Latin America On Its Way To Legalizing Drugs, Experts Say

first_imgBy Dialogo August 10, 2009 Latin America is headed towards the decriminalization of drug possession for personal consumption, according to experts and officials who took part in a regional conference in Buenos Aires. Those attending the 1st Latin American Conference on Drug Policy also said that legislative reforms are being designed to give smaller sentences “to small traffickers, and to create policies that minimize harm” by encouraging addicts who can’t quit to come into the health system. They also warned that the war on drugs “did not achieve its goal,” since Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, which together produce all the cocaine in the world, “could not manage in 10 years to reduce the area under cultivation,” according to a communique released at the end of the meeting, sponsored by the Pan-American Health Organization. Brazilian lawmaker Paulo Teixeira said that his country’s current anti-drug law “increases the harm to users, because once in jail they get involved with organized crime.” The legislator, originator of Brazil’s first bill to “reduce the harm” of drug consumption, presented a study saying that 84 percent of those sentenced between 2006-2008 for drug possession in that country were not armed and 50 percent of those convicted for marijuana trafficking had less than 100 grams (1/2 ounce) of the substance. Teixeira said that the ruling Workers Party will submit a bill next month that establishes “a democratic model” for drugs, with the legalization of consumption, alternative penalties for small-scale drug dealing, the inclusion of a strategy for harm reduction and authorization for growing and marketing marijuana in small quantities. For her part, Ecuador’s deputy planning secretary, Michelle Artieda, said that her country is in the process of debating a drug bill that modifies the current legislation, which dates back to 1992 and “violates the principle of legality.” During the meeting, organized by the Argentine association Intercambios, the Ecuadorian official said that many of those detained in her country on drug charges “were carrying less than 2 kilos (4 1/2 pounds)” of narcotics. Artieda also spoke about Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s decision to pardon 2,221 people who were arrested for carrying small amounts of drugs and those known as “mules.” Dionicio Nuñez Tangara, coordinador of the Bolivian Coca and Sovereignty organization, regretted that under his country’s existing legislation, “coca-leaf growers are the same as drug traffickers,” and went into detail about the Evo Morales government’s initiative to industrialize the growing of that plant. Bolivian law permits the cultivation of 12,000 hectares (29,629 acres) of coca for legal traditional uses, and a similar arrangement prevails in neighboring Peru. Bolivian President Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian who rose to prominence as the leader of a coca-growers union, came to office in January 2006 pledging to redirect anti-drug efforts from coca eradication to cocaine interdiction. Meanwhile Peruvian expert Hugo Cabieses warned that “under the pretext of a war on drugs, the borders of the region’s countries are being militarized.” “In 1992 the hectares (acres) of coca grown in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia were 11,500 (28,395), but by 2004 they had been reduced to 11,000 (27,160). These plans (to militarize borders) do not expand democracy, they restrict it,” he said. The Argentine government defended the legalization of drug possession for personal consumption and said that it awaits “almost impatiently” a verdict by the Supreme Court that would make criminal punishment for a drug user unconstitutional. Legislative reforms in the matter of drug use sparked controversy in several Latin American countries, the region that leads the world in cocaine production. The conference, held at the seat of the Argentine Congress, was also sponsored by the British and Dutch Embassies in Buenos Aires, as well as by the Latin American Initiative on Drugs and Democracy.last_img read more

South Africa, A Country With Eleven Different Words For “Soccer”

first_imgBy Dialogo June 15, 2010 In the history of the World Cup, South Africa is the host country with the most official languages, eleven of them, so that fans will be able to hear the word “soccer” said in a variety of ways between now and 11 July. In addition to its eleven official languages, South Africa also recognizes another eight “national languages.” Among the official languages, two are Indo-European languages, English and Afrikaans (very similar to Dutch), while the other nine are members of the Bantu language family: Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Suazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu. In this way, when talking about soccer during the World Cup, the subject will be ‘football’ (English), ‘sokker’ (Afrikaans), or ‘ibhola’ (Zulu), to mention only the three languages most widely known in the country. The languages most spoken by the South African population (45 million people) are Zulu (23.8%), Xhosa (17.6%), and Afrikaans (13.3%). English is only the sixth most common native language in the country with 8.2% of the total, descendants of the British colonizers who arrived at the beginning of the nineteenth century. A third of the white population uses English, 10% of the mixed-race population, and 60% of the Asian population. Nonetheless, English is understood in most urban areas and is the predominant language in government and the media, and a third of the population can communicate in English. Afrikaans, a language derived from Dutch, is the majority language in the western third of the country and is spoken by the majority of whites (60%) and by 90% of the ‘colored’ (mixed-race) population. It is also widely used throughout the center and north of the country, as a second (or third or even fourth) language for South Africans living in agricultural areas. This language is spoken or understood by a quarter of the population (almost the entirety of the white and ‘colored’ communities and certain minorities among the black and Asian communities) and is the second most common language of communication, after English and before Zulu. Zulu is spoken by 10,677,000 people, while Xhosa, Nelson Mandela’s native language, is used by 7,907,000 and Afrikaans by 5,983,000. English is the native language of 3,673,000 people. Afrikaans evolved from the language spoken by the Dutch colonists who arrived in the seventeenth century and inhabited the Cape Colony. Over time, the language acquired characteristics of its own, assimilating vocabulary from English, Malay, Portuguese, and the Zulu languages of the natives of the region.last_img read more

Calderon Sending Reinforcements for Mexican Drug War

first_imgBy Dialogo February 22, 2011 Mexico’s president says he is sending four more battalions to northern Mexico, where forces are engaged in a bloody battle with drug smugglers. President Felipe Calderon said on 19 February that the soldiers will be deployed to the state of Tamaulipas, along Mexico’s border with the United States. He said he was also going to send new armored vehicles and bullet-proof vests. And he pledged to raise salaries for soldiers and increase pensions for the widows of slain soldiers. Mr. Calderon was speaking at a military base in Reynosa, a city in Tamaulipas state, as part of a day celebrating Mexico’s armed forces. President Calderon launched his offensive against Mexico’s powerful cartels soon after taking power in December of 2006. Government officials say since then, at least 34,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence.last_img read more

Nicaragua and Costa Rica Will Coordinate Anti-Drug Fight

first_imgBy Dialogo April 26, 2011 Nicaraguan and Costa Rican officials agreed on 12 April, in a brief meeting at the border, to establish liaisons in the anti-drug fight and to meet on 5 May in Guatemala, despite the border litigation in which the two countries are in conflict. “Both parties agreed to have a liaison mechanism on security issues,” announced Mexican vice foreign minister Rubén Beltrán, who participated in the bilateral dialogue, the first in almost three years, as a “facilitator,” along with his Guatemalan counterpart Carlos Morales. The liaisons in the anti-drug fight, the vice ministers Carlos José Najar (Nicaragua) and Walter Navarro (Costa Rica), will meet in Guatemala on 5 May to continue binational cooperation, according to a joint statement signed at the meeting held at the Peñas Blancas border crossing. “It’s an important step that we’ve succeeded in setting up liaison instances,” Najar declared, although both sides said that the border dispute continues. This was “a small, constructive step toward reestablishing trust, but I think that it doesn’t resolve the (border) problem; the problem continues,” the head of the Costa Rican delegation, vice foreign minister Carlos Roverssi, said. “The fruit of that work is the statement that was just signed. We reiterate Nicaragua’s political will to seek ways to implement the 8 March rulings by the International Court of Justice,” the head of the Nicaraguan delegation, vice foreign minister Orlando Gómez, stated. The meeting was held at tables set up in the road at the border. “The message to Central America, the message to the (Latin American) region, is that there is dialogue (…) and there is political will” to continue talking, Beltrán said. The meeting was aimed at coordinating efforts against the gangs of drug traffickers operating in the isolated and uninhabited border area of forests and wetlands near the Caribbean, where the small territory in dispute between San José and Managua is located. Like the rest of Central America, the two countries are used as points of passage by gangs of traffickers moving drugs from South America to North America. The last binational meeting took place on 3 and 4 October 2008 in San José, and the vice foreign ministers participated.last_img read more

Guatemala Captures Alleged Drug Lord Wanted In US

first_img Guatemala’s Interior Minister announced the arrest of Elio Lorenzana, an alleged drug lord wanted on trafficking charges in the United States. Lorenzana is the son of Waldemar Lorenzana, 71, known as “El Patriarca” (The Patriarch) and arrested in April on U.S. drug trafficking charges. The U.S. Treasury Department was offering a U.S. $200,000 bounty for Elio Lorenzana’s arrest. The Lorenzana family owns 15 businesses in eastern Guatemala, including gasoline stations and companies involved in construction, transportation and fruit exports. U.S. officials accuse the elder Lorenzana of having links with two notorious. Mexican drug lords, Ismael Zambaba Garcia and Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, both top members of the dangerous Sinaloa Cartel. Elio Lorenzana was arrested in a raid in the village of Los Llanos, some 130 kilometers east of Guatemala City, Interior Minister Carlos Menocal told reporters. Elio Lorenzana, “like his father, is accused of the crime of conspiracy to international drug trafficking” and is wanted by a U.S. federal court, said Prosecutor General Claudia Paz. Lorenzana, however, told reporters that he offered no resistance when he was arrested at home because he is innocent of all charges. There is a similar U.S. bounty for information leading to the arrest of each of Elio’s two older brothers, Haroldo and Waldemar. Central America has become a staging ground for illegal narcotics, especially cocaine coming from South America and making its way north to the lucrative U.S. market. The region has increasingly become tainted by violence as Mexican drug cartels that smuggle the drugs across the U.S. border form alliances with local criminals. By Dialogo November 10, 2011last_img read more

Colombia: Former FARC members report cruel, forced abortions

first_img Gómez added the most difficult moment during the years she spent in the mountains of Colombia was seeing her brother killed alongside other children, shot for no reason. “The FARC speaks beautifully to the international community, but it does unspeakable things internally,” she said. “I saw members shoot young men because they ate a can of sardines, or other insignificant things like that.” Gómez called upon her former colleagues to believe in the opportunity for a better life. “All of the young people being deprived of liberty should demobilize since the government is providing significant benefits, security and opportunities to study, work and rebuild their lives together with their families,” she said. The government sees the role of women within these illegal groups as fundamental, according to Cpt. Ronal Romero, who leads the strategic planning office of the Ministry of Defense’s Humanitarian Care Group for the Demobilized (GAHD). Demobilizing the female fighters is part of the government’s strategy to weaken guerrilla groups. “We’re depriving the FARC of their nurses, their radio operators, their female companions. And when a woman crosses over and has left a partner behind, she can talk to that partner so they cross over, too,” he said. The frequent abortions – which can reach as many as five for a female guerrilla fighter – are the main reason for desertions, Romero added. Between 2012 and 2013, 244 demobilized female fighters reported 43 abortions to GAHD. “This organization doesn’t carry out abortions at two or three months,” he said. “These are abortions at six, seven, eight months. These cases are absurd. You could call it a slaughter of the unborn.” Through the government’s demobilization programs, an increasing number of women are finding the path to fulfillment as wives and mothers, recovering their ability to give life and care for their children, Romero said. From a total of 26,704 demobilized FARC members since 2002 when the demobilization program started, 5,138 were women (19.2%), according to the Ministry of Defense. So far this year, 261of a total of 774 demobilized fighters are women. “Now, one out of four who demobilize is a woman,” Romero said. “If a woman chooses to demobilize with her partner or if she has a child, she can have a special home. They will be given the amenities needed to start a new life and become what they were forbidden to be.” After the nine-month adaptation process, these women are included in the government’s reinsertion program, which features psychological assistance and educational guidance, as they receive the job training needed to support themselves. By Dialogo October 19, 2013 *Editor’s note: To protect the demobilized guerrillas who spoke with Infosurhoy.com, their names have been changed.center_img BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Just 20 days ago, Paola Díaz left her old identity behind at a camp run by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Díaz, who had used an alias during her time at the camp, joined the terrorist group when she was 14, becoming part of the first ring of security for a FARC leader. “I joined the guerrilla organization because they told me I would be able to study, I would be paid and I would get ahead in life – none of which happened,” Díaz, now in her twenties, said. “During the 10 years I spent there, it was one tragedy after another. I came close to dying several times.” Conscious of the false promises, Díaz remained with the FARC out of fear. But the pain of losing her second child through a forced abortion ordered by her superiors gave her the courage to flee. She was unaware of the government program that provides assistance to demobilized fighters. Inside the FARC, the only thing she was told was the Army would kill her if she turned herself in. “The situation on the inside is so harsh that you’re even willing to face that risk to escape that hell,” she said. Díaz first became pregnant when she was 15. She told the leaders about it, but they let time pass. When she reached eight months, they forced her to abort. “My son was born alive. I held him in my arms, but then I fainted. They took him from me and drowned him,” she said. Her second abortion was induced last year using drugs mixed into a beverage. From that point, she planned her escape. The FARC’s regulations state its members are not allowed to have children, Díaz said. However, “women with power,” including the significant others of FARC commanders, are granted the privilege, she added. “As a woman, the thing you most want is to have a child, but I didn’t meet a single, female guerrilla at the lower levels who was allowed to have one,” she said. “They took children away from all of them, so the equality they talk about is a big lie.” In addition, FARC leaders use their high rank to force female guerrillas to have sex with them, using a variety of threats, Díaz said. “We (guerrilla fighters) also are their victims,” she said. “I don’t believe that I could forgive them. In my opinion, it would be fitting if they paid with jail time because it wasn’t just me they hurt. They’re doing the same thing to the girls who are still there. It has to stop.” With the support of the Colombian government, Díaz hopes to study, find a job and finally have a chance to be a mother. Marcela Gómez, who also used an alias while serving as a mass leader conducting propaganda campaigns for the FARC, demobilized a month ago after two decades with the group. “The treatment toward women inside guerrilla organizations is based on humiliation and cruelty,” she said. “I saw forced abortions carried out on girls without anything for the pain. They would remove the babies, piece by piece. It’s inhumane.” A return to womanhood last_img read more

Colombian Army dismantles 7 alleged FARC drug labs

first_img Drug interdiction in the Dominican Republic Costa Rican security forces captured two Costa Ricans and a U.S. resident during a raid of a hydroponic marijuana laboratory (Plants growing in water.) Drug Control Police made the arrests during a raid on a hydroponic marijuana laboratory in Coyol in the province of Alajuela, the Public Security Ministry said on Sept. 1. A “narco clan” allegedly ran the laboratory, according to the Interior Ministry. Security forces found buckets with marijuana residue and fertilizer inside the laboratory, which was located inside a residence. Police seized 256 grams of processed marijuana and a marijuana plant, in addition to $900 (USD) in cash and three vehicles, Public Security Vice Minister Gustavo Mata told the Costa Rican newspaper The Tico Times. The FARCs still deny being drug traffickers. They are the worst kind of delinquents. The FARC is a cynical organization, who says does not do drug trafficking while evidence shows something else, all they do is brag about helping the people. Lies, they are assassins, who want to put an end to the little wealth we have; these gentlemen should be in jail paying for their crimes. Drug arrests in Costa Rica In the Dominican Republic, the National Directorate for Drug Control (DNCD) seized 219 packets of white powder from a vessel along the coast of the province of San Pedro de Macorís. Authorities will test the powder, which they believe is cocaine or heroin. Security forces discovered the bags of powder on a fishing boat allegedly used by a narco-trafficking ring to transport drugs between South America and the Dominican Republic. DNCD agents arrested a 33-year-old man who resides in the San Pedro de Macorís neighborhood of La Punta, though another suspected trafficker evaded authorities by swimming to shore. center_img The Colombian Army dismantled seven cocaine-producing laboratories and seized nearly 4,000 kilograms of cocaine, while authorities in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica also confiscated significant amounts of drugs. Colombian Army soldiers found the drug laboratories in the southern department of Caquetá. Authorities suspect the laboratories belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) 15th Front. Soldiers from the Sixth Division’s Special Operations Unit discovered hundreds of chemicals and equipment used to turn coca into cocaine inside the laboratories, the Army said on Sept. 2. No arrests were made in any of the operations. The destruction of the labs are the latest successes by Colombian security forces, who are carrying out a President Juan Manuel Santos’ strategy of strong enforcement throughout the country and at seaports. For example, in August, agents with the Coast Guard Station Santa Marta and the Magdalena’s Technical Investigation Corps Prosecutors Office seized 40 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a shipment of coal on a Liberian-flagged ship in the port municipality of Ciénaga. The vessel, the “Ping May,” had arrived from England and was bound for the Netherlands when agents found 40 packages of cocaine. It was the second time in less than a month that Colombian security forces seized cocaine on a ship transporting coal in the department of Magdalena. Coast Guard and CTI agents seized 246 kilograms of the drug from a Panamanian-flagged vessel that had arrived from Canada and was anchored at Puerto Drummond in Ciénaga. That ship was also destined for the Netherlands. And on Aug. 22, Colombian police confiscated 1.3 tons of cocaine belonging to the México-based Sinaloa Cartel. Gen. Ricardo Alberto Restrepo Londoño head of the counter-narcotics division, announced the seizure. The cocaine was on a ship departing from the Pacific port of Buenaventura and was destined for the Guatemalan port of Quetzal. . By Dialogo September 05, 2014last_img read more

Seduced by China, Central America Overlooks Risks

first_imgBy Gustavo Arias Retana/Diálogo September 21, 2018 China’s advance into the Central American region is undeniable. In the last decade, half of the countries belonging to the Central American Integration System (SICA, in Spanish) broke off relations with Taiwan to establish diplomatic ties with China. The rational of Central American presidents is the same: The Asian nation offers a myriad of business opportunities. Nevertheless, Chinese interests in the region go far beyond trade; its expansion strategy poses risks that are rarely discussed. According to professor Carlos Murillo, researcher at the National University of Costa Rica’s School of International Relations, to understand the role China wants to play in Central America means being aware that the Asian country’s intentions are no longer simply to steal partners from Taiwan. Rather, China’s plan is to increase its influence in strategic areas worldwide, allowing it to consolidate political and military power. “China is going through a commercial and economic expansion phase, which is characteristic of powers aspiring to global hegemony in the early stage of establishing a political, strategic, and military presence. This is evidenced by its search for ports to project China’s naval power and its participation in Russian military maneuvers,” Murillo said. “Beijing understands that Central America and the Caribbean are the United States’ backyard, and it intends to increase its presence not only to develop diplomatic relations and export large quantities of goods, but also to forge strategic ties with armed forces and other key sectors.” Alejandro Barahona, a political scientist with a Master in International Relations at the University of Costa Rica, agrees with Murillo that Central America’s strategic location is what interests China the most. “Central America has a geostrategic position between North America and South America and between Europe, Africa, and Asia; this is very important,” Barahona said. “It’s also in the Panama Canal’s approach area and in the traditional area of U.S. influence.” In the region, China showed the most interest in Panama, establishing relations in June 2017. The reason is clear: A great deal of the world’s trade goes through the Panama Canal, a vital economic and military hub. Chinese conglomerates are building container terminals, ports, cruise terminals, and a thermal power plant near the canal. A Chinese holding also won the bid to build a fourth bridge across the canal. In addition, the Chinese embassy in Panama would be located in Calzada de Amador, an area adjacent to the canal that was once under U.S. control when the country managed the crossing between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. On September 7, 2018, the U.S. consulted its chargé d’affaires in Panama, Roxanne Cabral, about the relationship between the Central American nation and China. It also summoned U.S. ambassadors in the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, the other SICA member-countries that along with Costa Rica have diplomatic ties with the Asian country. Double-edged loans Juan Carlos Hidalgo, public policy analyst for Latin America at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., said Central American countries should consider the risk that Chinese infrastructure loans are not always as advantageous as they seem. In other regions, the Asian country used these loans to subject countries to its own interests and manage their strategic infrastructure, such as ports and railroads. “What people should be careful about, as we saw in Africa and South Asia, is that China seeks economic relations that aren’t transparent,” Hidalgo said. “There are well-founded allegations that China promotes an irresponsible indebtedness to fund infrastructure projects. China offers unfavorable loans to developing countries that, in the long run, cannot repay their debts and consequently become vassal states. In many cases, China takes over important economic and military infrastructure.” China uses this strategy with many countries that are part of a project known as “the new silk road,” a Chinese government’s initiative to connect Asia, Oceania, Europe, and Africa by way of roads, railroads, and oil and gas pipelines. Countries that are part of the route, such as Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Montenegro, Mongolia, Djibouti, and Sri Lanka, are indebted to China to develop projects and now face serious financial problems, or had to hand over the management of strategic infrastructure to China. For example, Sri Lanka was unable to repay a loan of $1.4 billion, forcing it to hand over control of its strategic Hambantota port for 99 years. In April 2018, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned about the indebtedness China generates with these projects. “It may cause a problematic increase of debt, challenging the balance of payment of many countries,” she said. Breeding ground for corruption According to analysts, another risk is China’s management of “economic aid” and the way it carries out business. Chinese practices can be an ideal breeding ground for corruption. “A great deal of the influence earned based on economic aid ends up fueling corruption in ruling classes,” Hidalgo said. “Economic aid of this kind never ended well in Latin America.” For example, Costa Rica is investigating alleged irregularities in a contract the country signed to build an oil refinery with Chinese funding. Some irregularities include the conduct of the environmental survey, salary bonuses to 26 Asian executives, travel expenses, meetings, business lunches, and houses rented to Chinese employees. Other, more subtle forms of corruption are changes in foreign policy due to the relationship with the Asian nation. “The relationship with China often led authorities to compromise their foreign policy, such as on the defense of human rights or democracy,” Barahona said.last_img read more

Fighting for Justice in Authoritarian Regimes

first_imgBy Leigh Hartman / ShareAmerica February 20, 2020 World Social Justice Day encourages people to recognize the importance of basic rights and human freedom.As the world celebrates Social Justice Day on February 20, here’s a look at some of the injustices that authoritarian regimes in China, Iran, and Venezuela inflict on their own people.ChinaThe Chinese Communist Party has interned more than 1 million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims in internment camps since 2018. Inside the camps, prisoners are forced to renounce their religious and ethnic identities and swear allegiance to the Communist Party.In China, the government also has imprisoned more reporters than any other country in 2019, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.IranThe Iranian Constitution stipulates all laws and regulations must be based on “Islamic criteria” and an official interpretation of Sharia. The regime targets those who dissent from state-sanctioned policy and beliefs, including members of unrecognized religious minorities. In 2018, authorities arrested at least 40 members of the Baha’i faith and more than 300 Sufi dervishes.The Iranian regime has funneled tens of millions of dollars to terrorist organizations while Iran’s economy has shrunk and inflation has shot up. This makes it harder for ordinary Iranians to make ends meet.VenezuelaNicolás Maduro and his cronies continue to plunder Venezuela’s gold reserves, threatening to leave the country bankrupt, while Interim President Juan Guaidó works alongside supporters of democracy to rebuild the nation.The Pemón, an indigenous community of 30,000 people who live in a part of Venezuela that potentially holds great wealth, have come under attack from the army and other armed groups as they attempt to defend their lands against illegal miners and loggers as well as against corrupt and brutal soldiers.last_img read more

Interim President Guaidó Pays Bonus to Health Workers in Venezuela

first_imgBy Diálogo October 08, 2020 Funds confiscated from the Nicolás Maduro regime in the United States that belong to the Venezuelan people are being used to pay a bonus to health workers in Venezuela, in a program designed by the team of Interim President Juan Guaidó.According to National Assembly (AN, in Spanish) lawmaker Manuela Bolívar, who heads the group executing this program, the final list of beneficiaries amounts to 62,697 people, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, as well as workers and administrative personnel of public health centers.She explained that starting on September 14, beneficiaries began receiving notifications about the first of three payments of $100 each to their accounts. The two remaining payments will be made in October and November.The funds for this program come from an account that the Venezuelan Central Bank had at Citibank, which the U.S. government froze following sanctions imposed on the Maduro regime, said Miguel Pizarro, an exiled lawmaker who serves as Guaidó’s commissioner for humanitarian assistance.Pizarro said that authorities confiscated $325 million and made $80 million available, with the approval of the AN and the U.S. Federal Reserve. The commissioner said that part of this $80 million was delivered to the International Red Cross and the Pan American Health Organization to send humanitarian assistance to Venezuela.Well-deserved moneyOn September 15, Margot Monasterios received a message that relieved her. She got an email confirming her first remittance of $100.“This is a very positive measure to cover, for example, our transportation,” she said.Monasterios is a nurse. She lives in a small town near Barlovento, more than 100 kilometers east of the capital, and each day takes public transportation to get to the hospital at Caracas University Campus. She said that she spends about $3.30 every month just to come and go.“One has several needs […]. This bonus is a benefit, not a gift. This was hard-earned [money],” she said.According to the Venezuelan Medical Federation president, Douglas León Natera, a professional nurse like Monasterios is likely to earn the equivalent of only $5 per month, in the best case scenario. As a result, transportation is an expense that exceeds 60 percent of the salary.Resource scarcity in Venezuelan public hospitals and dispensaries has caused more than 170 health workers to die of COVID-19 as of mid-September. Of these, León Natera said, 100 were doctors.In the third week of September, Guaidó’s group was evaluating whether to extend this bonus to health workers beyond November, or if it will try to reach other public workers.last_img read more