic unity rejects this fake election, now we must mobilize this majority that wants to live with dignity.” 
  • Over the weekend, 1,632 new cases of COVID-19 were registered in Venezuela. On Saturday, we broke (for the third time last week) the record of daily cases with 869 cases, and on Sunday we reached 20,206 cases the state has admitted to, as reported by Delcy Rodríguez. However, Rodríguez assured that only 8,628 cases are active and the rest, 56%, have already recovered. On Sunday, she reported five deaths, for a total of 174. It’s incoherent that with less than 10,000 “active cases” and over 20,000 available beds, as she assured us in March, several health centers have declared they have collapsed. There are contradictions or lies. 
  • Caracas, with 212 cases, keeps leading the number of local contagions. The states of Miranda (152), Zulia (96), Vargas (76) and Bolívar (25) follow. In July, over 25 health workers died of coronavirus, mostly doctors (19), with 12 of those 19 passing in Zulia. On Saturday, the first deaths of the month of August happened in Zulia: pediatric gastroenterologist Alonso Adrianza and neurosurgeon Cipriano Brito; doctor Héctor Millán died on Sunday. Johnny Acuña, Environment director of the San Francisco municipality and husband of the director of the Maracaibo University Hospital’s, also passed. 
  • Despite the figures, Nicolás pretended to be “empathic” to the general feeling of exhaustion for the quarantine and said that on Monday, August 10th, it will be flexibilized in the country, even though the first flexibilization plans increased the cases by 30%. He assured that the plans 7×7 and three levels of flexibilization have been “pretty successful”. He also said that Caracas “is full of coronavirus, it isn’t easy. There are 3,354 community cases in the capital, almost three times more than the state with the second highest number of cases. There are 1,362 cases in Miranda.” This figure of admitted cases in Caracas is barely 0.1% of its population. If that means it’s full of coronavirus, it appears he isn’t ready for the evolution of the pandemic. As a silver lining to a long string of falsehoods, he said: “I made the decision of asymptomatic patients being sent to CDIs and health centers,” in a country where doctors lack personal protection gear or steady supply of basic utilities to care for patients. He assured that in other countries “nobody gets medical attention” and in order to disregard the seriousness of the contagion rate, he talked about the TV show he’s watching and signed off telling citizens to “be careful.” 
  • Roberto Marrero has been in jail for 500 days in El Helicoide, just because he’s an executive assistant of Juan Guaidó’s office. His lawyer, Joel García, said that the Prosecutor’s Office hasn’t been able to describe the circumstances of the crime he’s accused of. He also remembered the statement of former SEBIN chief, Cristopher Figuera, who assured that Nicolás ordered him to plant fake evidence, weapons and explosives on Marrero, who was granted precautionary measures by the IACHR. 
  • There was another femicide in Caracas on Friday: Edward Chacón murdered Karla Ríos, months after they had ended their relationship. Both restraining orders that the police issued didn’t stop the murderer, who’s now a fugitive. A video of Chacón threatening to kill himself went viral on social media. The figures and stories about femicide gathered by CEPAZ prove that this crime is more common every day, without any public policies to deal with it. 
  • “During the pandemic, Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship has only answered with repression,” said deputy Delsa Solórzano, when she published a video where an officer takes children’s bicycles for not abiding by the measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. More than repression, that’s robbery. 
  • On Sunday, there was an oil spill on the coast of Eastern Falcón, in the Boca de Aroa and Tucacas area. It’s a 4 km oil slick. 
  • The defense of Colombian citizen Álex Saab is costing around 65 million dollars, assured Miguel Ángel Martín, head of TSJ in exile in an interview with El Tiempo, a Colombian newspaper. He assures in the interview that the money comes directly from the Venezuelan State, making it a serious act of embezzlement. But the truth is, there’s no certainty as to how much former judge Baltasar Garzón is charging, or how much they’re making or who’s paying the rest of Saab’s legal team. However, his defense team just went through another setback: Cape Verdean Constitutional Court issued a statement on Saturday regarding the new petition for his  legal protection and release and it wasn’t favorable. The court expressed that the defense submitted the petition way ahead of time, because it’s a last resort procedure.  This is the fourth setback for Saab and his attempts to be released from jail. 
  • The Venezuelan Embassy in the U.S. reported that from September 2019 to July 2020, they have achieved the release of 817 Venezuelan migrants detained in the country. There are still 328 detained Venezuelan citizens in the U.S. 
  • Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. joined the long list of creditors that demands a ruling against Venezuela: a Mississippi court issued a ruling against the current Defense Ministry that owes 138 million dollars to the contractor for repairs on two Navy ships. Huntington Ingalls registered the ruling before the Delaware federal court and requested that the case be assigned to the judge who’s overseeing the Crystallex trial. 
  • Even though there are no infectologists or epidemiologists coordinating chavismo’s efforts to fight the pandemic, it’s impossible to deny that admitting asymptomatic patients is a mistake that contradicts WHO and PAHO recommendations. Which makes it even worse, is that they do it by force. This policy will only stop citizens from reporting their symptoms on time and they will try to get medical attention when the symptoms are serious. All patients who have managed to post videos online show the terrible conditions under which they’ve been quarantined: a financially broke state that is and will remain unable to provide appropriate care. This pandemic worses the preexisting conditions. Our hospitals had collapsed for political reasons before any sanctions were imposed. In 20 years in power, they didn’t improve the public health system, on the contrary, they even stole supply of running water to hospitals and today, amid a crisis, they keep spending money in PSUV priorities, violating the right to life.

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.