Summa Cum Fraude

Your daily briefing for Friday, May 27, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

“Maduro won’t fall because Maduro won’t fall; Maduro is the People, gentlemen (…) Maduro is stronger than ever” – Nicolás speaking about himself.

He used the third person too often, as well as “having moral ground” to say what he said. The same day he prevented students, officials, labor unions and workers from several universities of the country from marching, he imposed a cadena to tell his distorted version of reality. He allowed his student audience (although the age range was rather wide) to sing to the beat of his whistling: “El presupuesto revolucionario, no nos lo quitan, los mercenarios“, “¡No, no, no, revocatorio no!” and the popular “Y va a caer, y va a caer, esta Asamblea va a caer.” He insisted that they want to revoke the students, not Maduro.

According to Nicolás, by 1999 nobody graduated. Now they do it by the thousands, so they have to be guaranteed access to productive jobs. He didn’t say how many graduates are part of the diaspora, nor how he would create jobs in a country broken by him and his predecessor. In compensation, he said that “the budget security universities now enjoy,” they’ve never enjoyed before; that the best collective bargaining agreement in the history of universities, was the one he signed in 2015 and that it’s inexplicable that universities have fallen behind in salaries. Deficit is a complicated matter for a guy who can’t subtract 17 from 28, in cadena and with 50 people onstage to help him.

“Patria and peace are written with the same ’p’ as People,” he said. The same as in pushover, perfidious, pestilent and prick. He announced a 100% raise for all scholarships but he didn’t say that it leaves them merely at Bs. 8,000. Compared to the $69,162 million lost to corruption being investigated by the National Assembly’s Comptrollership Committee, that’s nothing. He signed the standardization of the collective agreement and approved a 54% wage increase for university workers, promising a further 29% in September.


Nicolás said that he’s open to dialogue with university sectors -even those who hate him without reason- pero eso sí: “with rationality, truth and good will because the goal is that universities work”. He then appointed Aristóbulo Istúriz and Jorge Arreaza to advance “the resolution of problems”; omitting that earlier this Thursday, several university officials delivered a document with their demands to Andrés Eloy Ruíz, vice-minister for the Articulation with Universities, emphasizing the need for a fair budget, better salaries for teachers and scholarships of no less than the minimum wage.

Spain in campaign

“Maybe I’ll launch my candidacy for the Spanish elections and win,” said Nicolás, not mentioning a similar possibility for the recall referendum in Venezuela. He pointed out that any criticism coming from that country only proves the grudge held by its rulers for Bolívar’s victories 200 years ago. But he saved the most serious accusation for last: “They’re preparing an intervention against Venezuela in the NATO and Rajoy is behind it.”

Maybe just to please Nicolás,  Rajoy convened the National Security Council for this Friday to discuss Venezuela’s situation and the security of Spanish citizens and businessmen residing here. To prevent Miraflores’ analysts from collapsing, the meeting’s agenda also includes the Islamic State, illegal immigration problems and the refugee crisis.

Speaking of foreigners

A decision issued by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice was published on Official Gazette N° 40909 -of May 23-, that establishes procedures for citizens who hold two or more nationalities, including Venezuelan. “if a person has multiple nationalities, and one of them is Venezuelan, it will be the latter that will prevail in all matters concerning the judicial regulations applicable to it.”

The viral reading of the decision was that it would protect Nicolás in case he ever showed his birth certificate and he turned out to be Colombian -besides Venezuelan-, born in three different parishes according to Elías Jaua, Jorge Rodríguez and Nicolás himself.

But some lawyers explained the actual problem with the decision: that it invalidates article 41 of the Constitution, which establishes that only Venezuelans born in the country and with no other nationality may opt for high ranking posts like President or TSJ justice. Although the decision originates in the case of a girl, the TSJ continued their task of writing a parallel Constitution suited for the PSUV’s every whim. The second serious consequence is that in order to enter or leave Venezuela, people will have to do it with Venezuelan documents, since that’s the prevailing nationality.

The hashtag #AsiEstáMiNevera also went viral as another way to narrate scarcity with evidence. According to the Comptrollership Committee’s report on corruption, the food sector -whose associated crime is embezzlement- involves the most officials: 26 in total. Our everyday depreciation reached Bs. 512.90 per dollar -that’s plus Bs. 25.7 in one day- which is half of the not-so-black market’s current price. In merely three months, Simadi exchange rate has increased almost by 100%.

Aristóbulo Istúriz announced that they’ll soon announce (seriously) the reduction of the power rationing plan from three to two hours: “despite the electrical emergency experienced in Venezuela (…) improvements have been made thanks to these measures,” without giving dates. Isn’t that cute?

The National Assembly unanimously approved the Law for protection of people suffering from autism and similar conditions in its first reading. They also approved an agreement that exhorts the  government to accept humanitarian aid to face the healthcare crisis.

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.