Maduro met with Russian President Vladimir Putin today in Tehran, Iran. The two were in attendance for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum being held in the city.
Russia media reports that after the meeting, Maduro expressed his support for the ongoing Russian intervention in Syria. According to Russian media, Maduro said:
I want to express my support for all of his [Putin’s] actions when it comes to stabilizing the situation in the Middle East and in the whole world in general.
Maduro also reportedly said that he was “very grateful” to Putin for showing “great courage” in fighting the Islamic State of Israel and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
Macri Vows Actions Against Venezuela in MERCOSUR
Argentinian president-elect Mauricio Macri announced today that he would seek action against Venezuela at the Mercado Commun del Sur (MERCOSUR), a trade bloc made up of several Latin American countries. Macri hopes to file a “democratic clause” against the country over its human rights abuses, particularly those against opposition politicians and the freedom of expression.
MERCOSUR’s democratic clause is a special kind of sanction that can be placed on any member state that fails to adhere to democratic principles. A country under the democratic clause would be suspended from the organization and could face economic and trade sanctions.
On his plan to seek the action against Venezuela, Macri said:
It’s obvious that this clause be applied because the allegations [of human rights abuses] are clear and overwhelming. They’re not made up.
MERCOSUR Unwilling to Sanction Venezuela
Back in October, the Brazilian representative to the body, Florisvaldo Fier, said that the organization would not allow Macri’s motion to pass.
In direct response to Macri’s statements today, Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo nin Novoa said that MERCOSUR could not sanction Venezuela because the country is “far away from an alteration of democratic order”. He continued:
Let’s see what happens. We will take a look at that when it’s time. It seems to me that the situation in Venezuela is such that the clause cannot be applied. Let’s see how the December 6 election plays out.
Video Shows Woman Lamenting Over State of Her Chickens
Colombian news agency NTN24 published a video on its YouTube account on Friday taken by a woman who laments the state of her chicken farm. In the video, the woman explains that the farm’s chickens have been left out of their coops in the hopes that they will be able to find some food on their own since the farm has none to give them.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Woman: It’s 6:00 AM. Take a look at these animals. They’re around their coops, out in the wild looking for food. They have no food. What a huge shame. The efforts of all our work for so long is disappearing in mere weeks because we have no way to feed them. There’s no food at [Bs.] 1,300, 4,000, or 3,700 — or at any price. It’s such a shame that all of our efforts over the last few years – after everything we’ve gone through – is being lost.
We don’t know what to do. This is a really sad and painful situation, not just for us but for all farmers. We let them out in the wild to see how many of them will be able to survive, but we already have some animals at their limit. You’re about to see some chickens over here that are doing really poorly because they’re so hungry, and they’ve been hungry for so long. There is no food at all in their troughs. There’s nothing. This is sad and terrible. Here’s a little chicken near its end – look. And she’s not the only one. This is really sad.
I’m putting all of my pain in God’s hands, along with everything else that is happening. I don’t have words anymore – only pain. Sadly, this is the reality that we are living.
Food Production Down 65% in 2015
El Nacional published an article today in which it claims that a lack of foreign currency for imports has translated into a 65% reduction in food production in the country for 2015. The article cites an economist named Tomas Socias who specializes in supply, and he blames the the government’s currency exchange and price regulations policies for the crisis.
These regulations are not a new thing. They existed in previous governments, but they were frequently revised. A product never retained its price for three years, for example, as we see today. Even though presidents before Chavez also controlled foreign currencies in the country, companies could always count on the dollars they needed to maintain operations.
Socias said that approximately 40% of all factories in the food sector are idle as a result of the government’s inability to provide them with the currency they need to import raw materials for production.
Pharmaceutical Industry: Medicine Shortage Hits 80%
The head of the Federacion Farmaceutica de Venezuela (FEFARVEN), Freddy Ceballos, told La Verdad today that the biggest problem facing the country’s health sector is the increasing levels of scarcity affecting medicines, a figure that has reached 80%.
Ceballos placed responsibility for the scarcity squarely on the hands of the national government. According to Ceballos, Venezuela owes foreign suppliers $3.5 billion, and the fact that the national government does not assign enough foreign currency to the industry to pay off the debt is a direct cause of the shortages.
La Verdad points out that just last month, Minister of Health Henry Ventura said that there was no shortage of medicine in Venezuela.
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