For Tuesday, August 2, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
Tibisay Lucena, head of the National Electoral Council, was erratic in her reading. She mixed things up with utter malice. The only relevant part out of everything she said, can be summed up in two phrases: “98.4% of signatures match with CNE data (…) the 24 states achieved the 1%.” That means the MUD is authorized to request the recall referendum. They have two days to do it and the CNE will have 15 labor days to announce the date for the collection of 20% signatures.
Tibisay Lucena emphasized the alleged crimes the CNE will present before the Prosecutor’s Office, which include the 1,326 signatures that don’t match with CNE data and the 243 duplicates. A detail: although these “crimes” have taken place in previous electoral processes, the CNE has never presented them before the Prosecutor’s Office. We’ll need a lot of pressure for the CNE to announce the collection to 20% signatures (the only constitutional requirement to request the referendum) without them taking fifteen labor days, because once again, they played for the government party this Monday, delaying their official statement for three hours, to give the PSUV time to threaten the opposition any way they pleased.
This Monday, Jorge Rodríguez, mayor of Libertador and signature verifier, said that the referendum “is legally dead,” after his meeting with rectora Tania de Amelio, in which he included new evidence -8,600 complaints in 23 states of the country- proving that this is the “greatest fraud that’s been known in Venezuela’s electoral history,” so he assumes that the referendum is completely invalid. He spoke at the time announced by the Communication ministry for the CNE’s statement. Read well: the Executive Branch called for a statement from the Electoral Branch, but it wasn’t Lucena who appeared, but the psychiatrist in his most malevolent role. The coverage of the State’s channels was deliberate, since Jorge was followed by Diosdado Cabello, and how!
From Zulia state, AN deputy Diosdado Cabello ratified during a press conference that there won’t be a referendum in 2016. Half an hour later, he went to an event in a narrow street in Maracaibo -to give the visual impression that it was full of people- and there, he lost it. Stages are good for pep talks, but what he did was an exercise in madness. To establish a contrast with what we’re living through, Diosdado spoke of February 27th, 1989, although there were at least products to loot back then, but not now. He remarked that 24 years after the 1992 coup, “the goals haven’t been achieved, but not because of us, but because of the right,” and also, he criticized the statements of Eulogio del Pino, chairman of PDVSA, and Miguel Pérez Abad, Economy minister: “The revolution’s strategic guidelines remain unchanged! We won’t return any of the expropriated companies!”
He said -with his meagre audience’s approval- that the government won’t assign funds to the National Assembly, because if they disregard the Executive Branch, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, the CNE and the Moral Branch, they will be disregarded in turn. He was speaking about the PSUV, stating that from that moment on (6:20 p.m., approximately) the AN “is worthless and means nothing to the country.” He also announced civil war, remarking that when the people comes out to fight “there won’t be a single enemy of the country left standing (…) All traitors will lose their lives here,” he yelled. The end was shocking: he suggested PSUV supporters that, if thinking doesn’t clear their doubts (hunger, inflation, scarcity, terrible public services, crime, impunity, etc.) they should go to the Cuartel de la Montaña and stand before Chávez’s tomb. Once there, they should speak to the tomb, saying: “Comandante, I’m tired.” After that, they’ll hear the walls reverberate with Chávez’s voice answering: “Do not surrender!” Diosdado put the episode of Nicolás’s little bird to shame.
The Oficina Nacional Anti-Droga’s powders
Aside from Cilia’s and Nicolás’s nephews, accused of drug trafficking, the U.S. government also indicted Néstor Reverol and Edylberto Molina (current military attaché in Germany), for trafficking drugs from Venezuela. According to the investigation revealed by the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, these men “took bribes from drug traffickers to operate in Venezuelan territory without limitations, protected by military power.” The indictment describes Reverol’s and Molina’s alleged activities between January 2008 and December 2010, when both served as high ranking officers for the Anti-Drug National Office. We’re all waiting to enjoy the government’s reaction, since back in December of 2015, when The New York Times reported this lawsuit, Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López condemned the accusations, demanding an end to “the discrediting campaign against the Armed Forces and its leaders,” asking for truth and inviting people to use the hashtags: Reverol soldado de la patria. What now?
OAS SecGen Luis Almagro, said during an interview that, given the results of Leopoldo López’s appeal hearing, he can ratify that there are indeed political prisoners in Venezuela. He emphasized all the areas he already understands about the Venezuelan crisis, the need to convene a recall referendum, because this institutional crisis can be solved with “people’s choice,” and the usefulness of the imaginary dialogue as a political relief valve at an international level.
AN deputy Francisco Torrealba said that Resolution N° 9855 will be corrected due to a typing mistake, because it doesn’t explain that work on the fields is voluntary, stating that the Official Gazette’s goal was twisted, that it doesn’t deal with slavery and that it will be re-written “in a much more educational and understandable way.” According to him, Resolution N° 9855 was proposed by a syndicate of Empresas Polar, although it wasn’t originally presented that way and, to Diosdado’s annoyance, he said that “not all expropriation policies were right” and that they’re studying the possibility of returning expropriated companies.
In a broken economy
The bus fares price was raised to Bs. 45 starting this Monday. SENIAT stated that they collected 247% of the July’s tax goal; sadly, they announced it as an achievement, and not as evidence of inflation. But minister Miguel Pérez Abad was even worse, saying that the government has improved the pharmaceutical sector by 60% -where?-, that they’re reorganizing the distribution of essential products and that he’s concerned about inflation. But don’t worry, the government will try to stabilize macroeconomic variables and the whole monetary issue that impacts basic products prices, as they build an exchange system to attract investment. ¿No es cuchi?Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.