HIV, Tuberculosis and Coronavirus Plague Venezuelan Prisons

Many prisoners are also malnourished; There were protests in 12 states; Maduro says he's ready for Christmas—and he has "plans" to show

A grim outlook for business owners.

Photo: Fedecamaras

  • Delcy Rodríguez reported that there were 614 new coronavirus cases in the country and four deaths, which brings the total to 85,005 cases and 714 new deaths they’ve admitted to.
  • Nicolás reported that they’d present the graphs on flattening the curve on Thursday. This would justify a new special plan to strengthen the economy between November and December.
  • Venezuela received tests from the PAHO to increase diagnostic capabilities and accelerate detecting COVID-19 cases in the country. Director Ciro Ugarte said: “They’re already in Venezuela and they’ll allow decentralizing the tests, with 20 quick readers, ten of which don’t require electricity, which is an important obstacle in Venezuela.” 
  • Even though humanity is mourning the loss of a million lives from coronavirus in less than a year, the WHO published its annual report on a lesser known pandemic, but equally lethal: tuberculosis killed 1.4 million people in 2019, almost 4,000 per day, and infected 11 million. “Equal access to a diagnosis, prevention, treatment and quality and timely attention remain a challenge,” warned director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
  • NGO Ventana a la Libertad denounced that the cases of malnutrition and tuberculosis have increased in Venezuelan jails, amid the COVID-19 pandemic: the NGO counted 558 cases of prisoners with malnutrition, 183 with tuberculosis, 10 are HIV+ and authorities confirmed four prisoners have tested positive for coronavirus. 
  • On Wednesday, there were peaceful protests in 12 states, said NGO Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social. The protests for lack of gas, water, cooking gas, phone and internet service happened in Amazonas, Bolívar, Carabobo, Distrito Capital, Falcón, Lara, Miranda, Monagas, Sucre, Trujillo and Zulia.
  • The National Assembly asked workers of Petrozamora, affiliated to PDVSA, for information about the workers who were allegedly detained for reporting an oil leak in Maracaibo Lake. In a video on social media, workers show how the pressure that the leak at well EFBA12 generates. Deputy María Hernández, president of the AN’s Environmental Commission, also denounced that SEBIN officers detained the workers. 
  • A PDVSA truck flipped over and caught fire on the Caracas-La Guaira highway. Driver Ciro Molina died. Eudis Girot, executive director of the Oil Workers Federation expressed his condolences for Molina’s death and denounced the terrible conditions of trucks, something he has repeatedly condemned. 
  • Nicolás had another day of “productive Wednesdays,” in a country that keeps having power outages and terrible distribution of the little gas it gets from Iran. His best announcement was that the tourism sector, under the biosafety rules, is authorized to start operating again on December, 1st. He assured that they’ll take more measures to reactivate the economy because he wants to stimulate economic activity in the last ten weeks of 2020. He promised a recovery plan for all sectors involved: he offered eliminating import regimes on Christmas products and toys, resources for the “hallaca combo and pernil plan” (a plan for traditional Christmas dishes), that will be delivered through CLAP, issuing credits for small businesses and toy import companies, and promote fairs, with authorization of mayorships, in open spaces. 
  • The alternating quarantine and flexibilization scheme of the quarantine has done it, it has destroyed consumption in Venezuela. Consecomercio estimates a 65% decrease of internal consumption for the end of 2020. Felipe Capozzolo, president of the association, said: “The quarantine is making Venezuelans poorer. Small businesses won’t be able to survive. Only the largest businesses and those with the most resources will survive.” He agrees with many specialists on how the quarantine without a plan accelerates and worsens our already visible inequality. The need to change Nicolás’s plan would allow smaller businesses to keep operating, because the flexibilization weeks don’t represent more sales, let’s not even mention the obstacles in regions where they also have gas shortages, lack of electricity and because of it, it’s impossible to receive payments, in addition to the lack of cash. Business owners asked for changing the 7+7 plan for one that allows them to open every day and make special deals. 
  • By the way, Human Rights Watch director for the Americas, Miguel Vivanco, assured that Nicolás’s Anti-Blockade Law “is intended to give a facade of legality” to “capricious, authoritarian rules” that he has imposed on the country for years. 
  • “It’s time for our hemisphere to confront regimes that repress their people and defy the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, countries like Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday and announced that he’ll lead the delegation that will speak before the OAS virtual General Assembly session on October 20th and 21st. 
  • Reza Pahlavi, Iranian crown prince in exile, assured that his country’s regime plans on exporting their revolution to Venezuela: “They aren’t satisfied with having a revolution just for them. For the regime in Iran, Venezuelan would be a satellite,” he explained. He added that Hezbollah presence is already important in Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba. “They want to be where it makes the U.S. and Europe uncomfortable,” he said. 
  • Julio Borges talked to Czech Foreign minister Tomas Petricek about the serious human rights violations committed by Nicolás’s regime in Venezuela, documented by the Fact-Finding Mission’s report. Borgers said they discussed the urgency of moving forward, to bring those who are responsible for the violations to justice.

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.