Venezuela Weekly: Court Decision Dims Possibilities for Electoral Agreement

The possibilities for broadly accepted legislative elections this year seem to be fading. Venezeula’s Supreme Court (TSJ) ruled last week that the National Assembly had failed to name new rectors to the directorate the National Electoral Council (CNE). It is expected that the TSJ will appoint a new CNE consisting of pro-Maduro officials.

Legislators from the opposition and Maduro’s socialist political party (PSUV) together with members of the civil society had been working since November 2019 in a National Assembly nominations committee. The committee’s work was set aside since March because of the pandemic. However, weak excuses such as the lack of a solid internet connection, revealed that behind the scenes there was a lack of political agreement on how to move forward.

The Supreme Court’s decision comes in response to the request of minority political parties that asked the TSJ to declare legislative omission regarding the appointment of the board of the CNE. These are the opposition leaders who, in September, formed the alternative “National Dialogue Table” referred to as “la mesita.”

Members of the Venezuelan opposition, international actors close to the opposition, and representatives of the Venezuelan civil society have rejected the court decision. Nevertheless, analysts highlight that there is still time and space for a political agreement. And in fact today there were suggestions that there are ongoing conversations between the Guaidó-led opposition and PSUV legislators.

Humanitarian Aid

Migration

  • Venezuelan authorities are only allowing migrants returning to Venezuela to cross the border three days each week amounting to 400 people per day. This is causing a bottleneck in Colombia. The mayor of the border Colombian city, Cúcuta, alerted that the city cannot look after the hundreds of stranded Venezuelans.
  • The Response For Venezuela (R4V) regional coordination platform is warning of the negative impact of COVID-19 on Venezuelan refugees and migrants.
  • Despite the Colombian government’s prohibitions against it, Venezuelan migrants are being subjected to mass evictions as they cannot afford to pay their rent. Many sleep in the streets, or set up makeshift camps outside big cities, parks, and squares.

Ecology

  • World Heritage Watch (WHW) reported the destruction of between 500 and 700 hectares of Canaima National Park and its ecosystem due to gold mining.
  • An investigation by various Venezuelan media organizations and the Pulitzer Center also looks at the destruction caused by gold mining.

Economy

  • The Central Bank of Venezuela announced that May inflation was 38.6%, 27.5% in April. The accumulated inflation for 2020 is 295,9%. For its part, the National Assembly estimated inflation for May at 15,3%, compared to 80% that the Assembly register for April. By the AN’s calculations, 2020 inflation stands at 409,18%.
  • Argus Media reported that Venezuela diverted around 100,000 bl from the recent imported from Iran gasoline to Cuba.

Corruption