In a radio interview with RCR, Jesus Torrealba – the head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) – spoke on the challenges facing the opposition bloc as it prepares to take control of the National Assembly with a 2/3 majority on January 5.

Torrealba said:

Venezuela urgently needs change. It needs change for everyone. We understand that this is the mindset going into 2016. Building that change is necessary. How? In an impeccably democratic manner, peacefully and constitutionally, just as we’ve just won [the December 6 election].

Torrealba said that this period of change-building will be “very complex” due in part to the fact that the price for the country’s primary export – oil – continues to slide lower and lower:

These days, Venezuela depends on only one export: oil. Oil prices have gone haywire. They’ve fallen abruptly.

Speaking on Maduro’s leadership style and that of other high-ranking PSUV officials, Torrealba lamented that they appear to spend so little time trying to help fix the country’s problems:

Instead of doing that, this bunch of irresponsible people are going around insulting half the world, insulting the country, insulting anyone who doesn’t agree with them and ultimately insulting even their own supporters. Now they’re calling them [the PSUV supporters] traitors because the chavista based refused to vote for Maduro and his candidates.

Oil Hits Lowest Level of 2015: $29.17 

The price of Venezuelan oil slid to its lowest level all year, hitting $29.17 per barrel today. The figure means that the average price of Venezuelan crude for December sits at $31.27 per barrel, while the average price for the entire year is $45.23.

This year’s low oil prices have contributed to the country’s poor economic performance in 2015. The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Commission has estimated that the Venezuelan economy will shrink by 7.1% this year and 7% the next.

El Universal: Child Dies Due to Medicine Shortage

El Universal published an article today in which it highlights one of the most dire crises affecting the country today: the shortage of medicine and medical equipment. The article tells the story of a man named Richard Medina, whose three-year-old child died on Monday from lung cancer in Caracas’ Military Hospital after he was unable to find medicine with which to treat him.

In a press conference, Medina said:

Some people complain that they wont be able to eat hallacas [the quintessential Venezuelan Christmas dish] because they weren’t able to find flour. In my house, underneath our Christmas tree, one gift will remain unopened because I wasn’t able to find medicine.

Medina explained that his child developed an infection while receiving treatment, and that he required antibiotics. The child also needed a medicine called Dexrazoxano that products heart tissue, but Medina was also unable to track it down. Medina said that he looked in “all the pharmacies” in Caracas for one month without any luck.

He called on the Venezuelan government to take notice of his situation and that of other Venezuelans living through similar situations, saying:

I ask the authorities to take a look at the Military Hospital (…) some children have been taken out of there [because they weren’t receiving treatment].

Medina also made disturbing allegations that the hospital was giving priority care to army personnel:

There [is medicine] for army personnel and they are given exclusive rooms. Many times I took my son in at 2:00 AM, and at 2:00 PM we were still waiting for a room even though some were available (…) in case anyone from the army needed it.

Rodrigez Still Struggling to Accept Election Results

The head of the PSUV electoral campaign and mayor of the Libertador municipality Jorge Rodriguez appears to still be unwilling to accept his party’s defeat in the December 6 election. Speaking in a television program last night, Rodriguez said:

They [the MUD] waged a war and we waged an electoral campaign. There’s been a mistake here. We brought out our candidates; they went around the streets, to homes, and they had proposals and they signed a nine-point compromise. They [the MUD] kept going with the economic war, and all we did was denounce it.

Rodriguez also praised Maduro’s work over the last year, despite the lack of tangible results as evidenced by the country’s triple-digit inflation and continued shortages of basic goods. Rodriguez said that Maduro raised salaries and pensions, and wondered why people still voted for the MUD, which he believes ran on a platform of:

… discontent, apprehension, ill-will, and disgust in a climate of no future.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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