Painted on the wall

Your daily briefing for Friday, September 23rd, 2016

For Friday, September 23, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Foreign Affairs minister Delcy Rodríguez had a better run unveiling the mural of el finado in the Bronx than speaking at the UN, where she claimed that the institution answers to capitalism and consumerism while it ignores the most vulnerable nations, using Syria as an example of a country where the right to peace isn’t protected -disregarding our own crime rates and State violence itself-, and right when the National Electoral Council announced the conditions that make holding elections an impossible task, she said that money’s tyranny denies Human Rights. Look at el finado’s astonished face, the mural’s author must know something about the collapse of the PSUV’s political support. Look at the farmer’s hat worn by the guy beside him, the mural’s author knows nothing about the destruction of our agriculture.

But we got it back

This Thursday, Nicolás approved Bs. 23,000 million to finance the production of seeds of rice, white and yellow corn. His expectations? “We’re going to break the independence of importing seeds.” He then allocated Bs. 250,000 million for acquiring 50% of the 2016 winter cycle harvest, besides requesting the Central Bank to lower reserve requirements to invest those resources in agricultural and industrial development by five points, despite having recently destroyed it. He announced a Plan to Sow Legumes, speaking of thousands of hectares of kidney beans and black beans, without a single word about the size of the harvest or the time it will take. Quite the hit.

Chavismo’s spokespeople

“The fraud can’t remain unpunished. We trust the Supreme Tribunal to enforce the law.” Although the phrase describes the emotions of millions of Venezuelans in view of the conditions imposed by the CNE for the 20% signature collection drive, it actually refers to Jacqueline Faría’s hopes regarding the complaints presented by the PSUV before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, concerning the alleged fraud in the 1% signature verification process. It’s been proven that what the PSUV has been trying to sell as a fraud (dead signatories and forged signatures) are actually transcription mistakes made by CNE-hired “technicians,” an important resource to delay the entire recall process.

Faría wasn’t alone. Later, Libertador mayor and signature verifier Jorge Rodríguez issued statements as if he was CNE’s sixth rector, considering that it was improbable for the referendum to take place even in 2017 “because of the many frauds committed,” while he said that the condition of collecting the 20% signatures by state is coherent, legitimate and constitutional, because it ensures that voters’ rights are respected across the country. He didn’t elaborate on this, sadly.

Finally, Ombudsman Tarek William Saab said this Thursday that the institution he represents doesn’t take part in political controversies, that the rules of the game are set by the Electoral Branch (to avoid setting a posture about the 20% by state) and that while food, medicines and individual rights are priority issues, the recall referendum is circumstantial, ratifying his defense for Human Rights (which include political rights) and how important it is for him that people have the right to choose.

The rest

According to former Brazilian president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Venezuela’s experiencing a desperate situation, a humanitarian crisis: “Now they’re even violating the Bolivarian Constitution by stalling the recall and that’s unacceptable,” adding that a country that’s going through our situation could hardly be appointed to head Mercosur, that the most important thing is for Venezuelans to have freedom and for laws to be respected, urging the international community to find consensus about this issue.

José Miguel Imbecile, sorry, Insulza, former head of the OAS, said that Venezuela’s crisis will get worse if the recall referendum doesn’t take place this year, because if that’s the case, “people’s frustration will be too great and that will lead to an even greater crisis,” remarking that Venezuela doesn’t have many options, save for finding some sort of understanding, even recognizing that the government doesn’t want to negotiate, which leaves the country in a dead end. Insulza even warned about the risk of a leftist military action, the radicalization of strongmen in power or some kind of uprising.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry, met yesterday with Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, thanking him for supporting democracy in Venezuela and restating his call to genuine dialogue between the government and the opposition. Delcy’s writers have a lot of work ahead.

State of Economic Emergency

All the controversy around the referendum has allowed the Decree N° 2,452 to go unnoticed, even with the National Assembly’s disapproval which the TSJ ignored. With this decree, Nicolás gives himself the authority to take economic, social, political and judicial actions without any kind of check to his power, even ignoring the Council of Ministers, with recitals that cover aspects such as support for the CLAP and the defense of a decent life for citizens. Nicolás will dispose of public funds with nobody to hold him accountable. The previous economic emergency decrees have been so efficient, that the basic food basket’s price for August was Bs. 262,664.40, that we fell back to the last place among the 159 countries evaluated in the Index of Economic Freedom for 2016 and that our everyday depreciation keeps rising, with the Simadi exchange rate closing at Bs. 653.63 per dollar.

Until Monday?

Jesús Chúo Torrealba said that the opposition will keep meeting during the weekend to define the critical course to follow in the coming weeks, and that it will be on Monday when they reveal their proposed strategy, in a national event he didn’t describe in detail: “We can’t validate the violation against the Constitution, but neither can we let the government kill the recall.” Meanwhile, Voluntad Popular calls for a great national movement of civilian protest and as I wrote this, Henrique Capriles kept answering questions on Periscope, insisting that we can “use democratic and peaceful means to defeat those who are neither of those things.” I appreciate his gesture of remarking that the man who was going to be his Defense minister is still an active member of the military.

“La historia recicla, nos queda la fe”

Juan Luis Guerra

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.