Photo: VesselFinder

The Iranian Gas Was Seized

Dario Vivas, head of government for Caracas, died of COVID-19 in a private hospital on Thursday; Another doctor and a nurse also died; The U.S. confiscated gas from four Iranian ships heading for Venezuela

  • Nicolás’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, reported on Twitter that there were 1,281 cases of coronavirus on Thursday, which makes the total 30,369 cases they’ve admitted to. August has had ten days with the highest number of cases, yesterday being the fourth in a row. Rodríguez also said there were 12 deaths, again, the highest number reported in a day, for a total of 259 deaths they’ve admitted to. According to her,  21,385 patients (70%) have recovered. It’s a cuestionable figure. If we don’t include 259 deaths, there’d be 8,725 active cases (half of which are asymptomatic, according to chavismo), but only in August there have been 11,795 new cases. 3,070 people who were infected in August already recovered? How’s that possible if 13 days that had gone by in this month doesn’t meet the criteria established in the protocol? It’s one thing that they aren’t tracking the cases or that there aren’t enough PCR tests, but it’s absurd to be saying certain things without confirming them first. 
  • The head of government for Caracas, Darío Vivas, died of COVID-19 yesterday, three weeks after he confirmed he had it. Vivas, 70, was sanctioned by Canada and the U.S., and it’s the first high ranking government official to die from coronavirus. He died in a private hospital, not a public health center. The opacity of chavismo regarding the epidemic includes the evolution of severe cases, as Vivas’s probably was. 
  • Dr. Gracialis Rangel in Anzoátegui state, and nurse Juan Carlos Feria in Zulia state, also died of COVID-19. 
  • The state has proceeded prosecuting 15 citizens who admitted their involvement in Macuto beaches (Operation Gedeón), as reported by Tarek William Saab, the prosecutor general imposed by the ANC. 
  • Venezuelan oil exports are facing increasing delays for the excess of water and residue in the shipments, according to documents that Reuters obtained. PDVSA has been forced to offer discounts in their prices, because the problems in quality have gotten worse, since most of the oil exported has been taken from inventory that had been accumulating for months in PDVSA storage tanks. 
  • There were protests against gas shortages in eight states: Anzoátegui, Bolívar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Lara, Monagas, Nueva Esparta and Portuguesa. Mind you, there are no operative oil platforms or drills in Venezuela, yesterday the El Palito refinery stopped producing gas once more, after they had to close their catalytic cracker because a valve isn’t working. 
  • Eudis Girot, director of the Venezuelan Oil Workers Federation, denounced three causes of the spill at El Palito: 1) The overflowing of the waste pond, which contains fuelthe rains made it overflow because of lack of maintenance; 2) corrupt management, “because they stole the money for maintenance of the plant,” and; 3) the inadequate sanitation job done by the company Evergreen.
  • Wayuu children are at risk of malnutrition and death because of the pandemic and the isolation measures to fight it, said Human Rights Watch and Johns Hopkins Humanitarian Health Center in a report published on Thursday. They said that indigenous communities don’t have access to enough food or water to practice basic hygiene. 
  • Last night, a call was made on twitter for the release of Luis Martínez Daza, a political prisoner who finished his chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer 15 days before he was detained in 2019. A surgeon at SEBIN found new nodules in his rectum. Foro Penal said that “Daza is in jail because the authorities are searching for his brother, who’s accused of rebellion, instigating rebellion and stealing FANB property. Luis is innocent.” For the rest of the story, check this hashtag: #LiberenAMartinezDaza
  • They won’t do it, and won’t allow people to do it: environmentalists denounced that The National Institute of National Parks, Inparques, forbade NGOs from participating in the clean up and evaluation of damages caused by the oil spill in Falcón. The Caribe Sur Foundation decried how they weren’t allowed to help.
  • U.S. federal authorities confiscated a shipment of Iranian gas that was on its way to Venezuela, because its sale can be used to finance terrorist groups. Four tankers,  Luna, Pandi, Bering and Bella, were intercepted recently and are now on their way to Houston, Texas. It’s the first time that Trump’s government manages to seize Iranian gas, a bold move to asphyxiate the income (and goods) helping Venezuela and Iran.  Hojat Soltani, Iranian ambassador to Venezuela, copypasted Nicolás’s Foreing minister’s tweet, about the shipment: “The ships aren’t Iranian, nor do the owner or flags have anything to do with Iran.” The tankers sailed under a Liberian flag, but their contents, which is certainly Iranian, was confiscated. 
  • Admiral Craig Faller, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, said that Nicolás remains in power because of his policy against human rights and security, choosing illegal activities. He said that they’re working to “alter Nicolás’s gravity center” and emphasized the role of Russia and Cuba in the regime’s stability. 
  • U.S National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said that he’ll travel on Monday to Panama and Colombia, in order to discuss the growing number of planes loaded with drugs coming from Venezuela to Central America. 
  • James Story revealed that he proposed to Nicolás’s Foreign minister the payments of moving Venezuelans stranded in the U.S. and the American citizens who are stranded in Venezuela. The regime “didn’t want to start the process that would benefit Venezuelans and Americans,” he said. If they’re stranded, it’s because of a political decision. 
  • EU Foreign ministers will meet on Friday to tackle a complex agenda that includes us: state violence in Bielorrusia, against which they’re considering sanctions, the situation in Lebanon after the explosion and the situation in Venezuela, after they confirmed that the minimum conditions aren’t met to send an electoral observation mission. 
  • Wash your hands. Use a facemask. Keep your distance. And if you can: stay home.

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.