A day after issuing a press release in which she heavily criticized statistics released by the Public Ministry, Delsa Solorzano claimed today that she has been the victim of harassment by state security forces. During a press conference today, Solorzano said:
Yesterday, officers who identified themselves as working for the CICPC [the criminal investigation police] came to my home without a warrant, interrogated my neighbours, [and] took pictures of my cars. The harassment to which my neighbours have been subjected is obviously directed at me.
Solorzano also said that she recently received a phone call from an individual involved in the country’s justice system, saying that she had been named as an accomplice by Carmen Briones, who was recently accused of spreading a false rumour that her son had been kidnapped. Solorzano emphatically denied the accusation, saying that Briones was being pressured into naming her as an accomplice, and they have never even met before.
Jesus Torrealba, the head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, suggested that Solorzano is being punished for her vociferous opposition to the government. Torrealba said:
We reject this persecution against the women of the opposition (…) We are united, and our deputy [Solorzano] can count on all of our support and backing.
Ministry of Health Releases Statistics
The Ministry of Health released statistics today corresponding to the 2014 year. The statistics include the total amount of patients seen in the country’s different health centres, how much money was spent treating them, as well as an inventory of some of the medical supplies found in Venezuelan hospitals last year. Some of the figures can be seen below:
- Total number of medical cases treated: 2,753,068
- Total number of medical cases treated in Clinicas Populares [medical centres in slums]: 883,892
The same report claims that the country’s 240 hospitals count on 20,821 available beds which experienced an average occupancy rate of 90%.
The Ministry of Health also admitted that 2014 saw a number of problems involving scarcity of supplies medicine. The report points out that last year saw a lack of supplies due to problems with accessing foreign currency for imports. The problems affected the acquisition of medicine, hospital supplies, equipment and spare parts, the consequences of which have been manifesting themselves throughout the country.
Capricles: BCV Can’t Release Inflation Data
Miranda state governor and opposition figure Henrique Capriles spoke today and the lack of inflation data from the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV), which has stopped publishing the figures regularly. Capriles said that he has information that proves that the inflation rate for 2015 so far “is breaking records”, and that it currently finds itself at around 30%. Capriles did not name the source of this information.
Capriles speculated that the BCV isn’t releasing inflation data anymore because it doesn’t know how to spin the numbers. Capriles said:
The Banco Central de Venezuela has an obligation to inform the people about inflation along with the levels of scarcity, which are the highest in the world. We don’t yet know the inflation numbers for January, February and March. They’re hiding them, because according to the information we have, the inflation for the first trimester of the year is so high that they don’t know how to spin it. It’s breaking records, but at the upper levels. Today it’s around 30%.
Capriles also chastised the government for trying to distract people from the country’s dire economic condition, and predicated that it would ultimately fail in this goal because:
They can’t hide scarcity and inflation from people, because they’re living it.
Finally, Maduro had a chance to practice his boxing skills yesterday while meeting supporters in Cojedes state. The video can be seen below, along with my translation:
Maduro: We’ve got Ghandi Arocha here. He’s 20 years old. He’s a boxer. Show us your boxing technique. Let’s see! Just like Cassius Clay! Ghandi Arocha.