For Tuesday, August 16, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
This Monday morning, economist José Manuel Puente chose to say that the crisis is bottomless. The fourth time he repeated it, I nearly turned off the radio. But it was a reaction to the data supporting his words, such as the inflation rate for 2017 -estimated at 2,200%-, or the current minimum wage; the lowest in 27 years. Chavismo’s cynicism is bottomless too. They went out of their way this Monday to defend each other, so Francisco Garcés, mayor of Guaicaipuro municipality, denied that there’s structural poverty in Venezuela while Rafael Ramírez, ambassador to the U.N., doesn’t know how Ban Ki-moon could say that there’s a humanitarian crisis here.
Juan Bautista Arias, minister of Basic Industries, also remarked that the power rationing plan will be applied in 2017 as well -as if it had stopped in 2016- because, shockingly, he realized that that the Guri can’t provide electricity to the whole country. Elías Jaua, the loser with the armed babysitter, believes that the recall referendum would only divide the country, diminish our stability and worsen the political conflict; blaming governor Henrique Capriles for the imaginary dialogue’s failure, adding that chavismo will never negotiate with the opposition, but hoping for justice to the violence of 2014, not the government’s, but the opposition’s.
The new man
Diosdado Cabello gave a clear order to all chavista mayors: put bus fare hikes on hold until Ricardo Molina presents results for his tenure as minister. He condemned “political sicariato,” which he explains as an intimidation technique against chavismo, but said that they’ll continue being the government in 5 or 10 years, because -according to him- the PSUV is the country’s greatest and best organized party. He supports the Orinoco’s Mining Arc because “just like oil was distributed among all Venezuelans, the same must happen with minerals,” and repeated that neither him nor the PSUV want the recall, but they’re not to blame if it doesn’t take place. He concluded with the CLAPs, saying that women have taken over them “because they’re the ones who know how things are done in the house.” Isn’t he cute?
Former Spanish president Felipe González said that a negotiation between the government and the opposition is impossible in the country as long as the recall referendum continues to be delayed: “If we want to maintain civilian power, which is the only representative power, elections must be held according to established schedules, the recall must be respected and periods mustn’t be extended, and political prisoners must be released. If Maduro doesn’t want that, then he doesn’t want dialogue,” adding that the international community’s extremely concerned about Venezuela, remarking that if dialogue hasn’t taken place, it’s because of political prisoners and the boycott against the recall.
Nobody wants Nicolás
Rubén Chirinos (Meganálisis) said that Nicolás doesn’t have the best leadership profile and that chavismo won’t win any elections as long as he’s president. Nicolás’s approval rating has dropped by over 70%, while 69.4% of respondents want a recall referendum, although only 29.4% believe that it’s going to take place. Meanwhile, Alfredo Keller (Keller y Asociados) estimates that vote intention for the PSUV is barely 18%, but also 78% of respondents believe that Chávez made a mistake in naming Nicolás as his successor, enough for the chosen one to be rejected by 75% of respondents while 72% self-identified chavistas think that the country’s situation is bad.
He earns it with effort
Nicolás increased the credit of the Socialist Cards, from Bs. 14,500 to Bs. 30,000. These cards are part of the Plan Pobreza Cero, which benefits people in extreme poverty, the same one that Francisco Garcés denies. Nicolás promised to hand out five hundred thousand more cards, saying that the funds come from February’s gas price increase. He announced “the great revolutionary offensive” for September 1st -he wants conflict and on the street- and disregarded that the wage hike might have any effect on inflation. He threatened the opposition: “There’s a lot of room in Guárico’s prison. Make no mistakes,” while he decreed that September, October, November and December will be months of joy. He added this beautiful insight: “Why are the CLAPs a success? Because the product reaches the community directly (…) it doesn’t go through the hands of pelucones, thieves, bachaqueros, zombies.” It’s a miracle that 25% of the population doesn’t yet think that Nicolás is doing a bad job.
Pleading to China
The so-called China-Venezuela High Level Mixed Committee was installed this Monday to evaluate the strategic alliances between these countries in economic, political and social matters, meaning that the government is compromising all our future oil to get the Chinese to keep financing their disaster. Ricardo Menéndez, Planning vice-president, said that they’re trying to activate the 15 economy engines, celebrating that thanks to the Chinese, thousands of vehicles have been mobilized to distribute products -that we don’t produce here-, adding his expectations to learn about strengthening productive capacity, foreign currency generation and the transformation of the country’s production capacity, which they themselves destroyed.
The Venezuelan Foreign Affairs ministry issued a statement to respond to the observations made about Venezuela’s non-compliance with the commitments that certify the country as a member of Mercosur. Delcy condemns “the anti-judicial maneuvers and distortions” of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, who speak about Venezuela’s non-compliance with the Accession Protocol’s commitments, and said that Venezuela has surpassed the rest of the member countries, which according to her, have not “internalized [Mercosur’s] entire normative repertory.” She took the chance to say that political and ideological preferences prevail over the people’s genuine interests (PSUV in any government institution,) especially those that define political movements characterized by golpismo (4F,) extremism (Boycott against the National Assembly) and intolerance (political prisoners); that they don’t know principles (National Constitution,) disrespect the law (CNE, TSJ, SEBIN, etc.,) and violate the right to development (recall referendum,) undermining their own existence (check the statistics.) “Bottomless cynicism” isn’t merely a title, my friends.
“If there isn’t a political change, there won’t be an economic change (…) this is no longer a matter of political preferences but a national emergency,” said José Manuel Puente this Monday morning. The majority of the country knows it, that same majority that hopes for an election to remove the authors of this debacle and allow us to change. The government already tarnished September 1st. Perversion is also bottomless.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.