The Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia [Venezuela Violence Watch] (OVV) released its yearly homicide figures today. According to the NGO, there were 26,616 homicides in Venezuela this year, for a rate of 89 homicides per 100,000 residents. The figures make Venezuela a contender for the most violent country on the planet.

The OVV’s figures also show that out of the total number of homicides, 5,535 Venezuelans were killed in 2017 for “resisting authority”.

When broken down by state, Aragua lays claim to the most violent in the country with a rate of 155 violent deaths per 100,000 residents, followed closely in second place by Miranda (153). Amazonas takes third place with 146 homicides per 100,000 residents, while the city of Caracas’ homicide rate was 109 deaths per capita.

If accurate, the figures indicate a drop of approximately 6.5% violent deaths from 2016, which the OVV estimates saw 28,479 homicides,

Portugal: Don’t Blame Us for Missing Hams

The government of Portugal responded today to Maduro’s claim that it was somehow responsible for the Christmas ham fiasco that sparked protests in Caracas yesterday. The protests began after the government failed to fulfill a promise to distribute Christmas hams at subsidized prices, a fact which Maduro blamed on Portugal yesterday without providing any kind of an explanation.

Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs August Santos Silva clarified today that the Portuguese government is not in the ham export business, despite Maduro’s claim yesterday that Lisbon had “sabotaged” his ham purchase. Santos Silva said:

The Portuguese government does not have the power to sabotage ham.

Santos Silva also explained that Portugal operates under “a market economy”, and that ham exports are carried out by private companies. To drive the point home, Santos Silva said:

The Portuguese government does not export ham to Venezuela or to any other country in the world.

During a televised event yesterday, Maduro gave a vague and disjointed explanation for the fact that his government had failed to deliver on its Christmas ham process, saying simply that Portugal had sabotaged a deal to import the food into Venezuela.

Portuguese Company: Caracas Didn’t Pay Up

Raporal, a Portuguese agroindustrial firm, suggested today that the reason why the Maduro regime did not receive its Christmas ham shipment this year is because it still owes €40 million for its purchase from last year.

In a press release issued today, Raporal explains that the Maduro regime bought 14 thousand tonnes of pork from a number of Portuguese companies, including Raporal, at a price of €63.5 million. However, Caracas has only paid €23.5 million for the 2016 order.

Raporal also clarified that despite Maduro’s claim, the Portuguese government had no hand in the case of the missing Christmas hams, and that the reason why they were not exported to Venezuela was due entirely to the regime’s inability to pay its debt with the company. Part of the release reads:

Raporal is not aware of any act of sabotage by Portugal regarding the supply of ham to Venezuela, and confirms that Venezuela has not fulfilled its payment obligations for its 2016 order in a timely fashion.

The company also claims that one of its representatives met this morning with the Venezuelan ambassador to Portugal in Lisbon, and that he promised to pay its debt with the Portuguese companies before March of 2018.

Venezuela used to import ham from neighbouring Brazil, but a corruption scandal and souring relations between the two countries have forced Maduro to look elsewhere for the staple.

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

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One thought on “12.28.17: Past Due

  1. Pingback: 12.30.17: Sad Distinction | In Venezuela

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