No Laughing Matter and a Caravan of Sardines

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, March 15, 2016.

For Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The massacre’s outcome

“I report to the country that we have found the remains of the missing people at Tumeremo” Luisa Ortega Díaz, 12:24 p.m.

The country’s top prosecutor summarized the outcome of the massacre at Tumeremo in a tweet, ten days after the families of the 28 miners reported their disappearance. A crime of this magnitude demanded a press conference, but she decided to address it during a talk show on Globovisión. The most unbelievable part were the bouts of laughter that accompanied most of her answers.


Deputy Américo De Grazia was right and governor Francisco Rangel Gómez lied. While the Prosecutor’s Office says they had effectively identified 18 victims, the Attorney General said she “was almost completely certain that there were 21 missing people”; but Ombudsman Tareck William Saab spoke of 25 identified victims.

Ortega Díaz invited De Grazia to provide the information he has about the massacre, to help with investigations, but he’d first have to apologize to the government officials working on the case, whom the deputy accused of exposing several witnesses. The Attorney General considers this unacceptable, but to her, officials who denied the massacre merely made a “rushed” assessment. An indisputable evidence of her impartiality. She also believes that the Government has to act against the control that criminals hold on the mining zone, that it’s intolerable to have a State within the State, a pranato. She said this as if she was the head of an institution outside the Government. That must be why she has no clue about the causes of the massacre.

This Tuesday, Nicolás and Tareck are expected in Tumeremo. The Ombudsman says the Army had nothing to do with the events; also, the National Assembly’s Comptrollership Committee will discuss possibly questioning governor Rangel Gómez, and Tareck and deputy De Grazia are scheduled to meet this Wednesday.

Violating the Constitution

The National Assembly’s leadership had warned that they would not approve the extension of the economic emergency decree if officials of the Executive Branch refused to appear before the Legislative Branch to justify these measures. Parliament had eight days, counting from Friday, March 11, when the request was made, to either approve or refuse it; that’s why they declared themselves in permanent session, waiting for Aristóbulo Istúriz, Vice-president of the Republic, to explain the reasons for the extension. However, the extension is already in force, published on Official Gazette N° 6,219.

Istúriz is expected to go to the Hemiciclo today to answer for this abuse. Hopefully he’ll have a great justification for this new violation of the National Assembly’s authority and the Constitution.

It’s a matter of being useless

It’s hard to be any more useless than the minister of Electrical Energy. This Monday, Luis Motta Domínguez denounced another “sabotage plan” against the Electrical System, despite the actions taken by the Executive Branch to optimize power consumption. He said: “Three people have died so far on March, tampering with the Electrical System without authorization (…) there were two on Sunday, but another one died this morning,” adding that between October and December of 2015, there were eight more deaths due to sabotage. El Niño is to blame for the rest of the crisis.

From Cumaná

Also thanks to El Niño, Nicolás announced last Saturday that the public sector won’t have to work during the entire Holy Week. An unquestionable contribution to the productivity that will overcome the Rentier State, and to the renowned efficiency of his government. Maybe the weather will also explain how two Presidential Honor Guard officers were caught while using their service firearms to commit a robbery, a few feet away from the Presidential Palace.

He only wanted to celebrate Fishermen’s Day, announcing the creation of the Corporation for Aquaculture and Fishing Services; the launch of the Caravana de la Sardina and the creation of the National Fund for Aquaculture and Fishing, which will start at Bs. 300 million and $10 million. He also signed a pensions plan for 10,000 fishermen, but he didn’t explain it at all; and to face the pirates who harass the fishing community, he ordered the creation of the Sea Militia.

While reporting that the oil income for February was merely $70 million, Nicolás quoted the cliché phrase: in order to get different results, you can’t do the same all the time, despite the fact that foreign exchange and price restrictions are still in force. To conclude, he called on all the members of the PSUV to get their carnet for the Congress of the People, which will be used to blackmail anybody trying to benefit from the social missions.

What Samper wants

UNASUR’s secretary general wants to promote institutional dialogue between the Government and the opposition. He says that, after 17 years of chavista regime, polarization isn’t the best path to understanding; he called for the need to adopt economic measures that help the country get through the political and economic crisis, for example: reducing foreign exchange distortions, making a true adjustment to gas prices and focusing subsidies on vulnerable people. He just has to convince Nicolás now.

What Obama wants

“It’s not in America’s interest to see Venezuela fail” said the president of the United States, who voiced his concerns about the economic crisis the country’s going through, saying that it’s directly connected to the challenges of governance, and that he hopes for an election that gives Venezuelans a legitimate and trustworthy government, able to apply the necessary economic policies to overcome the crisis.

Venezuela’s collapse “could have an impact on the economies of Colombia or Central America or Mexico, and that in turn can affect U.S. economies, We want the Venezuelan people to pull through,” said the president. More oxygen for Nicolás’ necessary anti-imperialism.

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.