Under an Overcast Sky

Your daily briefing for Friday, July 1st, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Friday, July 1, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Tucupita, capital city of Delta Amacuro state, started the day with blocked streets as a form of protest for food shortages. Despite the scarcity denounced by its inhabitants, there were lootings and the National Guard -which was celebrating their promotions ceremony held earlier this Thursday- dispersed the protests with tear gas and rubber bullets. The most relevant case on social networks was that of an elder man in a wheelchair. A picture of him before a tanqueta. Another one of his bald head bleeding from a wound.

The only thing worth mentioning about Nicolás’s broadcast phone call this Thursday was the threat he launched against the National Assembly, an example of psychological projection: “Get ready because you’re going to say goodbye to history, your time will come soon,” saying that Parliament is a problem and they’re looking for “a solution to get rid of it.”

The fragility of forceful relations

Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs minister considers that President Barack Obama’s statements in Ottawa are a form of meddling. What would Delcy do if she couldn’t use that word? Her statement says that the United States’ interventionist obsession is unacceptable, and their only goal -which she thinks is contradictory and illogical- is disrespecting the Rule of Law to benefit the opposition’s interests. The canciller claims before the international community once more that the U.S. instructed, trained and equipped agents in their service who have committed “crimes of all sorts” to topple Nicolás and yet, they haven’t succeeded.

Apparently, they’ve been far more successful regarding political, economic and social destabilization, if you’re to believe the government’s script. The full re-establishment of diplomatic relations brings other problems, because the U.S. kept Venezuela blacklisted in the Department of State’s annual report on worldwide human trafficking, for not complying with minimum standards to eradicate human trafficking or making significant efforts to achieve it. In the last year, the Venezuelan government “provided minimal information about their efforts” regarding this problem, so it’s difficult to evaluate it. But, in any case, the country lacks proper legislation to deal with the situation.

The reach of diplomacy

As Delcy’s team writes angry statements, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero -Nicolás’s other canciller– met with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to explore the EU’s support for the fictional dialogue in Venezuela. But this wasn’t as relevant as Jean Michel Arrighi, OAS’s Secretary for Legal Affairs, saying that the Democratic Charter is already being applied to the country.

“The Charter’s being applied ever since the Secretary General presented his report (…) the process started when the meeting was held and the agenda was approved. That meeting was already in compliance with the Charter,” Arrighi explained, adding that article 20 establishes diplomatic measures, that sanctions aren’t immediately called for as it would be for a coup d’Etat. My favorite phrase from this Uruguayan attorney, co-writer of the Democratic Charter, was “Article 20 wasn’t written by the martians, but by the member States.” It’s surely giving Delcy sleepless nights. Arrighi concludes by explaining that the Charter is now in its third phase: the 34 member States consider whether to convene a new Permanent Council meeting to take concrete measures about the Venezuelan crisis.

In the National Assembly

The MUD deputies spoke about violations of constitutional rights and of political participation in the activation of the referendum. They also denounced how Zulia’s Governor’s Office -through Fundalossada- arbitrarily stripped 896 students from their scholarships and, through an emergency motion, a group of SENIAT employees who were fired for validating their signatures were allowed to speak. Once the useless debate was done, an agreement was made to demand the CNE to set a clear schedule for the recall, and the Ombudsman’s Office to guarantee Human Rights. Sadly, Tarek is more concerned these days with the poetry that provided him with an identity. The opposition majority also approved an agreement for Journalist Day. The PSUV caucus rejected it, considering it a partialized text.

Thought is forbidden

The Judge of First Instance in Civil Matters of Carabobo state forbade former AN member Carlos Tablante, and AN members Ismael García and Carlos Berrizbeitia from divulging information about Major General Carlos Osorio, former Food minister, after the politicians had denounced illegal activities during his tenure. Lawyers will discuss about the precedent this sets. We can all discuss about its absurdity. If honor could be established via prohibitions, the PSUV would need to impose them with regards to every person that’s held a government post for the past 17 years of corruption. Once more, the PSUV’s lapdog tribunals -and the Armed Forces- seek to breach parliamentary immunity as well as the Human Right to free speech.

Add this to the fact that the Chief Public Defender, Susana Barreiro, said that Venezuela is the country with the most guarantees for Human Rights. Remembering that this woman got her post by sentencing Leopoldo López, clears any doubts about the veracity of her words.

Basic Food Basket

Cendas-FVM demonstrated how screwed we are with the price for the food basket. They revealed this Thursday the price for the Family Food Basket: Bs. 303,616, requiring 20.2 minimum wages to cover the products consumed by a family of five. The yearly fluctuation is 608.6%. Our everyday depreciation: the Simadi exchange rate closed at Bs. 628.34 per dollar, up Bs. 2.32 this Thursday.

There really is a humanitarian healthcare crisis

This is the statement issued by the Medical Federation’s executive committee, raising a medical conflict because of the Executive Branch’s refusal to admit the crisis. They announced street protests, hospital protests, pancartazos and the delivery of emergency memos from hospitals to several Human Rights organizations. Doctor Douglas León Natera said: “Government officials are laughing at the suffering of patients. They go the OAS to spread a bunch of lies,” explaining how the crisis is a healthcare holocaust, and demanding Health minister Luisana Melo to guarantee health and patients’ lives.

Rodrigo Won!

The Night, Rodrigo Blanco Calderón’s first novel, published by Madera Fina, Alfaguara Spain and Gallimard in France, received the Rive Gauche 2016 award in Paris. Rodrigo’s the fourth foreigner ever to receive this award. ¡Bravo, Rodrigo!

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.