Nicolás Wants No Peace

Your daily briefing for Thursday, June 23rd, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Thursday, June 23, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Trees cut down in some roads. Fictional protests in others. Power outages. Buses with people going to validate their signatures, stopped by the authorities. Buses with people coming back from validating, robbed by criminals. Delays in the validation process. CNE’s rectora Sandra Oblitas denouncing attacks against CNE employees. Francisco Ameliach, governor of Carabobo state, calling all who validate their signature traitors. People crossing a river on foot and even tear gas inside a validation center.

Despite all of these variables, Carlos Ocariz, mayor of Sucre municipality and spokesman for the MUD’s electoral committee, offered a positive report on the third validation day. He said that 236,386 people have verified their signatures countrywide, and called for the Operación Remate to help those who have been unable to do their validation. He clarified that the CNE’s verification figures don’t match the MUD’s, especially in Carabobo, Apure and Trujillo. He said that Nueva Esparta continues to be the state where people have suffered the most abuses.

Political prisoners

A day has passed after the pathetic participations of Nicolás’s lapdogs and his hired mediators before the OAS’s Permanent Council, and the government adds more names to their list of political prisoners. Francisco Márquez and Gabriel San Miguel, members of Voluntad Popular, were arrested last Sunday, June 19th. Lawyer Nizar El Fakih said it was impossible to talk to them during the 49 hours they were under arrest, so they demanded Habeas Corpus, to no response.

The preliminary hearing took place without previous access to the case file. Attorney Doménico Bofelli indicted them for money laundering and public instigation. They were put in preventive imprisonment in the National Guard Post 321, in Cojedes state, but were illegally transferred to a common prison. According to VP members, Márquez and San Miguel were moved to Tocuyito prison, but then they said they were taken to CICPC headquarters in San Carlos, Cojedes. In any case, El Fakih condemned these illegal transfers before the Prosecutor’s Office.

The OAS’s meeting

This Thursday, OAS’s member countries will meet in Washington, at Luis Almagro’s request, to discuss the Venezuelan crisis. The refusal to accept humanitarian aid, the obstacles set by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice to all of the National Assembly’s decisions, and the intentional hindrances for the activation of the recall referendum, are also Human Rights violations. Earlier this Wednesday, UNASUR’s secretary general announced the suspension of the meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers in Quito, requested by Venezuela. Several countries asked for it to be postponed because the meeting in Washington was already scheduled.

Henry Ramos Allup tweeted that he’s going to the meeting “with everything he’s got.” He already arrived in Washington and offered statements to several outlets. It’s still unknown whether he’ll be able to speak, but lobbying needs no microphones. Bernardo Álvarez, Venezuelan ambassador before the OAS, had requested the meeting’s suspension. He threatened that, in case it takes place and the Inter American Democratic Charter is invoked, he’ll denounce the process’s illegality.

Condemning Ramos Allup’s trip, the smartest thing Nicolás could do was to repeat the argument of treason. Because for him, explaining our crisis and offering arguments for a potential diplomatic sanction is the same as supporting foreign intervention. “Our problems are for us to solve through dialogue and respect, that’s why the people reject Ramos Allup’s attitude,” he said. He added that the trip also repeats the crime of usurpation of authority, demanding for it to be openly condemned with a great national march to all of the country’s Bolívar squares. He was fuming, despite the show and all the times he said he was happy. A weird cocktail: más feliz que plancha e’ chino.

The Shannon effect

Nicolás met with Thomas Shannon. He stated the obvious: that it’s an attempt at building an agenda of respect between both governments, that he condemned the United States’ attempts to interfere in the country’s internal affairs; that he hopes Obama will rectify his stance against his government, using the words “dialogue” and “respect” obsessively.

Henrique Capriles provided a better briefing of his meeting, which he started by clarifying to Shannon that there’s no dialogue process in Venezuela, that it’s only a hypocritical call by Nicolás with the sole intention of buying time to avoid the activation of the recall referendum. He told Shannon that the main mediator -Rodríguez Zapatero- has repeatedly rejected the recall, and therefore not mentioning it before the OAS was part of the Executive Branch’s agenda and evidenced the mediator’s partiality; adding that Venezuela’s crisis requires immediate solutions.

Nicolás wants no peace

He’s undermined the minimum conditions for a dialogue, refusing to negotiate matters relevant for the opposition, attacking them with all the power of the State, while he repeats empty words. He decided to accelerate conflict even more without offering a solution to the country’s drama: food, medicines, basic services and safety. Aristóbulo Istúriz, vice-president of Venezuela, announced a drop in imports: he announced more hunger. Nicolás preferred to dance to the beat of the tambores de San Juan before oil industry employees, as he narrated his experience sowing auyama, pepino and eggs. He said “huevos” syllable by syllable. The Armed Forces keep issuing statements as if they were political actors, only to remind us that they have weapons to support their partiality. Hunger only guarantees more violence, despair and crime, playing to the drum beat of a government that lacks San Juan’s attributes, ese que to’ lo tiene y to’ lo da.

Our everyday depreciation: the Simadi exchange rate closed at Bs. 614.93 per dollar, up Bs. 7.93 this Wednesday.

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.