Briefing

Maduro’s accountability speech at the AN proposed new and unreliable economic solutions to hyperinflation, and also denied the rise of poverty, food insecurity, and lack of production in the country. Attacks against independent media continue, and humanitarian workers in Zulia were detained.

Naky Soto

  • On Tuesday, Tal Cual newspaper published a thorough piece on the companies that chavismo expropriated, bankrupted and now wants to get rid of under the Anti-Blockade Law. The regime has reached agreements to reprivatize companies expropriated during Chávez’s governments, including companies that produce sugar, dairy, and even supermarket chains. Since 2018, chavismo has been abandoning the fundamental ideas that marked the 21st-century socialism, in order to survive and stay in power amid the collapse of its income because of the sanctions, in addition to recession and hyperinflation. Relaxing the tax on imported goods and supplying the market wasn’t enough, they lifted the exchange controls and even decriminalized using foreign currency. Up until 2018, CEDICE’s Observatory of Property Rights registered that chavismo had taken over 1,359 companies.
  • “I’m back,” were Maduro’s first words at the AN, to present an accountability speech about a mandate that can be summarized in six years of a complex humanitarian emergency, eight years of recession, three years of hyperinflation, and forced migration of millions of people. He didn’t mention why in a country with huge oil reserves there’s no gas or cooking gas, why there are blackouts or why there are water shortages. He did admit to the bolivar being useless and that oil production decreased from 2014 to 2019 and that there was a $743 million dollar income, a very low figure.
  • “The State has lost 99% of its income and resources,” because of the sanctions, said Maduro, even though the economic contraction and hyperinflation started before sanctions.
  • Maduro proposed that people give banks their dollars and they’ll give them a card to pay in bolivars. The banks that tried to do this in 2020 were harassed and they had to backtrack the measure.
  • Maduro said that Venezuela created two cures to eradicate COVID-19: the DR10 molecule and Dr. José Gregorio Hernández’s miracle drops.
  • He said that digital payment mechanisms like V-Ticket and V-POS will be used to pay for public transportation. His plan is to get rid of cash.
  • Maduro assured that 95% of coronavirus cases in Venezuela have recovered and that “over 99% of patients have been hospitalized, even though the regime has no capability to test patients or the sanitary capacity to hospitalize 99% of patients.
  • He assured that 400 thousand tons of food were produced in the country during 2020 and lied about how close we are to being able to provide for the whole country, despite  Fedeagro’s many complaints and warnings about the drop in production.
  • He also said that poverty in Venezuela is only 17% and that extreme poverty is 4%. Encovi’s most recent survey showed that 79.3% of the population can’t afford the basic food basket and that 96% of Venezuelan homes are in poverty and 79% in extreme poverty.
  • The deputies of the 2015 AN debated and rejected Maduro’s regime persecution against free press. Deputy Williams Dávila explained that the Esequibo case is in the ICJ because of Nicolás’s regime inefficiency. Deputy Carlos Paparoni presented the “Agreement for Protection of Venezuelan Assets Abroad and Litigation Fund Expansion” agreement, recognizing the debt to lawyers who have represented Venezuelan interests abroad. A total of 18,749, 681 dollars to pay law firms was approved.
  • The president of the Bioanalysts Collegiate, Judith León, exhorted Maduro’s regime to decentralize PCR tests and explained that the number of tests currently being done in the country isn’t enough and that the sector has the capability to improve epidemiologic surveillance. She condemned that over 93% of public laboratories are practically inoperative for lack of equipment and reagents.
  • Colombian President Iván Duque asked the international community for help to buy vaccines for undocumented Venezuelan migrants. He admitted that Colombia simply lacks the resources to vaccinate their citizens and Venezuelans at the same time.
  • The human rights NGO network denounced on Tuesday that a DGCIM commission detained Azul Positivo workers, an organization that teaches sexual education in vulnerable communities in Zulia.
  • The IACHR released a statement about the massacre of La Vega last Friday. They exhorted Maduro’s regime to investigate these deaths and to sanction the perpetrators. They also reiterated their recommendation to dissolve the FAES.

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Source: | Caracas Chronicles