Thousands of Venezuelans are on the streets, asking for immediate elections but, so far, only getting relentless repression in return from the armed forces. About nine Venezuelans protesters have been killed in the last days of protests, which are seen as intensifying. President Nicolas Maduro has threatened to put 500,000 rifles in the hands of his followers, many of whom are organized in bands of criminals, to “defend” the revolution, a clear act of aggression the people’s right to march peacefully.
This unbalanced posture by Maduro has already received a critical reply from the United Nations. Strongman Diosdado Cabello, a leader of chavismo has also stated that “the revolution does not care about what the world says”, no doubt meaning that they will continue to escalate armed repression in the coming days. The regime just took control of the General Motors automobile plant in Valencia, about 80 miles southwest of Caracas, forcing the company to abandon Venezuela.
Governance in the country is at a critical low and the probability of default grows larger this year. A report by Reuters, see: http://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-oil-tankers-seizure-idUSL2N1HD1MI informs that Venezuelan oil cargoes have been retained by Russian debtors, since the state oil company is not honoring its debts. The report states: : “political allies such as Russia are losing patience with delinquent payments from Venezuela, whose obsolete tankers are struggling to export oil and even to supply fuel to the domestic market. PDVSA also owes millions of dollars to Caribbean terminals - including the one in Saint Eustatius, which is owned by U.S. NuStar Energy, according to a PDVSA executive and an employee at one of the facilities”. Large debtors such as Canadian mining company Crystallex are pursuing seizures of Venezuelan assets in North America after being awarded about $1.3 billion by a World Bank decision in payment for the confiscation of its assets in Venezuela.
Thousands of Venezuelans are moving across borders into Colombia and Brazil and efforts are made by hundreds to reach the small ABC islands in the Caribbean, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Availability of food and medical supplies is deteriorating rapidly.
The government has practically ceased to operate normally. The country is in a permanent state of emergency. Control is being exercised through forcible means in violation of basic human rights.
This situation is well documented and the OAS, regional governments and the United States Department of State are fully informed of the situation. Yesterday Secretary of State R. Tillerson answered a question about Venezuela in the following terms: “SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, we are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard, nor allowing them to organize in a way that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people. Yes, we are concerned about that situation. We’re watching it closely and working with others, particularly through the OAS, to communicate those concerns to them”. Obviously hard decisions concerning Venezuela can no longer be postponed and action should now replace words.
Venezuelans are clearly asking for urgent help from the region. This is a May Day call.
May Day, May Day.