For Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

“We’ve made great mistakes, important mistakes, but nobody can say that, because of those mistakes, socialism isn’t the way.” Nicolás Maduro

The waxwork Francisco de Miranda was to his left again on the stage, and a new desk makes it clear that he’s the president. More technical staff than audience and obvious ventilation malfunctions, the amount of equipment set on the desk shows how much he cares for Henrique Capriles Radonski’s digital statistics. This Tuesday’s cadena was an ode to military power, to propaganda denying the evident situation and to their most developed talent: wasting time doing nothing, remaining passive, with just enough energy to tell the necessary lies to feed their own web pages and outlets, while they monitor the rest.

Control

Everyone sweats. They all check their phones, laptops and tablets, while Nicolás speaks. Everyone except those on the front row. The price of power. No Canaimitas or Vergatarios here. Erika Faría plays with her Apple behind Aristóbulo, a socialist’s forbidden fruit. Nicolás insists that the economy will improve once they’ve refined war-minded controls, and adds that the methodology for the new Secure Supply mission is: action, result, explanation. Since they do what they please, explanations will come later. The “damned corruption” is to blame for chaos, he said, but military control will eliminate it.

As if he was talking about Wolverine, he said that the economic war is mutating and used the term “governance”, oblivious to its meaning.

“What humanitarian crisis? There’s only humanitarian spirit here,” he said, adding that we’re not a beggar country, the simplest and most painful explanation for his dead set refusal to accept humanitarian aid.

Military power

Vladimir Padrino López, Defense minister and co-president, said this Tuesday during the Productive Economy Committee, that the Secure Supply mission is a matter of defense and security. Giving assurances that the government has the capacity to supply the whole country, he said that they’re not trying to militarize food production and distribution, that he doesn’t like military interference, that this is more about setting some discipline. He reported that they’ve found many hoarded containers, and although this is not intervention, “the State has all the necessary resources to make it happen, if necessary.”

Meanwhile, the commander for the Integral Defense Region (REDI), José Adelino Ornella, announced during the takeover of five ports, that they’ll launch a civilian-military operation to supervise, control and inspect distribution of food and other products entering the country, but that these actions don’t constitute a militarization but rather an oversight investigation. The language he used says otherwise, because once the preparation phase is done and the deployment phase is in progress, the next phases will be: radio (?), control, protection, inspection and contention to conclude the national redeployment.

During this Tuesday’s cadena, Nicolás described the military as if they were the Avengers:

“Military arts and sciences are part of the oldest disciplines in humanity (…) the use of strength and violence, of strategy to achieve a result (…) that’s why when humanity’s in great trouble, who comes to the rescue? the soldiers.” These words suit Padrino López’ own description of his new status, speaking about a shared government, about a Special Military Staff with a methodology against economic and non-conventional warfare. Nicolás added that “in this world, nobody respects the weak.” For some reason, the cameraman decided to focus on Padrino López.

The Empire

Citibank explained why they decided to cancel the accounts of the Banco de Venezuela and the Central Bank: risk assessment reasons. The statement announces the decision to discontinue correspondent banking as well as some accounts’ services, following periodic risk assessment procedures for Venezuelan clients. They clarified their willingness to continue relations with Venezuela, where they’ve kept a branch office for the past 99 years: “We value our negotiations with the government and we hope to be able to solve their concerns.” Maduro attributed the decision to a financial blockade, but said nothing about the hazard that not publishing basic economic figures and data like inflation entails.

The show they staged in Kimberly Clark’s plant, located in Aragua state, left the most relevant part out: who’s going to pay for the workers’ wages? The Labor minister, Oswaldo Vera, is as talented at storytelling as Nicolás is at governing. Speaking about a qualified working class is summary enough. Tareck El Aissami accused the US Embassy for Kimberly Clark’s operational shutdown, but his own words reveal that this wasn’t a hasty decision. In any case, he announced that they’ll recover the 11 production lines “substituting imports with our own raw materials.” Nicolás added: why must we depend on everything? It’s fine if we can’t send a spaceship to Jupiter, but we can produce our raw materials.

Questionable mediator

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s statement are completely unhinged. Check the summaries of his interview with Ernesto Villegas, the guy who read Chávez’ medical parts. Supposedly, he’ll continue to work to activate dialogue this Wednesday, by holding meetings with both sectors and creating the appropriate conditions for it to happen: “The sooner it can take place, we’ll continue [this Wednesday],” he said. Although they deny it, the regime obviously made its demands. The opposition has been more open with theirs. Zapatero’s dismissal of the recall referendum already speaks volumes.

The EU’s Foreign Affairs ministers will discuss Venezuela’s situation next Monday, according to Roland Schäfer, the European External Action Service’s Director for the Americas: “Recently we’ve seen signs that the parliamentary majority’s edging towards accepting some sort of dialogue with the government with two conditions: the involvement of both the Vatican and the OAS.” Regarding High Representative Mogherini’s support for Zapatero, Schäfer added: “This is her choice and it’s coherent with the analysis on the urgency required by the situation and the need for a political solution.”

Nicolás dedicated a considerable amount of time of his absurd cadena to reading tweets, commenting on his fake internet access statistics, playing videos of himself and being congratulated by his people. On the other side of the screen, desperation grows in a country whose connection with the essential, with life, is even worse than its internet service.

12 COMMENTS

  1. One of the things I enjoy most of Naki’s articles and Javier’s translation is feel they develop. In addition to the helpful information there is a sense of tense boredom and exasperation that is transmitted. It probably reflects the feel of daily life in Venezuela. I can only imagine that jail feels like that.

    I wish to think we are in a death watch for Chavismo, pero este enfermo no se termina de morir.

  2. Naky, once again, a wonderful summary, with many witty quote takeaways. Padrino, et. al./military structure with Maduro Red political structure is simply mandated by/copying Cuba. The military skims from vital imports (Venezuela barely has enough hard currency income for food), while the Reds scam the rest (currency controls/price controls/etc,). The ignorant/under-educated/ill-fed Pueblo becomes increasingly weakened/under-nourished, and even grateful for the inadequate crumbs they receive (yesterday in one hundreds-strong cola observed, they applauded widely as a small panel truck arrived (guarded by 4 Guardia Nacional) with a smattering of price-controlled staples. Meanwhile, the better-educated/more-knowledgeable/better-off Venezuelans are emigrating in ever-increasing numbers….

  3. How is it possible that after almost 20 years in power, control of the dollars, control over the ports, control over the military, control over the pólice, and control over the alcabalas across the country that they’re still “finding food hoarded in containers by the opposition”? Just imagine the food available if the opposition was in power.

  4. This was once again an amazing piece of reporting. Naky’s words were even more powerful than normal! This line says it all about this evil regime:

    “This Tuesday’s cadena was an ode to military power, to propaganda denying the evident situation and to their most developed talent: wasting time doing nothing, remaining passive, with just enough energy to tell the necessary lies to feed their own web pages and outlets, while they monitor the rest.”

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