For Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The period established by the CNE’s rectoras to officially announce the 1% validated signatures and ratify the Democratic Unity Roundtable’s right to request the recall referendum expired today. The results have been known for a week and the time the officials took for the process was unnecessary. The opposition is only waiting for them to set a date for the signature collection of 20% registered voters. But the rectoras have no qualms about breaking their promise and keep favoring the PSUV. Although the distance between the office of the National Electoral Board, charged with issuing the report, and the office of the Political Participation and Financing Committee, charged with approving it, appears to be big enough as to prevent them from discussing it for this Tuesday, the rectoras were meeting with Jorge Rodríguez, mayor of Libertador and signature verifier.

Nullifying the MUD

Once the meeting concluded, Jorge Rodríguez explained that they requested the invalidation of the MUD’s registration as a political party because, according to the PSUV, they committed the “greatest electoral fraud in the country’s history,” meaning the irregularities found in collected signatures. He repeated that it’s absurd to activate a mechanism such as the recall referendum with a “dirty” procedure. He announced that they’ll present a document with their request, highlighting its immediate nature. He nearly said that his request takes precedence over announcing the date for the 20%.

An immediate answer, Jorge

Lawyer José Ignacio Hernández (@ignandez on Twitter) clarifies that article 32 of the Law of Political Parties doesn’t allow the invalidation of the MUD’s registration for alleged fraud, because such an invalidation is only possible in accordance to the serious causes set forth in the Law, which are not applicable in this case. There’s no fraud, only a CNE decision that rejected a few signatures, and the MUD could only be invalidated after a trial before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. The MUD can request the call for the 20% without waiting for the CNE to certify them, because there’s evidence that the required 1% was fulfilled.


On a press release, Tibisay Lucena reported that they’ll discuss the report on the validation of the 1% next Monday, August 1st, considering that the march called by the MUD for this Wednesday is an act of agitation and pressure against the CNE, taking the chance to threaten once more with shutting down the electoral procedure if public order is disrupted. Tibisay insists that the Electoral Branch’s actions have strictly complied with the law to guarantee the rights of all the parties involved. So much cynicism is overwhelming.

More threats

The PSUV keeps staging events of “popular” support for Nicolás. This Tuesday, it was Trujillo state’s turn, where AN deputy Diosdado Cabello barked: “We won’t accept blackmail, if you say there won’t be dialogue without a recall, then we’ll have neither (…) If you’re crazy enough to rise in arms against the Republic, we’ll take up arms as well, we won’t let you get away with it,” adding that if the MUD wants to take to the streets, they’ll find the government there. So far the PSUV was happy to delay the recall, but they want to shut it down altogether now. Which alternative carries the greatest political cost?

Acknowledging inflation

The -ornamental- vice-president of the country, Aristóbulo Istúriz, said this Thursday that the Executive Branch could announce a new wage increase: “We have to keep updating wages to adjust them as we’re hit by inflation rates (…) That could mean an increase in food bonuses,” the teacher said. He dismissed currency exchange rate unification for the time being and spoke about the lack of foreign currency as if it was caused by climate change and not by their terrible government. Don’t worry, the Tourism ministry authorized tourism services providers to charge customers in dollars.


The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) revealed in their annual report that the region’s GDP will drop by 0.8% in 2016 and six countries are expected to suffer economic contractions. Venezuela takes the lead (-8%), so much so, that if we were suspended along with Brazil (-3.5%), the region’s economy would grow 1.8%. Our contraction, as well as the drop in international reserves and exports, are overwhelming, as we lead the list of country risk, with 2,137 points above average. If they include us, the region’s average inflation rate is located at 16.5%; if they exclude us, it would be 7.9%. Venezuela paid the equivalent to 40.6% of its exports in foreign debt. Tax revenues dropped by 15.8% and income tax collection decreased by 31.8%. The ECLAC foresees that Venezuela’s contraction will worsen. Add this to inflation rates, the growing severity in food shortages and rising unemployment. By the way, the International Monetary Fund’s projections are even bleaker.

¡Ay, Delcy!

Paraguay announced that they won’t participate in Mercosur’s meeting scheduled for next Saturday because, presumably, Uruguay decided to appoint Venezuela as head of the organization. Paraguay’s Foreign Affairs minister, Eladio Loizaga, said: “We want Venezuela to find the most convenient path to solve its internal issues; we don’t want to interfere, but we do believe and are convinced that there are democratic principles and values that we must all respect.” Hours later, Uruguay’s Foreign Affairs ministry cancelled the meeting they’d scheduled with their Parliament to discuss the matter.

In the National Assembly

The parliamentary majority approved the Bill to Regulate International Economic Aid for the State, with the PSUV voting against it: “[The Law] establishes that any international aid must be approved by the National Assembly (…) it’s a law that grants the AN’s Comptrollership Committee the authority to review all international agreements every three months.” Pataleo is coming.

Bad, really bad

The Labor Ministry designed a transitory -and obligatory- labor regime for all employers in the country, that allows the government to request the necessary workers to “reactivate the food and agricultural sector.” This beauty was published on Official Gazette N° 40,950 of July 22nd, justified by the State of Economic Emergency Decree N° 2,323. The recitals must’ve written by Nicolás’s speech writer, but supposedly, the Communes ministry requested the Labor ministry to authorize them to borrow a group a workers to recover State-owned companies. Cuba’s and China’s agricultural forced labor models offer a better explanation.

The resolution states: “Public and private sector employers are obligated to comply with the strict rule of this administrative act and must provide the workers required to increase productivity…” The incentives? The working relationship of borrowed workers with their original employers will be suspended (labor immobility,) but the employer will still have to fulfill its obligations with the borrowed worker. The requesting entity will only pay the wages. There’s a lot to discuss about this subject, but I insist, just publishing this on Official Gazette is extremely serious, especially while people are still struggling to find food.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. Regarding the new labor law, that seems to allow the government to “borrow” workers from private companies to “reactivate the food and agricultural sector”, this sounds a lot like what the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia. For those of you who don’t remember, look up “Cambodia Killing Fields”. It did not end well.

  2. Ya quiero ver al régimen intentando obligar a la gente a ir a echar escardilla a los conucos verticales urbanos, imagino que no será a punta de pistola si no que tratarán de obligar a la gente por medio de restringirles el acceso a la comida, el que no haya ido a cumplir su turno de 20 días en el erial tal o cual, lo dejarán por fuera del fulano clap o monopolio de comida chavista versión 2.0.

    Lo más tragicómico de la cosa es que la dictadura de extrema derecha de MPJ le metió las labores forzadas a los presos, y la dictadura de extrema izquierda chavista le zampa trabajos forzados a los ciudadanos normales.

    O capaz que es simplemente otra medida ridícula para terminar de espantar las pocas empresas que quedan en el país para luego cebarse con los cadáveres que dejen como pasó con la Kimberly-Clark y Clorox, que luego que se fueron del país llegó el dictador con su séquito de chupamedias a invadirla y supuestamente “inyectarles” un carajazo de dólares para disque ponerlas a producir de nuevo.

  3. This government is like those drunk guys driving in Las Prados del Este on Friday night. The way to survive a wreck is just to expect the worst, and the worst it is.

    Who, I mean, who will pull workers out of the few still producing companies to go an plant or harvest something out in a country that has not managed to feed itself in about 10 years. Who in the f**# sakes will admit that this is one more propagandistic cluster f**# aimed to feed the minds of the intellectually challenged.

    How come a congressman is greeted with violence and physical damages at the CNE while this Rodriguez gets in through the big door without problems.

    Why the CNE is slowly cooking us as rats, delaying a process in the hopes that time will not allow the referendum when even Chavistas are supporting the consultation, it is right for the people, it is in the constitution and it will provide a glimpse of hope and a relief of social pressure that may save the lives of many Venezuelans.

    Why have we, as society, allowed the complete surrender of our country to Cuba, our government to the military and our future to a bunch of gangsters?.

    Is there a hint, a pinch of integrity still left on some of the government ranks that may step up and say ENOUGH with your bu## s#**?.

    Are our policemen and soldiers immune of the suffering of our people?. are they isolated from the abuse of the higher powers?, do they find any satisfaction or even a compensation for the repression they exert to their own people in the name of the corrupt elite?.

    Is violence what they want?. Burn the country and the people within to remain in power?. Are we ready to legitimize violence as the only exit?. Are we ready to call a just conflict where the privilege of the few is actually costing the life of many by unchecked crime, lack of healthcare and now hungriness?.

  4. The forced labor plan, grave as it sounds, is bound to get ugly the moment they try and enforce it. Farming by committee. Look forward to seeing the poster of Delcy holding a cornucopia.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here