Guárico con "G" de Guasina

Your daily briefing for Friday, June 17th, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Members of the National Guard take part in a security operation at the Cota 905 neighborhood in Caracas on July 13, 2015. Gangs which control the Cota 905 neighborhood clashed with the police early Monday forcing the National Guard to take part in the operation. AFP PHOTO/FEDERICO PARRA

For Friday, June 17, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

“On our good side, we’re good. On our bad side, we get brutos” – Nicolás Maduro.

Yes, it’s always foul game with him. He can be both a becerro and crazy. Nicolás started this Thursday’s cadena with an unusual joy, due to Delcy’s “achievement” at the OAS. According to him: “If Almagro had at least a bit of conscience and dignity, which he lacks, he’d resign, because what they did to him yesterday (During the OAS’s General Assembly) was a recall.” The saying goes: cachicamo diciéndole a morrocoy conchúo.

Oblivious to the country’s interests, he decided to speak like a dictator, calling for Guárico prison to become a place to punish dissidents. Since he thinks they’re righlty imprisoned, he demanded the Prosecutor’s Office to assign the maximum possible sentences, repeating the word “punishment” so much it almost sounded like he was calling for torture. A great way to guarantee due process and respect Human Rights, prison without a trial for people arrested in protests is evidence of the Rule of Law promoted by the PSUV. He said he had proof that Voluntad Popular and Primero Justicia were behind recent protests, but if they’re like all the rest he’s promised before, we’ll never see them.

He changed VP’s name and called them Violencia Permanente and Violencia Primero, asking their imprisoned leader: “How many more deaths do you want, Leopoldo López? When will this violence end?”. Sadly, he doesn’t dare to ask the same in Cerezal or Lagunillas, where people are still mourning those murdered while protesting for food. Nicolás said that Venezuela has a right to development and to the future – the mightiest reason to demand a recall referendum -, but he prefers to hallucinate with people on the street asking him to dissolve the National Assembly and arrest its elected members; swearing that he won’t allow this land to be sullied “by the enemy’s boot, by anyone.” By anyone who isn’t in PSUV, that is.

Historic trial

“We’re going to trial and I request that it be made public so that Venezuela can see the evidence and the imminent damage. We’re going to do constitucionalismo del bueno,” he said about his lapdog Constitutional Chamber’s decision. The only thing he wants is direct coverage for the trial, another cadena with him as the protagonist and with victory assured. As if he was bipolar, after insulting and threatening Henry Ramos Allup, he invited him to dialogue and peace, to a personal conversation when they can meet.

Another flank

The Defence minister, Vladimir Padrino López, also threatened Henry Ramos Allup with a military trial for discrediting the Armed Forces. The day Assembly members were attacked near the CNE, Ramos Allup said that the Armed Forces had become “trash, defending not the people but the corrupt government.” Based on this, the minister ordered a statement to be drafted, explaining that there wouldn’t a country without the Armed Forces. The person who wrote the statement likes the minister even less than I do, but there are a couple of revealing sections: in one of them he speaks of “a sad example of arrogance, discrimination and segregation, lacking the generosity and humility that a political leader should have,” upon reading it, I could swear he was describing Diosdado Cabello. And, “people’s wisdom and power will allow them to properly differentiate between positive and negative leadership,” an invitation to activate the recall referendum, isn’t it?

Roberto bribed

Businessman Roberto Rincón pleaded guilty before a federal court in Houston, confessing that he evaded taxes and broke the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act due to his involvement in a corrupt business scheme to obtain PDVSA contracts. Rincón would reduce his sentence to 13 years in exchange for cooperating with justice, when he potentially faced 100 years in prison. The sentence was scheduled for September 30th. The indictment says that Rincón paid more than $1 Bn in bribes to obtain PDVSA contracts between 2008 and 2014. He’s the sixth person who pleads guilty during this investigation. And Nicolás demanded during his cadena for corruption to stop, but in reference to alleged foreign financing for opposition parties.

Against the referendum

Lawyer Luis Alberto Rodríguez introduced before the TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber a joint protective measure for justices to nullify the call for a recall referendum.

According to Rodríguez, the referendum must be a mechanism for political accountability and not a means to achieve power “and disturb the nation’s peace,” saying that the opposition made a request based on the latter -which is, therefore- “absolutely null” due to irregularities detected in the signatures delivered to the CNE. In brief: A constitutional fraud! That’s why que requested the TSJ to suspend, as a protective measure, the signature validation process called by the CNE between June 20th and 24th, 2016, and also, to declare the request for a recall referendum absolutely null.

More trickery

The CNE perseveres in its efforts to complicate everything even more. The proposal for the location of validation centers in 152 municipalities establishes that captahuellas will be located in municipalities with the smallest populations (which translates to less votes, ergo less signatories). AN member Andrés Velásquez explains it with a Tweet: “They don’t want to open signature validation centers in Caroní municipality, Bolívar, which concentrates the most signatures to validate.” The signature exclusion period ends this Friday.

Our everyday depreciation: the Simadi exchange rate closed at Bs. 600.99 per dollar, increasing Bs. 5.0408 just today. But relax, according to Nelson Merentes, we’ll be able to export raw materials to Cuba.

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.