Marianella Herrera, the head of the Observatorio Venezolano de Salud [Venezuela Health Watch] (OVS) has formally asked the Maduro administration to request international aid in the form of food of medicine as the country faces the worst scarcity crisis in living memory. Herrera made the comments from Washington, D.C., where an OVS delegation attended a meeting of the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights.

Herrera also spoke on what the aid might actually look like, saying:

The government must ask and accept from the international community. It could be from the World Health Organization, or from UNICEF through its children’s problems in order to protect the most vulnerable groups.

Julio Castro, an investigator with OVS, said that Venezuela is living through a “humanitarian health crisis”, and that the links for requesting the much needed aid have already been established:

Some diplomatic links have already bee made. For example, the World Health Organization has medical aid programs that could be in Venezuela in two days, but the government has to ask for them.

Castro said that 92% of basic medicines are scarce in Venezuela, including medicines to treat diabetes and cancer, as well as antibiotics and asthma inhalers. Out of that percentage of medicines that are scare, 62% are “completely absent” from Venezuela, meaning that they simply cannot be found anywhere in the country.

Overall, Castro painted a grim picture of the medicine scarcity in Venezuela, saying:

People are dying because there’s no medicine. Children have died of seizures and cancer. There aren’t any treatments available for people with HIV because they haven’t put it in the budget, and they can’t stop taking [the medicine] even for a single day. There’s no medicine for hepatitis C.

Castro said that the national government must take action immediately – as is requesting international aid – to avoid “having people dying like it’s 1800 due to a lack of medicine”.

Herrera also theorized as to why the Maduro government seems to be so opposed to even admitting that there is a shortage of medicine and medical supplies in the country:

When [a group] offers a study compiled using the proper methodological methods by academics but [the study] doesn’t agree with what the government says, then they say that it’s an opposition organization and they ignore it.

Retail/Tourism Industry: Rationing Regime Paralyzing Us

Correo del Caroni published an article today in which it it interviews members of the retail and tourism industry about their opinions on the government’s latest electricity rationing plan: requiring that they produce their own electricity for nine hours a day, or essentially whenever they are open for business. Maduro made the surprise announcement on Wednesday during Diosdado Cabello’s television show, Con El Mazo Dando.

Sergio Dos Santos runs two cafes called D’Angelos inside malls in Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar state. Aside from saying that the two malls he deals with were not informed in advance of Wednesday’s decision, Dos Santos gave his opinion regarding the rationing measures:

What I can tell you is that all of the measures they have taken are inefficient and senseless. All they’re doing is destroying the country’s productive apparatus.

Out of Puerto Ordaz’s two malls, only one – Orinoka Mall – has an electrical generator. The other, Ciudad Alta Vista Mall, has been forced to shorten its hours from noon to 7:00 PM each day.

Candida Angel, the president of the Bolivar State Chamber of Tourism, represents 11 hotels in Ciudad Guayana. Angel told Correo del Caroni that only four of the hotels have electrical generators, meaning that the remaining seven must significantly cut their energy consumption, likely to the detriment of any guests.

When asked if her organization received advanced notice of the government’s latest rationing measure, Angel said:

That was another “and now, suddenly…” moment. We had no information about this.

Engineers Refute “El Niño” Hypothesis

Winston Caba, the president of the Comision Electrica del Colegio de Ingenieros de Venezuela (CIV) [College of Venezuelan Engineer’s Electrical Commission] said today that the crippling electricity crisis affecting the country is not due to El Niño, despite the national government’s continued insistence that it is. As evidence, Caba provided as evidence the fact that despite the fact that El Niño is affecting every other country in the region, only Venezuela’s electrical grid is incapable of dealing with it.

For Caba, the real culprit is obvious: sustained and systemic neglect of the country’s electrical infrastructure.

While Caba believes that electrical rationing is needed to help rectify the situation, he stressed that it cannot be implemented in such a way so that it significantly impacts people’s lives, as it is today.

Former Prison Director Accused of Smuggling Explosives, Weapons into Rodeo I

Cecilio Enrique Herrera Rengifo, the former director of the Rodeo I prison, was formally charged today with smuggling in weapons, explosives and drugs into the prison while he was in charge.

The charges come as the result of an investigation into violence at the prison in 2011 in which 20 people were killed. After the fighting – which last a month – ended, authorities discovered that the inmates had immense stashes of weapons, drugs and cash, which led to the investigation.

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


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