Editorial La Patilla: 2024, the year of hope, change and freedom

The year ended with the progress of two wars and the end of the global emergency due to Covid 19

The most recent incident between Israel and Hamas began when members of the terrorist group crossed into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7 and attacked border towns and the Supernova open-air music festival. Approximately 1,140 people of all ages and various nationalities were killed in Israeli territory, mostly unarmed civilians. From there, Israel Defense Forces have taken control of the Gaza Strip and have promised to eliminate Hamas in urban fighting.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022 and shows no signs of ending, is expected to continue into 2023, causing thousands of casualties on both sides and fracturing global food and energy supply chains, leading to global inflation. Had an impact.

But there was some good news too

On May 5, the World Health Organization declared the end of the international public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which was declared on March 30, 2020. On the other hand, during the first quarter of 2023, developed economies returned to pre-pandemic levels in their main indicators, according to the market UN report.

The year 2023 sees the emergence and consolidation of artificial intelligence in personal and work spheres. For example, the Chat GPT chatbot, launched on November 30, 2022, reached 180.5 million active users in December this year and the OpenEye website received 1.721 million visits in November 2023. Artificial intelligence will have a high impact on human endeavor in the coming years. ,

in the American continent

In these parts, on the American continent, the victories of opposition candidates Bernardo Arévalo in Guatemala and Javier Miley in Argentina confirm the trend towards democratic alternative on the continent. An excellent sign.

From 2018 to the elections in Argentina in November, there have been 21 presidential elections in Latin America in which opposition candidates have won (except in Paraguay). At the same time, the opposition candidate also won in America. A clear demonstration of democratic choice, the elections were held by only three countries deemed non-competitive by the international community: Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

With the democratic alternative growing stronger, it is hard not to be optimistic about our continent in 2024.

In 2022 (the most recent data), foreign direct investment into Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to increase by 51 percent to $208 billion, an all-time record. In South America it grew 73%, mainly in the mining and oil sectors. It increased by 5% in Central America and 53% in the Caribbean region. Also in 2022, 5 countries in the Americas were in the top 20 in receiving foreign direct investment, and they were the US (1st in the world), Brazil (5), Canada (7), Mexico (11) and Chile (19).

Presidential elections will be held in 2024 in El Salvador (February), Panama (May), Mexico (June), Dominican Republic (July), Uruguay (October), USA (November) and Venezuela (December).

in venezuela

After a relative calm in the economy as a result of restrictions being lifted due to the pandemic, closing indicators are very negative.

The value of the bolivar continued to decline against the US dollar, rising from BS18.13 per dollar on December 30, 2022, to BS39.10 on December 29, 2023, an increase of 116% during 2023. BCV lost $140 million in that period. According to IVF calculations, international reserves and inflation will reach 280% this year, the highest on the continent and in the world.

The current minimum wage in Venezuela is 130 bolivars, or US$3.66, according to the Center for Documentation and Social Analysis of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers, which is only 1% of the basic family basket. It is the lowest on the continent.

In 2023, gasoline shortages continued, affecting the mobility of people and goods, despite the fact that only 62 thousand barrels/day were consumed internally on average during the year. As a reference, 300 thousand b/d of gasoline was consumed internally in 2012.

Lack of drinking water, public transportation, frequent power outages, general poverty, and very low wages will continue to plague Venezuelans in 2024. This is the result of the socialist model.

The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS) recorded 4,351 protests across the country during the first half of 2023, an increase of 12% compared to the same period in 2022. The Center for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (DESCA) remains a center of protests. The mobilization represents 86% of all those registered.

At the International Criminal Court, ICC, between 7 and 8 November, the Appeals Chamber held a public and historic hearing to resolve an event: the reopening of the Venezuelan State’s appeal against the Pre-Trial Chamber’s previous June decision. For the investigation of the commission of crimes against humanity in Venezuela. The investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor before the ICC began in 2018 with the aim of verifying whether police and military authorities, who harshly repressed civilian protests since 2014 and which led to several hundred deaths and injuries, committed crimes against humanity. Committed a crime against, as well as shouldered the responsibility. Senior representatives of the Nicolas Maduro regime at these events. The victims, approximately 2,600 out of approximately 9,000 registered, were represented by the representative of the ICC’s Office of Public Defense for Victims, lawyer Paolina Masidda.

A process before the ICC has two main stages: first, where the State is questioned as to whether crimes against humanity are true and, if so, whether, according to the evidence, they are prosecuted. This is the phase that is now about to end when sentencing takes place, possibly in less than 100 days. If confirmed, the fact remains that the ICC Prosecutor’s Office should investigate the Venezuelan state for crimes against humanity.

barbados agreement

Five years after the infamous 2018 presidential elections, President Nicolas Maduro’s government and a group of opposition parties, known as the Unitary Platform, agreed on October 17 to begin leveling electoral conditions ahead of 2024 elections . The agreement resumes the path of formality Talks between the parties raise some hope that the next elections can be truly competitive, fairly, without prisoners and political exiles.

Earlier, the US had issued broad authorization for transactions related to Venezuela’s oil, gas and gold fields, with General Licenses 41 and 44. It also eliminated restrictions on the secondary exchange of some Venezuelan sovereign bonds, as well as debt issued by the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela. This authorization is temporary and its renewal is contingent on Venezuela meeting its commitments regarding the electoral roadmap and the unjustly detained persons.

The opposition first changed the country

The main event was the opposition primary in Venezuela in 2023. It returned the desire for independence to millions of Venezuelans inside and outside the country. Despite months of threats and obstruction by the ruling party, the event self-managed by the Primary Commission concluded on 22 October, counting 2,440,045 votes inside and outside Venezuela, where María Corina Machado received 2,253,825 votes, 92.35%. . complete.

The day after the trial, the government began to condemn the fraud and mobilized the Prosecutor’s Office to indict the organizers of alleged crimes such as criminal cooperation, money laundering and usurpation of functions. On October 30, the Supreme Court of Justice annulled the primaries organized by the Venezuelan opposition, after accepting a complaint of alleged electoral fraud.

A huge and serious mistake of governance, which had no impact on the will of the nation. In this regard, the Academy of Political and Social Sciences said in a statement that the primaries are “a civil event” in line with the Venezuelan Constitution. “Therefore, this does not amount to a usurpation of the functions of the CNE, nor can it be assumed that illegal actions were carried out,” the letter highlighted. He stressed that “the actions of the Public Ministry and the Supreme Court represent an attack on the constitutional and legal order, on democracy, and on the citizens who civically participated in the said process.”

In a desperate attempt to eclipse the outcome of the opposition primaries, the regime called a consultative referendum on Essequibo. Five questions were asked in the referendum. There are three that directly refer to the rejection of the ICJ’s jurisdiction to settle the dispute, the management of Guiana on the sea pending delimitation, and the creation of a new administrative unit in the territory and its incorporation into the Venezuelan map. In its experiment on December 3, Chavismo tested its electoral engineering, its power to call for spontaneous voting, its capacity for coercion, and also measured the dynamics and reactions of different sectors opposing it. And the results, though unproven, were a stark contrast to the emptiness in the polling stations. There was no transmission of data or printing of minutes from the CNE. The estimated results were revised three times by the electoral branch.

Today’s reality and future

Today’s truth is the extreme weakness of governance. Without work or speech he does not get any public support. While the opposition managed to energize the country by proposing that peaceful change could be achieved with competitive and verifiable elections without disqualified candidates.

A large portion of the Venezuelan nation, the international community, and the ruling party have understood this as a way that has an excellent opportunity to allow them to escape criminal violence.

Today, a social dynamic is developing towards the integral restoration of the republic and democratic alternative to power. And what is certain is that Venezuela’s desire for freedom, justice and prosperity has proven persistent and resistant to time.

We know that the future is not hereditary, on the contrary, from Peter Drucker’s quote “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” And then the moral dimension of that certainty: how important it is to accept responsibility and commitment in the present to create the desired future.

In 2022 we titled our year-end editorial “2023 will be a different year.” We are not wrong. A hopeful country demands freedom.

Let’s make 2024 the year of the triumph of full democracy again.

Let’s do it!

la patilla team

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