El Nacional published an article today in which it provides a summary of unrest in Venezuela during Christmas week. The summary comes from ReporteYA, a network of “citizen journalists” that is affiliated with El Nacional.

The report includes the following statistics for Christmas week:

  • 23 protests; Aragua state registered the most at 5.
  • 6 looting events; Bolivar and Zulia states each registered the most at 2.

According to the report, the majority of protests started as responses to a lack of gas, water, electricity or food. 73.9% of the protests registgered during Christmas week involved blocking roads, a common protest tactic in Venezuela.

The same report found that five journalists were attacked while performing their jobs during the week.

Venezuelan Collapse Forces Cuba Into Recession

The Cuban economy entered into a recession for the first time since 1995, dragged down by the collapse of the Venezuelan economy. Cuba’s GDP fell 0.9% in 2016, compared to the growth of 4.4% that it experienced last year.

As Venezuela’s closest ally, Cuba’s economy has become intrinsically connected to that of its southern neighbour, particularly when it comes to oil. According to La Patilla, Venezuela sent 40% less oil to Cuba this year than it did in 2015, averaging 100,000 barrels per day.

Cuba is a key member of the Petrocaribe alliance, which is a network of Caribbean nations centered on Venezuela. Petrocaribe member states receive oil from Venezuela at extremely favorable rates, making the commodity accessible in quantities that the member states might not otherwise have access to.

The announcement on Cuba’s economic performance this year came from Raul Castro, who said:

The limitations in the oil supply as well as financial tensions became worse in the second semester, which resulted in a GDP contraction of 0.9%.

Banks Still Awaiting New Bills

With two business days left to go before a new set of currency is supposed to begin circulating in the country, Venezuela’s private banks have yet to receive the new bills from the government.

An anonymous source inside a state-owned bank told EFE that they had received the Bs. 500 bills, but only in “really small” quantities. The source did not know when the bank would begin distributing the new bills.

Sources in four private banks told EFE that aside from not receiving the new bills, they had not even received any kind of official timeline for when they could expect to receive them.

AP Publishes Article On Military Food Smuggling

AP published an article today in which it outlines a growing problem in an already deeply troubled country: the military’s involvement in the smuggling of food.

The article is based on the results of an investigation conducted in the country by AP, which found heavy military involvement in the smuggling and selling of food. According to the article:

And from generals to foot soldiers, the military is at the heart of the graft, according to documents and interviews with more than 60 officials, business owners and workers, including five former generals.

As a result, food is not reaching those who most need it.

The article is lengthy, and contains a great deal of information on the issue.

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