For Wednesday, September 28, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
Yesterday, it was reported that the Operating Manual approved by the National Electoral Council will demand that each voter signing for the 20% verify the fingerprints on the index and thumb on both hands. Journalist Eugenio Martínez says this is standard procedure, although most people interpreted it as a new mechanism to delay the process, because it will increase the average time that each voter will spend in the captahuellas. The Manual also establishes that voting centers will close their doors at 4pm during the three signature collection days, including that each center will only allow 70 people in after 2pm, guaranteeing that centers close at 4.
The rectoras still have time to demand original birth certificates, a DNA test, the Income Tax declaration and, -why not?- a retina scan. The 70 people cap for the last two hours is a rather noxious way to achieve what they’ve been trying to do from the start: to ensure this step of the process fails.
Going to the 20%
Lawmaker Julio Borges ratified the statement issued by the Democratic Unity Roundtable and insisted that the goal is to collect 20% signatures nationally. “The CNE has no authority to regulate or diminish the rights established by the Constitution, and the law demands that we must collect the signatures nationally”; adding that it’s a criminal act to ignore that 12 million people potentially want to sign in support for the recall referendum while the CNE creates conditions to allow only four million to do so. Borges insisted that even if the collection takes place on October’s last week, there are 70 days between now and January 10th, 2017, to organize the recall.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly’s Nomination Committee approved the schedule for the election of new CNE authorities. Nominations will be accepted from October 3rd to 17th.
Miranda governor Henrique Capriles, reported that the government is trying to intimidate him by having the Comptroller’s Office open an investigation on him: “The most corrupt government of our history considers that not being like them is a serious crime, not being thieves like them is unacceptable!.” The document he received indicates that, in compliance with article 96 of the Framework Law on the Comptroller’s Office and the National Fiscal Control System, “An Administrative Procedure to Determine Responsibilities was started (…) based on the result obtained from fiscal actions carried out by the Control Directorate of Miranda state’s Central Comptrollership Administration.”
Capriles also remarked that the crisis is yet to hit rock bottom, but it keeps worsening and that a social outburst will make the people cross the border with Colombia en masse: “There’s hunger in Venezuela. We’re talking about millions of people who can’t find anything to eat. We’re experiencing the worst crisis in the entire American continent. We have the world’s worst shortage and highest inflation rates. Our economy has been deemed the most miserable on the planet; and also, three of the world’s ten most violent cities are in our country. The first one is Caracas.” I hope he can discuss all of that with any of the Comptroller’s relatives working in the Comptroller’s Office. There are thirteen of them.
The continent’s least unequal country
That’s how Delcy Rodríguez defined Venezuela, after claiming that “they seek to oust a constitutional government”; exactly what el finado did, but he was honored for his contribution to recover politics under the diplomacy of peace. The Foreign Affairs minister spoke at the Bolivarian Anti-Imperialist Meeting and asserted that el finado “broke the chains of submission” created by the previous governments alongside with “imperial centers,” so she urged the Armed Forces to show their patriotic commitment. She also claimed that the global elites are attempting to criminalize XXI Century Socialism -it has nothing to do with our inflation, shortages, crime, corruption or impunity- and that’s why we’re “experiencing a non-conventional war.”
The lumpia was good enough to make her say that she’ll denounce National Assembly Speaker Henry Ramos Allup before the Prosecutor’s Office, for vilifying the Foreign Affairs ministry’s work and promoting foreign interference in the country: “We won’t fall to his level, we will answer with revolution and more revolution, but he should know that tomorrow (…) I will go to the Prosecutor’s Office to file a formal complaint.”
“La fiesta de la paz que no prendió las calles,” written by Juanita León and Juan Esteban Lewin from “La silla vacía,” says that FARC leader Timochenko’s speech had: “An excellent start, but lost strength as he read a speech more inclined to arrogance than to dialogue, in a country where polls reflect that the people would rather see them behind bars (…) with special thanks to Hugo Chávez and Raúl Castro, and explicitly stating that their project is socialism (…) he spared no effort in rewriting history by emphasizing that the guerrilla always wanted peace.” Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before.
As I write this, Nicolás has wasted two hours blurting out nonsense, using more children and young people for his proselytism events, and challenging his audience’s patience with each question regarding the school year’s success, the very same he hopes will be “the best in our history,” because he says so, as he was incapable of supporting it with arguments. He fancies himself a special witness of the Colombian peace process and that’s why he thinks he’s indispensable for the event that took place.
He discreetly mentioned his conversation with UN SG Ban Ki-moon, regarding Venezuela’s request due to his role as mediator in the conflict with Guyana to solve the territorial controversy for the Esequibo, and he claimed to have talked affectionately with several presidents, naming Michelle Bachelet (just look at the pictures and see that the “affection” is a lie) and Panama’s Juan Carlos Varela. But not for a second did he mention US Secretary of State John Kerry, who issued a press release in which he expressed his concern “for the economic and political challenges facing millions of Venezuelans” and urged president Maduro “to work constructively with opposition leaders to confront these challenges.”
While Eulogio Del Pino demands the OPEC to prevent speculators from controlling oil prices, as he dreams of taking the barrel from $40 to $80 -they call him “the coherent one” when he walks by-; as for our everyday depreciation, the Simadi exchange rate closed at Bs. 656.35 per dollar. I had enough. I turned off the TV. Once again, we’ll know today if he said anything important.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.