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01 Diciembre 2021

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The Political Prisoners We All forget

Their faces have not appeared in any public manifestation portrayed in any banner, or brochures, or in social media. Their names were sentenced by someone with "revolutionary authority" that involved them in a case without conclusive evidence, even with assumptions that even though they were dismantled, that was worth little or nothing to reverse the aim, i.e. to criminalize the protest, frighten the protesters, leave someone behind bars. The official discourse that is determined to ensure that there are only political prisoners in Venezuela does not fit to them. These are ordinary Venezuelans who have ended up as political prisoners, particularly as forgotten political prisoners.

06-11-16
The Silent Spread of Diphtheria

A contagious disease has reappeared in Venezuela. After 24 years of being considered eradicated, the inhabitants of the south of the country are experiencing a diphtheria outbreak of hitherto incalculable scales. Minister of Health Luisana Melo has recognized as official medical report only two deaths out of the four cases confirmed by her office until October 11. But several death certificates, collected in situ by Armando.info, indicate that the number of deaths is higher.

The North is a Chimera for Those who Stay to Wait for Relatives and Remittances

The Mayas, who in the classical era of their civilization mysteriously depopulated large stone cities in Mesoamerica, now, a millennium later, abandon their adobe and thatched roof villages in the Yucatán peninsula at a rate that could be comparable. Every year, over a thousand cross the border into the United States. This time their motives are not a mystery: local poverty and the promise of a better life, especially in California, push them to exodus. The traffic is bidirectional, in any case. While the people march north, back to the south come remittances of money, hopes and new cultural patterns. However, life for those who stay at home is not easy, especially for married women, who submit not only to an endless wait, but also to asphyxiating social norms.

Venezuelans with HIV follow Bolívar's example and cross the Andes, but to receive treatment in Peru

The country with the largest oil reserve in the hemisphere neglects its people with HIV-positive and lets them die. Since 2012, medicines are scarce and the pandemic is spreading unabated in Venezuela. That is why dozens of patients have embarked on a 4,000-kilometer epic journey in order to save their lives and reach for the promised land where they will find both employment and health.

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The 2019 blackout derived in a network in Mexico to evade sanctions against Maduro

When Vice President Delcy Rodríguez turned to a group of Mexican friends and partners to lessen the new electricity emergency in Venezuela, she laid the foundation stone of a shortcut through which Chavismo and its commercial allies have dodged the sanctions imposed by Washington on PDVSA’s exports of crude oil. Since then, with Alex Saab, Joaquín Leal and Alessandro Bazzoni as key figures, the circuit has spread to some thirty countries to trade other Venezuelan commodities. This is part of the revelations of this joint investigative series between the newspaper El País and Armando.info, developed from a leak of thousands of documents.

Lopez Obrador's government was aware of underground business with Venezuela

Leaked documents on Libre Abordo and the rest of the shady network that Joaquín Leal managed from Mexico, with tentacles reaching 30 countries, ―aimed to trade PDVSA crude oil and other raw materials that the Caracas regime needed to place in international markets in spite of the sanctions― show that the businessman claimed to have the approval of the Mexican government and supplies from Segalmex, an official entity. Beyond this smoking gun, there is evidence that Leal had privileged access to the vice foreign minister for Latin America and the Caribbean, Maximiliano Reyes.

Alex Saab left charcoal-marked fingerprints on Mexican network

The business structure that Alex Saab had registered in Turkey—revealed in 2018 in an article by Armando.info—was merely a false start for his plans to export Venezuelan coal. Almost simultaneously, the Colombian merchant made contact with his Mexican counterpart, Joaquín Leal, to plot a network that would not only market crude oil from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, as part of a maneuver to bypass the sanctions imposed by Washington, but would also take charge of a scheme to export coal from the mines of Zulia, in western Venezuela. The dirty play allowed that thousands of tons, valued in millions of dollars, ended up in ports in Mexico and Central America.

14-06-21
For everything else, there were Joaquín Leal and Alex Saab

As part of their business network based in Mexico, with one foot in Dubai, the two traders devised a way to replace the operation of the large international credit card franchises if they were to abandon the Venezuelan market because of Washington’s sanctions. The developed electronic payment system, “Paquete Alcance,” aimed to get hundreds of millions of dollars in remittances sent by expatriates and use them to finance purchases at CLAP stores.

Two stepbrothers — One penalty

Scions of different lineages of tycoons in Venezuela, Francisco D’Agostino and Eduardo Cisneros are non-blood relatives. They were also partners for a short time in Elemento Oil & Gas Ltd, a Malta-based company, over which the young Cisneros eventually took full ownership. Elemento was a protagonist in the secret network of Venezuelan crude oil marketing that Joaquín Leal activated from Mexico. However, when it came to imposing sanctions, Washington penalized D’Agostino only… Why?

They offered to resuscitate Venezuelan aluminum production but rescued a Mexican consortium

Through a company registered in Mexico – Consorcio Panamericano de Exportación – with no known trajectory or experience, Joaquín Leal made a daring proposal to the Venezuelan Guyana Corporation to “reactivate” the aluminum industry, paralyzed after March 2019 blackout. The business proposed to pay the power supply of state-owned companies in exchange for payment-in-kind with the metal.

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