At best, purely cruel timing.
Photo: CNN en Español
- Thursday, October 8th, was the second anniversary of the death of councilman Fernando Alberto Albán, who was under the custody of SEBIN officers at the time of his passing. The official version is that councilman Albán killed himself but his family and lawyers have denounced that he was tortured and thrown out of the window on the 10th floor of SEBIN Plaza Venezuela to hide evidence, blocking later an independent autopsy that could be reliable. Yesterday, a Caracas court handling the case of officers Miguel Do Santos and Keiberth Cibelli decreed the “absolute invalidity of the accusation by the Public Ministry” on these officers, accused of only breaking their custody obligations. They were released! The case is back to the investigation phase, even though Albán’s case has been documented by the UN in the Fact-Finding Mission’s report, published on September, 16th, where high-ranking authorities are tied to crimes against humanity. It’s sadistic to release the court’s decision on the day of the second anniversary of his death. A political message about the crimes of the state. One more.
- The National Assembly reported that the inflation between January and September was 1,433.58% (589.48 points above the one that the BCV says), with accumulated inflation of 844.1 %. Deputy Alfonzo Marquina said that only in September, there was a 30% inflation. Venezuela has been in hyperinflation since 2017.
- The basic food basket is now 211 dollars per month, even though minimum wage is 400,000 bolivars, less than a dollar. Interannual inflation is 3,246%, said the AN. Marquina warned that if inflation has de-accelerated it’s because of the “enormous contraction of economic activity”, 51.2% since January. The one accumulated since 2013 is 85%.
- Healthcare workers protested on Thursday in front of the Health Ministry in Caracas and announced they’ll keep doing so to demand better wages and conditions: “We’re starting a pancartazo in hospitals, protests and assemblies and within the next two weeks we’ll do a national protest,” said Pablo Zambrano, executive secretary of Fetrasalud.
- Nicolás’s Communications minister Freddy Ñáñez said that there were 615 new cases and 7 deaths of COVID-19, for a total of 81,019 cases and 678 deaths they’ve admitted to.
- Over half of the people who answered the International Red Cross Survey (51%) said that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected their mental health: the coronavirus outbreak “has worsened pre-existing mental health issues, created new ones and has further limited access to mental health services,” says the study.
- Caretaker President and AN Speaker Juan Guaidó and political party Acción Democrática restated their commitment to working against the “electoral fraud” on December 6th and the unity pact for a political change. Guaidó defended the public consultation, said he understands the criticism on his management but asked to not rule out something that “is essential to democracy: citizen mobilization, protest, which is what the public consultation is.” He said: “We’ll be on the streets, consulting, resisting, I call you to exert the majority, look for every citizen in their home, explain why we reject the fraud of December 6th, why it’s important to participate in rescuing democracy.”
- Efecto Cocuyo published an article with the opinion of lawyer Gustavo Linares Benzo, who considers that the continuity of the mandate proceeds because of the lack of free elections and the void in the presidency, because Nicolás wasn’t elected by the will of the people. The idea of the consult would be to back that continuity even though not every sector of the opposition agrees.
- On Thursday, the National Constituent Assembly faked a debate session to approve Nicolás’s Anti-Blockade Law. According to Diosdado Cabello, this law is an instrument to “protect the economy against the multiple attacks by the government of the United States.” He was cynical enough to say that “the people have a right” to give Nicolás such an instrument. Even though it violates the Constitution and doesn’t solve Venezuelans’ poor living conditions or respect of democratic institutionality.
- Later on state owned tv station VTV, Hermann Escarrá confirmed that not all members of the ANC attended the session (but he said that the lawful quorum was met) and that it wasn’t a unanimous vote. He minimized important disagreements and those who opposed were treated as they treat the rest of the country: with indifference and arrogance.
- The Venezuelan Communist Party thinks that this law “represents in reality a partial derogation of the Constitution.”
- The TSJ-imposed president of the CNE Indira Alfonzo announced that most voting machines that they’d be using on December 6th already arrived to the country: “They’ll start being audited on the 12th, the machines will be used at the simulation and on the elections,” she said in Unión Radio. She explained that they expect to complete the tech inventory by the end of the month and that the “tech solution” that they’ll present on Friday will include a biometric identification system.
- AP said that in order to evade the effects of U.S. sanctions, PDVSA would have used a Thai client: Tipco. In exchange for great discounts on the oil price, Tipco has paid PDVSA invoices and reduced its debt, according to records obtained by AP. This arrangement with Tipco has allowed PDVSA to silently move hundreds of millions of dollars.
- The U.S. State Department offered a reward of up to 5 million dollars for information that leads to the arrest of Samark López Bello, Tareck El Aissami’s middleman, for his participation in transnational organized crime: “López Bello worked with others to violate and evade OFAC sanctions,” says the communiqué.
- The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned 18 Iranian banks in order to “prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining funds to keep supporting terrorist activities and acts of nuclear extortion.” The measures will come into force in 45 days.
- Human Rights Watch asked countries to vote against China and Saudi Arabia to the UN Human Rights Council and warned about the questionable management of these issues in other candidates like Cuba and Russia. The election will take place in the General Assembly on Tuesday, when they’ll vote on the 15 new members. In addition, and alongside other 20 organizations, HRW asked the Trinidad and Tobago prime minister to protect Venezuelans’ rights and cease deportations, because of our complex humanitarian emergency and because the state commits crimes against humanity.
- Jorge Arreaza reiterated his request for a humanitarian measure to protect the life of Colombian citizen Alex Saab, who has been detained in Cape Verde since June 12th.
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