Hunger for Victory

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, July 5th. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Tuesday, July 5, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

That’s how Nicolás defined the spirit that should inspire the Venezuelan Olympic delegation. 77 athletes from 18 disciplines received the national flag this Monday afternoon, with an alternative history for each of its colors, proving that Nicolás se fumó una before he improvised the speech. They also received the funds needed for their transportation: Bs. 123 million and almost $12 million. The picture doesn’t help Nicolás’s popularity, but his priorities surely damage it: a country without food or medicine has money to send a delegation “pa’ Río,” as stated on the huge banner designed for the event.

The other country

Beyond government propaganda, several states reported protests for food, against the CLAPs’ proven ineffectiveness, and short riots in the long queues before shops that had something to sell. Without street blocks, bus drivers demanded a raise on their fees: Bs. 60. It’s absurd but sadly reasonable, and that’s why one of their representatives pointed out the need for the Government to subsidize them directly for their services.

Lawyer Juan Carlos Gutiérrez informed that Leopoldo López’s appeal hearing will take place this Thursday, July 7th. He also explained his demand for the hearing to be public and condemned the way López has been kept in isolation. Finally, the Ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, urged the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the attacks on seminarians in Mérida state.

The PSUV continues

The party’s most recent creation, the Committee against fraud and usurpation, denounced before the Prosecutor’s Office the crimes allegedly committed by members of the Democratic Unity Roundtable during the signature collection process for the recall referendum. AN member Gilberto Pinto demanded justice “for the violation of political rights,” because the MUD has convinced the international community that the referendum will take place this year. The PSUV keeps the matter on the table, maybe as a prelude to the TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber’s decision to invalidate the proceedings. Still, the most repeated sentence is: recall referendum against Nicolás.

Another statement, Delcy

On July 1st, Horacio Cartes, president of Paraguay, said in the presentation of his annual administrative report, that the world stands witness of the abuses suffered by Venezuelans and that his country can’t remain silent before the situation. His words were preceded by those of his Foreign Affairs minister, who criticized Venezuela’s appointment as temporary head of Mercosur. This Sunday, Luis Guillermo Solís, president of Costa Rica, contributed his own statement by saying that issues like Venezuela’s put democracy in the center of the regional debate and that this crisis is solved through more democracy, not less.

This Monday the attention was fixed on the words of Mauricio Macri, president of Argentina: “[the Venezuelan] government has violated all Human Rights, which we’re all working to protect and uphold. They’ve led the people to hunger and neglect,” adding that it’s urgent for the recall referendum to take place this year. Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Uruguay’s Foreign Affairs minister, also spoke, saying that legal matters come before political ones; that not appointing Venezuela as head of Mercosur would’ve been a political sanction. Democratic credentials are a bynote, after all. Nin Novoa acknowledges there’s an alteration of the democratic order but not an institutional breakdown, “It’s best not to prejudge.” He obviously didn’t read the statement issued by the Socialist International. Just the first paragraph would’ve made the issue clear to him.

Persistent cynicism

Health Minister Luisana Melo once again fulfilled the role for which she was hired: denying that there’s a humanitarian healthcare crisis in Venezuela. This time, she denied the deficit of antiretrovirals, saying that only one medicine is missing, that it’s set to arrive to the country this week and therefore, the treatment for HIV patients is guaranteed. However, José Miguel Torres, head of the Venezuelan Society of Cardiology, spoke about the 80% shortage of medicines, saying that the situation is unacceptable.

Nepotism isn’t declared

It’s practiced. That’s why Comptroller Manuel Galindo Ballesteros exhorted public employees this Monday to update their sworn statements, ignoring the journalistic investigation that reveals that 13 of his relatives work at the Comptroller’s Office. He cautioned about the penalties for not fulfilling this procedure -between 50 and 500 tax units-, but the most important thing is that those who didn’t present their statements in 2015 and fail to do so again in 2016, will be banned from holding public office for 12 months. It’d be great to read the statements of so many PSUV members who hold several simultaneous offices, to see if they, like Roy Chaderton, declared merely Bs. 40,000 for their salaries.

Propaganda vs. the IMF

Take my picture for Twitter! That must be what each of Nicolás’ ministers say in their futile meetings. Jesús Faría, Foreign Commerce minister, met with Orlando Maniglia -our ambassador in Germany- to “advance cooperation agreements” and plan commercial promotion with that nation. To sell them what? We don’t know. Unless the Germans are interested in recycling the tons of POP material made for PSUV events. Economy minister Miguel Pérez Abad also tweeted about his meeting with Panama’s Commerce and Industry minister, Augusto Arosemena, to present “the progress and projects of the Bolivarian Economic Agenda.”

And still, these efforts didn’t cloud Blanca Vera Azaf’s report, where she says that the Central Bank sent the International Monetary Fund all the statistical information about the economy’s behavior for the first time in 12 years; an act that economist Asdrúbal Oliveros considered positive and that could have two readings: either the government is seeking financial aid or it’s interested in the institution’s technical support. Without money, the ideological dignity of the revolution advanced by el finado and Tarzan’s mom comes to an end. There was no depreciation this Monday because it was a banking holiday, but don’t worry, we’ll get back to it on 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.