For Thursday, June 9, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

“We’re hungry!,” yelled some. “We don’t want CLAPs!”, yelled others. “I don’t want bags, I want to shop for myself!,” said a mostly toothless doña. Protests continued for the same reason, and the National Guard and the National Police dispersed them with tear gas and pellets. National television no longer covers protests, and now the TSJ’s has ruled to ban digital media from showing pictures and/or videos of lynchings and protests, claiming it could incite and multiply them. Violence in response to people demanding food, unacceptable.

The march for the CLAPs

Nicolás didn’t make an appearance to thank the CLAPs for their support. There was no cadena and he didn’t dance with Cilia. Aristóbulo Istúriz, who has taken a more radical line than Nicolás since last Tuesday, was the speaker. More malandro than schoolteacher, according to him everything that damages the government -merely for that reason- is anybody’s responsibility except the government’s. He repeated several times that the CLAPs are a political instrument, for political contexts and he nearly said that it’s ok to use hunger to dominate the people.

“The paramilitary groups are in cahoots with the political mafias,” he said. He has a point: he’d just met with colectivos from 23 de Enero. He talked about paramilitary groups in El Guarataro, El Observatorio, Barlovento and the Eastern region of the country. He said the government doesn’t fear them. Maybe he forgot that his duty as Vice-president is to arrest and try them, to understand that admitting paramilitary groups within the country is an utter failure for all of the government’s intelligence services.

Aristóbulo’s through with negotiation. He renounced his former moderation and his role in any transition scenario. He railed against the “worthless” OAS, and he insulted Almagro. He threw many knives con liguita as he reminded his audience that indoctrination is the CLAPs’ primary task, because “if we don’t share the revolutionary consciousness with society,” the people could be divided.

We’re already divided

For Erika Farías, governor of Cojedes state: “the bourgeoisie can’t be allowed to undermine the CLAPs organization and work, we can’t allow them to do that. There can’t be escuálidos in the CLAPs, there can’t be bachaqueros, there can’t be anti-revolutionaries.” That’s why she urged the CLAPs to go door to door and convince the patriots, convince those who aren’t convinced, convince them beyond the bag of groceries, because the economic war will have many consequences and they have to prepare for battle and win no matter what. Polarization is a priority. The CLAPartheid is legal for the PSUV.

Doing what they want

Nepotism is a practice to cement loyalties. The appointment of Carla Di Martino, Tarek William Saab’s better half, as the Ombudsman’s assistant, was published in Official Gazette this Wednesday. And disobedience is also a matter of patriots, so Francisco Arias Cárdenas -governor of Zulia state- won’t go to the National Assembly to be questioned, arguing that the demand was unconstitutional because it violates the authority of regional and national institutions, it usurps functions and validates an unconstitutional action.

Violations are fair game too (for them, of course). That’s why the Official Gazette also contains an order to intervene Chacao Municipal Comptrollership, yet another consequence of the intervention of Chacao Police Department after the homicide of retired General Félix Velásquez. Finally, it’s been 39 days and the CNE’s rectoras still refuse to conclude a process that should’ve only taken five continuous days according to the law. They failed their word again, they gave no dates for citizens to authenticate our signatures. Without impartial judges to mediate between the irresponsibility of public powers under the Executive Branch’s control and citizens’ democratic demands, the Venezuelan opposition feels like Haiti against Brazil in the Copa América.

Palo abajo

The World Bank estimates that recessions in Brazil and Venezuela are yet to hit bottom and might last much longer than previously anticipated: “There’s a risk that these recessions spread to other countries in the region,” they say in an update on their Global Economic Prospects. Add this to our everyday depreciation, the Simadi exchange rate closed at Bs. 572.88 per dollar, up Bs. 3.78 since Tuesday.

Humanitarian aid

The Concepción Palacios Maternity Hospital temporarily shut down their activities to demand the government to accept humanitarian aid, because they’re working in the worst conditions, without even the most basic resources, which forces them to ask patients to buy their own supplies.

The Spanish Foreign Affairs minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, advocated in this matter, speaking about a plan that will be proposed next June 20th during the meeting that the European Union’s Foreign Affairs council will hold in Brussels. The goal’s for this plan to be managed jointly by the government and the National Assembly, in order for them to “work together on a vitally important matter.”

The European Parliament demanded the government this Wednesday “the immediate release of all political prisoners” and respect for the constitutional mechanism of the recall referendum against the president, through a decision approved with 501 votes in favor and 94 against -and agreed upon by the European Chamber’s main political groups- stating that the release of political prisoners is a prerequisite for the opening of a dialogue with the opposition. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, will meet with former president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in the next few days to discuss Venezuela’s situation.

Finally, the head of UNASUR, Ernesto Samper, is coming to Caracas to discuss the development of the non-existent dialogue. ¡Qué esperanzador!

We carry on, my dears. We must carry on.

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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.

11 COMMENTS

  1. The idea that the CLAPs are political and that the regime would use them to leverage (extort) political support is obvious. What blows my mind is that they not only admit it, they extol it!

  2. The content in the bags pictured above is kind of concerning: nothing but Harina Pan, sugar, cooking oil and noodles. No protein in sight.

    • This, I believe, is a monthly bag, and, at 1200-1500 Bs. each, when a kilo of sugar alone is now at Bs. 2000, is more than happily received by the Pueblo, pueh….

    • yeah and I believe that desnutrición is a real concern in la patria – also the obesity rates have been increasing a lot in the last few years (really, a lot) and I suspect that only being able to find (or afford) a diet such as the one you have listed is the reason for it

  3. Every country have the government it deserves.

    How far is the memory of the Dakazo, now reborn as the CLAPazo.

    I wonder, where is the lady of the mango that once thought that a good placed mangazo would yield her an apartment or that one that got her clunker exchanged in the freeway by a brand new SUV by our bus driver president. (we all know those are cheap tricks of publicity but nevertheless).

    I guess a measure of progress is that 3 years ago we would have “bachaquedo” for an A/C or a new washer/dryer at Daka. Nowadays, we get happy with a bag of Harina Pan made at the enemy’s factory via CLAP or a couple of strokes of deodorant for 100 bolos at the Petare’s roundabout..your choice.

    • So… people dying for lack of food or medicine, or crime, deserve this? People who never voted for this, or who did and then started to reject it, deserve this?

      Do you see the fallacy?

      • I left a long answer that got unfortunately chopped by the server.

        The short answer is: Yes I see it and it is called populism/unaccountability/impunity and years and years of staunch pragmatism.

  4. Food fascism, coupled with the new initiative to promote RR request signees to renounce their signatures, makes the RR an even more uphill battle.

  5. My wife’s relatives tell her that nearly everyone in/near Maracaibo is looking very “svelte and fit” these days. The elderly, portly gentleman (Papi Ernesto) who lives next door to Aunt Sophia has lost nearly 30lbs and is wearing my old Lee jeans (34 waist/32 inseam) that I had left behind for my nephew to wear someday.

    Yesterday, he was seen throwing fishing nets over pigeons in a nearby park after baiting them in close. I remember him. He was the guy who used to take my young kids and las sobrinas to that park and give them bread crumbs to feed the pigeons. Aunt Sophia is sharing with him what she can afford, but he is giving this largesse to an extended family who has nothing, and nobody overseas to send them dollars. Our dollars are still mostly getting through, but clearly it is a matter of time before the teat runs dry. Sophia and the family can make do for a while, but soon even dollars won’t buy what can’t be purchased at any price.

    Three of las sobrinas have been able to fly out and are staying with us (12 clan familiar) in our house in the US. We have a lake cabin in Northern Minnesota that most are happy to stay in, but the young ladies like urban settings… 🙁

    Aunt Sophia won’t come no matter what.

    I can’t help but notice that the fine young Chavista leading the pack in the above picture has more chins than a Chinese phone book. I guess he isn’t missing many meals.

    • add: Las sobrinas (17, 16, 16) are causing quite the ruckus on Lake Lida, east of Pelican Rapids in Minnesota. Apparently, they are quite “exotic” and the local boys on their jet craft and boats are like putty in their palms. I haven’t seen anything like the “red-neck yacht club” that has been gathering 100′ off our dock on sunny days when the girls are out sunning themselves and dancing on the dock.

      Minnesota is getting an education in internationalism.

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