The governments of Spain and Argentina issued a joint statement today saying that neither one would recognize the result of the May 20 elections in Venezuela. The statement marks the loudest rebuke of the highly controversial vote to come from the international community, and signals the increasing isolation of the Maduro regime from the rest of the world.

During a joint press conference in Buenos Aires’ Casa Rosada, President Macri voiced a steadfast commitment to his position and anticipated the reaction from the Maduro regime. Macri said:

We will not validate the May electoral results. That election has no value. No matter how much Mr. Maduro insults me, we will not recognize him as a democratic president, because there hasn’t been democracy in Venezuela in a while.

Macri continued by saying:

We do not recognize the results of that election, which they will hold whenever they want and that is not a democratic election. We continue to call for a democratic solution for the Venezuelan people.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy followed Macri’s comments by saying that he agreed with his homologue’s statement. Rajoy also added that as far as he could tell, the Venezuelan crisis’ solution rests with the Maduro regime allowing the citizens of the country to do one thing:

Simply and purely allowing them to choose freely, as is guaranteed by their own Constitution.

The May 20 election has been a topic of heated debate in Venezuela since it was announced early this year. Originally scheduled for April 22, the Maduro regime changed the date of the vote to May 20 in March in order to incorporate regional elections into the same process.

The election has been the target of intense criticism, even by the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) itself. According to Luis Emliio Rondon, one of the CNE’s heads, short lead-up to the election guarantees that the CNE will not be able to put the necessary safeguards in place in order to ensure a free and fair vote.

Just yesterday, the Observatorio Electoral Venezolano [Venezuelan Election Watch] (OEV) denounced that fact that the CNE has yet to publish the full election schedule, which is a document that outlines all of the administrative and regulatory steps to be taken before the vote.

In effect, the schedule represents “the rules of the game”, according to OEV chief Carlos Medina.

On February 21, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition bloc announced that it would not participate in the election, which it considers to be rigged in favour of the regime.

NGO Releases Protest Statistics

The Observatorio Venezolano de Seguridad Ciudadana [Venezuelan Citizen Safety Watch] (OVS) released a report this morning describing the number and nature of the protests that have taken place in the country so far this year.

According to the report, there were a total of 2,111 protests in the country in the first three months of the year. The report revealed that the most common cause for a protest was the poor state of public services (896 protests), followed by lack of food (369 protests).

The report also shows that by far the most popular form of protest was the blocking of roads, with 78% of all demonstrations taking on that shape.

When broken down by state, Sucre saw the most protests in the first trimester of the year, with 320. The state was followed by Bolivar (287 protests) an Falcon (234 protests).

Of note is the fact that the OVS report breaks down protests between peaceful and non-peaceful. While it is not clear what metric the NGO used to make the determination, one fact is telling: 100% of all protests involving road closures were classified as “violent”.

Country Runs Out of HIV/AIDS Medicines

Johan Leon, the director general of the Asociacion Civil Azul Positivo (ACAP), announced today that the country is officially out of HIV/AIDS medicines.Leon said that everything from antiretrovirals to materials used for testing for the illness are now non-existent in the country.

During a press release this morning, Leon said that the NGO had long warned that the medicines would run out unless the national government took drastic measures to ensure continued supply, and that rationing efforts were unable to stave off the inevitable. Leon said:

We’ve been saying this for a year and nothing [happened]. What little was left was given to the most critical cases and to pregnant women. Now, there is nothing left.

Leon said that while the Ministry of Health no longer provides official figures regarding the status of HIV/AIDS in Venezuela, the NGO is currently aware of 88,000 cases of HIV in the country.

Leon explained that Venezuelans living with HIV/AIDS are now facing a stark choice: leave the country in search for treatment elsewhere, or attempt to buy the medicines they need out of pocket in the black market.

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

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