- EU ministers asked the Venezuelan opposition to find common ground and seek dialogue and negotiation. They reiterated their support for the National Assembly elected in 2015 and that the “only solution to the Venezuelan crisis is to restart political negotiations and establish a process of dialogue and transition.” They expressed their concern for the “dire humanitarian situation in Venezuela, made even worse by the impact of COVID-19.” The EU Foreign ministers expressed with clarity what every group in the opposition criticizing their rivals has refused to accept. They asked for the release of political prisoners and warned that the EU is willing to sanction more individuals who undermine democracy, violate human rights or the Rule of Law.
- Maduro’s AN reported that the preliminary electoral committee established three groups to advance in selecting ten citizens that will join 11 deputies on the final committee that will elect the new National Electoral Council (CNE).
- Maduro’s AN also installed the third special commission that will work on the defense of the Essequibo. Hermann Escarrá presides and Earle Herrera and Timoteo Zambrano are the first and second vice presidents, respectively.
- SAIME’s services were overwhelmed on Monday because of the special day for new ID cards for children. SAIME directors said that issuing 500 ID cards in the whole country was a major achievement.
- In a PSUV meeting that was broadcast on state media, Maduro said that there were members of the party who were “divisionists, sectarians and anti-PSUV.”
- The UN warned on Monday that economic recovery after coronavirus would be fragile and unequal in Latin America. The UN estimated that Venezuela will have a higher contraction in 2021, by 7%; after a 30% drop in 2020.
- The ILO reported that the pandemic reduced 8.8% the number of working hours in the world in 2020, around 255 million jobs. They also foresee a “slow, uncertain and unequal” recovery of the job market in 2021, and estimated the loss of income from jobs at 3.7 billion dollars or 4.4% of the world’s GDP.
- Latin America, one of the regions most dependant on informal economies, which makes it pretty vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic; experienced the bigger loss of working hours: there are 39 million fewer jobs in the region now.
- Banks started selling dollars and euros online; for clients who already have accounts in bolivars and foreign currency in the same institutions. Mercantil, Banplus and BOD are the firsts to offer this service. They sell at the official BCV rate and there’s a 1% commission on the transaction, paid in bolivars. SUDEBAN hasn’t issued a resolution on the rules for these accounts in foreign currency.
- Colombian Immigration reported their borders will be closed until March 1st, with exceptions for essential cargo.
- Between 2015 and 2019 there were 14 deaths of human rights workers in Venezuela, established a report by UN official Mary Lawlor. The document showed there were 1,323 deaths of human rights activists in 64 countries.
- A group of Venezuelan prisoners in Curaçao started a hunger strike to denounce their conditions; including cruel and degrading treatment, 18 hours a day in their cells, and rotten food, among other facts denounced by Human Rights Defense.
- Joe Biden’s administration said they’ll review the sanctions issued by the U.S. that could be obstacles for some countries to contain COVID-19.
- A group of Democrats presented a proposal to grant TPS to Venezuelans in the U.S., said the office of Bob Menéndez. The TPS would allow Venezuelans to legally reside and work in the U.S.
- Rocío San Miguel, from NGO Control Ciudadano, warned that Guyana asked to include the topic “Events related to the Guyana-Venezuela controversy” in the next OAS Permanent Council meeting, that will take place on January 27th and said that if Guyana keeps working the way it’s been doing so far, it will be the ICJ who will determine whether Guaidó or Maduro will be representing Venezuela in the Essequibo dispute.
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