The Seal of Dictatorship

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, June 12, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Tuesday, June 12, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Nicolás just granted himself -and general Vladimir Padrino López- the power to do whatever they please, using the economic war as pretext, protected by the economic emergency decree and holding the Constitution as if it was an emblem of injustice. In the background, a cardboard Chávez holds a cup of coffee and beside Nicolás, a waxworks Francisco De Miranda -with neatly-trimmed eyebrows- offered the only justification for the liberation epic bound up in his latest resolution.

“We’re at war,” he said, by way of explanation for his leitmotif: that he and Padrino López will have authority to dictate measures and resolutions “in real time” on any issue, which means that they may dictate expropriations, take over production, change distribution strategies, you name it.

These are absolute powers for a now unembarrassed military regime, because this Monday, Vladimir Padrino López was presented as the country’s second president, part of a strategy to win a non-conventional war which, according to them, requires total submission of civilian power to the military.

The program for Secure Supply is composed of three engines: food and agriculture, pharmaceutical and industrial, on top of the activation of six micro-misiones to handle everything from producing seeds to protecting people suffering from chronic illnesses. They use seven approaches, each phonier than the last: efficient and sustainable production, new distribution system, marketing process, cost process, performance and prices, consolidation of productive reorganization, safety and integral defense, and investigation and development.

Trotting out this discourse about “being at war” in front of people who live in post-war conditions is an inexcusable insult, but it still doesn’t top the cynical denial involved in making the decisions that brought us to these circumstances. None of the problems that Nicolás defines as structural to our economy are real.

“If we want peace, let’s win the economic war,” he said. Another way of saying that there will never be peace with him, that ideological gríngolas can be stronger than the reality he seems unable to see, either because of isolation or propaganda; that we’re not dealing with an idiot, but with an incompetent who subordinates the Executive Branch to the military, who creates more bureaucracy, who promotes more repression, who starts another failed program to impose “order and authority,” under the promise of an civilian-military economic governance.


This Sunday, Barack Obama urged the Venezuelan government to uphold the Rule of Law and the National Assembly’s authority, to release political prisoners and respect the democratic process, including the legitimate request for a recall referendum. This Monday. Nicolás called him an inquisitor, saying that he’s made ”the worst mistake in his life”; he mixed his statements with Kimberly Clark’s decision to shut down operations in the country and Citibank’s notice that they’d cancel Venezuela’s Central Bank account in 30 days. Nicolás believes that Obama controls everything at leisure, like him. That’s how far he is from a notion of democracy and the Rule of Law.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs minister returned from Uruguay without successes to celebrate, although Nicolás still congratulated her for a well-fought battle. Her high expectations ended in nothing, since representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay met in the Uruguayan Foreign Affairs ministry (without Delcy) and postponed the decision about Venezuela until next Thursday, July 21st, to allow room for the necessary top level discussions. Mercosur members reach decisions through consensus, and oddity for a member of PSUV.

To compensate for the Delcy’s new failure and her shameful statements, her Colombian counterpart, María Angela Holguín, announced that she’ll be meeting with her on August 4th, without saying where it would take place or what they’ll discuss, but restating that: “We must help the Venezuelan people however they require. We mustn’t forget that Venezuela has done nothing but help and support Colombians who have found their home in Venezuela, when they couldn’t have it here.”

The worst spokesperson

Jacqueline Faría, head of Movilnet, said this Monday that Venezuela’s Internet speed is slow because of the service’s “democratization”. Since it’s accessible and widely used, it slugs down. Sadly, she didn’t mention CONATEL’s censorship on it, for which they yet to be held accountable.

Meanwhile, AN representative Héctor Rodríguez said that the Venezuelan opposition refuses dialogue, that they the government doesn’t make demands nor will it accept them. He added that, after half a year, there’s not a single Venezuelan who doesn’t believe that electoral results on December 6th “were a mistake” and that the government pursues nobody for dissenting.

Vielma Mora, governor of Táchira, tried really hard. He said that many of the thousands of Venezuelans who crossed the border with Colombia, did so to have fun, that women looked strong and not hungry at all; and that they only managed to cross because Nicolás allowed it.

The preliminary meeting?

Representatives of the Democratic Unity Roundtable met this Monday with former presidents José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Martín Torrijos, to discuss demands for dialogue in the country, with an emphasis on the recall for 2016 and the release of political prisoners. Should these demands be fulfilled, a constructive and effective negotiations might start.

The Spanish Foreign Affairs minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, said this Monday that Spain supports the European Union’s proposal to appoint Zapatero as envoy to Venezuela, to ease the way for a dialogue process for national reconciliation. Spain ratifies its respect for institutionality, for the Constitution -including the recall referendum-, and they demand respect for Human Rights and the release of 100 political prisoners.

The evidence at the border

Our sad version of the hunger games finds a glimpse of relief among Colombian exchange houses and shops, shining a light on what the government’s tried to deny: we’re suffering a humanitarian crisis. No amount of propaganda trumps the image of thousands of Venezuelans crossing over to Colombia and the parity between the peso and the bolívar in view of this circumstance. The Armed Forces’ banners at the border read “Venezuela promotes peace.” They’re held in place by big stones. Their message is as fake as the method to hold them is ineffective. With Nicolás, peace and progress are denied to us.

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.