Investing in destruction

Your Daily Briefing for Saturday, August 16, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

“The bolivarian government is characterized by a total and absolute honesty.”

Nicolás not only confuses the definitions of corruption and honesty, he does it with development and disaster as well. He announced this Friday that he’ll activate the “Plan of integral offensive of social and economic development for peace.” He didn’t explain it, he merely held up his colorful sheet with the summary of the economic agenda’s 15 engines and emphasized that’s his dream. But yesterday’s show was focused on the mining sector and he just read names and short briefings on the companies that will exploit the Orinoco’s Mining Arc, speaking of “mistakes made because of passivity, lack of clarity and lack of strategy,” all committed by him, but guaranteeing that it’ll change.

In addition to new investments for $10 billion, he announced more bureaucracy for destruction, with the creation of the National Office of Mining Inspection (ONAFIM) to control and monitor the environmental risk caused by exploiting the Mining Arc. He also announced the recovery of rivers Caura and Caroní (without explaining how,) while Nélson Merentes, chairman of the Central Bank, said that the fair price of gold to pay small miners will be established like this: “We’re going to buy the gold in real time and with the real price.” Using the DICOM exchange rate, that’s all. Nicolás looked uneasy, playing the role of the moderate who wants agreements with the private sector to generate wealth and distribute it among the people, through the misiones. Her learned how to say “to lose,” a verb that sums him up pretty closely.

About September 1st

National Electoral Council board member Socorro Hernández, announced that the September 1st march won’t affect the CNE’s schedule for the potential activation of the recall referendum against Nicolás: “We simply can’t bend to the whims of one side or the other,” adding that although political parties have their own schedules, the CNE has “what the country needs, which is the law, a law, a structure.” She said they agreed in their last board meeting that the collection of 20% signatures will be held in late October , without setting an exact date because “the final decision will be made (…) between September 14th and 16th.” But relax, according to Hernández, the CNE’s rectoras just want to bring peace to the country.

Differing from this perspective, the Capital District’s imposed chief of government, Daniel Aponte asserted yesterday that the opposition won’t enter Libertador municipality on September 1st, because the Democratic Unity Roundtable hasn’t requested permission and they won’t allow violence in the Capital District: “They think they’re above the law and they commit violent acts every time they enter Libertador,” announcing that chavismo will hold their rally in Caracas next Tuesday, that it’s going to be the true Takeover of Caracas, with people from Caracas.


Ecuador’s congresswoman and presidential pre-candidate Cynthia Viteri, was escorted by National Bolivarian Intelligence Service officers to the Maiquetía airport this Friday, after being denied the right to visit Leopoldo López at Ramo Verde prison. Accompanied by Susana González, Councilwoman of Guayaquil; former mayor Carlos Falquez and secretaries Luis Gaibor and Vicente Taiano; SEBIN officers checked the delegations’ passports and, since they refused to get into SEBIN vehicles, they were escorted and then expelled from the country. It’s unacceptable that they were deported, insulting the relevance of their offices, but this is another autogol for the government these days, when the international community’s fully monitoring their mistakes. Let’s see if Rafael Correa raises his voice in protest for the abuse or congratulates Nicolás on his ignoble action.

Speaking of ignoble

Chavista armed groups attacked the front of the offices of Diario La Nación and Televisión Regional de Táchira (TRT) because of National Assembly Speaker Henry Ramos Allup’s visit to Táchira state, as part of the campaign for the recall referendum. But they weren’t satisfied with graffitis. The Armed Forces stopped hundreds of marchers coming from Amazonas state to Caracas to participate in the September 1st march: “We couldn’t fulfill our goal of entering Apure state by boat. However, we’re taking another route through Bolívar state,” said Amazonas legislator Mauligmer Baloa. [Insert your preferred insult here.]

Farewell, indictment and clumsiness

The head of the Union of South American Nations, Ernesto Samper, announced that he won’t run for reelection and plans to return to his country once his tender concludes because: “Colombia reached the time for peace and I want to be there for that.” Sadly, he returns with no support, with a history of serving authoritarian governments, although in his resignation letter, he urges UNASUR governments to “ratify their democratic vocation and full respect for Human Rights in their territory.”

The United States government indicted Darry Francisco Fortoul Ochoa, lieutenant colonel of the National Guard, for belonging to a group within the military, associated to cooperate with various Colombian drug cartels to smuggle hundreds of kilos of cocaine into North America. Fortoul Ochoa is involved, along with other four mid-ranking and two high-ranking officers, in drug trafficking charges. Fortoul is an active soldier and worked directly with general Néstor Reverol, former head of the National Anti-drug Office, and with Edylberto Molina Molina, sub-director at that same agency.

Finally, chavista lawmakers borrowed Delcy’s writer to issue a statement condemning the words of Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, about democracy in Venezuela. What do they think about the statement? It’s an unacceptable act of interference!, it violates the principles of international law and contradicts the EU’s support for the fictional dialogue. They allege that it’s the Venezuelan people who must judge the Republic’s internal affairs “through the wide range of participation mechanisms established in our Constitution” (just like the Recall Referendum currently being blocked by the PSUV); they say that Schulz’ words are part “of the international right’s schemes,” seeking to destroy Nicolás. They also claim that “Venezuelan democracy is better than ever” because they won many elections in the past. Thanks for confirming what the opposition has been denouncing for years! Keep it up, boys!

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.