The Diplomatic Tension Between Venezuela and Spain Grows

Venezuela's national budget for 2021 was presented—in an unlawful manner; PDVSA estimates inflation will accelerate by 174,676% by December 2021; The International Socialist Organization calls the Maduro regime “authoritarian”

Leopoldo Lopez's escape continues to cause friction.

Photo: La Vanguardia

  • Vice president and Economy minister Delcy Rodríguez presented the budget for 2021 before the National Constituent Assembly, violating the Constitution for the sixth year in a rowthe Constitution establishes this must be done before the National Assembly. According to her, 76% of our funds will be destined to “public expenses” and the Anti-Blockade Law will allow new income in, even though Nicolás admitted that the oil revenue dropped by 90% compared to 2014. Rodríguez repeated that oil production decreased because of the sanctions; the budget for 2021 is 3,972 billion bolivars and the budget for health, science, technology, communal investment, social security and education increased. It’s considerably lower than this year’s budget, considering devaluation and inflation. There were no details: no accuracy on the figures of income, so for the fifth year in a row there was opacity and no comptrollership. In that same session, Calixto Ortega (president of the Central Bank) reported that the ANC will keep control over the reserves and that the regime will have access to the thousand million dollars at the Bank of England. The ANC of course approved the Budget Law for the Economic and Financial Exercise  for 2021, but without legitimacy or accountability, it’s impossible to abide by them. 
  • PDVSA expects a price of $35 for the oil barrel next year, way below the $60 per barrel this year, said Reuters. This drop responds to the decrease of price of oil because of the pandemic and the halt of economic activity. Several kinds of oil like Merey are projected, along with some refined products. In the document revised by Reuters, PDVSA estimated the inflation will accelerate and estimated that inflation will reach (hold on to something, please!) 174,676% in December 2021. The estimate is well over what we had this year. In the 2021 budget, PDVSA repeats the revision of expenses and proposes the suspension of car rentals, and the reduction of phone, water and electricity use, consciously using resources like paper, among other things. 
  • On Tuesday, October 27th, there was an explosion in the distilling unit of the Amuay refinery that caused major damages. A union worker talked to Argus, and confirmed that the cause of the accident could have been a water leak that caused a vapor explosion and blamed PDVSA of skipping safety protocols in their push to obtain gas. On Wednesday, Nicolás said: “They attacked with a powerful weapon. We’re investigating to see what kind of weapon (…) they wanted to cause a total explosion.” On Thursday, Oil minister Tareck El Aissami said that they were attacked with a missile probably launched from a drone or boat. Nicolás said Iván Duque, Álvaro Uribe Vélez  and “U.S.intelligence” were responsible and that it came from “an invisible drone.” We don’t get it, the regime has bragged for years about having “the most modern system against air strikes in the world.”
  • ANC-imposed general prosecutor Tarek William Saab said yesterday that journalist Roland Carreño is the main financial operative of Voluntad Popular, a political party he accused of being a “violent group, unscrupulous to fund operations like Gedeón.” The TSJ accused the journalist of coordinating and financing logistics for Leopoldo López’s escape.
  • Saab said that among the documents confiscated from Carreño there’s one explaining the distribution of 8.5 million dollars from CITGO’s  Simón Bolívar Foundation among four political parties. He said that the parties keep the documents and proof of their alleged corruption scheme. He didn’t show any of them. 
  • José Ignacio Hernández, former Attorney General of the caretaker government, denounced that officers of the regime raided his home in Venezuela once more. The thing is, there was a first raid in June and the regime had changed the locks and kept control of the house. “They’re raiding a house that’s already controlled by Maduro’s government,” said Hernández.
  • Nicolás accused the Spanish government of being the key player in a conspiracy plan by Leopoldo López to murder him and create chaos in Venezuela. He insists on the magnicide he started making up since López became a guest at the Spanish Embassy. 
  • Cristina Gallach, State secretary for Foreign Affairs for Ibero-America, announced that Spain won’t appoint an ambassador to replace Jesús Silva Fernández. A chargé d’affaires will be appointed, since the elections of 2018 weren’t fair or transparent. 
  • Spain sent a formal protest about Nicolás’s tweet, where he insulted Jesús Silva, who is still the Spanish Ambassador. 
  • The Central Independent Union of Workers warned about the situation of vulnerability experienced by the personnel at the Spanish Embassy and asked the Foreign Ministry to issue diplomatic passports.
  • The Prosecutor’s Office in Madrid asked for a dismissal of the case on Delcy’s stop by Barajas Airport on January, 20th, because this sanctioned woman didn’t “express her intent or action” to enter Spain. 
  • Representatives of the Bolivian interim government and political party MAS started the process to hand power in that nation to Luis Arce. One of the decisions is not inviting Evo Morales or Maduro to the event.  
  • The U.S. government reported that it will use 40 million dollars worth of confiscated Iranian gas to help victims of terrorism.
  • The International Socialist Organization issued a communiqué where they acknowledge our mass, forced migration due to the economic and institutional crises: “The catastrophic political, financial and social situation in Venezuela has forced millions of citizens to flee the country under inhuman conditions (…) Power has been kidnapped by Nicolás Maduro’s authoritarian regime and it must be given back to the people, but there are no conditions for free and fair elections. The parliamentary elections scheduled for December don’t have credibility.”

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.