For Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
A day for legislating
While the Spanish police investigates whether it’s true that el finado donated 7 million euros to Spanish far-left party Podemos at its inception, the Center for Political and Social Studies, Venezuelans watch our currency’s rapid devaluation (almost 50% in one month) marked by the DICOM exchange rate, which increased by Bs. 4 this Tuesday, closing at Bs. 299.98 per dollar. A convulsive Tuesday in Caracas, including multiple traffic blockades by taxi drivers protesting crime, very early shootouts in El Cementerio, another lynching, this time of an innocent man in Los Ruices, and an unexpected rain that proves that we are not ready for the rainy season, and that we don’t need a tsunami for our transport systems to collapse.
The National Assembly replied to the notification sent yesterday by the National Electoral Council about their exclusive authority to legislate on elections. The Assembly’s first vice president, Enrique Márquez, said that the Assembly will continue to discuss the Referendum Law because they have complete legislative authority and that the claim of exclusivity -and exclusion- puts the CNE at odds with the Constitution. He took the opportunity to demand for the CNE to provide the official form to collect the necessary signatures to activate the recall referendum, because it’s been three weeks since it was requested and the CNE keeps buying time for Nicolás.
The Parliament’s president, Henry Ramos, also spoke of the Referendum Law and the purpose of approving it to enable the recall this very year. He urged Nicolás to show his Venezuelan birth certificate, the best method to stop the rumors “that conspire against his own stability.” He also said the government is preparing the postponement of gubernatorial elections “because they know that if they go to any polls, they’ll absolutely lose,” that any loss from now on, will be more significant than that of December 6, 2015. He didn’t say how the Assembly plans to respond to this, as far as I’m concerned.
Tarek showed up
The People’s defender, or Ombudsman, presented his annual report before the National Assembly. Filled wil unverifiable figures and achievements only the government believes happened, he was more efficient in conveying his feelings on the crimes committed than in clarifying a state policy that would allow us Venezuelans to feel defended. The 57% increase in activities that he claims the Ombudsman’s Office has achieved is irrelevant if crimes, including those perpetrated by the government itself, increase in an equal or greater proportion. His exhortations for a dialogue between the parties was another needless saludo a la bandera, but he used the occasion to formally introduce six laws on the issue of human rights expected to be debated by the National Assembly: Organic Law for Handicapped people; Special Law for the Protection of Farmers and Their Families; Organic Law for Protection of Collective and Diffuse Interests; Law on Corporate Responsibility on Human Rights; Law for the Protection of Animals against acts of abuse; and the Law on Matters of Land Traffic.
The legislative agenda on Tuesday included the Special Law to Address the Humanitarian Healthcare Crisis, approved in its first discussion, despite the dissenting chavista vote. They also approved these Bills in their first discussion: the Reform of the Organic Code for Criminal Procedure; the Reform of the Organic Law of the Comptrollership and National Fiscal Control System; the Organic Law on Transparency, Disclosure and Access to Public Information; the Reform of the Organic Law of Financial Administration of the Public Sector and the Law which Reserves to the State, the Activities of Exploitation and Exploration of Gold.
The gang of criminals who prevent opposition deputies from accessing the Legislative Palace must be giving important incentives to the security guards who have to limit -with more commitment- the Palace’s security perimeter.
Almagro and the mayors
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States urged Nicolás this Tuesday to sign the Law on Amnesty and National Reconciliation, approved last March 29 by the majority in the National Assembly, since he considers the release of political prisoners “necessary, essential and urgent.” Likewise, the Venezuelan Association of Mayors issued a statement in which they invited Nicolás to enact the law: “the amnesty represents for Venezuelans and democratically elected mayors, the way for the release of prisoners of conscience, the return of those in exile, the end of political persecution and the coming together of Venezuelans in a democratic and pluralistic climate for the exercise of civil and political liberties,” reads the text.
Identity, ¡cosa más grande!
The Panama Papers have revealed that software containing the data for issuing and updating Venezuelan passports is controlled by the Cubans. All the software licenses were transferred to Banco Financiero Internacional SA (The Cuban party involved in the contract), a transaction that gives the Cuban government “a right of perpetual, nonexclusive and nontransferable use via software supplied over the system.” It’s worth noting that Venezuelan electronic ID cards and passports are made in Cuba, that Cubans can plant data in the system and that the research conducted by El Nacional in 2011, pointed in the right direction.
Speaking of Cuba, it’s also worth noting that deputy Julio Borges demanded for Nicolás to sign the Law on Bonuses for Retirees and Pensioners which has been waiting for his signature for a week, a lag that was justified allegedging a “shortage of resources,” except for the fact that Nicolás has just approved another agreement with Cuba worth $1,428 million.
Write this down: the Supreme Court of Argentina annulled the statute of limitations on the case against Antonini Wilson. Additionally, Aldo Giordano, Apostolic Nuncio in Venezuela, said that Pope Francis is ready to visit the country. Only the date is missing, but for all of those the CNE owes us, we have shown patience.