Venezuela: Where Old Killers Go to Die

Gentil Duarte is the fourth Colombian guerrilla leader killed in Venezuela in less than a year

  • Colombia’s Defense Minister Diego Molano confirmed the death of Miguel Botache Santanilla, a.k.a. Gentil Duarte, one of the most important FARC dissidents, in Zulia, Venezuela. He added that it happened during “a clash amongst themselves, between those groups of drug traffickers and terrorists.” According to Colombian intelligence, the event took place in the rural zone of Casigua El Cubo, in the Jesús María Semprún del Zulia municipality. Gentil Duarte was part of the peace process from 2012 to 2016 and was in the Havana negotiations, but he didn’t demobilize and joined Commander “Ivan Mordisco” at the Frente Primero. Minister Molano said it was more proof that the regime protects terrorist groups and drug traffickers and doesn’t fight them. He’s the fourth guerilla leader recently killed in Venezuela, the other three were: Jesús Santrich, a.k.a Romaña, and a.k.a. El Paisa (2021). 
  • The possible reactivation of the negotiations between the opposition and the regime in Mexico hit another obstacle with the unacceptable demands that further delay the process: chavismo doesn’t want to return to the table if Norway is the mediator and they insisted that Russia is part of the process. Last week, tweets from Gerardo Blyde, Jorge Rodríguez, and public statements talked about the start of conversations to establish a formal process soon. Rodríguez demanded freedom for Alex Saab, but Erick Malpica Flores is still sanctioned and the Chevron license hasn’t been modified yet. 

The Venezuelan Central Bank reported that the dollar closed at 5.01 bolivars, a 1.54% increase compared to Tuesday. The average rate has increased 11.48% this month and it’s the highest jump this year.  

  • CEOFANB Commander Domingo Hernández Lárez reported they seized 50 kilos of explosive materials and 10,000 lts. of acetone in Apure. 
  • The Venezuelan Central Bank reported they’d start a 5 to 10% public bid on its social capital to offer the possibility of participation in the stock market. Spokespeople tied to the regime applauded the decision, even when it’s nearly impossible that someone would invest in companies that don’t have budgets, balances, or profitability. 
  • Workers fired from the National Assembly (AN) protested on Wednesday and reminded the authorities of Nicolás’s AN that the Labor Ministry mandated re-hiring some of them but chavismo won’t comply. Other public sectors protested outside the BCV to demand canceling the new order regarding the new salaries. 

The National Electoral Council issued a resolution to restart providing technical support for unions to hold their elections, even though these organizations’ elections have to be autonomous. 

  • OAS Commissioner for the Venezuelan Migrant Crisis David Smolansky assured that ours became the largest in the history of the continent, registering 6.2 million people. 
  • There have been 137 suicides in Venezuela in 2022, 23 of them took place in Merida, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence. Merida is the state with the highest suicide rate for the second year in a row. 
  • José Luis Pirela, a 2015 lawmaker, denounced the current board of directors of Monómeros for corruption. He said that he found documents with evidence of crimes and that the caretaker government should hold an investigation. 
  • Colombia will close its borders with Venezuela from May 28th to May 30th because of the presidential election that will take place in Colombia on Sunday. 
  • President Volodímir Zelenski said in Davos that he’s willing to meet with Putin, to negotiate peace: “If Russian troops withdraw to the positions they held before February 24th, that would be the first step towards this conversations,” he said. 
  • Yesterday, the World Bank warned that this war can lead to a global recession. 
  • There are over 6.6 million Ukrainian refugees, according to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. 

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.