For Wednesday, October 5, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
For Wednesday, October 5, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
“Pa’ odia’ al imperio como le gusta un negro gringo, mijita.” Those were the words of a woman who stopped in the same perrocalentero I was, to see what the rest of us were so interested about. Nicolás and Cilia were showing Miraflores to actors Jamie Foxx and Lukas Haas. At the same time, Diosdado was playing his role as a candidate in Cabimas (Zulia,) with a truly weird speech in which he mixed Colombia with loyalty, the PSUV’s future with love for el finado, Nicolás’s continued mandate with the bravery of chavista militants. But Nicolás cut him off due to his 69th cadena -a lucky number, he said-.
Nicolás must’ve dreamt many times of being Gilberto Correa. An audience ready to applaud, music, chants, control over the microphone and the capacity to talk as much as he wants. Originally, he used el finado’s coffin as a desk to clarify that Foxx and Hass are activists working on sustainable ecology projects, asserting that he suggested Foxx should make a film about Negro Primero. He said an agreement had been signed with a Jordanian-Palestinian company to build 14,000 apartments in Aragua; he announced the inauguration of Radio FM Miraflores and remarked that if new Parliamentary elections were to be held today, “The revolution would recover [the Assembly], but elections aren’t a priority, the economy is”; reducing the recall referendum to a mere “whim” for the opposition and shamelessly admitting that he doesn’t approve the holding of any elections until 2018. Don’t worry, he also decreed that Christmas will start on November 1st: We’ll kick off the party! He said. You know, without food but partying.
The CLAP’s congress
The Local Supply Committees, the tool for political discrimination used for the distribution of scarce goods, was the cadena’s main focus. Nicolás approved a decree so that State has priority access to 50% of agroindustrial products to distribute them with the CLAP. He made the mistake of giving the floor to spokeswomen who were reasonably critical of the CLAP: few products in the bags, which don’t even fulfill nutritional requirements; the bag’s price; few bags to distribute; the system’s instability and the absence of medicines. Nicolás didn’t know how to handle criticism. He evaded them with enormous clumsiness and ended up blaming his ministers for the unresolved issues. He gave Health minister Luisana Melo and Higher Education minister Jorge Arreaza 24 hours to come up with an immediate plan to solve the distribution of medicines. He demanded that all CLAP members must have an ID, which is something like: Do you want food?, then join the PSUV.
A macroeconomically broken power
Meanwhile, State media made an effort to minimize the effects of the news revealing that China won’t lend Venezuela any more money, talking about the 672 projects developed alongside China, according to Ricardo Menéndez, vice-president of the Council of Ministers for Planning and Knowledge. But the spotlight was on forecasts presented in the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook report. Based on the severe economic and political crisis, they estimate that we’ll end 2016 with a 10% economic contraction, an inflation rate of nearly 500% and unemployment peaking at 20%.
So, the National Budget
The Constitution establishes that the Executive Branch must submit the nation’s budget to the National Assembly for evaluation, as well as setting limits for public indebtedness, modes of operation and additional credits. Nicolás said this Monday that he would ignore the law, with the cheap argument of “Parliament’s contempt” supported by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. Yesterday, the ornamental vice-president, Aristóbulo Istúriz, announced that the Budget’s proposal will be presented and approved by the people in popular assemblies, adding that this decision won’t halt the process nor create any conflict of powers: “We won’t respect or recognize this institution, if that institution refuses to respect the rest of the powers,” he said regarding the AN. Additionally, the vice-president for the Economic Area, Carlos Faría, said that the Assembly has no authority to approve or discuss the budget, because they would only shut down the Executive Branch’s proposal.
The National Assembly’s reaction
The Assembly’s Speaker Henry Ramos Allup remarked that Nicolás can’t approve the budget for 2017 if it hasn’t been reviewed by Parliament, adding that in all of Venezuela’s history -since there’s a Parliament-, no president has approved the budget on his own: “Not even Juan Vicente Gómez dared. He submitted it to Congress. All [presidents] except this mentecato. Mentecato comes from Latin and it means empty of mind,” saying that the Executive Branch violates the Constitution and that the president is an idiot.
The Interior minister Néstor Reverol announced the creation of the Directorate of Security for Telecommunications, under the vice-ministry of Prevention and Citizen Security, to monitor issues concerning public and private communications. He also spoke about the strategic plan for the security of providers, about the activation of 0800-ANTENAS, to report problems that could affect telecommunications with a system of early alarms. Reverol added that they’ll work together with the police and the military for the restitution of service, as well as maintenance and defense of antennas and the system of public and private fiber optics.
The Foreign Affairs ministry wrote an offensive statement against Guyana’s government: “After 117 years of the fraud suffered by our republic, carried out by the actions of imperial agents that robbed us of nearly 160 square kilometers of our territory (…) the Arbitral Fraud that took place in Paris on October 3rd, 1899, was a demonstration of the criminal actions of diplomatic piracy of the time (…) Guyana’s current government, motivated by dark transnational interests and supported by imperial corporate centers, has adopted an arbitrary, illegal and one-sided attitude by trying to weaken the actions of the Geneva Convention and attempting to avoid due process,” adding that the mediation they requested to UN SecGen Ban Ki-moon is still on the table. The nicest part comes at the end of the text, when they speak of their “Unflinching commitment with peace.” The text was full of Delcy’s typical peacefulness.
As I wrote this, Nicolás was still talking. We’ll know today if he said anything important.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.