Photo: Twitter, via @DrKeithRowley

Prime Minister Keith Rowley Had to Apologize

More bodies of victims of the shipwreck on the coast of Güiria have appeared; Trinidad and Tobago had to apologize for a fake narrative; Venezuelans eat half as much meat as they used to ten years ago

  • On Wednesday night, Rocío San Miguel, director of NGO Control Ciudadano, said that more bodies of the Güiria shipwreck have been found: “On Wednesday night, two more bodies were found in Irapa, for a total of 25 victims.” The Foreign Ministry reported in the morning that there were 23 victims. Out of them, 21 are identified: nine men, nine women and five children. Other than detaining the owner of the boat, Luis Martínez (who’s being accused of drug and human trafficking), they arrested the owner of the farm from where the boat sailed. Minister Carmen Meléndez mentioned human trafficking for the first time in her statement and added that they’re also investigating “the involvement of spokespeople from the Venezuelan extremes in generating fear and have used this tragedy of as a media tool with evil ends.” It’s evil that more bodies keep appearing and chavismo doesn’t complain to Trinidad and Tobago. It’s evil how they threaten journalists and human rights defenders. Journalist Ariana Agreda reported that Güiria inhabitants protested because they have stopped the rescue operations and denounced that pathologists want to leave the town. 
  • Trinidadian Prime Minister Keith Rowley had to apologize for the statement he made of a “fake narrative,” referring to Venezuelans who died after reaching Trinidad and Tobago,  getting rejected and also picking up more people, resulting in the tragedy we know about. Today, the case started being debated at the OAS Permanent Council. David Smolansky demanded an impartial investigation and regretted Nicaragua’s resistance in discussing the shipwreck. Trinidad and Tobago’s representative said that they haven’t violated human rights of Venezuelans migrants and that they have protected the rights of many Venezuelans who have arrived on the island. You should read the work by Amnesty International’s investigator for the Caribbean, Louise Tillotson, accusing Trinidad and Tobago of not questioning human rights violations in Venezuela, and the little work honoring commitments regarding human rights for migrants and refugees. 
  • The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean improved somewhat their projections for the region this year, with a contraction of 7.7% in 2020, meaning its worst crisis in the last 120 years, with an unemployment rate of 10.7%. Meanwhile, Venezuela is the country hardest hit in the entire region, with a 30% drop: “If we compare several sanitary, economic and inequality indexes, Latin America and the Caribbean are the hardest hit region in the world,” said CEPAL. 
  • The president of the Venezuelan National Confederation of Farmers and Cattle Farmers, José Agustín Campos, said that beef consumption dropped to half in only ten years, with around 12 kilos per person a year. Right now, a kilo of beef is five dollars and minimum wage is one dollar.
  • The Public Utilities Observatory estimates that almost nine out of ten Venezuelans suffer interruptions in the water supply: 56.7% of Venezuelans are forced to store water and 18.9% pay for water trucks. Twenty years ago, Caracas got 20,000 lts. per second and today, Caracas gets 8,000 lts. less for a larger population, said to AFP José María de Viana, former president of the water administration company, Hidrocapital.
  • Two months after the country received 340,000 antigen test kits and 35 reading devices, the PAHO said that Venezuela reported only running 1,600 tests. The Health Ministry said it was because of gas, electricity and water shortages and even difficulties to train personnel. Running fewer tests impacts the possibility of confirming cases. 
  • Unlike Maduro, PAHO director Carissa Etienne and deputy director Jarbas Barbosa emphasized that they’re going to spend many months in 2021 and even 2022 vaccinating citizens in significant quantities.
  • The global plan to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries has a very high risk of failure, which could leave millions of people without access to vaccines until 2024, according to documents Reuters obtained. 
  • Mauricio D’Alessandro, Matías Morla’s lawyer and Maradona’s representative, gave a statement about Maradona’s accounts and goods. He mentioned interesting investments in several companies, and some of them involve Venezuela; Maradona and the regime exchanged services with Maradona’s trader company in Europe, and they received food in the country which was paid with oil. In addition, D’Alessandro said that Maradona died before he could collect a payment from a contract signed with Nicolás to participate in a Telesur show: “It’s an important dollar amount. Clearly, because of the relationship between Maduro, Morla and Maradona, if all parties owed money agree to collect, it’s easy to do so,” said the lawyer.
  • The National Assembly installed the Delegate Commission to keep the Legislative Branch working during this holiday break. President Juan Guaidó called for an extraordinary session on Thursday, December 17th.
  • The Supreme Tribunal of Justice declared that extending the state of alarm because of COVID-19 is constitutional. In addition, the ruling says that the decree’s legitimacy, validity, and judicial and constitutional efficacy are still “irrevocable and unhurt”. 
  • The International Air Transportation Association asked Panamanian and Venezuelan authorities to urgently re-establish connections between countries: “The flights recently restarted from and to Panama became a lifesaver, to passengers and cargo,” said Peter Cerdá, regional vice president of IATA, who foresees terrible consequences if flights aren’t re-established. 
  • The Direction of Statistics in Buenos Aires published the findings of a study conducted in 2019 about migrant population. 57.2% of international immigration came from Venezuela and it’s around 80,000 residents. Venezuelans are the second largest population in Buenos Aires in the last five years (18.9%, second after Paraguay, with 19.2%). The average age of Venezuelans living in Buenos Aires is  29 years old. This matches the information from the census, determining that 68.1% Venezuelans in Buenos Aires have a college degree, 24.8% have a high school degree and only 7.1% don’t have a degree. Venezuelans rather live in downtown Buenos Aires (67.1%), 21.6% live in north Buenos Aires and 11.3% live in the southern part of the city. Venezuelans’ arrival is a consequence of the political, social and economic instability in their country. 
  • Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén and her partner, Adrián José Velásquez Figueroa, Venezuelans living in Madrid, were charged in Florida for conspiracy and money laundering. The accusation says that Raúl Gorrín paid millions of dollars to two former treasurers (Alejandro Andrade and Claudia Díaz), and Adrián Velásquez, to assure the rights to make transactions with favorable exchange rates. Gorrín transferred money to Andrade and Díaz, including money for jets, yachts, houses and horses… 
  • VEPPEX, Venezolanos Perseguidos Políticos en el Exilio, asked President-elect Joe Biden to keep isolating Nicolás’s regime and to keep his promise of issuing TPS for Venezuelans. 
  • Chilean chancellor Andrés Allamand thinks it’s important that there’s international consensus on Venezuela that considers points of view in the Venezuelan opposition and minimizes the fractures the opposition reflects: “Venezuela is an anomaly in the democratic landscape of Latin American” for having “an entrenched dictatorship”.

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.