Venezuela Weekly: Country’s Two Governments Sign Deal with Pan American Health Organization

The de facto Maduro government’s health minister and National Assembly’s “health advisor” signed an agreement to join forces with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to collaborate in pursuing policies and searching for international financial resources to address the  pandemic.

Maduro’s Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez said they had agreed to keep the negotiations confidential on the opposition’s request, but after the agreement leaked, decided to make it public. Juan Guaidó’s interim government said they signed the agreement with the government of Maduro because PAHO required it to proceed to operate in Venezuela.

There was little immediate messaging about the agreement among the opposition. While the interim government’s “National Communication Center” put out a statement shortly after mid-day, Guaidó himself did not say anything until six hours later. Most opposition leaders have either said nothing or given only a brief retweet of Guaidó’s message.

The muted response reveals once again the political tight-rope walked by Juan Guaidó as he tries to attend to civil society and moderates’ demands to attend to the population’s needs, while keeping on board radicals who think any relief only helps Maduro. Opposition leader Antonio Ledezma, exiled in Madrid, tweeted that as long as Maduro’s “poisonous regime” is in power “no health plan will be worthwhile.”

More on Dialogue and Negotiation

  • Guaidó responded to a statement by various civil society organizations and individuals exhorting the Venezuelan opposition to rejection violent means of returning to democracy and seek to restart negotiations with the government. He said the opposition has always supported a negotiated solution to the Venezuelan conflict, and believes in an orderly, peaceful and democratic transition with the least suffering possible. He also promised to consider the proposals Venezuelan civil society organizations made about the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Venezuela’s Catholic Church issued a statement calling political forces to forge an inclusive national agreement to save Venezuela from the severe crisis the country faces.
  • Crisis Group insists that “only a reduction in political hostilities, a negotiated return to competitive elections and the reestablishment of functioning state institutions can ultimately restore peace and well-being for Venezuelans.”
  • In a special report, Reuters reports that the United States is preparing a criminal indictment against Nicolas Maduro’s wife, and important behind-the-scenes operator Cilia Flores for drug trafficking and corruption.

Coronavirus

  • Nicolás Maduro announced the steps that would be taken to relax the quarantine in Venezuela. He suggested the country is ready to return to relative normality, and that 85% of the country is free from coronavirus. Nonetheless, the steps are complicated and likely to create confusion.
  • Venezuela, according to the government, has 1,819 cases of Covid-19 and 18 deaths from the virus so far. Nevertheless, the opposition and human right organizations question the official figures.
  • The United Nations sent 12 tons of humanitarian aid to Venezuela last week. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations has sent more than 100 tons of humanitarian assistance to Venezuela.

Gasoline

Violence

  • The portal Runrun.es and the civil association Caracas Mi Convive presented an interesting study about violence in Caracas. The study offers statistical information about homicides in Caracas and presents the profiles of the victims of homicidal violence in Caracas, such as sex, age, race, and educational level.

Migration

  • The Venezuelan Migration Observatory at the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB) presented a survey on how the COVID-19 has affected Venezuelan migrants in the region. Almost one-third of the respondents said that they are considering returning to Venezuela.
  • According to Colombian authorities, the number of Venezuelan migrants that live there has decreased for the first time in five years, from 1,825,000 people in February to 1,809,000 in March.
  • COVID-19 has hit Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador hard, especially the youngest.
  • Civil society associations in Peru have opposed a draft bill that the Peruvian Congress discusses and seeks to revoke the Temporary Permanence Permits for the migrants, something that will have adverse for thousand Venezuelans that live in the country.

Digital protest

  • A recent study by digital activity observer Probox showed that complaints on Twitter regarding economic, social, cultural and environmental rights increased considerably since the beginning of the lockdown in Venezuela. The study also says the Maduro government tries to impose its agenda using bots.

Economy

  • Venezuela’s oil exports fell to less than 500.000 barrels per day for the first time since the 2002-2003 oil lockout. The fall in exports is because Venezuela is struggling to find intermediaries to facilitate shipments.
  • A Mexican firm that had engaged in an oil-for-food agreement with the government of Maduro announced bankruptcy, arguing that the U.S. government harmed its operations.