Stall Another Day

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

As I wrote yesterday, Nicolás was still talking from the Teatro Principal, where he started his cadena celebrating the tenth anniversary of the day that el finado said his famous “huele a azufre,” in reference to former US president George Bush, as if it was a national holiday. The first hour of his TV show made lavish use of the talents of dozens of children from the “César Rengifo” National Theatre Movement and its choir, before an audience packed with soldiers and Executive Branch authorities, who have as much appreciation for art as they do for democracy.

This Tuesday, the CNE’s rectoras used the same trick they used on Monday: arriving four hours late to their schedule board meeting and postponing the technical announcements for the 20% signature collection drive, after just one hour of discussion. At this pace, the year might end on us, while Nicolás says that children have the greatest importance in the country: “their education, their culture, their values.” He didn’t mention their food and health, sadly. Read the article about the newborn babies in Anzoátegui’s Guzman Lander hospital who have to sleep in cardboard boxes because they have no incubators. That’s the importance children have for the PSUV.

Step back = Step forward?

Foreign Affairs minister Delcy Rodríguez said that she’ll defend Mercosur’s legitimacy despite the differences that exist with the rest of the bloc’s member countries. While she claims that member nations have sported an anti-judicial behaviour with which they seek to undermine the institution, she also believes that being appointed head of NAM means Venezuela is internationally recognized. That must be why Roy Chaderton said that the United States is manipulating events to launch a military intervention against the country, causing induced shortages and violence to create fear. That’s why he claims there’s no humanitarian crisis but rather a difficult situation provoked by the US. Additionally, judge Susana Barreiros -responsible for Leopoldo López’s sentence- is at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to defend Venezuela’s progress in Human Rights. Now you have a clear picture of the international progress Delcy says we’ve had, and those it depends on.

What did the rest say?

Round 1

David Granger, President of Guyana, said at the United Nations’ General Assembly that Venezuela has intensified its attacks against Guyana at all levels, that the government’s attitude is hostile and it puts his country’s integrity as risk, and requested the Secretary General to propose a route to solve the threats against Guyana’s security, to mediate in favor of peace and the respect for international law: “Venezuela’s people are our brothers and sisters. Their tragedy moves our hearts and we wish them swift recovery from their terrible experience,” he added.

Round 2

After the expression used by Argentine president Mauricio Macri: “Venezuela isn’t a democracy; it’s a disaster,” Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, remarked that Venezuela needs the help of other nations in order to overcome the economic and social crisis it’s experiencing: “There are no medicines in Venezuela, people are hungry. We can create a club of countries -Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Perú-, we have pharmaceutical industries, we have food and we can help them,” he proposed, adding that this initiative will be difficult to carry out because Nicolás thinks he lives in the perfect country, which makes moral persuasion an imperative. He also condemned the existence of political prisoners; he advocated for dialogue, the validity of democracy, the absolute respect for Human Rights and full guarantees of respect for branch autonomy and equilibrium; saying that this a multifaceted crisis.

Round 3

After dismissing Venezuela’s temporary presidency, Mercosur is lead by the founding members: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, who celebrated a meeting in New York -taking advantage of the preliminary talks for the UN’s General Assembly- and drafted a document in which they urged the countries of the European Union to strengthen their commitment with the ongoing negotiation process (a free trade agreement they will discuss in Brussels between October 10th and 14th,) and to do it as soon as possible, to achieve a balanced, far-reaching and ambitious agreement.

What about the Sukhois?

Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López claimed that a United States aircraft entered Venezuelan airspace during the NAM summit. The plane, a model Dash-8 “capable of collecting information through radars and other devices,” belonging to the US Coast Guard, entered our airspace on September 16th without requesting permission from the control center for aerial transit. The minister further claimed that there have already been more than 30 incidents of this nature so far this year, but he sadly didn’t say how the hell they will avoid them in the future.

Military rebellion?

Primero Justicia acknowledged that they made the video that caused the arrest of its creators: Marco Trejo, César Cuellar and James Mathinson, accused of inciting rebellion. SEBIN is also looking for Andrés Eloy Febres-Cordero for allegedly being part of the production team. In the video, a girl takes her mom’s temperature, checks the empty refrigerator and writes some text messages. The messages are for her dad, a soldier who stands before a group of protesters demanding the recall referendum. The girl’s voice-over says: “Dad, my mom is still sick and her pill ran out. I’m going to stand in line because there’s no food at home. Dad, remember today that that people they order you to repress, are going through the same we are; we can’t stand it and you know it.” Unless the incidental music has unknown secondary effects, I don’t see how this video “incites rebellion.” Is it so dangerous to place soldiers at the same level of despair as civilians who can actually protest? Is the structure of order and obedience broken by equaling the social circumstances of soldiers and civilians? Is humanizing the military an act of rebellion?

From the Plaza Diego Ibarra, Interior minister Néstor Reverol informed Nicolás that chavismo will celebrate the Day of Peace today. They’ll do it as they keep their repressive stance, increase the amount of political prisoners and the disrespect for Human Rights. They’ll do it as the Foreign Affairs minister continues to create conflict with other countries and Nicolás replaces children with paralympic athletes in his cadena, as if they truly owed him something, as if they were obligated to offer him tribute, to be used for his vulgar political proselytism. I guess we’ll know today if he said anything important.

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.