All CNE All The Time

 With the big news about the ICC officially opening an investigation into the Human Rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by the Maduro regime as well as all the news regarding extraditions of people connected to Chavismo in various ways being extradited to face various charges there is one thing that has remained constant recently. It’s all CNE (national electoral council) all the time. With the campaigns for the November elections underway there are a lot of stories out there pertaining to the CNE, election monitoring,etc. There are, of course, all the statements by the Chavistas saying how much they welcome the participation of the opposition and the international monitoring groups. What always surfaces shortly thereafter are stories about parties being allowed to participate that were previously banned but individuals that were previously banned…not so much. And as much as they welcome the monitoring groups they have put a lot of statements out there about what will and won’t be allowed. It’s all under the guise of protecting sovereignty, the process, and democracy itself. So what have we had in the last few days? Well…..

 The CNE announced the creation of the Media Monitoring Room, a group of 25 people that will be keeping an eye on social media. I know I’m a skeptic but does anybody else see violations of The Hate Law coming?

The CNE also announced there have already been violations in electoral propaganda however no details were given.

 The CNE board warns the EU observers “…not to interfere in the process.Any action, movement,gesture, that could affect the process is prohibited.” Remember, this is the new, inclusive, kinder, gentler CNE that includes two opposition members ( the 5 person CNE is still controlled by 3 Chavistas).

 The CNE also wants us to know that it will analyze several governorship’s social media accounts being used for propaganda. They don’t tell us which ones are in question but I would be amazed if some,if not all, are the same governors that have had “protectors of the people” installed by the Chavistas.

 And while they were at it, the CNE annulled four candidates from PCV and APR,communist affiliated parties that compete with the Chavista’s PSUV for the same votes.

 However, we have Telesur (government media) telling us that the CNE reports all political forces are competing in the elections.

 Then we have Dissident Chavismo reporting that 15 candidates have been submitted and barred.

 As a counterpoint to all this we have Monitor Venezuela. It’s a team of 28 journalists to cover  the electoral process and defeat disinformation. Will they be allowed to present any questionable activities by Chavismo or will it just be opposition violations of “the process”?

 How about a little Covid-19 news…Tass (Russia) reports another 450,000 Sputnik V vaccines arrived in Venezuela last week.

 We also had the Science Minister assuring us that their goal of 85% vaccinated by the end of the year (I thought it was 90%) will be reached. This in light of the fact that the Chavista’s numbers are,more or less, twice as high as the PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) numbers Example: A week ago the regime reported over 50% vaccinated while the PAHO had the number at 22%,

 There is also a Covid-19 testing issue. Medicos Unidos reports there are not enough public labs for Coronavirus testing and that private labs charge $60 for a PCR test. What is that…like 30 minimum wages?

 Oh, and the president of FPMC, the pharmaceutical workers association, tells us they are protesting for worker’s rights…”our children are going hungry.”

 And we have Monitor Salud telling us the Covid-19 infection rate was up 43% in October versus September among healthcare workers.

 In other health-related news we have various NGOs decrying the Maduro regime’s lack of reliable figures on breast cancer. The NGO’s best estimate is that Venezuela’s breast cancer rate is 30% higher than the overall rate for Latin America. Public mammograms are nearly impossible to get and cost about $50 at a private provider. In the last 5 years 22 radiation therapy units have been closed. Best information available says there is only one currently in operation. On the medication front more than 25 medicines for breast cancer treatment are not readily available.

 We also have the PAHO telling us that COVAX plans to send another 2 and 1/2 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Venezuela. No time frame was given but, other than the untested Cuban vaccines, the Venezuelan people need as many as they can get.

 On the economic front we have some news and,as always with Venezuela, it’s a mixed bag.First we have the president of the Venezuela Association of Exporters reporting that exports are up 30% this year. We always like to see any hint of positive news for the Venezuelan economy.

 Then we have economist Asdrubal Oliveres saying inflation this year may only be 1,000%. In any other country this would be a disaster but in Venezuela it’s a significant improvement. Venezuela is still in hyperinflation (closing in on the all time record duration wise) but at least it’s not the one million % of a couple of years ago.

 In decidedly bad news, although not surprising, is Cendas reporting that the basic food basket for October, the amount required to feed a family of five, came in at $450. With the monthly minimum wage at a little over two bucks a month it’s more confirmation of the poverty and starvation afflicting the Venezuelan people.

 More tomorrow…..

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