The Chilean consular offices in the cities of Caracas and Puerto Ordaz were swarmed today with Venezuelans hoping to apply for the “democratic responsibility” visa, a new document tailored made for Venezuelans announced last week. Lines at the two consular locations began forming in the overnight hours, with journalists at the scene reporting that some people even slept in their spots while waiting for the offices to open.
At a press conference last Tuesday, Chilean president Sebastián Piñera said that Venezuelans would be able to apply for the “democratic responsibility” visa at the Chilean consulate in Caracas, and that the document would allow holders to live in Chile for a year with the possibility of extending the status for another year. The visa was created in light of the unprecedented exodus of Venezuelans from their country in recent years.
The consulate in Caracas had a line of approximately 500 people shortly after midnight this morning. Below, images from the scene:
By dawn, the consulate was overwhelmed with eager Venezuelans:
The consulate in Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar state also saw large numbers of hopeful applications. The image below is from 9:30 AM this morning:
The unprecedented economic and social collapse that Venezuela has experienced over the past several years has forced hundreds of thousands of people from the country.
Caracas Mayor Launches New Currency
Erika Farias, the mayor of Caracas, announced today that her office was launching a new currency that city residents can use at select community markets. The currency is called “Caribe”, and will be printed in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 40, and 100. One Caribe is equivalent to Bs. 1,000.
Faria, who is a member of the ruling PSUV party, vowed that the Caribe would finally help the city overcome the effects of the “economic war”, which in the PSUV mythos is the term used to describe a nebulous conspiracy against the Venezuelan economic involving the United Sates, Colombia, Spain, and Venezuelan expatriates, among others.
Venezuela has the highest inflation rate on the planet, which dissolves the Bolivar’s purchasing power on a daily basis. According to the National Assembly, the inflation rate for March alone was 67%, while the annualized inflation rate for the same month reached 8,871.1%.
Pollster: Only 30% Plan to Vote
Luis Vicente Leon, the head of the Datanalisis polling firm, said today that only 30% of Venezuelans plan to vote in the upcoming May 20 presidential election. Leon explained that the figures come from a recent survey that the firm conducted.
Speaking in a radio interview, Leon explained that the same survey found that a majority of Venezuelans believe that Maduro will win the election, and that a majority want him out of office. Leon explained that 75% of Venezuelans would vote against Maduro in a presidential election.
The paradoxical survey results–showing both a high intention to vote against Maduro, but a low intention to vote–are reflective, Leon explained, of the fact that Venezuelans do not believe that the election will be fair.
Leon also said that he believes that Henri Falcon, the highest-profile politician running against Maduro, would have a shot of winning if only people were willing to vote.
Falcon is a divisive figure in Venezuelan politics. Formerly a member of the PSUV party, Falcon crossed lines to the opposition side and was elected governor of Falcon state running under the opposition banner in 2012. After the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition bloc announced that it would not participate in the presidential election to protest what it believes to be an unfair vote, Falcon decided to disregard t he call and run anyway, earning the ire of many opposition supporters.
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