Miranda, whether you want to or not

    For Friday, July 15, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

    6


    Only a moron uses a cadena to force people to watch a film. It doesn’t matter if it’s about Francisco de Miranda or James Bond, it’s an affront against the few entertainment options that most Venezuelans still have: radio and television. The Miranda movie was broadcast in prime time, after a day marked by violence, as the world copes with the Nice massacre; Caraqueños deal with the shootout at the Capitolio metro station; Bolívar state watches a new massacre unfold in three municipalities of the Mining Belt as reported by AN member Américo de Grazia, and food riots and crime hit other areas, including serious rioting in Maturín.

    Venezuela, Corruption Champion

    In the continent. That’s how OAS’s secretary general Luis Almagro put it, as he talked about the number of political prisoners and the torture and cruel treatment they have to endure; about the disrespect for the Legislative Branch, the control that the Executive Branch exerts on the Judicial Branch and the obstacles set by the CNE on the way to the Recall Referendum, pointing out that each of these issues is covered in his report to the OAS. He restates that the OAS supports dialogue, but that that requires mediators who are trusted by both sides and results about the Recall, the release of political prisoners and opening channels for humanitarian aid.

    A corrupt investigator

    This Thursday, the Comptroller General, Manuel Galindo Ballesteros, said that his office has opened investigations “in all areas, on all authorities of every government in our history. In all areas, food, housing, transport, healthcare,” but until they’ve reached a decision —which primarily depends on the authority being investigated— “we can’t make the investigation and its reasons public.” The guy actually said “aperturar una investigación,” so just imagine the rest of the interview.

    The NGO Transparencia Venezuela urged the National Assembly to immediately open an investigation into the appointment of Galindo’s close relatives to posts in the Comptroller’s Office and, in case the accusations of nepotism are verified, the organization will demand his removal for not fulfilling his office’s duties.

    AN member Robert Alcalá denounced illegal administrative operations in Bariven, a company affiliated to PDVSA. During Alejandro Istúriz Chiesa’s administration, purchase orders for over $3 billion were issued, benefitting business groups composed by Istúriz’ friends and relatives.

    In the National Assembly

    The report of the Special Committee created to recover the Supreme Tribunal’s institutionality was approved, invalidating the appointment of the TSJ’s 13 principal justices and 21 temporary justices, made in December, 2015, by the previous Assembly. Parliament convened new nominations to choose the candidates for these posts.

    The parliamentary majority also rejected the Economic Emergency Decree’s new 60-days extension, published in Official Gazette N° 40,942, which is yet to be submitted to the Assembly as the law dictates. Deputy José Guerra remarked that this decree has worsened crisis and hunger, that people on the street demand food and medicine and that the decree reflects the economic failure of a model designed to restrict the national economy.

    Supply

    According to estimates by the National Stockbreeders’ Federation, $8 billion are required to supply stores in the next twelve months and there’s no other way to solve scarcity but through imports agreements, creating a national imports committee. Fuaz Kassen, head of the Venezuelan Rice Federation (Fevearroz), detailed the difficult situation that rice producers are going through due to lack of incentives for production, negligence in harvest cycles and the sector’s dependency on imports, adding that the most favorable scenario would constitute a total production of 454,000 tons of dry paddy rice, which means, in terms of supply, that they’d cover three and a half months of the demand.

    The imaginary dialogue

    Rodríguez Zapatero, Nicolás and Delcy Rodríguez met for about two hours in Miraflores. Strangely, none of them issued any statements after the meeting, but since it took place right after Zapatero’s meeting with the MUD’s legislators, it’s safe to assume that they talked about the opposition’s demands to start the dialogue process: the activation of the recall referendum, the release of political prisoners and the involvement of other mediating groups besides the former presidents approved by UNASUR.

    Henrique Capriles replied to Zapatero’s recent statements: “Saying that food shortages and inflation are consequences of the lack of dialogue is wrong. In Venezuela, dialogue is a matter of political willingness and it must start by respecting the Constitution,” adding that Venezuelans need answers to the crisis and exhorting Zapatero to visit a hospital or a supermarket, to get an idea of the situation created by the PSUV-imposed model.

    Cilia’s nephews

    The US formally requested Honduran judicial authorities to extradite Roberto de Jesús Soto García, accused of drug trafficking. Federal anti-drug agents collected documental evidence of alleged meetings involving Soto García, Campo Flores and Flores de Freitas, Cilia Flores’ nephews: “The accused, Roberto de Jesús Soto García, agreed to participate in the transport of cocaine with Efraín Campo Flores, Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and others. During the discussion, Soto García agreed to facilitate the cocaine’s arrival at the Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport in Honduras and provide relevant information to avoid security checkpoints,” reads the case file, introduced in the federal records on June 28th. The formal extradition request will be evaluated by Honduras’ Supreme Court of Justice, according to president Rolando Argueta Pérez.

    The clockwork remolacha

    After their participation in the 100th Copa América, in which they qualified for quarter-finals, the Vinotinto started July among the 50 best teams in the world, and this Thursday, they reached the 46th place in FIFA’s ranking, after remaining for years below the 70th position. They climbed 31 spots! The clockwork remolacha’s no longer the Conmebol’s worst team!

    6 COMMENTS

    1. adding that the most favorable scenario would constitute a total production of 454,000 tons of dry paddy rice, which means, in terms of supply, that they’d cover three and a half months of the demand.

      According to the FAO, which admittedly may not have the most accurate production statistics for Venezuela [as FAO stats come from the GOV], Venezuela produced 1,158,056 tons of paddy rice in 2014. That is a rather drastic production drop in two years.

    2. “invalidating the appointment of the TSJ’s 13 principal justices and 21 temporary justices…” Can the AN do this? This would be a huge blow at the constitutional legitimacy of the chavernment – though I doubt many foreign observers would recognize it.

    3. I haven’t watched this Miranda’s movie but I hope it shows the part where Bolivar betrays him in order to save his own skin from Monteverde. By the way, that was not a light betray; Bolivar was going to kill Miranda when he then thought of him as a bargain chip to get a passport.

    4. the nephews are screwed. The nephews defense is basically caracas damage control: stick to their version of events about being setup and “kidnapped.” The problem comes with the trial. Conventional wisdom is to avoid trial. This case is no different. A trial would put the regime on trial and expose too many things (for both sides). And by going to trial, the nephews would be almost guaranteed the stiffest sentence of 30 to life. As the DA starts to show his hand, the nephews team will begin to review the difficult decision of pleading guilty and the stiff sentence that will follow. Since the nephews will not provide testimony to incriminate others, the judge will throw the book at them. However, if the nephews cooperate, everything is on the table including witness protection program and a new lease on life. This one goes all the way to the top.

    5. Cilia and Maduro showed their hand 19 days ago. Speaking as an American, I know the U.S. will prevail no matter how long it takes. We will meet them at the gates of hell.

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