A group of pensioners staged a protest today in the vicinity of the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) to demand the full payment of their retirement benefits. While Maduro announced on August 17 that pensioners would now receive Bs.S. 1,800 a month, they are in fact only receiving a fraction of that amount.
Emilio Lozada, the president of the Federacion Nacional de Jubilados y Pensionados de Venezuela [National Federation of Retirees and Pensioners of Venezuela] said that pensioners are in fact receiving “a pittance of Bs.S. 90 and Bs.S. 100”, which is roughly $1.00-1.10.
Lozada also explained that rather than being upfront about the payment issues, the Maduro regime is instead choosing to simply ignore pensioners. He said:
We’re being humiliated even more (…) we’re protesting because there’s nothing left to do. We feel like they’re making a joke out of us. If the BCV doesn’t have all of the money to pay us, they should say that so that we’re all clear and so we can take the necessary actions. That money is ours, no one else’s.
The seniors were prevented from reaching the BCV building in Caracas, which was their protests’ destination, by National Guard soldiers:
Number of Functioning ATMs Dropping as POS Machines Increase
The Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) has published an “unusual” bulletin providing statistics on the number of automatic teller machines in the country, showing the continuation of a decreasing trend that began in 2015.
The banking industry has severe limitations when it comes to the acquisition or repair of ATMs, which are costly and sophisticated machines, given the rationing of foreign currency exercised by the Maduro regime in the country.
At the same time, the BCV report also shows that the number of point-of-sale machines has increased by 165,000 since 2011. However, after reaching a peak of 437.796 in November 2017, the number of POS machines operating in the country has dropped by over 5,000 since April.
EU Stresses Continued Support for Democracy in Venezuela
The European Union (EU) stressed its continued support for a democratic Venezuela yesterday, saying that it was hopeful that it would make gains on the human rights front “in the long term”.
The comment came from Adrianus Koetsenruijter, a an official with the organization’s diplomatic wing. Koetsenruijter said that the EU’s concern over the human rights situation in Venezuela was “constant”, despite a sometimes frustrating lack of progress. He said:
Whenever we can, we insist on this topic, but the result does not give us a lot of hope.
Koetsenruijter also stressed that a military intervention in Venezuela aimed at restoring democracy “is not necessary”, and that any such action would only be effective on the short term. “The only solution for the country”, Koetsenruijter said, would come through an earnest dialogue between the two sides.
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