Jorge Rodríguez doesn’t know how to laugh. His sneer, closer to mockery than to joy, reveals the limitation of villains, of those who exercise power fueled by hatred and who lead nothing but press conferences. He’s fallacious, predictable, boring, repeating the same words to discredit the opposition -as if he had any credibility-, obsessed with showing National Electoral Council’s lack of autonomy. He speaks as the electoral official he isn’t, and demands anti-doping tests and lie detectors, claiming someone else’s the madman.

He said this Monday that he’ll sue several digital news outlets for publishing a story that links him to sexual abuse charges. He also threatened Henry Ramos Allup, saying that his time in the National Assembly is almost up, and Henrique Capriles as well, saying that he’ll reveal a story from 2000 that proves the governor’s sexual tendencies. Taking advantage of his undeniable empathy, he cautioned each opposition supporter: “Don’t let yourself be misled.” The strategy would change if he said that Nicolás would win the referendum in case it takes place, with the same conviction that he says there won’t be a referendum at all. Since he can’t, he tries to get the last laugh, something he doesn’t know how to do.

The decree

Announced by Nicolás to confront internal and external threats, the decree is a mish-mash of economic and political authority which includes capacities from the three kinds of states of emergency established in the Constitution. Its clauses -written with VTV-like logic- cite the “economic war” as the axis of all evil, the drop in oil prices, the National Assembly -for being under the opposition’s control-, Obama’s decree, El Niño, and “bachaqueo” as an induced phenomenon. It also mentions the Operation for People’s Liberation (OLP) against the new political paramilitarism. That arroz con mango, according to the government, has the sole intention of ousting Nicolás, which is a danger for the country’s security. Read it carefully and you’ll find admission that the electrical crisis and scarcity will get worse, that agricultural development will be exceptional, and that they’ll use the military as much as they can. There are no pros and plenty of cons:

– Con -the private sector: the Executive Branch will be able to take measures to intervene the private sector to produce, market and distribute supplies and goods to the people; they will also be able to regulate working hours.

– Con -the NGOs: the Foreign Affairs Ministry will be able to inspect agreements, signed by natural and legal persons with foreign institutions and entities, to carry out projects within the country.

– Con -financial freedom: once again, the Banks and Finance Ministry along with the Central Bank, will be able to establish top levels for income and expenditure on the currency and restrictions for baking operations and transactions.

– Con -control: the Executive Branch will be able to authorise the use of funds from the National Treasury even if they’re not established on the Budget Law. Public interest contracts will be legal “at the Executive Branch’s sole discretion”, and primary products will be established for the purposes of State purchases, determining the direct allocation of foreign currency.

– Pro -impunity: Nicolás will be able to decide the suspension of political sanctions against high ranking government officials and heads of public institutions.

– Pro -propaganda: the Executive Branch may establish policies of evaluation, monitoring and control of production, distribution and marketing of basic necessities, and ministers will be able to implement measures to guarantee the sale of regulated products according to “opportunity schedules.”

– Pro -the military: the commissions that deliver bags with regulated food products (CLAPs) will now aid in keeping public order. More discretional power for the remainder of their militancy, or a few civilians to aid in yet another action of military control.

But it’s ok, because the Ombudsman said that his office will resolve any circumstance that arises during the State of Emergency, which has to be done “in strict compliance with the Constitution and international protocols.” I was very relieved.

An anguish called country

Our devaluation, marked by Simadi exchange rate, reaches Bs. 420 per dollar. On the same day, employees of Alimentos Polar reported that white corn inventories to produce Harina PAN will run out by late May, since the whole national harvest is depleted. Fedenaga (Federation of Beef Producers) also reported that the beef offered in the country is insufficient to cover the demand, that the price will keep rising because there are only 11 million heads of cattle out of the necessary 30 million.

Although minister Pérez Abad said that China’s willing to help them, Hong Lei, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry, said this Monday that the economic crisis in Venezuela is an internal matter. They hope the government can handle it appropriately and safeguard the country’s stability and development, refusing to say if they’ll give el finado’s children even one more dollar.

Meanwhile, Josh Earnest, spokesman for the White House, said that Venezuela’s situation is discouraging and that the conditions in which we Venezuelans have to experience are terrible. He said that “these challenges will require the inclusion of all interested parties. And now is the time for leaders to listen to diverse Venezuelan voices and work together peacefully to try to find solutions.” In this regard, former presidents José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Leonel Fernández and Martín Torrijos are coming to the country invited by the government as international observers for the [C]omisión de la verdad and also intend to meet with the opposition to favor dialogue.

Human Rights Watch

José Miguel Vivanco, chief of HRW for the Americas, sent a letter to Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States, that resolves a dilemma about the damn Inter American Democratic Charter: “If the OAS really needed permission from abusive governments to take action, that would defeat the purpose of the Democratic Charter. Fortunately, for situations as catastrophic as Venezuela’s, the Charter doesn’t include such an absurd requisite.”

Let Delcy know that the offending Government’s consent is not required, and that Almagro already offered a first response to Vivanco via Twitter.

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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.

16 COMMENTS

  1. I think I read something about this in a book that I read in high school. Directive 10-289?

    In the name of the general welfare, to protect the people’s security, to achieve full equality and total stability, it is decreed for the duration of the national emergency that:

    Point One. All workers, wage earners and employees of any kind whatsoever shall henceforth be attached to their jobs and shall not leave nor be dismissed nor change employment, under penalty of a term in jail. The penalty shall be determined by the Unification Board, such Board to be appointed by the Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources. All persons reaching the age of twenty-one shall report to the Unification Board, which shall assign them to where, in its opinion, their services will best serve the interests of the nation.
    Point Two. All industrial, commercial, manufacturing and business establishments of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth remain in operation, and the owners of such establishments shall not quit nor leave nor retire, nor close, sell or transfer their business, under penalty of the nationalization of their establishment and of any and all of their property.
    Point Three. All patents and copyrights, pertaining to any devices, inventions, formulas, processes and works of any nature whatsoever, shall be turned over to the nation as a patriotic emergency gift by means of Gift Certificates to be signed voluntarily by the owners of all such patents and copyrights. The Unification Board shall then license the use of such patents and copyrights to all applicants, equally and without discrimination, for the purpose of eliminating monopolistic practices, discarding obsolete products and making the best available to the whole nation. No trademarks, brand names or copyrighted titles shall be used. Every formerly patented product shall be known by a new name and sold by all manufacturers under the same name, such name to be selected by the Unification Board. All private trademarks and brand names are hereby abolished.
    Point Four. No new devices, inventions, products, or goods of any nature whatsoever, not now on the market, shall be produced, invented, manufactured or sold after the date of this directive. The Office of Patents and Copyrights is hereby suspended.
    Point Five. Every establishment, concern, corporation or person engaged in production of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth produce the same amount of goods per year as it, they or he produced during the Basic Year, no more and no less. The year to be known as the Basic or Yardstick Year is to be the year ending on the date of this directive. Over or under production shall be fined, such fines to be determined by the Unification Board.
    Point Six. Every person of any age, sex, class or income, shall henceforth spend the same amount of money on the purchase of goods per year as he or she spent during the Basic Year, no more and no less. Over or under purchasing shall be fined, such fines to be determined by the Unification Board.
    Point Seven. All wages, prices, salaries, dividends, profits, interest rates and forms of income of any nature whatsoever, shall be frozen at their present figures, as of the date of this directive.
    Point Eight. All cases arising from and rules not specifically provided for in this directive, shall be settled and determined by the Unification Board, whose decisions will be final.

  2. A delegation we hosted had to deal briefly with Miguel Perez Abad a few years ago, back when Maduro was still foreign minister and before Perez Abad himself joined the Cabinet. He is straight off the pages of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ — in this case the latter part, when the country is falling apart. ElGuapo’s citing of Directive 10-289 nails it.

  3. Javier,

    “heads of cattle”

    The correct way to say and write this is “#### head of cattle”, using the singular form of the word “head”. Do not ask me why, because I don’t know. It is just one of those exceptions to the general rule.

    • So are we getting here to discuss English grammar or to discuss our country concerns?. Yesterday was the same BS. It is a lot of effort to manage this page in English and even a struggle by some of us which English is a second language and do not have formal education in the language.

      Enough with the grammar corrections and the nicky picky, it degrades the effort and embarrass the author. Let’s get serious here about the subject at hand.

  4. What amazes me about this “decreto” is that the government doesn’t even have the organizational and administrative capacity to enforce it in any general sense. Of course, it will be applied to particular situations in a punitive manner, but they have no ability to enforce it globally. People will simply keep doing whatever they have been doing until someone tells them to stop, at which point they will give up, comply, or find a way around it.

  5. So, can we call it a dictatorship now or are we still going to use the useless euphemism “imperfect democracy”?

    And, don’t worry, pals, we all know the kind of dialogues and peace chavismo wants, with all of us under two meters of dirt.

    And about the psychopath, well, I’m willing to vote for the most right wing rrradical politician available (Oh, true, I forgot, there are NO right wing politicians in Venezuela, they’re ALL either center left or extreme left) just to annoy him.

  6. Naky, once again, brilliant, as usual, particularly the description of JR, without a doubt the most nefarious and despicable of the Chavismo personages.

  7. Its a mistery to me why the regime, controlling the CNE as they do, and claiming to have the support of the mass of the people have raised such angry ruckus against holding the revocatorio , showering the oppo and its followers with all sort of nasty insults and threats for calling it to be held , the clear message they give is that they are so certain of losing it that they must resort to any devious means available to prevent it from being held ……do they really think people are so stupid as to believe that their fierce opposition to the revocatorio is motivated by anything but fear of losing it…..!!or is their fear making them so stupid as to think that they can deceive people so easily ….!!

    • The problem with chavismo is, that it consolidated as “imposing our superiority on the inferior escuálidos by force, because we are strong macho alphas, and they are a bunch of weak fag betas”, it’s a movement born of hatred, envy, rancor and deception, the worst traits in Venezuelan people, the “viveza criolla” government.

      So the only language it considers it can keep its base together is violence, obligation and the military style “barracks-talk” where the strong “surrogate father” barks orders, and he’s obeyed no matter how stupid and nonsensical those orders are.

      Right now, chavismo is in full screeching-primate mode, because the only thing they can do to keep power is by force, that’s where the exception state enters, where Maduro basically illegalizes any dissention or opposition in Venezuela against chavismo, the only thing they can do now is to threaten to fire, send the colectivos or imprison (and by transition, to murder) everybody who dares to say a peep about anything, hoping the people remembers the april 11 slaughter and gets scared enough to shut up and continue surviving without any complaints.

      Chavismo has been like that since day one: “KNEEL AND OBEY, OR DIE”

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