To the tune of the sea

Your daily briefing for Friday, February 26th, 2016.

For Friday, February 26, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo. 

“The Venezuelan people must never let themselves be deceived ever again.”

Nicolás Maduro

Chavistas put up a show to receive the President and company in Sucre State. They would supposedly celebrate the creation of the strategic development zone for the agricultural and fishing belt of Venezuela, another bit of idiocy with a pompous name. Nicolás wants to normalize fishing, so that fishermen attend to internal need first before importing, but if they’re exporting, they need to register their sales so that the country can “profit” from them.

Nicolás had a hard time keeping people’s attention. He constantly repeated: “oído”, a military order that was ignored. He told them to take notes of his words, about strategic lines: winning the economic war, the rentier state and focusing on a new productive model.

Boats loaded with people were kept at all times floating in the background. Nicolás constantly said they were fishermen, troops, rebels, heirs of a tradition that oil couldn’t break: fishing.

But he made the mistake of calling them to port and then the real consignas started: “We want a solution!”, “We’re not criminals, we’re fishermen!”. Governor Luis Acuña’s nervous giggle couldn’t paper over the mistake. Those boats were supposed to carry actors that would yell that el finado lives and the fight continues; not normal citizens dissatisfied with their circumstances.

Nicolás said nothing about the pirates who rob fishermen, steal engines and extort the smaller towns on the Araya peninsula, a practice that defeated the tradition that he sought to elevate today. That’s why he blithely promised engines and response “kits” with the help of the Army and PDVSA; apart from ten thousand more pensions for retired fishermen and a country-wide Fishing Fair, as a method to prove the efficiency of this piece of the agriculture and food engine. Another useless cadena. More proof of his addiction to planted applause.

Suspended session

The Law on National Production’s first reading was scheduled for today at the National Assembly, but chavista sympathizers -mostly PDVSA workers- prevented it. Their heckling made Julio Borges’ speech almost impossible to hear. Once Borges finished, the president of Parliament requested security to escort all sympathizers out of the Hemiciclo.

Only opposition partisans obeyed. Chavistas, to their deputies’ pleasure, screamed louder. The National Guard did nothing. Ramos Allup had the session suspended. PSUV deputies applauded while supporters yelled “People’s victory!” If this action is a victory, no wonder they love Nicolás as their president. Partisans are banned from further AN meetings. Héctor Rodríguez, who noticeably enjoyed the show, called the people to rebel against the MUD’s laws.

Weapons to the Militia

A major investigation by RunRunes details how Defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, ordered Bolivarian Militias to be provided with rifles and ammunition in 2016, in response to alleged threats to the country’s sovereignty, from the government of the United States. The ten page document has a simple name: “Plan of the National Armed Forces’ strategic operation commander before threats against the independence, sovereignty and integrity of the territory of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”. It details instructions issued by the minister himself, including delivering as many weapons and ammunitions as possible to the Units and the people (…) to increase their operational readiness. Rocío San Miguel, president of NGO Control Ciudadano, explains the gravity of this situation, since the Bolivarian Militia is not a formal component of the Army, which makes them “soldiers at the service of the revolution.”

The document establishes civil society as an internal threat, represented by NGOs and the opposition’s electoral victory on 6D. The report pegs Venezuela as Latin America’s top buyer of weapons in 2015, and as the 18th worldwide, the minister’s orders are sinister. Read the whole thing if you have a chance.


Margaret Chan, chief of the World Health Organization, said in Brazil that the Zika crisis will get worse: “you need to be ready for surprises.” She warned that 40 countries already have Zika patients and that the virus is “treacherous and full of uncertainties.” Chan praised Brazil’s progress, saying that its main component has been transparent information, which allowed them to properly record and follow cases and affected areas. The complete opposite happens in Venezuela.

Well, the humanitarian measure requested by the Assembly’s Health Committee to the WHO depends on the Executive Branch, because in order for it to proceed, the Health Ministry must formally request it. Apart from technical assistance, the measure also requests that Venezuela be included in the WHO’s Regional Revolving Fund for Strategic Food and Health Supplies, which subsidizes the price of several medicines and supplies; and allows the reception of humanitarian aid through donations by member countries. Where’s minister Melo?

Early bird

Just like in 2010, public offices are restricting their operations and remaining open only between 7:30 am and 1:00 pm, to fulfill a strange electricity-saving goal. So says decree 2241 published in Official Gazette N° 40,855, dated February 24. The measure came into force this Thursday. We’re a world power!

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.