Shutting down the country

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

6

Remember when Minister Motta Domínguez said that Caracas is excluded from the electrical rationing plan because it’s the seat of all government institutions? This Tuesday Nicolás dismantled that argument and decided that the public sector will only work one day per week: four hours on Mondays and four on Tuesdays.

Nicolás decided to shut down the country to solve the political and social crisis using the electricity crisis as an excuse. Just to be clear: several representatives of the Electrical Energy Ministry have said that the imposed holidays haven’t reduced power consumption. Guri’s water level keeps receding, as PSUV resorts to a presidentially decreed general shutdown as a political measure to cause irritation or exasperation.

Look at it this way: you have more free days to try to buy food, but there isn’t any. Or medicine, but again. Or to do laundry, except there’s no water or power. What might happen? Well, the same kinds protests that took place in Zulia and Vargas could go viral all over the country. The conflict could spin out of control, the electoral track could become an afterthought to those desperate because they lack the basics. Again, these guys aren’t just useless and corrupt, they’re perverse, too.

The measure

Speaking from the Guri Hydroelectric Plant, Aristóbulo said that, on Nicolás’s orders, Wednesdays and Thursdays will also be non-working days for the public sector. He added that Fridays will be off for education at all levels except universities; essential activities should be exempt, after all. Through these measures they seek to reduce power consumption in a country where most power is used at home. Having people spend their time where they use the most electricity will help save power, sure.

Clarifications

On his TV show, Nicolás said that these measures will be in effect for at least two weeks and won’t apply to the Supreme Tribunal, because someone has to stop the National Assembly’s barbarism. He was much more concerned with the way Parliament dismissed yesterday’s Tribunal decision. To his eyes, Allup is “messing with the country’s right to peace,” adding that the Legislative Branch is run by a madman. 

As he announced the national shutdown of the public sector, he said they won’t stop working for a second. They’re doing everything they can to save Guri, and the shutdown “is a necessary step.” He asked the Electoral Branch for cooperation in saving power; anything that delays the Referendum will improve  his unhinged government’s energy. He urged his supporters not to let themselves be manipulated: “there’s dissatisfaction, of course, I’m the first to be dissatisfied, but I keep on working (…) I’m like you.”

The form

The National Electoral Council delivered the form to activate the recall requested by the Democratic Unity Roundtable. They verified the requirements of the first 1% of signatures (from MUD supporters), confirming that 94% of the signatures are valid. The secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, expressed his satisfaction towards the CNE’s decision.

The MUD has 30 days to deliver the next batch of signatures. The instructions include the number of voters that must sign per state, for a total of 197,978 voters. When you sign, the address you need to provide on the form is the parish, municipality and state where you vote, no more.

Henrique Capriles Radonski said that, in the next few hours, the opposition will collect the signatures needed to activate the recall. The spots where tomorrow’s march would have started will now become signature collection checkpoints: “Let’s take to the streets tomorrow to collect those signatures in hours. Nobody’s going to rob us of our vocation and desire for change.”

And in the National Assembly

Representative Américo de Grazia said that Parliament must declare itself in contempt and dismiss all of the Supreme Court’s decisions, in response to the “judicial coup” implicit in the decision that changes articles from the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure.

“This is the country’s Parliament. We were legitimately elected through universal, direct and secret vote. It’s the Venezuelan people who are being disenfranchised,” adding that the regime must be challenged and the democratic steps that are being taken to solve the crisis must be consolidated.

Meanwhile, representative Pedro Carreño, who’s by and large replacing Héctor Rodríguez as head of the PSUV caucus, is convinced that ours is a “robust, strengthened democracy”, and that Nicolás is being satanized. Carreño believes that the opposition isn’t looking for electoral mechanisms “because they know they don’t have the votes”. He seemed to be talking about his own party. In any case, with the conviction that this Tuesday’s plenary is in obvious contempt of the Supreme Tribunal’s decision, he said that he’ll demand its nullification.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Just activate the voting machines, and hold a referendum this weekend. You’d get 85%. When 85% vote for it, believe me, it’s “constitutional.” Hold an election the following weekend. Then you can get something done. (Just an “off-the-wall” comment from someone who isn’t Venezuelan and hasn’t been in the country for decades.)

  2. “Through these measures they seek to reduce power consumption in a country where most power is used at home. Having people spend their time where they use the most electricity will help save power, sure.”

    Brilliant… a Catch 22 if ever I’ve seen one…

  3. Its not all that bad. Maduro just found a back door to less traffic in Caracas on three more days of the week. Moreover, less gasoline will be used domestically that can be sold overseas.
    Pollution may decline also.

    Are the police and national guard staying home the three extra days?

  4. For all the good that it does, why doesn’t Nicolas just decree that the water level in the Guri reservoir will not fall any further. And, at the same time, instead of pissing all over the constitution, why not have the executive branch piss in the reservoir. It could use the added volume.

  5. I’ve been a longtime reader from Dallas, Texas. I love this site & all the insight on this financial & economic perfect storm. I really feel for the Venezuelan people & hope freedom returns to the country soon. As a writer myself, I also LOVE reading Ms. Soto’s frequent contributions! She really gives great insight into the real situation in the ground & voice to those who deal with the madness day to day. Just thought I’d send some kudos & keep up the good work.

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