- The “Border Agreement” binational forum had businessfolk and guilds from both countries as well as Colombian border authorities discussing the conditions required to re-activate commercial relations and opening the border. The meeting ended without a firm date. All authorities spoke of things that could happen, possibilities, and possible conditions. The Colombian Transportation Minister Guillermo Reyes announced he’ll be visiting the Tienditas International Bridge to check its condition. This bridge was blocked with containers by chavismo in 2019.
- Reyes also said that commercial flights could start operating in October. Colombian Commerce Minister Darío Germán Umaña said that guaranteeing institutional coherence with the regime is fundamental, including security and diplomatic conditions. He said this would take “a few months.” Colombian Ambassador Armando Benedetti proposed upgrading the system on the border to capture fingerprints of the people who cross it. He also said that Monómeros must be returned to the regime.
Hermes Pérez explained that Venezuela’s external debt is 60 billion dollars and could reach 90 billion by the end of the year, almost twice our GDP. According to the World Bank, the figure is 187 billion and it keeps increasing every month.
- Rafael Macquhae said that because of the increase of prices and the lack of adjustment on base salaries, Venezuelan families spend everything on food. “The poor functioning economy keeps pressuring inflation in the country,” he said.
- Maduro said that the economy will grow between 10 and 20 percent in 2022, and he was bold enough to say he wasn’t authorized to reveal the exact figures. The BCV hasn’t published numbers regarding economic activity since the first quarter of 2019, when they said that the GDP had dropped by 28.8%.
- Public services have a structural problem, which has intensified for lack of investment, maintenance, and contempt for knowledge: chavismo appointed loyal but unqualified executives to run these companies. Despite being responsible for the problems, Maduro pretends he wants to “recover” the water, electricity, cooking gas and telecommunications services, and have better structures in place for the demand that the “apertura económica” will generate. Regime officials developed working roundtables with the commercial, industrial and business sectors to develop strategies that would allow for improving public utilities. Maduro’s electricity minister Néstor Reverol said that the fees for the services are 75% subsidized. It’s not really a subsidy, it’s accumulated disrepair.
- Delcy Rodríguez said that the fire at the IVSS was intentional and not an accident. She said it originated in five places. “Today, with proof, we can say this fire was started by someone (…) The investigation continues, we’ll find the criminals,” she said. She said the criminal act was perpetrated by “extremists”.
- Maduro’s National Assembly authorized appointing Félix Plasencia as Ambassador to Colombia. Jorge Rodríguez celebrated this “historical moment”. It was Maduro who cut diplomatic ties with Colombia three years ago.
- Retired and active workers of the public sector called for a new protest on August 23rd, in Caracas, to demand abolishing the new ONAPRE rules.
- Representatives of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) met with representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to review the state of human rights and public policy on the matter, according to a communique. The TSJ said they have honored all commitments assumed by their office, recognized the work done by the UNHCHR and reiterated their willingness to work on “reorganizing and restructuring” justice. There’s no way to oversee or hold the TSJ accountable on this and we still have political prisoners.
- Honduras National Police arrested 15 Venezuelans who were being transported in an SUV by a coyote.
- Border authorities identified the body of a 27-year-old Venezuelan man who drowned when he tried to cross the Río Bravo to get to the U.S. He drowned in the Piedras Negras sector.
- The war in Ukraine has been going on for 176 days, six months of Russian invasion. Russia launched missiles against a shelter hours before UN Secretary General António Guterres’s visit. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked Guterres to guarantee that the UN will demilitarize the Zaporizhia nuclear plant, which is under Russian control. Zelenskyy assured that the “deliberate terror” that Russian troops are causing in the facilities “can have catastrophic global consequences.” Guterres reiterated that any damages inflicted on the nuclear plant would be “suicide.”
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