For Saturday, February 13th, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
Henry Ramos Allup, president of the National Assembly, condemned the Supreme Tribunal for declaring the Economic Emergency Decree rejected by parliament is now valid. He said the decision only hastens and deepens the crisis, that the decree in force makes it unacceptable for the government not to solve the country’s problems, and that given the unconstitutional nature of the decision, the Assembly will use all the means necessary to oppose this injustice.
Ramos Allup repeated two key messages: the regime is in its last legs and Parliament won’t stop fulfilling its constitutional obligations. From what we’ve seen, the Executive Branch wants to hinder the Assembly as it’s the only institution that’s doing something to solve the crisis, a point he exemplified with the Law on Amnesty and the Law on Food Bonuses and Medicines, which Nicolás has already threatened to overturn through the Supreme Tribunal, an institution Ramos Allup called “a firing squad at the Executive’s orders.”
“This Government is doing its best to provoke a coup” Ramos Allup said, explaining that even within the Government itself the thesis that asking Nicolás to resign would be the lesser evil for the PSUV has been growing, and then added that the six months time frame to seek peaceful resolutions now seems too long, because: “As long as the Government is where it is (…) all the problems affecting Venezuela will worsen exponentially.”
This weekend all the MUD caucus deputies will go home to their respective circuits to explain what’s happening, because hopelessness can’t be allowed to gain more ground. Ramos Allup repeated that even in the heart of the National Armed Forces, Nicolás lacks strength to prepare a self-coup, a realization that came as a hard blow to him. It was also important for him to say that the 8-day period to discuss the decree of economic emergency was established by Nicolás himself, even though Ramos Allup spoke of a 48 hour period.
Coup Be Continued
José David Cabello, chief of SENIAT, announced that the Tax Unit increase to Bs. 177 during this fiscal year had been published on the Official Gazette. An increase of a mere Bs. 27, but the goal is to challenge the Assembly’s authority because, according to him, the only institution capable of increasing the Tax Unit is SENIAT, not the Parliament. All taxpayers must adjust cestaticket payment, which is now Bs. 7,965 (Bs. 1,215 more.)
The Ministry of Banks and Finance’s resolution that orders the liquidation of Banco Industrial de Venezuela was also published on Official Gazette. According to the resolution, the measured was requested by the bank’s board in March, 2015. What it fails to mention is the layoff of 2,000 employees. And Nicolás is talking about Macri.
The Washington Post summarizes the main variables of our crisis in an editorial that paints a picture of economic collapse and a humanitarian disaster, including a poll cited by The Economist that establishes the poverty index at 76% vs. 55% in 1999; on top of increasing inflation rates, which are estimated to reach between 275% and 720%.
Comparing exports-related income (less that $18 billion) with the payments that must be made this year, the editorial board explains that, if Venezuela defaults on its debt – which is what the markets are expecting – it’s impossible to predict where the money will come from to pay for imports, considering PSUV’s hatred for the FMI, the impossibility to tap private debt markets and the almost complete disappearance of the country’s liquid reserves.
The best possible solution – a negotiated settlement between the Government and the opposition to take emergency measures and a formal request to the IMF – looks completely unlikely, prompting them to predict an implosion. And they didn’t even mention that Venezuelan oil price decreased by more than $2 and closed at 22.83; or that the World Bank’s arbitration court decided that Venezuela will have to pay Tenaris, a piping company, around $172.8 million, in compensation for expropriating one of their branches in the country in 2009.
In contrast with the ongoing coup d’etat, captain Laided Salazar was released this morning on probation as an humanitarian measure. She was taken to her residence in Los Teques, where she will be under surveillance and house arrest, and make any statements to the press or through social networks. Laided is another example of how this Government treats political prisoners: it destroys them; and if there’s a risk of death while in jail, it provides the kindness of casa por cárcel. Hopefully they’ll do the same with Aramita González.
Extendable starting now
Nicolás spoke tonight from another cheap reenactment of the independence era battle where so many young people died for freedom. He took the chance to say that the economic emergency would apply to the entirety of 2016 and part of 2017 because “we have to recover the whole country” and remake all the productive system. That means that they already decided to extend the decree for the established period (60 days.)
By saying that he’ll make complete use of the decree’s faculties, he simply wanted to remind us of its provisions: uncontrolled resources, confiscation of assets and merchandise from private companies and restrictions on the monetary system the access to both local and foreign currency, among others. According to him, the priorities of a chavista are two: economic agenda and the congreso de la patria, which he considers a magical formula for the rebirth of chavismo. Ha.
A good summary of Nicolás’ present circumstance is that tonight, in honor of the day of the Battle of La Victoria, a group of army officers were arrested while trafficking 400 kilos of cocaine in an official vehicle. Redondo.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.