A Caracazo, bit by bit

Your daily briefing for Friday, June 10th, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Thursday, June 2, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

This Thursday, CNE official Luis Emilio Rondón announced that the signature validation process will take place between Monday, June 20th and Friday, June 24th. Tibisay Lucena’s expected to offer details in a press conference on Friday. Tonight the Vinotinto won against Uruguay in the Copa América. A collective scream stormed my neighborhood when Salomón Rondón scored, with the marvellous energy of a gentío thirsty for good news. We failed to score three more times, but it doesn’t matter. For the first time in a hundred years of the Copa América, Venezuela beat Uruguay.

Government violence

National Assembly members from the Democratic Unity Roundtable went to the National Electoral Council’s headquarters this Thursday morning to demand the dates for the signature authentication process. They wanted to put pressure on the rectoras. With a barricade, the National Guard blocked their way and, as they tried to talk, paramilitary colectivos threw a “Bin Laden” -a homemade explosive- at them. The deputies advanced a bit with the explosion and the fighting started. Pellets, pepper spray, screams, more struggle. The deputies were deliberately pushed toward more attackers. Sticks, helmets, stones and punches.

Pictures of a bloodied Julio Borges quickly spread through social media. The attackers reached the National Assembly’s administrative headquarters at Pajaritos, chanting “Y va caer, y va a caer, esta Asamblea va a caer.” Journalists who were covering the events were also threatened away from the CNE’s surroundings by government followers. Borges condemned the attack and made Fabio Zavarce, chief of the Core 5, responsible for it. The member of Parliament had surgery on his broken nose.


National Assembly Speaker, Henry Ramos Allup, said that the attackers are listed as shock brigades on the Caracas Mayor’s Office’s payroll. He also said that Parliament and its members are under siege and criticized the Armed Forces’ actions: “Shame on the National Guard for defending crime!”. He said that the TSJ’s preparing decisions to mark AN deputies critical of the government as traitors, which means deputies could be arrested and imprisoned if the TSJ considers them traitors, reducing parliamentary immunity to the minimum.

The Ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, wrote on Twitter: “We maintain that the only way to solve political differences or social conflict, is dialogue” and demanded the attacks to be investigated and punished exemplarily. UNASUR’s secretariat also condemned any form of violence that can affect the determination “to create the conditions to allow peaceful cohabitation.” ¿No son cuchis?

More violence

National Guard and National Police officers prevented the student march called for this Thursday from reaching CNE’s headquarters. They changed the rallying point and sorted out a few barricades, but they still couldn’t get to their destination. Also this Thursday, there were lootings in La Urbina, Palo Verde and Petare, looting attempts in El Hatillo and protests for food in several cities. Doctors from many Caraqueño hospitals marched along the San Martín avenue demanding the government to accept humanitarian aid. The father of AN member Robert Alcalá was beaten to death in Carúpano. He was a 73-year-old retired teacher.

The National Guard and the National Police forced their entry into Alimentos Polar’s Distribution Center in Aragua and arrested the chief and the Warehouse Manager. They’re kept in PoliAragua’s San Jacinto station. That must be why minister Vladimir Padrino López says that the ongoing war in Venezuela isn’t conventional because it “goes well beyond the economic, the psychological and the media.”

In the parallel country

Tremenda pepa ‘e sol, vale; it doesn’t want to leave is, let’s applaud the sun,” said Nicolás. His audience wasn’t listening. Nicolás is a repetitive, predictable liar. Aristóbulo seemed bored. Even Arreaza dedicated more time to his phone than to the chanting what the chief was asking for to spice up the cadena. Nicolás said that the opposition’s strategy is to fill the country with violence to request the activation of the Inter American Democratic Charter and justify an international intervention. To achieve this goal they have three lines of action: political violence, demonstrated with the protests; crime, with paramilitary groups committing brutal murders and finally, bachaqueros hired to promote shortages and attack the CLAPs.

But don’t worry, “Prisons have enough space for all the right’s instigators who promote violence,” he said right after he condemned violence in all its forms, although he failed to mention any attacks against the opposition. He asked the PSUV to avoid provocations and in a tone that was more threat than question he yelled: “You want the country to walk the path of violence?,” and that’s because, for him, “Venezuela has been peaceful and will continue to be peaceful despite them (the opposition).” 28,000 murder victims in 2015 are an unquestionable proof of that fact… peaceful as a grave.

The ones responsible

Violence starts with the CNE’s rectoras who refuse to comply with the law, illegally delaying the recall referendum; the TSJ validates it by forbidding protests, because protests are a right -specially in the face of regime abuses-. The Armed Forces promote violence by action (ordering colectivos to attack) and omission (failing to stop this from happening) and the PSUV multiplies it as their Parliament members reduce the event’s importance.

A government that criminalizes protests encourages violence; its impunity rate also does this, because today’s attacks were preceded by those against Chúo Torrealba, the journalists, Jenny Ortiz and a long and terrible list of other events. AN deputy Haiman El Troudi shows his cynicism by condemning violence and inviting dialogue -without mentioning the CNE-; he also encourages violence by considering the possibility of accepting humanitarian aid with dialogue as a prerequisite. Nicolás confirms that he cares little for chaos in the country, he actually promotes it. He has no problem to admit that anything that prevents the recall referendum works in his favor.

Venezuela won!


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.