Venezuelan Snapshot

Venezuela Snapshot – July 31, 2020

A brief overview of events impacting Venezuela in the past month 

  • Two of the six U.S. oil executives who have been held without trial nearly three years in an overcrowded Venezuelan prison were released to house arrest.  
  • The two are part of the “Citgo Six”, who were asked to a last-minute budget meeting in Caracas in November 2017 and were arrested upon arrival.
  • The convicted murderer of 2004 Miss Venezuela Monica Spears and her ex-husband Thomas Berry in 2014 died of TB this week in a Venezuelan jail.
  • This week Iran is set to open Megasis, a supermarket in eastern Caracas.  The private inauguration was attended only by Venezuelan government officials, Iranian diplomatic personnel, and businessmen.  
  • The Maduro regime is in default on some $700 million in loans, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.
  • “There is nothing we can do for Venezuela,” says the President of the IADB, adding that “There’s no country in the history of humanity that has seen a contraction as deep as that of Venezuela without having had a war or a natural disaster or both.” 
  • He also states that Venezuela’s vast oil reserves and the decades of infrastructure development prior to the chavista years may give a better chance to turn the economy around after a change in government.
  • In its sixth year of recession, Venezuela’s annualized inflation exceeds 3,500%.
  • Another two former officials of Maduro’s regime have been barred by the U.S. form traveling there, and had sanctions imposed on them.
  • The Maduro regime continues to exploit the area south of the Orinoco River, a place of important biodiversity once largely protected, with the result of obvious environmental degradation through deforestation, sedimentation, and mercury poisoning of rivers. 
  • The U.S. warns that Venezuelan elections later this year would be deeply fraudulent, accusing Maduro of seeking to manipulate the outcome.
  • A man was shot and killed in eastern Venezuela during a protest over gasoline shortages, allegedly by a member of the National Guard.
  • Authorities in Colombia have seized a luxury mansion, purportedly valued at $7.6 million USD, belonging to a Colombian citizen detained in Cape Verde last month on U.S. corruption charges related to Maduro.
  • The current minimum wage is 400,000 bolivares per month.  Fifteen eggs cost 300,000.  Additionally, regime followers receive a monthly CLAP bag of food equivalent to close to 400,000 bolivares.
  • The Venezuelan regime limits the number of returning citizens allowed to enter the country to approximately 1,000 per week, meaning long waits at makeshift camps near the border in Cúcuta. 

He Wanted Nothing to Do with God

Robin Tinley 

Pastor Santiago* of the Curipaco Indigenous Tribe, Venezuela 

     In the middle of May, I was home praying to the Lord because of a family in our indigenous community that was in great need. The wife comes to our church, but the husband wants nothing to do with us or with the Gospel.  They were going through a really tough situation.  They had no food – nothing – to give their children, two little girls and a little boy.

     That day as I was praying for them, I received the blessing of a bag of food through the RaVenz Project.  Through this I was able to share my food with their family.  Since that day, we have seen how the husband of this Christian woman has not removed himself as much from the church and Gospel influences.  In fact, he now accompanies is wife to her cell group prayer meeting.

*Name changed for security reasons.

Through the RaVenz Project, Venezuelan Baptist ministerial families receive a monthly bag of food staples they cannot possibly afford.  This also allows them to minister to the most vulnerable in their communities and congregations – people such as Virginia – sharing the Gospel message along with food.  Venezuelan believers recognize that the pandemic has thrown many economies into chaos, but continue to pray and trust God that this desperately needed aid will continue at that opportune moment.  $20.00 provides the most essential items for a family of four for one month.