To the Streets

Your daily briefing for Thursday, May 12, 2016. Translated by Carlos M. Egaña.

24 out of the 72 hours Nicolás gave criminals to hand themselves in have elapsed. Sadly, not one of them heeded the ultimatum. They had no incentives, since the same repressors who arrested 1300 people to boost their operative achievement numbers had their hands full blocking access to Libertador municipality to stop the opposition’s march to the National Electoral Council today.

The same happened in several states. Tear gas, rubber pellets, drones, and hundreds of officials -with equipment unseen in the fight against crime- dedicated to stopping gatherings which were categorised as non-peaceful by the government itself. An open violation of constitutional rights, closing of the democratic escape valves and exasperation of spirits to justify the use of weapons against civilians.

The repression progressed while Chavismo figures wrote fascists messages such as saying that the only march of the day was PSUV’s, backed by official media with comments as sane as “the right wing wants to take poor people from their homes do they themselves can live there”. In Caracas, there was a necessary retreat. Choosing to bet on violence is a more significant defeat than not having the march at all, even though many people who haven’t moved a finger comment otherwise.

More inflation, more scarcity

Taking advantage of the commotion from the repression, the Government slipped in a substantial raise of prices for some -already scarce- basic products, as per the ninetieth supply plan bound for a failure as rotund as its predecessors’. Economic Vice-minister Miguel Pérez Abad said that they will know which elements affect prices, products will be subsidised, achievements will be made in terms of distribution and smuggling will be eliminated, but results won’t be seen for a semester. The same plan with a different name, a strong adjustment to controlled prices (Coming Soon in this May 12th’s Gaceta Oficial), less products in the marketplace and more cynicism in official statements,

Not even in 2030

“When the People talk, they shut them up, make them invisible, or end them”, Nicolás said on national cadena. He didn’t mean his own strategy towards the opposition, but the one “the oligarchy” supposedly uses. Nicolás refuses to understand that “oligarchy” is precisely what Chavismo has been for a while. So empty was his march that every take VTV showed was a closed one. So few people, that he once again received them at Miraflores. Nicolás can’t handle the street, he lacks the support.

Once again he said that the opposition’s plans to revoke his term lacks political viability, assuring that “there’s People’s government pa’ rato”. He lacked conviction saying it, even more so when he called for trust in his ability to face and solve the country’s problems. He called the opposition’s rally a violence-seeking show to hide the Coup D’état in Brazil. Say what?

He asked people to row for them and for us, for that’s why they have the strength and the upbringing el finado gave them. While they work, the opposition conspires and sabotages. They must be at peace, “sin el pistole y el malandreo”. He called for trust in the People’s strength, in the civil-military union, and in that Chavismo will not be revoked even in 2030.

The Democratic Unity Roundtable

Called for a new national rally this Saturday, May 14th at 10AM, to demand the CNE the activation of the recall referendum. Hours later, Diosdado Cabello called for another rally at the same date and time from Plaza Venezuela to Plaza Diego Ibarra on his TV show, reiterating that there’s no chance the recall will be made before 243 days.

Chúo Torrealba said that the Venezuelan People went into the streets not to return until there’s a recall referendum and a new government. He said that the stifled march is part of a process: “We have the People, they have walls, shields, bullets, pellets”. He demanded the CNE rectors what’s necessary, respect for the rules, and told the country we will have a recall and a change in government this year.

Henrique Capriles summarised the process so far, assuring that the Government wants no election, as they’ll lose. He again called for the validation of the signatures, process which puts aside any objections against those delivered. “The recall has more support today than we received on December 6th”, he said, while pointing out that the opposition has no way to stop a social explosion, and that they’ll keep working to make change come democratically. From Henry Ramos Allup’s comments, I keep this quip on Nicolás: “I wish he’d be ven lazier. With what little he does, he messes up. It’s amazing, this man is only right in being wrong”, assuring that he understood today that men in the military and police don’t want to assume the cost of repression.

Diego Hernández

A Law student at Universidad Central de Venezuela, he was the only one to arrive at the CNE headquarters with a little sign that read “Revocatorio Ya”. As he spoke to the press, one of the gorillas -2nd commander Lugo, according to journalist Odell López- forcibly took his sign away, while other uniformed savages shoved him into an arrest. He was prevented from communicating until his story started trending and even the “People’s Defender”, without comment on the unjust arrest, tweeted that he was handling his release. Military personnel are so politicised that they see a student as a political enemy instead of a protester; a citizen. Diego’s already free, the country isn’t.

Foto de Odell Lopez

Have no doubt that the signatures are enough and the likelihood of winning the recall is sky-high. The same people who praised El Caracazo now interpret social unrest and despair as evidence of imperial domination. They close the way to voting and they shut down rallies, all they want is violence. We must go on Saturday, the cost of pushing back the recall needs to be higher still. Tear gas can stop a march, but not a country. This will be solved by votes.

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.