For Saturday, August 6, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
Signing an ecocide
For Nicolás, the Organic Law for Indigenous Peoples and Communities isn’t worth as much as coltan, gold, or diamonds. The tribes who inhabit the region of the Orinoco Mining Arc haven’t given their informed and voluntary consent, and haven’t exercised their sovereignty over their anweeeejkjjcestral homeland, as the law provides. There’s no mining without deforestation or pollution. The Mining Arc’s exploitation is only justified because the government needs money, with such urgency, that they prefer destruction with a tremendously high present and future cost. Nicolás signed agreements with the company Gold Reserve and claimed to have developed investment over $4,5 billion —promising more agreements for several “billions of dollars more.”
Nicolás believes that signing a decree to send 60% of revenues to the National Fund of Missions (and another to ban mercury exploitation) will ensure that the compensation will get where it’s supposed to. Co-president Vladimir Padrino López said that a special unit has been created to guard the Mining Arc, and that a security and logistical plan for the area will be presented in the next few days. “The Mining Arc represents an ecocide, genocide, and ethnocide because the human, social, political, economic, and environmental rights of a wide region of Bolívar state are being violated,” said AN deputy Américo De Grazia, who will head the mixed committee to investigate events in the area, adding that Nicolás has said that more than 150 companies from 35 countries are interested in investing in the Mining Arc.
A voice with consequences
PSUV keeps Diosdado Cabello as their best pep talker in the tour they’ve been making in parallel to MUD’s. The opposition talks about (when they’re allowed to, it was impossible in Coro this Friday) the urgency of the recall referendum and the impossibility of correcting the issues we’re going through with Nicolás still in power, while the government party demands loyalty before misery, silence about what’s wrong, and love for el finado, to endure what remains, because nothing’s as important as holding onto power.
Some days ago, Diosdado was the fiercest defender of expropriations, and that was enough for Miguel Pérez Abad to be removed from the cabinet and for Eulogio Del Pino to speak like a graduate from the Francisco de Miranda Front. This Thursday in Carabobo, Diosdado demanded an even stronger labor apartheid: removing opposition supporters from the payrolls of public institutions. He also said that they would take what they needed from the local Wholesale Market and early this Friday, governor Francisco Ameliach sent hundreds of National Guard and Carabobo Police officers, as well as officials from the National Superintendence for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights (Sundde) to intervene the market. What they’ve found was predictable: food and basic products, sold at market (unrestricted) prices, unhealthy conditions, and disorder. They want to ensure bigger audiences for Diosdado’s future speeches, while they continue to feed the chaos of this disaster and turn it into achievements with their typical style of propaganda.
Before the world
This Friday, Diosdado criticized the U.S. State Secretary, because according to him, John Kerry’s version of authentic democracy “is to have us crawl at the feet of imperialism.” He dared say that only 600 people actually choose the U.S. president. And thinking that, in Venezuela, scarcely 50 people want to destroy the result of parliamentary elections, causes far more revulsion than his misinformed figures. Mercosur’s temporary presidency’s still being discussed. Paraguay has said that Nicolás “wounded their national feelings,” so they recalled their ambassador in Venezuela for consultation and summoned the Venezuelan ambassador in La Asunción, but Enrique Jara excused himself saying that he was on sick leave. Nicolás’ insult won’t be ignored, that mention of the Triple Alliance was a reference to the XIX century war that decimated the Guaraní people. Uruguay keeps quiet, Argentina’s attention is on Kerry, and Brazil’s, on the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
The Foreign Affairs minister ratified -like Nicolás- that Venezuela will exercise Mercosur’s temporary presidency even if they’re the only members left. Saying that John Kerry’s statements are intemperate, she read a statement written by someone who likes her even less than I do: “Venezuela condemns the triple alliance’s boycott against Bolívar’s land. Three governments’ arbitrarily attempt to regress on our most important integration block,” Delcy emphasized. Every time she says that the rules are clear, that there’s no room for any kind of judicial interpretation, she should lose like 300 hairs for her incoherence.
The conflict within the General Penitentiary of Venezuela (PGV) located in Guárico state, still hasn’t ended. The inmates released 23 out of the 51 hostages, getting part of their demands: 1,380 prisoners, transported to that jail that must pay for la causa. What does la causa mean in prison jargon? The minimum tax that you must pay the pran just for the right to live there. It’s a greatly profitable business and the recent releases from this prison considerably reduced the pran’s income. José Vicente Rangel Ávalos, Peacekeeping Affairs vice-minister, was the negotiator. The inmates expect the transfer of 1,000 more prisoners to end the conflict. Todo bello.
It was impossible for me to post the briefing this Thursday because I was fully enjoying the PechaKucha Caracas, Elecé’s short participation, the chef’s which was beautiful, Manuel Llorens’ which left me all misty-eyed with tears and laughter. Noble stories and ideas for a country that desperately needs them. I made a briefing this Friday with all my spirit bent on watching the opening ceremony at Río 2016. Beside each of the members of the olympic delegations (most of them wore clouds as hats, being over two meters tall) was a boy or a girl with a small plant they’ll use for reforestation. A beautiful message to mitigate the greenhouse effect. Daunting to see Nicolás heading the opposite direction on the same day. Pero seguimos.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.