Illegal Activities Make Up 21% of Venezuela's GDP

Transparencia Venezuela's latest work has some jaw-dropping nuggets

  • Drugs, oil and gold trafficking, and illegal activities in ports and customs generate over 9.4 billion dollars for criminal organizations protected by corrupt officials, according to a report published by Transparencia Venezuela. Gold extraction generated around 2.3 billion in 2021—only 25% was transferred to the State. 
  • Transparencia Venezuela estimates that the volume of illegal activities in the country is around 21% of the GDP: “Venezuela has become one of the epicenters of organized crime in the region, while citizens’ rights are violated to guarantee the profits of corrupt structures, their sustainability, and impunity,” said the report. 
  • The price of Venezuelan oil reached 88 dollars per barrel for the second time in 2022. It increased by 5.6% in May, compared to April. On Monday, an official of the office of the French president asked for the return of Venezuelan and Iranian oil to the global market in order to alleviate the increase of the price of oil caused by the war in Ukraine. They left out the reason for the sanctions. 
  • One crew member of the Emtrasur-Conviasa plane in Argentina denied that there was a “hidden goal” for the trip. Víctor Pérez, manager of operations at Emtrasur justified the presence of Iranian crew members and assured that one of the clauses in the contract to purchase the plane included technical assistance, making Iranians necessary instructors. About pilot Gholamreza Ghasemi, member of the Quds Force, Pérez said he teaches the captains and first officers. This revelation happened when we knew that the Argentinean government received at least two alerts about the the Iranian-Venezuelan plane, according to Clarín. Both alerts warned that there might be people tied to terrorist activities on the aircraft and that President Alberto Fernández himself heard one of the alerts. Federal judge Federico Villena sent requests to the U.S., in order to know if Ghasemi is wanted or under investigation there, if he can travel freely and if there’s a formal restriction or embargo order on the aircraft. 
  • The Spanish Audiencia Nacional closed the investigation on the irregular financing of political party Podemos, using Venezuelan funds. Manuel García Castellón was ordered to stop the investigation that had been reopened after the testimony of former Venezuelan intelligence chief Hugo ‘El Pollo’ Carvajal. Juan Carlos Monedero is surely celebrating.

Officials of the Biden administration returned to Caracas in a new attempt “to bring detained Americans home and rebuild relations with Venezuela” said AP last night. Roger Carstens, presidential envoy for hostage situations and Ambassador James Story are in the delegation.

  • For the past 22 years, the Venezuelan regime has developed an almighty censorship system that includes closing hundreds of media outlets, seizing their assets, canceling shows, blocking websites, threatening outlets that still operate, and jailing journalists. On Monday, on National Journalists’ Day, the National Press Guild said that limited access to information is their main obstacle, in addition to low wages and how slim work opportunities are. Redes Ayuda denounced in their report “2.0 Error 404: Democracy Not Found,” 65 violations and restrictions on freedom of expression on the internet in 2021, from threats to cyberattacks, arbitrary detentions, and arrests for having an opinion or reporting the news. Espacio Público registered that 45 journalists have been attacked in 2022 for doing their job. The Maduro regime regime started using the guilds and party members they control to propose a reform on the Law of Journalism, expressing the need to increase its punitive power. 
  • Diosdado Cabello ruled out the contents of the report Michelle Bachelet presented to the UN Human Council: “Saying that there are human rights violations when it comes to freedom of speech in Venezuela is ridiculous,” he said. On Friday, a regime representative said freedom of speech is fully exercised in Venezuela, two days after it was revealed that Movistar intervened 20% of lines under orders of the State. 
  • The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned about a possible hurricane that could affect parts of the Caribbean and Venezuela in the next couple of days. There’s a 70% chance that Bonnie could become a storm in the next two days and a 90% chance in five days. 
  • The G7 promised new sanctions against Russia and committed to helping Kyiv for “as long as necessary”.” Zelenskyy asked for more weapons, more sanctions and help to import cereal. Moldavian president Maia Sandu met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv and visited citizens that have been destroyed by Russia on the same day that Mariupol authorities announced that they found 100 bodies of civilians. The Kremlin suspended all international payments for the first time since 1918, when the bolsheviks refused to pay the tsar’s debts. It’s a default. NATO announced that they’ll agree to double troops in eastern countries at the summit in Madrid. 

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.