For Thursday, March 3, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
Delcy Rodríguez, the queen of meddling accusations, requested the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee start an investigation to determine whether the Law on Amnesty is constitutional or not. Her argument? The “non-democratic” Venezuelan opposition, represented by the National Assembly’s deputies -who were elected democratically by a wide majority- would undermine the Rule of Law with this law, which is exactly what the Supreme Court just did with their decision!
Delcy denounced “the bullying of the international right” against Venezuela, claiming that they want to take over the country’s natural resources to “choke Venezuelan economy and subdue the people,” just as the Government sells Rosneft a large percentage of Petromonagas’ shares, agrees to grant Gold Reserve extraction rights on Orinoco’s Mining Belt and keeps its citizens under the worst inflation rate and shortage situation ever known in Venezuela. This breaks the record for any psychological projection the minister of Foreign Relations has achieved thus far. Fortunately, her brother’s a psychiatrist.
In this meeting, the United States expressed its concern about the human rights situation in the country. Antony Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, asked for arbitrary persecution of dissidents to cease, and called for a meeting between all political parties, and complete respect towards Parliament.
Henrique Capriles dismissed the minister of Foreign Affairs’ statements: “What moral integrity allows the minister to claim that Amnesty is an act of bullying against Venezuela? Bullying is what Nicolás Maduro constantly does to Venezuelans,” he said, adding that the Government has no standing to speak about human rights, because they violate basic rights daily, by not guaranteeing proper access to food and medicine.
He took the opportunity to explain the urgency of activating all the methods established by the Constitution so that Venezuela’s government changes: “The methods are not mutually exclusive, but considering the Supreme Tribunal’s actions we can’t let the decision to be handed over to the justices (…) the Supreme Tribunal has nothing to do with the Recall Referendum, it’s the people themselves who call and recall.”
Meanwhile, María Corina Machado pointed out two urgent steps: invoking the Inter-American Democratic Charter and putting pressure on the streets with public protests to demand Nicolás’ resignation. According to her, Venezuela’s situation is worse than a humanitarian crisis already, and she called on the OAS’ member countries to establish a posture.
Sixteen and a half minimum wages
The Center of Documentation and Social Analysis of the Venezuelan Teachers’ Federation, reported that the Basic Food Basket’s price increased to Bs. 157,833.30 on January, which is an increment of Bs. 18,560 (13.3%) compared to December of 2015. The annual price variation between January, 2015, and January, 2016, is Bs. 125,990 (395.7%). The monthly price variation for the Basic Food Basket is caused by the price increase of all the items in it. All of them.
Mary Trini Solórzano, chief of the Venezuelan Rice Millers’ Association, explained that the country’s shortage of paddy rice for rice-processing companies puts their raw material inventories at a critical level: “paddy rice inventories are only 12,970 tons, which is about four days’ of production,” she said, adding that all the companies belonging to the Association have been working on and off due to the low availability of raw materials supplied by the Government. Five out of nine mills are not operating at all, facing a 60 days period after which they won’t be able to keep producing rice, because the expected crop -available in May – is insufficient.
Also, Café Madrid’s workers report that their production capacity was able to supply two million kilos but they’re not producing at the moment, and 60 microenterprises belonging to Polar’s Network of Distribution Franchises issued a statement warning about the imminent risk of running out of raw materials to produce malta and beer.
Under siege by the Supreme Tribunal
Henry Ramos Allup, president of the National Assembly, said that the Supreme Tribunal’s attacks won’t inhibit Parliament from fulfilling its role, and they won’t stop exercising the faculties guaranteed by the Constitution: “With a poor interpretation, the Supreme Tribunal seeks to diminish the authorities of the Legislative Branch established by the Constitution, among them the faculty to summon any officials (…) a minister’s absence doesn’t mean that we’ll stop revealing the corruption in their ministry,” he said. He added that the decision, approved by four justices, seeks to strip the Assembly of the capacity to question ministers but, oddly enough, they can still be censured. The decision will be thoroughly discussed during the meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 3.
Ramos Allup said they’re backed by the people, they won’t elude their constitutional duties, and he warned the PSUV: “Maybe those who are moving for a coup are the same who want historical justification to say that they couldn’t solve the country’s issues because they were ousted.”
This Thursday, the MUD will also announce its strategy to secure the end of Nicolás’ government. These are the options: a recall referendum, a constitutional amendment to reduce the presidential mandate to four years, a Constituent Assembly, declaring vacancy in office due to breach of duty, and even resignation.
Any initiative to end Nicolás’ regime will be opposed by all the powers under the Government’s control. Chavismo will do whatever it takes to slow procedures down and hinder successes, while crisis remains the Government’s only proven public policy.