For Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Protests spread uncontrollably through Cumana this Tuesday, to the point of turning into mobs, lootings and violence. Violence that included policemen and even the military who, in certain areas, joined the mayhem -some to loot and some to fight. The paladins of Human Rights were overcome by madness, the same madness that the PSUV has commemorated with the Caracazo of 1989, but that they now claim is yet another proof of unconventional warfare.

My family respects the curfew. Radio 2000, Cumana’s venerable radio, seems to be doing the same, because people learned about the curfew through texts and WhatsApp messages, and not through what remains most popular outlet in the state. The Araya Peninsula, fortunately, was another country. Strangers to the violence in Cumana, my family was happy for the chirimoyas and the cojinoas they’d had for lunch.

Propaganda and nothing else

Too vulgar to justify the violence used by security forces to repress protests for food, Nicolás repeated the last addition to his newspeak: “the violent bachaqueros”. He spoke of peace, love, and the future, while a good portion of the people protest because they’re hungry. He spoke of people murdered and starved to death, of hatred and violence, only as an example of what would happen if la derecha ever ruled the country. According to him, the government needs “just a bit more cohesion to show the achievements”; it’s an issue of propaganda, not supply or production.

Now that everything’s collapsing, Nicolás says that he’s part of the world of tomorrow. A post-apocalyptic tomorrow, with no basic services, medicines or food. The consequences of improvisation and incapacity in creating public policies concerning food are getting worse every day. Now riots emerge where queues to buy food stood before. Thinking that this situation can be stopped with threats like “if you lose control or get violent, pa’ la cárcel,” is being blindly and dangerously stubborn. Meanwhile, he speaks about dialogue and peace as if they were threats too, about the CNE’s sacred word and the downfall of the National Assembly full of apátridas and traitors.

The OAS and Delcy’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, was the most relevant subject. According to Nicolás, the Venezuelan delegation caused a Justin Bieber effect wherever they went, everyone greeted and kissed them. “I like president Obama (…) I think he’s a nice person,” he said before admitting that he’s ready to assign an ambassador to Gausintón and repair relations with the U.S. He celebrated Venezuela’s appointment for the UN’s Social Economic Council as the people’s victory, despite the fact that this common task for member states isn’t reflected at all in his achievements on the matter.

A channel for dialogue

This was John Kerry’s proposal after meeting Delcy. Tom Shannon, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, is to lead negotiations with Venezuelan authorities to find solutions to the political crisis, guaranteeing that the U.S. won’t apply pressure for Venezuela to be suspended from the OAS and that they’re not taking sides with the opposition, but with the Constitution. This clarification was necessary because earlier this Tuesday – and out of schedule – he publicly supported the invocation of the Inter American Democratic Charter, saying that Nicolás has indeed violated the constitutional order.

Luis Almagro’s negotiations have worked. During the Assembly, John Kerry demanded the release of political prisoners, respect for the freedom of speech and association; and the activation of the recall referendum, saying that the invocation of the IADC will allow a necessary debate about Venezuela. With an bothersome Cuban accent, Delcy tried to counter the statement saying: “I feel that we’ve just heard the master of the world speaking. He also has the nerve to give opinions about other countries,” finishing with accusations against Almagro for being an U.S. agent for the promotion of a coup d’état against Nicolás.

Suddenly, the accusations about Almagro being a part of “Washington’s payroll” vanished and a more respectful Delcy met with Kerry. She put away the “defeating imperial powers” skit  and Almagro’s messages got more RTs: “I already replied to the lies. I hope that in the OAS’s meeting on June 23rd, Venezuela will speak with arguments instead of personal attacks.”

Y olé

Former Spanish president Felipe González supported the recall referendum as a right for all citizens and demanded Nicolás to respect the Constitution: “My commitment to Democracy goes well beyond the commitment to any ideological alternative. But the commitment to Democracy is the necessary condition for these alternatives to work, respecting the rules of the game. The rules have been broken here and we must all restore them together,” he said, and added that he’s against coups.

Capriles’ agenda

“A country with political prisoners can’t be considered democratic,” José Serra, Brazilian Foreign Affairs minister said after his meeting with Henrique Capriles. Brazil has a State policy of avoiding interference in other countries’ matters, but in Venezuela’s case “we can’t remain indifferent.” He spoke about political prisoners, judicial proceedings against opposition members, abuses against Venezuelans’ Human and Democratic Rights and the seriousness of food and medicine shortages.

He confirmed that Brazil has offered to donate medicines produced in their laboratories to Venezuela, but that the Government hasn’t been receptive to the offer. He announced that Brazil’s going to mediate before the UN and the OAS to help Venezuelans: “This is about helping the people, the ones who suffer for bad governments.” Capriles’ last visit will be to Panama, where he’ll meet with president Juan Carlos Varela. By the way, Dilma Rousseff stated that she supports new elections to end Brazil’s political crisis. Hopefully, Nicolás will know (and be inspired) by this.

Our everyday depreciation: the Simadi exchange rate closed at Bs. 593.40 per dollar, up Bs. 3.71 during the day.

3 COMMENTS

  1. An ABC report on Cumana had an interesting detail.Venezuela Steps up Military Presence in Town Hit by Looting. An excerpt follows.

    Venezuelan security forces stepped up their presence in the coastal city of Cumana on Wednesday after more than 20 businesses were violently ransacked in another day of unrest across the crisis-wracked country.

    Luis Acuna, the socialist governor of Sucre state, said that more than 400 people, some of them minors, were detained during protests on Tuesday that witnesses said were sparked by food shortages.

    Following the vandalism, the city’s mayor suspended the use of motorcycles for 72 hours. There were reports that two people were killed during clashes but Acuna said the deaths were unrelated to the disturbances.

    A series of lootings and food riots has left at least three people dead in the last week. At least 10 looting incidents, many of them dispersed by tear gas and riot batons, are occurring daily across Venezuela, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violenc

    When I think of motorcycles, I think of “motorizados,” a.k.a. Chavista paramilitary allies. Why would a Socialist/PSUV governor temporarily prohibit motorcycles, which implicitly prohibits motorizados, who are supposed to be allies of Chavismo? Have motorizados been looting? Have there been too many complaints against motorizado brutality that even a PSUV governor has to do something? In any event, this appears to be at least a temporary break in the Chavista-motorizado alliance.

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