For Wednesday, September 14, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
This Tuesday, Libertador mayor Jorge Rodríguez used the excuse of advancing the complaints presented against the Democratic Unity Roundtable before the National Electoral Council, to mask his statement’s only purpose: breaking the MUD’s credibility -like it happened before with the meetings held in the Dominican Republic in May. Once more, the MUD engages in private talks and the regime uses a gesture of political goodwill to break the opposition’s unity, violating -as malandros always do- the code of discretion. Rodríguez didn’t say that they were the ones to break off from negotiations, that they didn’t go to the third meeting because the MUD established the recall referendum for 2016 as a condition. The government seeks to demonize dialogue after calling for it. Jorge Rodríguez managed to recover the PSUV’s agenda, undermine the MUD’s call for protests on September 16th and even give the CNE more time. If they’ve already violated their own rules at leisure anyway, what incentives would they have now to give the date for the 20% signature collection drive if the PSUV has compromised the success of street demonstrations?
Nicolás tried to be prudent and measured, but he had to react “to the opposition’s evil.” If I were the PSUV, I would’ve left Jorge Rodríguez deal with this one on his own. I would’ve silenced Nicolás any way possible. Why? Because he mixed two agendas yesterday with tremendous clumsiness: the talks and the recall referendum. About the talks, he only said that they were secret as per MUD’s request, that they took place last Friday and Saturday and that they’ve established a schedule of possible meetings for September and October. He elaborated on the referendum, in a sea of mistaken assumptions about respecting public powers but refusing to be blackmailed, demanding answers about the MUD’s fraud with the 1% signature collection process and you can and add anything you want from there. An important mistake, like everything he does.
The MUD’s mistake
An opposition that has the support of the majority of the people -even with the government as an enemy- must do whatever they can to ensure elections. They have to talk, negotiate, reach agreements. If you don’t agree, I hope you’re already founding a political party to group the majority, or a paramilitary movement to take power by force. If that’s not the case, then think about the challenge of trying to negotiate anything with Elías Jaua, Roy Chaderton, Delcy and Jorge Rodríguez. The mistake was allowing the PSUV to reveal the news, so they were left to give explanations later; denying what they did, and later admitting that they did it and explain why. We all fear a lousy negotiation, another defeat, because the urgency to end this disaster is enormous.
What’s the cause of criticism?
The lack of transparency. The alarms about “backstage negotiations” are supported by two events: lawmaker Timoteo Zambrano thanking Rodríguez Zapatero for Gabriel San Miguel’s release, and María Corina Machado’s statement that they shouldn’t count on her for a recall in 2017. UNASUR’s triplet of former presidents -responsible for the imaginary dialogue- comes and goes without providing any account of whatever it is they’re doing, besides giving Nicolás more time. They only blurt out new age phrases about dialogue and the future. There’s no way of trusting the government or the former presidents, and that forces the MUD to be more transparent, clearer, to reveal the information first, to say it right. It was enough that the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court denied that any complaints had been submitted by Lilian Tintori (Leopoldo López’s wife) against Nicolás, or that Tintori herself denied David Smolansky’s statements where he claimed that Zapatero had negotiated the recall referendum for Leopoldo López’s release. Enough.
The new Seguridad Nacional
Maybe that was the most effective way Nicolás found to celebrate Acción Democrática’s 75th anniversary, but it’s still alarming how they’re amping up their repression while they impose propaganda about the NAM as a forum of nations that fight for just causes: Iran, North Korea or Zimbabwe? They threaten with laying off dissident public employees in Margarita, they arrest more Polar employees, while SEBIN issues informal summons for opposition supporters, but when these people go to the Prosecutor’s Office to ask for any investigation against them, there are none. This was confirmed yesterday by Alfredo Díaz, mayor of Mariño municipality.
And then, Human Rights
In the Human Rights Council’s 33th session, the High Commissioner of the United Nations for this matter, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, criticized Venezuela for preventing their experts to enter the country, despite the serious complaints about committed abuses. He also spoke of the erosion of branch autonomy, the decay of social and economic rights, hunger and the failing healthcare system. Venezuela served as an example of countries that deny access to Human Rights experts, undermining the efforts made to denounce the abuses. Zeid ratified that they’ll keep observing the country’s situation and reporting on their concerns.
And in that regard
Chile condemned the statement recently issued by Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs ministry, remarking that they’ll keep demanding compliance with the guarantees Venezuela must observe in virtue of international agreements on Human Rights. Add this to the concerns expressed by the head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, and the statements issued by Brazil’s Foreign Affairs minister, José Serra, in view of the recent proliferation of arbitrary detentions in Venezuela, which have taken place “in violation of due legal process and in clear disrespect of fundamental liberties and guarantees,” the statement says, adding that this situation puts even more obstacles for the dialogue between the government and the opposition.
The immoral one
Not a single word about SEBIN’s summons, about houses illegally searched, about persecution against the opposition. Not a single word about Delson Guarate, mayor of Mario Briceño Iragorry municipality, who suffered an internal hemorrhage and had to be hospitalized, considering that it’s difficult for this circumstance to arise without physical violence to explain it. However, Ombudsman Tarek William Saab claimed yesterday that: “It’s immoral for pinochetista sectors from Chile to think they can school us on Human Rights (…) pinochetismo keeps governing Chile, their Constitution favors them (…) it’s peculiar for Spain and Chile, with their criminal models, to attack Venezuela.” ¿Así o más claro?
Nicolás was still talking as I wrote this. We’ll know today if he said anything important.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.