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.

IAHRC and OAS

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.

11 COMMENTS

  1. What did Cuba do ?? did they also withdraw their ambassador for consultations or did they freeze their relations with Brasil ?? Surely they must be incensed at the legislative coup d etat perpetrated on the much beloved progressive leader Dilma ….!! Brazil is funding the building of a huge port in northern Cuba to make the island into an important hub in the international transport of commodities and industrial products…!!

  2. I was very disappointed in Globovision’s coverage of the opposition march. Once the majority of the protestors were assembled, they gave about 5 minutes coverage to them and then promptly switched to Maduro’s tirade for about 30 minutes. Had I not been watching most of the day and caught that 5 minute segment, I’d have wondered if any opposition marchers even showed up.

  3. “Sadly, I don’t have corn beans to make popcorns.”

    Javier, in relation to popcorn, the word “granos” is better translated as kernels. However, in this case, using even the appropriate word substitutions would not make it a good translation. In English, the word “popcorn” is used for both the ready-to-eat product, and for the un-popped dried corn kernels. A more natural idiomatic way to say this would be, “Sadly, I don’t have any popcorn to pop.”

    BTW: Your translations are generally awesome, Javier. I am not being critical. Please let me know if my corrections ever become tiresome.

  4. I am completely/ absolutely convinced that there will no RR this year. I was very moved by what I saw yesterday and I am happy it all went well, but I see no reason to be optimistic at all. It was simply a campaign act, and even though I accept that a demostration of force increases the pressure a bit, that is not enough. It all seemed designed as a mere show whose real purpose was to wash the face of the leadership. It as a terrible mistake to isolate the so called radicals, because at the end of the day, we will need a lot of those. There is no way to achieve our goals without throwing some stones. When the day comes to do that, and it will come, there is no doubt, we have to be ready or our own contradictions will destroy us. What happened yesterday was a sweet ilussion, but nothing more. We managed to avoid a confrontation (one that perhaps we could have won anyway), but the real conflict remains and some day the “final battle” will actually happen and our odds are even worse because we sacrificed some crucial pawns. If we keep imposing our plans and cruelly isolating the people more inclined to fight, we have no option of winning. We are burning bridges here to favour some narratives above others. The truth is that it seems easier to force Maduro to resign than to force him to make the RR this year. He still has too many tricks at his disposal. We, thanks to our leaders, have only one hand to play. You do understand what will happen if this fails?

    • I believe most of the people know the plan already failed, I don’t see the government giving up this late on the game, the only purpose is now to demonstrate to the world how anti-democratic this government is while at the same time creating proof and evidence that will eventually be used later on future trials when the opposition takes over.

      This government is a ticking bomb, which at the top could last 2 years, but way before that everyone on their boat will foresee the ship sinking, and that’s when we will see them betraying each other, and Diosdado and some other looking for refugee who knows where in the world.

      The government cant delay the game forever, there will be a day when the amazonas deputies will be back to the AN, or the regional elections will take place, or a reconstituyente, or a presidential election, and when any of the above happens, we are already certain that we will win; and the only one that never volveran, are them.

      The truth is that the opposition cannot do much, I personally believe that is better to wait peacefully for 2 years than instigating a civil war, although I also understand that it is really easy for me to type this while I over watch everything from abroad.

  5. This government is not going to bring a solution, and recalling Maduro isn’t by itself a solution. If the opposition has a solution, don’t wait! Begin now! Why do the people need to depend on government to get things done?

    • I dont know. Maybe because stuff like the price controls, the foreign exchange controls, etc, cant just “be done” by “the people”? That they require a change in goverment?

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