It’s pretty much state policy.
- “There is no cost of violence against against journalists in Venezuela. If a police officer hits a journalist on the street, no officials question or condemn it. It’s permanent intimidation,” said Carlos Correa, president of NGO Espacio Público (EP), an organization documenting attacks on journalists. With data and testimonies by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Press and Society Institute (IPYS), Infobae (an outlet that has been censored in Venezuela since October 2014) published a piece about freedom of the press and expression under Nicolás’s regime. Between 2014 and 2019, Venezuela dropped 32 spots on RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, 147 out of 180 countries. According to EP, only in September 2020, there were 49 violations on freedom of expression, including intimidation, judicial harassment and direct threats, and 48% of the victims were journalists. During these nine months, Venezuela accumulated 796 attacks against the press.
- Since Friday night, website La Gran Aldea (LGA) has been offline after an attack promoted by former ministry Haiman El Troudi, because of the piece “The new face of Haiman El Troudi”, containing “important information regarding his role as a deputy, his trips to Paris and about 48 million dollars being frozen in accounts belonging to his wife and mother-in-law.” The method used by the company in charge of cleaning his digital reputation consisted of copying LGA’s content, publishing it somewhere else with previous dates and then denouncing the LGA of plagiarism.
- In addition, on Saturday, October 10th, there were new blockades on other media like La Patilla, Efecto Cocuyo and Qué pasa en Venezuela. Venezuelan media and journalists survive a punishing state that uses legislation and threats maliciously, and even promises sentences of up to 20 years in prison. In Venezuela, people have been detained for posting a WhatsApp status. Not much was said about El Troudi, but now the piece by La Gran Aldea made it to WhatsApp, emails and social media.
- There were 1,441 new coronavirus cases over the weekend (757 on Saturday and 684 on Sunday), and 13 deaths (7 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday), for a total of 83,137 and 697 deaths they’ve admitted to. Nicolás announced on Sunday that the phase three Chinese vaccine will arrive soon. He added that between April and May 2021, there could be a process of mass vaccination. On Monday, October 12th, another week of quarantine begins. Nicolás said that he’s very comfortable with this 7×7 plan, a method for social control that he assumes has kept the cases in check.
- Nicolás denounced a new plan orchestrated by President Iván Duque, that will attack Venezuelan stability for the “elections”: “Over 1000 mercenaries are training in Colombia with the Colombian Army and intelligence divisions, under the knowledge, protection and support of Iván Duque, who is involved in the plan,” said Nicolás. He added that “we’re a country under attack, under permanent threats, permanent complot and conspiracies.” The Colombian Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations and said Nicolás wants to distract the attention from his human rights violations. They said his accusations were false and asked the world to reject them: “Colombia acts with democracies in the diplomatic exercise of restoring democracy in Venezuela (…) We won’t stop in our mission alongside the international community. We want to see a free, democratic Venezuela, where the human rights of their citizens are respected.”
- The regime announced that they’ll ask to include in the legislative agenda a reform to the Commerce Code. According to candidate Jorge Rodríguez, that instrument was created by the oligarchy and these laws protect big capital so “the rich can keep stealing like they do.” I imagine he was talking about his colleagues, after 20 years in power in a bankrupt nation.
- The Communist Party (PCV) took Pedro Carreño’s word and asked him to set a date and time to debate the effects of Nicolás’s anti-blockade law, which would allow the Executive full access to the state’s resources, with no control and absolute opacity. The PCV thinks this law is a partial derogation of our Constitution. Carreño said this statement was “miserable.”
- Eudis Girot, president of the Oil Workers Union Federation, said that at least three oil tankers are in quarantine because their crews have been affected by COVID-19, emphasizing that they are working under terrible conditions. He assured that the tankers are in precarious conditions, on the verge of collapse.
- European Minister for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell defended his mediation actions once more and reiterated that the current situation in Venezuela isn’t sustainable and that if chavismo holds the “elections” in December, “without an agreement with the opposition (…) it’s going to get worse.”
- OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro appointed lawyer Jared Genser as a special advisor for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). His job will be to analyze and debate how to develop, alongside all the parties involved, a mechanism so the OAS can prevent and respond to mass crimes and come up with solutions.
- Argentinian president Alberto Fernández said that human rights don’t have ideology: “If they’re violated, they’re violared,” he said to El Cohete de la Luna. He insisted that Argentina’s position on Venezuela remains that they “want to help Venezuelans live in harmony (…) To me, the matter of human rights is fundamental. In Argentina, it cost 30,000 lives, so it isn’t a minot topic for me,” he said.
- There have been 37.3 million cases of COVID-19 and over 1, 075,000 deaths in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Latin America surpassed 10 million cases on Saturday, and there were at least 367,400 deaths, making it the region most affected by the pandemic, that is advancing fast in Europe and India, where restrictions increased over the weekend. America has six out of the top ten spots on this ranking: First is the U.S. with 7.7 million, Brazil is third with 5 million, Colombia is fifth with 903,000, Argentina is sixth with over 884,000, Peru is eights with over 846, 000, Mexico is ninth with over 814,000. In addition, the region has had four countries among the highest death toll: the U.S. is again on the first place, with over 215,000 people, Brazil with over 150,000 deaths, Mexico with over 84,000) and Peru with over 33,000. Peru is the country with the highest mortality rate in proportion to its population, with 101 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. Latin America and the Caribbean will have “the world’s worst impact on the economy and health” and they foresee a 7.9% contraction of the GDP in 2020, said the World Bank on Friday: “The death roll in Latin America is as high as those in more advanced economies, maybe even higher. But the resources to face the blow are much more restricted,” said the organization.
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