The Takeover of Caracas

Your daily briefing for Friday, September 2, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Friday, September 2, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The new minimum wage of Bs. 22,576 is valid starting this September 1st and, in spite of the obstacles imposed by the government to block access to Caracas, of recent arbitrary arrests, of so many threats made in the last few days, many people managed to enter the city to march.

Yesterday’s event was a success. It was a civic, peaceful and massive activity. The question nagging at the people behind the hashtag cursing the Democratic Unity Roundtable is “what was achieved?.” It’s difficult for us who’ve experienced the entire process, to dismiss the sensation of thinking “I already lived this, I want something else.” The difference lies in how the marchers felt with the certainty of being the majority, in the clear goal represented by the recall referendum in 2016 and in the energy we can muster to accomplish it. This is an agenda of perseverance, not ferocity. The heroic narrative, the famous “pa’ Miraflores,” the desire for immediate change, persists in many and it’s valid, because the conditions of the crisis complicate any exercise on prospective. We achieved the communicational impact we were looking for and now we must prove that pressure continues, that the Takeover wasn’t an isolated event. Nicolás must be removed with the votes of the majority of Venezuelans, that will be an undeniable defeat and a guarantee that he won’t return.

The PSUV can position a thousand hashtags, launch even more cadenas, and use pictures from 2012 or 2004. But those who were on the street yesterday know that it was a peaceful and massive event. We need a tangible route, we need to involve those who feel dissatisfied with the process and discuss the value of perseverance, until the day to collect the 20% signatures arrives and with it, the date for the recall. Any election will be a victory for the opposition, that’s why the government has been so fierce and clumsy in his approach. A change of this magnitude won’t be achieved in a day, we need to keep protesting, demanding, showing that we’re here, that we want an electoral schedule, that it’s imprescindible to speed up the proceedings, that four electoral authorities can’t keep delaying an already obvious defeat.

The MUD’s statement

“We’re mobilized citizens, we’re the nation standing on our feet to say: enough! We must rescue the country! Rescue it from food shortages, from the excess of bullets, rescue it from the lack of medicines and the excess of fear.” They also make a call to rescue democracy, prosperity, cohabitation and hope. They demand the right for us to express ourselves through our vote in the recall referendum. They remark that Nicolás’s refusal to accept this election proves his lack of popular support, legitimacy and ideas. Announcing the definitive phase of this struggle in our path we obtain constitutional, electoral, peaceful and democratic change, which includes: marches to National Electoral Council offices all over the country this September 7th (regards to Mecano); a march for September 14th and, the day after the 20%, the “Takeover of Venezuela” to demand the immediate activation of the Recall Referendum. The statement says that, if we didn’t get tired or surrendered before, we won’t do it now.

The solitary fanatic

Although the rally in Bolívar avenue showed too many militias and public employees, Nicolás spoke with his usual madness, upping his attacks against the National Assembly while he sent greetings to opposition marchers, whose numbers he estimated at 12,000 to 15,000 people. That’s why he ruined the country. This man knows about proportions as much as he knows about diplomacy or finances. “They’ve failed once more, victory is ours” he said, before reporting on his proceedings with the Supreme Tribunal of Justice’s Constitutional Chamber to remove parliamentary immunity because the State of Emergency Decree is in full force.

He expressed his concern for the families who “were locked in their homes fearing the worst,” as if he truly wasn’t responsible for these fears. But he also announced the capture of 92 Colombians who were part of a paramilitary and mercenary camp scarcely 500 meters away from Miraflores. What failed here? The regime’s intelligence bodies, that allowed that amount of trained assassins to operate so close to the government palace? Or the paramilitaries, who let themselves be captured without resistance? Nicolás ordered Interior minister Néstor Reverol to show the evidence of how they foiled the coup d’Etat yesterday. Sadly, I don’t have corn beans to make popcorns.

Against Ramos Allup

“I’ve ordered a national and international special committee of lawyers, psychiatrists and sociologists to analyze all the threats of hatred, intolerance, violence and social racism to “incubate” a formal lawsuit against Ramos Allup for his fascist expressions,” said Nicolás just before declaring that the Assembly’s Speaker is a “huge incompetent, a vampire, a four-haired zombie (…) and a real coño de madre.” Coherence, you know. Professor José Ignacio Hernández discusses in Prodavinci, the implications of the threat against parliamentary immunity, a guarantee established in article 200 of the National Constitution, which can only be removed by the National Assembly itself.


In spite of Juan Carlos Monedero’s absurd claims about the “Plan Condor de colores” -which covers the “coup” in Brazil, the golpista march here, the uprising in Bolivia and the pressure in Cuba-, the Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter American Human Rights Commission, Edison Lanza, decided to condemn the restrictions imposed by the Venezuelan government on the right to protest and the right to information, remarking that they’re monitoring Venezuela’s situation. OAS SecGen Luis Almagro also issued a statement in which he urged political actors to preserve peace and respect all rights, ratifying his offer to provide observation in future manifestations, to garner the support of the Inter American and International communities to guarantee citizens their right to free speech, and then making a detailed description of the government’s intimidation tactics and how that places them among “the most notorious authoritarian regimes in history.”

Brazil also recalls

Brazil’s Foreign Affairs ministry explained in a statement that, in view of Venezuela’s decision, which threatens Latin American integration, they decided to recall their ambassador in Caracas for consultation. Funny, even though Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba also referred to what happened with Dilma as “a parliamentary coup d’Etat,” only Nicolás froze diplomatic relations. The badass, you know. Brazil repudiated the terms used in Venezuela’s statement, which reveals the government’s profound ignorance of that country’s Constitution and its laws. Not strange, considering that they ignore even our own laws. In any case, Brazil demands “calm and respect for the principles and values that regulate relations between Latin American nations.”

I respect the doubts and the urgencies, but no one can take away the march, the fervor of so many, the willingness, the diversity among the marchers and the empire of civility. I insist, this is an agenda of perseverance and not ferocity. With the date for the 20%, a new story begins. By the way, we’re already in transition.

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.