For Wednesday, October 12, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
Sadly, Gustavo González López, head of the Bolivarian Service of National Intelligence (SEBIN), didn’t coordinate with Interior minister Néstor Reverol or with Petare’s colectivos. While the former denounced the alleged participation of Sucre mayor Carlos Ocariz and Miranda governor Henrique Capriles in a grenade attack against a National Guard post that took place last week, the latter gave the war dispatch of the Operation for People’s Liberation (OLP) in Petare -which left 13 people dead-, and the colectivos blocked the Francisco Fajardo freeway near El Llanito, threatening to “take to the streets” to protest for their leader’s transfer to Tocuyito prison.
It’s ridiculous for SEBIN to link opposition leaders with paramilitary criminal gangs just for a grenade, despite the fact that many of those have exploded in Aragua and the National Guard suffered a similar attack in La Concordia square, without prompting an investigation from the Intelligence Service. Additionally, they supported their claims with a YouTube video that makes an interpretation -from the the PSUV’s point of view- about Primero Justicia’s video where the protagonist is a National Guardsman who receives text messages from his daughter, instead of describing any ongoing investigations about the grenade’s explosion. The idea behind SEBIN’s video is to advance the thesis that this political party’s leaders have engaged in terrorists actions to conspire against the country’s democratic stability and impose a recall referendum through coercion. If the veracity of the accusations depends on the González López’s communicational skills, then they better prepare more videos and tweets.
The mayor’s response
Carlos Ocariz responded to González López accusations, indicating that the opposition is interested in elections, not rebellion: “I’m coordinating the recall because we want people to vote,” said the mayor, remarking that nobody will push them to violence and that nobody will disrupt their purpose of achieving change, as well their commitment with the recovery of a democratic and prosperous country. He also condemned that Primero Justicia’s video was interpreted as an exercise to promote military insurrection; the “absurd plots” that the PSUV is making up through the State’s institutions. He concluded by saying that even though what they’re facing is hard, they accept it with courage and responsibility. He called people to join today’s street activities, saying that we have more reasons than ever to collect the 20% signatures to activate the recall referendum.
The Nation’s budget
Several ministers “discussed” the budget for 2017, but none said how much it will be, or anything about the premises that define it. The farce of “discussing” it in a popular assembly while the audience repeated chants in favor of the PSUV was more than absurd; but they insisted that that’s how the budget’s going to be approved. Aristóbulo Istúriz, the ornamental vice-president, repeated his mantra that foreign exchange controls are a political measure, not an economic one, claiming that if they lift exchange controls, they’ll be ousted. He also said that there’s people who’ll have to wait because “there’s not enough money for everything,” just like at home; that they’d rather die than be ousted. He claimed that they’ve reduced poverty, unemployment and extreme poverty.
Meanwhile, lawmaker José Guerra, head of the National Assembly’s Budget Sub-committee, remarked that if the government approves the Law of Budgets for the Fiscal Year 2017 without submitting it to the Legislative Branch before October 15th, they would be breaking the law by violating article 313 of the Constitution and article 38 of the Framework Law on Financial Administration, adding that this would create irregularities with regard to fiscal policy spending and additional credits, among other consequences. Guerra remarked that the Legislative Branch is completely willing to cooperate and work on a real budget for the country, that we have to understand that the economy won’t grow in 2017, that inflation rates will be close to 300% and that all foreign exchange rates must be unified.
Ignoring the National Assembly
Yesterday, the TSJ issued a statement in which they say that, in view of the need to fulfill a phase of the national budget’s judicial formation process, and honoring the principles of branch autonomy, the balance between public powers and the guarantee of fundamental rights and the constitutional order, they declare that the national budget must be presented by the president before the Constitutional Chamber as a Presidential Decree that will have Range, Value and Force of Law. The decision is also supported on the story of “Parliament’s contempt” and the State of Economic Emergency. The decision establishes that the national budget’s decree will be subject to the Constitutional Chamber’s regulation as part of the system of guarantees set forth in the Constitution “without prejudice to the Citizen Branch’s inherent authority and to social comptrollership in this matter.”
Health minister Luisana Melo denied the 23 deaths caused by diphtheria in Bolívar state, admitting only two confirmed cases: “the remaining cases haven’t been confirmed as diphtheria,” she said, adding that since this is an immunologically preventable disease, regional authorities have increased the vaccination strategy and everything’s under control, since they’ve managed to block the epidemiological scenario, and are close to consolidating coverage for the entire population.
Perhaps PDVSA’s Eulogio Del Pino could also deny that the amount of active oil rigs has dropped to its minimum (48) in five years, dismissing the report published by Baker Hughes as well as the news that Venezuela will import 250,000 gas barrels per day. Our everyday depreciation shows that the Simadi exchange rate rose, closing at Bs. 660.90 per dollar.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.