For Saturday, August 13, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
While the Venezuelan embassy in Cuba held the presentation “Fidel y Chávez, los mejores amigos,” the PSUV in Caracas continued the constituyentes’ tour, celebrating the International Youth Day, with an audience as meagre as the future of the country’s youth. To conclude a controversial week, and probably hastened by international pressure (Mercosur, OAS and UN,) Nicolás decreed the third wage increase of the year, considerably multiplying inflation estimates for 2016.
Nicolás announced a 50% minimum wage hike, and 128.5% more in cestatickets, which puts the former at Bs. 22,576, and the latter at Bs. 42,480, for a total of Bs. 65,056. That’s almost twice as much cestatickets as salary. “These are war measures to protect the people from the economic war,” he said, even though he supplies all of the weapons in this war. The “highest [minimum wage] in Latin America” is now $65. The wage increase will start on September 1st, and the cestatickets, on August 1st.
Nicolás asked everyone not to doubt and give him our trust. Everyone should believe in the Misión Abastecimiento Soberano, and remember that only he protects our salaries. While failing to tackle production and the drop in imports, he decrees a wage hike that -further- destroys people’s purchase power, increases inflation and worsens the crisis, while he promises another raise by the end of the year, happy for not having to depend on the National Assembly, “self-dissolved and in contempt.”
Nicolás searched Google for the meaning of “obstinate.” He used the term several times in another projection exercise, because he accuses the opposition of being obstinate, the same day he decrees the thirty-fourth salary increase of the chavista government, convinced that he’ll get different results, some contention for his unpopularity and a good distraction to end 2016 without the recall referendum. He concluded his speech with this disgraceful phrase: “Be productive, be happy,” precisely what he prevents and inhibits.
This Friday, the appeals court of Caracas ratified Leopoldo López’s sentence, along with that of the three students tried with him, issued in September of last year: 13 years, nine months and seven days of prison for dissenting. Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, his lawyer, explained that after appealing, there’s one last option before the TSJ’s Penal Cassation Chamber. Leopoldo López is this government’s most valuable political prisoner, the crown jewel of their injustice, their corruption and their impunity.
OAS’s observation mission
This Friday, the Organization of American States offered Venezuela to send observation missions for the march on September 1st, and for the 20% signature collection process to activate the recall referendum. Gonzalo Koncke, chief of staff of secretary general Luis Almagro, offered OAS’s services, reiterating his concern for Venezuela’s institutional erosion, as well as the militarization of food distribution and other aspects of civilian power. Koncke remarked the importance of releasing political prisoners; the concern for the CNE’s poor credibility in times when they should guarantee constitutional rights, and also the serious use of armed groups against the march on September 1st. For the OAS to perform any kind of observation, they need the approval of the member country’s government, and Venezuela hasn’t authorized that since 2006.
A poem for Tarek
The Sub-Committee on Accreditation of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI,) published the final report in which they recommend the Ombudsman’s Office to be degraded to class “B.” This means the removal of its right to speak and to vote in international instances regarding Human Rights. In May, 2015, GANHRI issued the first report, in which they recommended degrading the Ombudsman’s Office’s category due to the institution’s actions during 2013-2014. Tarek William Saab was granted a year to gather the evidence he deemed necessary to prove his ongoing compliance with the Paris Principles. Once this period elapsed and they received the documentation submitted by Saab, the Sub-Committee considered that “the Ombudsman’s Office hasn’t spoken loud and clear about the main questions in Human Rights,” and that the institution isn’t prepared to promote respect for Human Rights, in response to serious abuses committed by the government, proving their its of autonomy with its inaction. Tarek appealed the recommendation and GANHRI will make their final decision in October.
An instrument for the PSUV?
AN deputy Manuela Bolívar said that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) refused to accept the document in which they report the food crisis in the country: “We urge the FAO not to allow themselves to be used by the government with a completely macabre and unprincipled goal,” she wrote after the protest before the institution’s headquarters, remarking that there are more than 55,000 tons of food waiting at the border, and in order for them to enter the country, the government must accept the humanitarian crisis. Manuela Bolívar demands the FAO to do the fieldwork, to measure hunger and to avoid being such an gullible instrument to deny the crisis experienced by the Venezuelan people.
Lawmaker Carlos Paparoni added that 16 million Venezuelans ate two or less times a day by June, which means that about four million Venezuelans live in extreme poverty, repeating the demands to the FAO, asking for solidarity with the request for humanitarian aid. According to Paparoni, the three products most consumed by Venezuelans during June, 2016, were cassava, plantain and mango, another evidence of the food crisis our country’s going through.