Venezuelan Snapshots

Venezuela Snapshot – November 30, 2019

  • Last week seven Transven missionaries-in-training graduated from a three-month training at the Genesis Project at Campo Carabobo, where they put into practice self-sustaining agricultural methods.  This is the fifth year for the Transven program.  Graduates are now serving in Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico.
  • The Casa de la Misión, located a fifteen-minute walk from the Simon Bolivar International Bridge near Cúcuta, continues to serve Venezuelan refugees.  In October, when two teams from Venezuela served as volunteers, 3792 people were ministered to.  Four hundred and eighty-six made professions of faith, 576 received medical attention, 2058 were able to shower, and 968 were able to wash their clothes.   The Casa de la Mision is manned by Venezuelans and supported financially by Fielder Road Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas, and the IMB.   
  • The IMF believes Venezuela’s inflation will hit 200,000% this year, an improvement over last year’s one million per cent inflation. 
  • A cup of coffee cost 150 bolivares last year, compared to 180,000 this year. 
  • The Maduro regime loosened controls for Black Friday, with discounts of 70-80%.  Witnesses in some places said malls and restaurants were full, “just like the old days”.  
  • The now-common use of dollars in Venezuela – once banned and punishable – has helped slow the economy’s free fall and given a respite to those with dollars, who are shopping in Las Mercedes and other popular neighborhoods ‘‘like there’s no tomorrow”.
  • On the other hand, those on a bolivar-only salary cannot afford groceries for the month.  
  • Unconfirmed word on the street is to expect a December 8 devaluation of the Bolivar Soberano, with three zeroes to be removed from the currency.  
  • Interim president Juan Guaido’s recent call for massive street protests yielded underwhelming results,with some pundits claiming his movement has stalled.
  • The Colombian government flew 59 Venezuelans who participated in acts of vandalism during recent protests in Bogotá to a distant jungle border town, making any return to Bogotá on their part difficult, lengthy, and unlikely.  Brilliant.
  • The Feds are building a $4.5 billion money-laundering case against two Venezuelans,the third such case targeting members of Venezuela’s young business elites.
  • The U.S. is blacklisting a Cuban firm tied to Venezuela sanctions evasion.
  • The founder of a U.S. private jet firm tied to the Vice President of Venezuela pled guilty to sanctions evasion.

Conoco-Phillips has filed a motion to seize Citgo shares to collect on a $2 billion arbitration award against Venezuela.

  • The U.S. Treasury Department said claimants against Venezuela can not “enforce liens, judgments, arbitral awards or decrees” by seizing property to collect on unpaid debts unless they receive specific authorization from Washington.  
  • It was not clear if the move will permanently shield Citgo from seizure.   
  • Authorities in Madrid, Spain, are struggling to provide shelter and protection to newly arrived asylum-seekers as winter arrives, a third of whom are Venezuelans
  • Madrid’s emergency shelters are overwhelmed. Churches and neighborhood volunteer networks are trying to fill the gap.

Venezuelan pianist Omar Zambrano was scraping by after arriving in Buenos Aires two years ago, until he realized many other musicians around the city were also Venezuelans who had fled their country. Today, he’s the founder and director of Latin Vox Machine, an orchestra of 150 musicians, most of them Venezuelan, “giving back our music and our talents as a way of showing our gratitude”