Your daily briefing for Saturday, February 20th, 2016.

For Saturday, February 20th, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo. 

“Empires of the world, this oil belongs to Venezuela and that’s the way it’s going to be forever” – Nicolás Maduro

That’s what he said this Friday, at the supposed launch of the hydrocarbons and petrochemicals “economic engine”. The Orinoco Belt must have Nicolás under a spell, because he insisted on the protection of the nation’s oil oil, as if our economy’s progress depended on keeping it underground under our country’s control. “The last drop of our oil will be either for Venezuela or for no one!”

Together with Aristóbulo Istúriz , Ricardo Menéndez, Eulogio Del Pino and Delcy Rodríguez, Nicolás spoke of the need for oil producers to rule markets and establish prices –an eccentricity for socialists-, and he repeated the fallacy that these are the lowest oil prices in 45 years.

It seemed like the perfect moment to explain the creation of the Military Corporation for Mining, Gas and Oil, but he didn’t. Instead, he talked about the economic war, in this new version, directed by U.SA., damaging Russia, Iran and Venezuela.

Supposedly in the next few hours, the government will sign agreements for international investment on fossil fuels, including a $1.2 billion licence for Pequiven to use natural gas directly. He said that Iran and Iraq joined Venezuela in their initiative to stabilize oil prices, a fact that motivates him because, despite ruling a bankrupt country, he wants stability in world economy.

A call

Nicolás interrupted a broadcast from Monagas to take a phone call. Minutes later he came back to say that it was from the United Nations’ secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. According to him, “Guyana’s president is on the right track”, that they will have to adhere to the Geneva agreement, the same document that, in 1966, was expected to resolve the controversy between Venezuela, and the UK about the border now claimed by David Granger.

“That territory wasn’t given away by anybody (…) the Essequibo is ours and we’ll defend it. No one will trick me”. Maybe that’s why he said that Venezuela’s military power must be stronger each time.

Guyana’s president said today that he expects Venezuela’s utmost cooperation to resolve the dispute, considering Nicolás’ actions not to be in good faith: “We’re anxious to accelerate the process, we’ve accepted UN’s secretary general’s intervention through his representatives in Georgetown and we believe that Venezuela hasn’t done the same”, said Grande after his meeting with Ban Ki-moon. Maybe Nicolás didn’t know that when he picked up the call.


Last Thursday’s night, a Mercal storage center was looted in Ciudad Piar, Bolívar state. According to area residents, despite the fact that it had become impossible to find food in the shops in the area, the storage center had a lot of food and hygiene products, including some not usually sold by Mercal. Nine females and twelve males – some minors – were arrested for the looting, which included computers and TV sets. This Friday, several people broke into a sugar supplier in El Vigía, Mérida.

It’s just February 19th. This is just beginning.

Four million signatures in a day

According to governor Capriles Radonski, we have work to do, that titanic work of getting four million signatures in a day: “Today, more than ever, we have in our hands the task of making the impossible possible,” he said in the first meeting he organized to activate the Recall Vote.

In his view, there are people ready to work for this, and he said that the speed of the crisis is worrying, so we must change the Government and that change “needs to be constitutional so that the country remains governable.”

Workers and forgiveness

Nobel Peace laureate and former Polish president, Lech Walesa, made a few recommendations to the opposition in a meeting held at the Universidad Metropolitana. He restated the need to have a clear plan that ponders obstacles and successes, because there must be a time for every task.

He also spoke about the relevance of effectively dividing work, saying that there must be three vital fronts that must be covered: legal, focused on advisory services; organization and union, including attracting more people, “expanding the circles so that others might fight alongside you”. On this subject he stressed the importance of workers and labor unions because, without them, there won’t be any victory. The third front is financial, “because this fight is costly.”

“If you listen to this little old man, believe me, I will soon return to Venezuela to rejoice and celebrate with you,” he said; he also asked those repressed during protests to forgive their oppressors, saying that fanatics can’t stand forgiveness, but that it was a key part of his victory: the one who fears acts very differently from the one who trusts.

Here’s hoping they paid attention to him.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.