More High Officials With COVID-19

The regime has admitted to 247 COVID-19 deaths, but everything points to a much higher figure; We’ve found more information about the oil spills in the states of Falcón, Yaracuy and Carabobo

Photo: Luis Acosta / AFP

  • On Wednesday, the OPEC reported that Venezuelan oil production remained at a historic low: 339,000 barrels per day. On Tuesday, we learned that PDVSA lost three of their tankers after China took control over them between January and March, after the collapse of a company where both nations were partners. Maybe in compensation for the lost tankers, Nicolás’s regime received support from China to delay payments with oil for an enormous debt the country has to Chinese banks, according to information by local sources who are familiar with the details of the negotiation. China allowed this new plan for more flexible payments because of a new phase of conversations between both governments, reported Reuters.
  • Even though Nicolás’s regime hasn’t even mentioned the oil spills and their impact on the ecosystem, the National Assembly opened an investigation to find the cause and the responsibility of the Falcón spill. The president of the Venezuelan Ecology Association, Virisa Morón, said that thanks to satellite images, they were able to conclude that around 20,000 barrels were spilled on Venezuelan coasts. 
  • On Wednesday, Nicolás’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez reported that there are 1,150 new cases of coronavirus, for a total of 29,088 cases they’ve admitted to. We broke the record of daily cases again. She also reported 9 deaths, which brings the total to 247, and she reported that the number of patients in ICU beds is 81. 
  • Nicolás’s Communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, said that he also tested positive for COVID-19. Vargas governor Jorge García Carneiro, too. Rodríguez, alongside his sister, is the spokesperson for the pandemic in Venezuela and he’s a doctor. By the way, no government official who has reported to have the virus is accused of being “a biological weapon” or a “bioterrorist,” as refugees and returning migrants are. They aren’t taken to sentinel hospitals, CDIs or hotels either. That’s how discrimination works.
  • According to NGO Una Ventana a la Libertad, there are at least 54 prisoners diagnosed with COVID-19 in the states of Lara, Miranda, Nueva Esparta, Táchira and Sucre.
  • The National Federation of Ranchers, Fedenaga, warned that there are over 120,000 production units in Venezuela that are negatively affected by the gas shortage, because there isn’t a plan for the sector: “If you still find beef and milk (…) it’s because the producer has made an enormous effort to keep them there,” said Armando Chacín, Fedenaga’s president, who thinks that the shortage isn’t tied to the pandemic, but to the lack of oil production and its derivatives. “It’s very serious, because Venezuela doesn’t have the best conditions to meet the demands of Venezuelan consumption,” he warned and added that farmers only produce 40% of the beef supply and a 30% of milk for the domestic market, but it’s now going to waste because they can’t deliver it to final consumers because of the lack of gas. Aquiles Hopkins, president of the Union of Agricultural Producers, Fedeagro, demanded priority attention, because “in order to produce food, farmers need gas and diesel fuel.” Meanwhile, the protests for gas get worse in the country. There were protests in Amazonas, Guárico, Bolívar, Portuguesa, Nueva Esparta and Lara yesterday.
  • The protests in the country keep going: in July, there were 649, most of them for lack of basic services, according to the last report by the Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social. There were 242 protests to demand cooking gas, 84 for running water, 37 for electricity and 88 for gas. In July, the regime also repressed 17 protests in eight states and killed two protesters. 
  • The National Assembly reported that the inflation for July was 55% and affected areas like public services and communications. The cumulative inflation from January to July is 843.44% and interannual (July 2019 – July 2020) is 4,099 %.
  • Economist Luis Oliveros said that according to AN calculations, hyperinflation will continue into at least July 2021, which will make it the second longest hyperinflation in history: 45 months (Nicaragua had 58 months). In November, it would be three years. The cost in lives, jobs, destroyed projects, pensions and devalued savings is incalculable. 
  • The National Institute of Civilian Aeronautics, INAC, reported that flights to and from Venezuela are suspended for one more month, until September 12th. 
  • Pope Francis met in the Vatican with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, to discuss Latin America, Venezuela and coronavirus, reported sources. No communiqués were released after the end of the meeting. 
  • Lawyer Baltasar Garzón, who represents Colombian citizen Alex Saab, assured that Saab has been in a cell without light for 23 hours a day and is forced to shower with a bucket, assuring his rights are being violated. He added the cell is always hot and that his client has lost 20 kilos in 54 days. Ironically, these things happened after they invented a Venezuelan passport and citizenship so Nicolás’s Foreign Ministry could rush to his defense. 
  • The U.S. Office for Venezuela, headed by James Story, condemned the lack of access to justice in the country and asked for support for political prisoners, kidnapped by Nicolás’s regime. Story rejected the increase of opacity in the Venezuelan justice system and actions that undermine the principles of presumption of innocence and access to defense, imposing delays in the proces, inhuman and degrading treatment. He called the system “corrupt and arbitrary”. 
  • There have been over 20.5 million COVID-19 cases and 747,845 deaths of coronavirus in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Wednesday, we surpassed the 402,000 deaths in America, the current epicenter of the pandemic. The countries with the highest death tolls are: the United States (165,934), Brazil (104,201) and Mexico (54,666). Six other countries have had more than 5,000 deaths and five other countries have had more than 1,000. The most affected countries are: the U.S. (5.18 million), Brazil (3.16 million), Mexico (498,400), Peru (489,680), Colombia (410,453) and Chile (378,168). Last night, Argentinian president Alberto Fernández announced that his country will start producing a coronavirus vaccine. The job is in the hands of British company AstraZeneca, that is developing the drug investigated at Oxford University. 
  • Last night, new electricity failures were reported in the country, severe enough to leave several municipalities in the dark. There are many states under serious rationing schemes, not planned of course, but in addition, the entire country knows the precedent because of those days in 2019 that we all spent in the dark… Darkness that some states never left behind, like Zulia.

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.