Debts to Pay

Your daily briefing for Thursday, July 14, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Thursday, July 14, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

What’s the National Electoral Council been up to since June 24th? The signature validation process for the recall referendum ended that day, but this Wednesday they announced that fingerprint authentication for the 407,622 voters who validated their signature will take place between July 18th and 20th. Vicente Bello, MUD’s electoral coordinator, remarked that there’s a responsibility to provide results for this process by July 26th and that there’s no justification for the CNE not to comply. He added that the CNE must announce dates for the collection of the 20% signatures needed to activate the referendum. The MUD started a nationwide campaign this Wednesday, to organize the fingerprint collection of 20% voters, the last step before the recall referendum. During this first day, several participants and opposition representatives were attacked in Yaracuy and Apure.

Rodríguez Zapatero’s monologue

This Wednesday, UNASUR’s mediator said that the supply of food and medicine is the main point of discussion for dialogue, and considered that production and financing capacity are a priority. Convinced that politicians should “lower the tone of their words” to solve the crisis, he evidently doesn’t watch Nicolás’ cadenas, yet he believes that confrontation can be defused so that solutions to social and economic problems can be found. He said that the dialogue process will be long, hard and difficult. without providing any foundation to his words, he claimed that they’re already starting to pave the way for finding solutions, because: “Both the government and the opposition want the best for this country”. Said the guy who’s tried “to be balanced as he brings a message of trust and hope.” If reconciliation, as he said, isn’t the final goal but rather the starting point, we’re seriously screwed.

Besides UNASUR

The UN is willing to offer technical and financial support to Venezuela, to recover the assets obtained through corruption. Alfonso Trilleras, coordinator of the Stolen Assets Recovery initiative under the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crimes, Colombia chapter, said that it’s a great challenge for any country to use the existing mechanisms set forth in international law to recover assets, but that the United Nations can provide advice as to “the steps to fulfill when there’s political and institutional intention to carry out this process (…) Any of the State’s institutions, such as the Prosecutor’s Office, the Comptroller’s Office and even the National Assembly can request it, we’re able to provide legal and technical assistance.” Trilleras explained that the assistance includes analysis and revision of the internal legal order, to offer appropriate recommendations afterwards. Since Delcy just praised Ban Ki-moon and his mediation in Guyana’s conflict, the PSUV’s answer to the UN will have to be moderate.

Electricity and Oil

The National Assembly’s mixed committee created to study the electrical sector’s crisis was once again left waiting for several Executive Branch authorities responsible for this area. The three failed meetings were expected, among other things, to determine the destination of over $39 billion assigned to the sector for electrical generation. From this amount, at least $24.4 billion have been diverted, according to their estimates. They still want to listen to the Executive Branch’s proposals to solve the general state of the electrical sector.

Just this Wednesday the International Energy Agency (IEA) remarked that Venezuela’s oil production is set to decrease due to power outages and a liquidity crisis, as foreign oil-service providers curb operations: “Lower oil prices and sliding production are a double whammy for Venezuela, which is caught in the grip of an economic and political crisis,” says their monthly report. A drop of about 200,000 barrels per day seems inevitable for the IEA. Since the start of the year, supply has fallen by 170,000 bpd to 2.18 million bpd in June. Further losses are expected in the second half of 2016. We’re waiting for Eulogio Del Pino’s answer.

The OLP’s first year

Gustavo González López, Interior minister, offered a balance on the Operation for People’s Liberation, a year after it started: “In September of 2015, 83% of Venezuelans approved of the OLP’s incursions. This month, 82% of citizens still agree with their activities,” that was his reading, based on poll data. According to him, in 143 incursions, 157 criminal bands were dismantled, 2,399 people were arrested for committing several crimes, 1,492 firearms and more than 42,200 ammunitions of several calibers were confiscated, which prompts him to say that the balance is positive. He didn’t mention extrajudicial executions, sadly.

Only with Nicolás

Jesús Faría, Foreign Commerce minister, said that the only way to overcome the country’s economic crisis, is with Nicolás in power, adding that the government has managed to unite all sectors: the State, employers and workers to tackle shortages. What Faría doesn’t say is that the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict has reported 3,507 protests -19 protests per day on average- on top of lootings and looting attempts, just in the first half of 2016. Neither does he say anything about repression against food protests, which leaves a balance of at least six people murdered; or about 27% of protesters’ demands, condemning scarcity and food shortages: Only with Nicolás!

Y dale…

Ambassador Bernardo Álvarez sent a protest note to OAS’s SecGen Luis Almagro, for his “rash, illegitimate, fraudulent and exaggerated” actions as he “persists in his attacks against Venezuela,” in a “desperate attempt to twist public opinion.” Meanwhile, Almagro said in Paraguay that he doesn’t want to punish Venezuela but recover democracy, adding that the Venezuelan situation “is critical, as shown by the militarization of the productive sector,” that the Democratic Charter is half-way through the process for its eventual application, but that “we don’t want to reach that point,” because it would lead to Venezuela’s suspension from the organization.

Nicolás’ cadena was absolutely useless. All of the reports -or pases, as he likes to call them- were terribly produced, especially the one they made from Cumanacoa’s sugar processing plant, where a soldier said that they’d triple production this year thanks to the installation of a turbogenerator, although Luis Acuña, governor of Sucre state, said that they must first plant the sugarcane. Nicolás didn’t like this correction. He cut the report and demanded that the plan to make that happen should be on his desk within 48 hours. Nicolás took the chance to complain that he must face three things daily: a campaign against him, veto and censorship -as if they were different things-, and announced that he’ll commemorate the 200th anniversary of Francisco de Miranda’s death this Thursday. He’ll surely decorate his waxwork replica, as he keeps fabricating information for his already distorted version of the historical figure’s life

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.