The Organization of American States (OAS) agreed today to discuss the ongoing Venezuelan crisis during its 70th General Assembly, which is scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. on June 4 and 5. The measure to discuss the crisis during the Assembly came after a vote today at the OAS, with 19 member states supporting the move, 6 opposed and 5 abstaining.
With today’s vote, the OAS has agreed to “include the situation in Venezuela for consideration” at the General Assembly.
The timing of the General Assembly meeting is likely to be crucial, since it will come just two weeks after the May 20 presidential election. The election, which regime critics claim has already been rigged in favour of Maduro, is likely to be a point of contention at the Assembly.
Cabello: PSUV Officials Cannot Be Corrupt
PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello gave a press conference today in which he spoke on a variety of topics, among them corruption.
Cabello told journalists that it was “absolutely contradictory” to suggest that a member of the ruling PSUV might be corrupt. Cabello explained that by definition, PSUV members are “ethically pure” and thus unable to be corrupted.
You know that the right wing accuses the revolution [the PSUV] of corruption, when they are the fathers of corruption in Venezuela. And, if at any time the crime of corruption has been punished, its been during the Bolivarian revolution.
He went on to say:
In the Bolivarian revolution, everyone takes care of their responsibilities. No one’s put anywhere so that they can steal, and to tell you the truth a corrupt [person] is not chavista. That’s completely contradictory. They were never chavista.
Cabello’s attempt at rhetorical flair stands in the face of nearly 20 years of corruption scandals that have robbed the nations of untold billions of dollars.
According to the National Assembly, the PSUV leadership of the state-owned PDVSA oil firm is suspected of having embezzled as many as $11 billion from the company between 2004 and 2014.
Cabello himself is widely suspected of engaging in corrupt activities from within the Venezuelan government, and was alleged to have been the target of an international investigation in 2015 over his alleged leading role in a drug cartel.
Rising Food Prices Make Salary Increase Meaningless
One day after coming into effect, Maduro’s increase to the minimum monthly salary is already being rendered meaningless by the hyperinflation affecting Venezuela.
The minimum monthly salary jumped yesterday on Maduro’s orders to Bs. 1,000,000 per month. When combined with a food subsidy that workers earning the minimum salary receive each month, a Venezuelan worker earning the minimum salary can expect to take home Bs. 2,555,500 at the end of each month.
The tweet below shows three images of the same product taken within two weeks. The product is 140 gram cans of tuna. The image on the left was taken two weeks ago, and shows that the price of the can was Bs. 1,043,478.25. The picture on the right was taken today, and shows that the price of the same can is now Bs. 2,100,000.00. In other words, the can of tuna more than doubled in price in just two weeks:
The image below links to an article from La Patilla. The image shows that the price of a container of margarine is Bs. 1,315,000. This means that a Venezuelan worker earning the minimum monthly salary cannot afford to buy two tubs of margarine with their monthly wage:
Venezuela is currently caught in a hyperinflationary spiral. According to recent figures, the country’s annual inflation rate at the end of April was 17,968%.
Prisoner Dies of Starvation in Monagas State
Alberto Jesus Caraballo, 54, died in Maturin’s Central Hospital yesterday due to starvation after being transferred to the institution on February 28 from a Monagas State Police jail. Caraballo was taken to the hospital after it became apparent to the police holding him that he was severely malnourished.
According to El Periodico de Monagas, Caraballo told the media following his transfer to hospital that while in jail, he was only fed yucca skin water. The newspaper reports that the Monagas State Police clarified subsequent Caraballo’s transfer that it was not responsible for feeding jail inmates.
Caraballo, who was HIV positive, also suffered from tuberculosis.
Venezuelan jails and prisons are notorious for the hellish conditions in which inmates are housed.
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