Diosdado Cabello, the vice president of the ruling PSUV party and the president of the Constituent Assembly, gave a speech today in which he announced a national march on Friday “for peace”. Cabello said that the point of the march would be to show the world that Venezuela
… does not want war, nor do we promote war nor do we prepare for wars.
The march will take place amid raised tensions with Colombia, following the deployment of Venezuelan troops to the border last week.
During the same speech, Cabello said that he wished that people living in the United States “had as much freedom” as he claims Venezuelans enjoy. Cabello’s comments come in response to a statement by U.S. president Donald Trump, who said at a rally over the weekend that the Democratic Party wanted to turn the U.S. into Venezuela.
Trump said that he doesn’t want his country to look like Venezuela, but we don’t bomb countries, we don’t lock up children, we’re not the highest-consuming country of drugs in the world (…) I wish the U.S. had as many freedoms as we have here in Venezuela.
Cabello also took time to repeat the regime mantra that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He said:
There’s no humanitarian crisis here. What we do have is a campaign against this country. Those who talk about humanitarian crisis are the ones who have waged war against our country and whose ultimate goal is for us to recognize that there is a great humanitarian crisis.
Venezuela is currently experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis of its modern history, going back to the Federal War of 1859-1863. Food and medicine shortages have made living an ordeal for millions of Venezuelans, 61% of whom live in extreme poverty.
Such is the extent of the crisis that it has precipitated one of the largest migrant flows that the region has seen, having forced 2.3 million Venezuelans out of the country since 2013.
El Nacional: Ticket Agencies Charging in USD for Domestic Flights
El Nacional reported today that some ticket agencies are charging for domestic flights in U.S. dollars, putting travel within Venezuela beyond the reach of most residents.
The newspaper cited the increasing number of Venezuelans complaining about the measure on Twitter. One user complained that a flight out of Margarita island with Avior costs $35, while another wondered if the measure is taking place under the initiative of the airlines or of the ticket agencies.
A journalist named Yosmar Poleo also said that the flight from Porlamar, Nueva Esparta state to the Maiquetia international airport costs approximately $80.
Madelein Garcia, a correspondent with the state-owned Telesur television network, said that ticket agencies are explaining the measure by saying that because they pay the airlines in dollars, they have to charge in dollars.
Venezuela’s economic collapse has been affecting international airlines for years. At least nine airlines–including Air Canada, Lufthansa, Avianca and United Airlines–have been forced to halt operations to and from Venezuela in recent years due to non-payment of debt by the Venezuelan government.
At the heart of the matter is the fact that Venezuelans have paid for flights in Bolivares, the local currency. The Maduro regime has been unable to exchange ticket sales into foreign currency with which to pay the airlines, resulting in approximately $3.8 billion in debt.
Pizarro: Minimum Monthly Salary Can’t Cover School Costs
National Assembly deputy Miguel Pizarro pointed out today that the minimum monthly salary in Venezuela is not enough to cover the cost of schooling, placing basic education beyond the reach of a majority of Venezuelan families.
In a series of messages shared on his Twitter account, Pizarro demonstrated that a Venezuelan family with a child would have to earn five times the minimum monthly salary to pay for a “basic school kit”.
The basic school kit in Venezuela is made up of the following items:
- Daily uniform (including shoes)
- Gym uniform (including shoes)
- A notebook
- A backpack
- An eraser
- A pencil sharpener
- A set of rulers
- Pencils and colouring pencils
The current minimum monthly salary is Bs S. 1,980. When added up, the items listed above cost an average of Bs S. 9,660.
Caracas Teacher’s Union: “We’re in an Educational Emergency”
As children burdened by the crisis entered their classrooms this morning for the start of a new school year, the Caracas teacher’s syndicate declared itself in a state of emergency and warned of strike action unless the regime took immediate steps to alleviate their dire situation.
Edgar Machado, the president of the organization, said:
Teacher in Caracas are tired. We’re in an educational emergency.
Machado said that the PSUV governorship of Vargas state has violated at least 8 terms of the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement, and that despite all of their work they cannot afford to maintain themselves. He said:
Our salaries aren’t enough even to allow us to survive. The teacher’s quality of life has completely collapsed. We don’t even have enough money to buy the cheapest shoes.
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