For Tuesday, October 17, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
“A new wave of countries is coming to South America with the revolutionary force” Nicolás Maduro, Quito.
Maybe this renewal will be possible once the existing countries are decimated. In Venezuela, alarming figures of epidemic diseases tag along with overwhelming crime rates and a poverty that chavista bots tried to mitigate using the hashtag #pueblodignificado, as a way to celebrate the international day for its eradication. As if misery dignified anyone. Our poverty has been worsened by unemployment, diminishing purchasing power, restrictions in basic services, health care and education. Despite boasting a far larger budget, the Venezuelan government has left poverty to grow unchecked, a truth they can’t conceal, not even with the National Institute of Statistics tampering with indicators.
A pompous traveller
Nicolás went to Quito to participate in the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. Coincidentally, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government are meeting there. Nicolás spoke during the inauguration of a photographic exhibition about the Gran Misión Vivienda, presented at Ecuador’s National Assembly, grateful for the possibility of sharing the government’s achievements: “Chávez left his work in this GMVV and earned heaven. We’ll reach the three millionth housing unit in 2019, thus completing the phase of one of Chávez’s miracles.”
He also spoke about the economic war, the psychological war and the political war which have been “induced” in progressive countries; he said that “civilian-military union” is vital for the progress of revolutions; he estimated the government’s investments on housing at $95 billion and claimed that the Inter American Democratic Charter was created solely for destroying the Bolivarian revolution; he ignored the fact that el finado himself demanded its activation in Honduras after Zelaya was ousted and it was also invoked for the events of April, 2002.
Governor Francisco Ameliach said on Sunday that in case the recall referendum doesn’t take place, the Democratic Unity Roundtable will be forced to negotiate with the government, even though he also said that MUD is politically dead. In fact, he claimed that the RR won’t take place this year nor the next due to the “crimes committed” and that he’ll request a cautionary measure before the TSJ to put the RR on hold while they issue a decision about the case -as the PSUV demands-. He also mentioned the possibility for the CNE to invalidate the MUD if they don’t “comply with the law” before January 5th, 2017.
More threats from the PSUV
The PSUV’s mayors, governors, lawmakers and lawyers spoke yesterday about the restrictions and sanctions that the opposition will face. They all agreed with the regime’s proposed punishments as well as shutting down the recall. Hermann Escarrá claimed that parliamentary immunity only applies to lawmakers within the National Assembly’s building, “but when they commit crimes of opinion outside it, immunity doesn’t apply.”
Roy Daza said that: “There won’t be gubernatorial elections as long as the request for the recall referendum is active”; either the creation of a non-existent dilemma or another evidence of the regime’s disregard for even the slightest democratic appearance. It’s a barbarity for Daza to pin all possibilities of resolving the political situation on the recall’s shutdown, while claiming that Parliament lacks political validity because the Executive Branch says so. He tried to soften these statements, saying that the opposition might have the necessary votes to recall Nicolás.
Pro-regime mayors and governors also expressed their support for the way the National Budget for 2017 was self-approved, unlike Chávez’s dissident former ministers, who supported the 20% signature collection drive for the RR, accusing the government of being “right-wing.”
A parallel Constitution
Yesterday night, the TSJ’s Electoral Chamber decided that the 20% signature collection to activate the recall referendum must be made in each state. For some reason, the document presented by justice Indira Alfonso ignores that the 20% hasn’t been collected this way in any of the 12 previous proceedings. CNE rectora Socorro Hernández must be sleeping easier now. The MUD must create a strategy to face this new violation against the law. The TSJ keeps writing a parallel Constitution, tailored for the PSUV, violating as many rules as necessary.
National Assembly Speaker Henry Ramos Allup, said yesterday that “any possibility for negotiation depends on the recall,” guaranteeing that they’ll continue to pressure nationally and internationally to make it happen. Ramos Allup pointed out that the budget for 2017 will create more inflation, because the measure will require more banknotes to be printed: “The budget for 2017 is eight times larger than the budget for 2016,” he said, adding that it was unconstitutionally approved. He didn’t comment on the actions that the MUD will take if the TSJ kills the recall, remarking that according to recent polls, grassroots chavistas believe that the country’s situation is not only due to Nicolás’s administration, but to el finado’s as well.
Venezuela as a problem
While Brazil’s Chief of Staff, Eliseu Padilha, spoke about the meeting that will be held between several authorities to study the recent influx of Venezuelan migrants requesting asylum in his country, Paraguay’s Foreign Affairs minister Eladio Loizaga, said yesterday that “there’s no crisis in Mercosur” regarding Venezuela and that the regional bloc is returning to the original essence that it should’ve never abandoned. Loizaga said from Moscow that he travelled to Russia to advance political and commercial relationships, remarking that the free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union has had a good start, although the process will be long. He reminded Delcy that she has until December 1st to submit all the necessary documentation if Venezuela wants to remain a member of the bloc.
Fifteen doctors were fired from Maracay’s Hospital Central without explanation. The most widely shared theory is that they accepted medicines donated by Lilian Tintori. In any case, they protested yesterday and were attacked by pro-government paramilitaries who kicked them, punched them, stole their phones and even broke a doctor’s tooth. That’s what revolutionary force is all about.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.