The Maduro regime retaliated today against the government of Panama after the Central American nation announced a set of sanctions last week targeting 55 regime officials and 16 Venezuelan companies. Caracas retaliated today by cutting off economic ties with 46 Panamanian companies and 22 nationals for 90 days, with the alleged goal of “protecting the country’s financial system”. The sanctions can be extended beyond the initial 90-day period if the regime so desires.
The Panamanian sanctions instructed financial institutions in the country to exercise caution when dealing with the targeted individuals and companies, given that they “pose a high risk for laundering capital” and financing illegal activities.Among the individuals hit by the sanctions were Maduro, PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello, Supreme Court chief Maikel Moreno, and attorney general Tarek William Saab. The sanctions marked the first such measure against the regime from a Latin American nation.
The sanctions target Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela and vice president Isabel de Saint Malo, among others. Among the targeted companies are Novatex, Pan Colombia Travel, Vida Panama and Copa Airlines.
The sanctions were announced during a cabinet meeting that featured representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.
It is not clear at this time what threat the sanctioned entities are believed to pose to the Venezuelan financial system.
The government of Panama reacted almost immediately to the measure from Caracas by recalling its ambassador in Venezuela.
Venezuelan Medical Association: Healthcare Workers Mishandling Vaccines
The Federacion Medica Venezolana [Venezuelan Medical Federation] (FMV) denounced today warning that Maduro regime official are mishandling vaccines in the country by not keeping them at the appropriate temperature, risking spoiling the indispensable shots and harming patients.
The news came via FMV head Douglas Leon Natera, who made the comments during a televised interview on the Globovision network. During his interview, Leon accused the Maduro regime of using vaccinations drives as a political tool to win votes for the May 20 presidential election.
On the matter of vaccine mishandling, Leon suggested that the possibility of vaccine spoilage is so high that it is likely that some people are not actually being vaccinated in government clinics. Leon said:
There’s a technical matter that is extremely important, which is the cold chain, or in other words, keeping the vaccines at a certain temperature that is lower than room temperature. As it turns out, [regime officials] are carrying vaccines in cardboard boxes. Imagine, then, what people are being injected with–the government is tricking people.
Leon also implored the regime on air to allow humanitarian aid to flow into the country. He said:
The [healthcare] crisis is real. People are dying and the government knows it, but they do not want to acknowledge it.
He said that the result of the regime’s continued unwillingness to heed “daily calls” from the healthcare sector to accept humanitarian aid is that doctors in Venezuela no longer “have a way to save lives”.
National Assembly Deputy: Regime I.D. Required to Receive Healthcare Service
Leon’s comments today follow statements made by National Assembly deputy Jose Manuel Olivares yesterday in which he denounced the fact that the government’s telephone healthcare service–“0800 Salud”–requires a PSUV I.D. to access.
During a meeting of the National Assembly’s Sub-Commission for Healthcare, Olivares dialed the government’s “0800 Salud“ number, which the Maduro regime created in 2016 with the stated goal of connecting Venezuelans with medicine. When a caller places a call to the service, they are connected to a healthcare worker who helps the caller locate medications.
Once connected to the service, Olivares placed his cellular device on speakerphone. When Olivares asked the healthcare worker on the line for a particular medicine, the worker told him that he needed to provide is carnet de la patria number in order to receive the service.
The carnet de la patria is a polarizing piece of identification launched by the Maduro regime in 2017 that is connected directly to membership in the ruling PSUV party. Since the document’s launch, regime critics have called attention to the myriad of ways in which the I.D. is being abused to extort votes out of Venezuelans in exchange for basic government services that are.
During yesterday’s meeting, Olivares said that it was unacceptable that the regime is “politicizing” access to healthcare, and suggested that people may be dying as a result of the tactic.
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