National Assembly back-up deputy Gilber Caro appeared on a short video clip released by the authorities more than three days after his disappearance. Caro, who is one of Venezuela’s 234 political prisoners, was moved from the Tocuyito prison in Carabobo state on Friday morning, where he has been held since January of last year.
Caro was moved out of the prison without any notification given to his family or lawyers. His current whereabouts are still unknown.
In the short video, Caro appears to be eating food when he is prompted by the man recording to begin speaking. Below, the video along with my translation:
Gilber Caro: Today is March 4, 2018. Estoy en una actividad de pelicula, and I’ve been given lunch.
The phrase that Caro uses–Estoy en una actividad de pelicula–appears to make little sense on its face. The phrase translated literally into, “I’m participating in a movie activity”. From the context, it’s not clear if Caro means that by appearing on the video he is “participating in a movie activity”, or if its that he is being filmed for another purpose, and is simply taking a break from that to eat his lunch.
Calling Caro’s case “a forced disappearance”, National Assembly deputy Gaby Arellano denounced the video, and demanded that the authorities reveal where Caro is being held and why.
National Assembly deputy Juan Guaido drew comparisons to the way that the Maduro regime treats political prisoners like Caro to the way that hostages are treated by their captors. He said:
Let it be clear to the world that this is how the Nicolas Maduro regime handles its political prisoners. Instead of letting them get together with their defense teams and relatives, they forced them to appear on camera with a newspaper in their hands as proof of life, as if they were being held hostage by the FARC, the ELN, ISIS, or any other terrorist group.
Maiquetia Airport Shut Down By Power Outage
Venezuela’s notoriously unreliable power grid forced the Simon Bolivar International Airport into darkness today, causing flight delays and confusion at the nation’s largest airport. The outage began at approximately 12:30 PM, and power was restored at 1:20 PM.
The image below shows traveler in the dark inside one of the airport terminals. The person who tweeted the image said that even the emergency lights were off in the terminal’s migration area:
The same outage that shut down the airport plunged large areas of Caracas into darkness, including the neighbourhoods of Los Palos Grandes, La Candelaria, El Rosal, Las Mercedes, El Paraiso, San Martin, as well as regions in Miranda and Vargas states.
Four Out of Ten Venezuelans Wants Out Within 12 Months
The results of a survey conducted by Datos Group released today show that as many as four out of ten Venezuelans are planning to escape the country within the next 12 months given the magnitude of its economic and social collapse. The head of the firm, Luis Maturen, put the driving cause of the exodus succinctly:
People are leaving because they cannot eat.
Maturen also said that the Venezuelan exodus’ destination is guided partially for concern over earning potential, with the goal of sending money back to Venezuela for relatives and loved ones who are not able to leave the country. Maturen said that as many as $289 million enter the country through remittances each year, with 42% of that money coming from Europe, and 40% coming from North America.
The survey also showed that the country’s political woes do not factor as Venezuelans’ primary concern, since 40% say that their main concern is the high cost of living while 29% say that it’s food and basic necessity shortages.
The survey was conducted between January 4 and February 2, and had a sample size of 2,074 individuals.
Venezuela’s Productive Capacity Fell 25.1% Since 2012
The National Assembly’s Finance Commission held a press conference today in which it provided an update on the country’s economic situation, focusing on its productive capacity over the last six years.
According to National Assembly deputy Jose Guerra, the country’s productive capacity fell 13.2% in 2017 alone. Guerra also said that the country’s accumulated production capacity between 2012 and last year was 25.1%. Guerra qualified the numbers as evidence of the “destruction of the economy” over the past six years.
During the same press conference, National Assembly deputy Rafael Guzman said that 70% of everything that is consumed is Venezuela is imported from overseas as a result of the country’s collapsing productive capacity.
A nation’s productive capacity is the maximum output that its economy could theoretically achieve were it operating at full efficiency.
Video Shows Man Butchering Dog Carcass on the Street
A video shared on Twitter yesterday showing an elderly man butchering a dog carcass on the street has made a splash on national news cycles as evidence of the severity of the food crisis affecting the country. The video was recorded yesterday in the Los Guayos area of Carabobo state.
In the video, the man recording approaches the elderly man, who is squatting on the road by a pile of garbage. As the man recording approaches him, it becomes clear that the elderly man is stripping meat off a dog carcass. A crowd of shocked onlookers surrounds the man.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Man Recording: Gentlemen, this is Los Guayos in Carabobo state. Hunger. What do you think about this? A dog. You see it and you don’t believe it. Keep voting for this government. Take a look at this. As the thugs would say: pa’ que vean rostro (roughly, “See it for yoursef”).
The NTN24 news network covered the story, here.
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