The Monagas state medical union announced yesterday that 40 newborns died at the Maturin Central Hospital in the month of August as a direct result of the chronic medical shortages that have been affecting the country for years now.

The news came via Manuel Velasquez, a pediatrician and union representative, who also said that Augusts’ newborn death toll at the hospital equaled that of July. Velasquez pointed to ongoing shortages of essential equipment and medicines like antibiotics, as well as food for the newborns, as the cause for the deaths.

Velasquez said:

We are sadly at the front of the pack when it comes to neonatal mortality, since it’s one of the highest in Venezuela and t his is due to the lack of medicine, medical [and] surgical equipment, hospital infrastructure and [other] equipment. We are here to save lives, but what do we do when a newborn enters emergency and we don’t even have catheters?

Venezuela has been suffering from severe and widespread medical shortages since at least 2014, when the sudden drop in oil prices left the country largely unable to import medicine and medical equipment in the necessary quantities.

Despite the fact that the medical crisis has been well-documented by a myriad of national and international observers, the Maduro regime refuses to admit that the crisis exists.

Most recently, Constituent Assembly president Delcy Rodriguez said that “there is no humanitarian crisis here, only love”. In a televised interview on August 20, Maduro said that “there hasn’t been a lack of medicine” in the country despite Venezuela’s other woes.

Capriles: Lack of Regional Elections Date “A Joke”

Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles said yesterday that the fact that Venezuelans still do not know exactly when they will head to the ballots for next month’s regional elections is “a joke” and an insult to voters.

The regional elections were originally scheduled to take place in December of last year, but were postponed without explanation in October by the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), the regime body in charge of overseeing electoral processes in the country. At the time of the postponement, the CNE promised that the elections would take place within the first six months of 2017, but the promise was broken.

After announcing that the elections would in take place in December of this year, the CNE moved the date up to October at the request of the Constituent Assembly. While the CNE agreed to hold the elections in October, it never announced the actual date of the vote.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Capriles said:

It’s September 2, and Venezuelans still don’t know when the elections for regional governments are. We have to navigate not only a fraudulent decision [to move the elections’ date around] (…) but there are now 30 million Venezuelans living in this beautiful country who do not know when in October the elections will be, or if they will be in October. This is a joke.

The decision to participate in the regional elections–in which Venezuelans will vote for mayors and governors–was a major point of contention for the opposition, with some advocating for the importance of democratic processes and others refusing to participate in an event they argue will lend legitimacy to the Maduro regime.

Suspect Arrested in David Vallenilla Murder

Attorney general Tarek William Saab announced last night that a suspect had been arrested in connection with the murder of David Vallenilla, a 22 year old man who was shot at point blank range by a National Guard soldier during a protest in Caracas on June 22.

Saab did not provide the name of the suspect, and announced the arrest in the following way through Twitter:

David Vallenilla’s suspected killer is now in detention at the DGCIM [National Military Counterintelligence General Directorate], and has been brought to justice by prosecutors from the Public Ministry.

Vallenilla’s murder was caught on video, which you can see below:

Vallenilla was one of approximately 134 people to die during a wave of anti-regime protests that lasted from April 1 to July 31.

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