La Tierra Tiembla

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, June 7th, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

“Every chavista woman is beautiful”. That was one of the hashtags the government’s bots used today. A stranded García Carneiro -whose version includes Panamanian shrimp investors-, the Vinotinto’s victory, and debates on Garbiñe Muguruza’s venezolanidad weren’t distraction enough. Not for a weekend that added 44 corpses to Bello Monte’s Morgue and the case of Jenny Ortiz, who was cowardly murdered by a Táchira Police officer who shot her in the face at short range. All of this before knowing that the government spends four times more in weapons than it does in food, before paramilitary colectivos took over 23 de Enero, before another electrical sub-station blew off in Barinas, before the palo de agua flooded La Yaguara and before Mérida state suffered an earthquake.

What people protest about

The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS) registered more than 600 protests during May. About 21 daily protests which represent a 37% rise compared to the same period in 2015. The main reasons for the 2,779 protests registered so far this year are scarcity and shortages, and problems with basic services, on the rise during the entire 2016. In May, the Observatory also reported 52 lootings and 36 looting attempts, the third consecutive month in which actual lootings exceed attempts.


Oblivious to the country’s collapse, the PSUV insists on plastering everybody’s lives with propaganda. That’s why the Gran Polo Patriótico declared this Monday their support for Nicolás and the Communist party announced that they’re going to request Luis Almagro’s removal as head of the OAS “for interfering in the country’s internal matters”. Meanwhile, Jorge Arreaza announced a big march for next Thursday. Add this to Aristóbulo Istúriz saying that the shortages and hunger we’re suffering are provoked by the opposition’s political actions and by the U.S. in their attempts to oust Nicolás: “Scarcity’s political, our people’s hunger is political, people’s queues are political and those who create them are the country’s enemies,” he said.

More bureaucracy

To manage the few dollars they still have, the government ordered the creation of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and International Investment – Official Gazette N° 40,917 -, with authority over “matters concerning the country’s foreign trade, direct foreign investment, promotion policies for exports and productive foreign investment and development of productive commercial relationships with other countries and international institutions, not including oil, banking and mining trade.” Just what we were waiting for to get out of the shithole!

Silence from the Prosecutor’s Office

Alfredo Ramos, mayor of Iribarren municipality (Barquisimeto) was kidnapped in his office this Monday, thanks to the combined efforts of PSUV activists and council members, who violently broke into the Mayor’s Office and destroyed everything they could -beside taking wallets and shoes- because they’re still being paid Bs. 7,965 instead of the new wage established by the Executive Branch. Ramos agreed to a meeting this Wednesday, June 8th, and also plans to come to Caracas to demand the national government the economic resources to allow them to pay their wages.

Not the dialogue we want

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero visiting Leopoldo López in the military prison at Ramo Verde marked a turning point. Some tweets from López’s account summed up his position, insinuating as much as he stated. In any case: the Recall is the only dialogue. The Democratic Unity Roundtable won’t go to the meeting at the Dominican Republic because the CNE’s delaying tactics pollute any effort for dialogue.

Rodríguez Zapatero isn’t a mediator, but rather a representative of the Executive Branch’s interests and their beneficiaries in UNASUR. The statement issued by Spanish Foreign Affairs minister, José Manuel García-Margullo shows more sense than Zapatero’s, request: respect for the Constitution, for all constitutional mechanisms and for all Human Rights.

Brazil’s Foreign Affairs minister, José Serra, offered to donate medicines to Venezuela “through humanitarian organizations that can promote their distribution,” which means: not through the government; all this as he expects to meet with his Paraguayan counterpart, Eladio Loizaga, with whom he’ll discuss bilateral matters and Venezuela’s crisis. OAS, you say?

International pressure

125 non-government institutions requested the international community this Monday to put pressure on the Venezuelan government to lift the state of exception decreed by Nicolás, saying that the decree allows the government to restrict rights and suspend international cooperation for civil society organizations: “this decree could, in practice, force important NGOs in the country to close their doors or drastically reduce their work,” the signatories criticized, exhorting other countries to participate in the next United Nations’ Human Rights Council meeting.

A delegation of Amnesty International arrived at Caracas this Monday for a six-day visit to document the status of Human Rights and the humanitarian crisis in the country. Erika Guevara-Rosas, head of the institution for the Americas, will meet with Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee, repression victims, relatives of political prisoners and the Ombudsman.

Our everyday depreciation: Simadi exchange rate increases Bs. 9.83, closing at Bs. 559.23 per dollar. This Tuesday the opposition will -again- try to reach CNE headquarters to make the necessary demands.

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.