For Friday, October 28, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
Announcing wage hikes was the PSUV’s best strategy to mitigate the country’s current institutional crisis. Starting on November 1st, the minimum wage increases by 20%, going from Bs.22,576 to Bs. 27,091. An adjustment of Bs. 4,515.37 a month!, of Bs. 150 a day! The cestatickets increase by 50% (from 8 to 12 tax units a day,) going from Bs. 42,480 to Bs. 63,720. These couple of measures add up to a 40% hike on what they call the integral minimum wage, from Bs. 65,056 to Bs. 90,811. Remember that cestatickets aren’t part of the wages, they don’t count for calculating labor liabilities. There’s also a 20% wage increase for the military, police bodies, fire brigades, doctors, teachers and the rest of the public sector; the Hogares de la patria card goes from Bs. 30,000 to Bs. 39,000 and the cherry on top: three months of aguinaldos for pensioners. The PSUV “anticipates Christmas” by paying the Christmas bonus to public employees starting today.
“The more coups, the more hikes”
It’s no use to have more bolívares if they’re worth less every day
That’s how Nicolás explained the reason for this decision, although he forgot to mention that the basic food basket’s price for September was Bs. 405,452. He announced the wage hikes as an achievement, and not as a consequence of the wild inflation rates that we’re experiencing thanks to his failed economic model. It’s no use to have more bolívares if they’re worth less every day. The black market dollar reached Bs. 1,350 yesterday. The fourth wage increase this year (and chavismo’s thirty fifth) can only cause higher inflation. Obviously, this government cares little for the companies that will have to close, unable to pay these hikes.
Company stopped, company taken
Against the national strike, Nicolás announced that there will be an inspection on industry production today. Diosdado Cabello complemented the information, cautioning that companies will be taken over by the Armed Forces and the workers “like the National Assembly’s takeover on Sunday.” He’s thankfully honest, because that was an assault.
Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López said that food companies and pharmacies will be inspected -under the State of Economic Emergency- to ensure that the commercial network remains active, adding the Operative Committees of Worker Production to guarantee that all instances work properly. They repeated these threats more often than Chávez’s jingles during the day.
A lot of hatred
“We’re closing the year in peace, with some threats, but we’re prevailing,” said Nicolás in cadena. He dared speak about “expressions of hatred from a minority in the country” and he didn’t mean the video showing Aragua policemen kicking a woman, nor the people shot in Zulia, Táchira or Mérida. He just wanted to accuse governor Henrique Capriles of murder. He rhetorically asked: “What’s the result of sowing hatred? Violence (…) there are really young people, hating too much, such hatred is, unreasonable. Who caused that hatred?”, and then he claimed that police bodies had the order to negotiate on Wednesday. More than 120 people wounded and 147 arrests explain his concept of negotiation. That’s the reason why he only allowed two options: either dialogue or war. The country wants elections.
In any case, the Prosecutor’s Office appointed authorities to investigate the death of the Miranda policeman; they’ll present 80 people who were arrested in different states of the country for allegedly participating in Wednesday’s acts of violence and they’ll indict CICPC detective Ronald Medina Reyes, who ran over a woman at La Redoma de Araure, Portuguesa.
Interior minister Néstor Reverol ordered the intervention of San Francisco Municipal Police in Zulia, and the destitution of Danilo Vílchez, head of this institution, but he hasn’t said a word about the remaining repressive actions in other states.
In the National Assembly
With no electricity in the Legislative Palace or the National Assembly’s offices because Parliament hasn’t paid the bill in ten months, according to a PSUV lawmaker; the National Guard had to play a role different from the one they played on Sunday. Enduring insults, kicks, punches; serving as a shield for opposition lawmakers and using tear gas to disperse protesters. Despite all the attacks, they arrested no chavistas. Even lawmaker Darío Vivas claimed that they conquered a strong victory with these events, that the attacks suffered by the opposition demonstrate “a permanent combat effort.” Once these obstacles were overcome, a group of citizens presented their testimonies before Parliament. The most moving were the ones given by the parents of the boys murdered by the Operation for People’s Liberation (OLP) in el Guarataro. You should listen to their words. The PSUV’s lawmakers left the Hemiciclo without hearing them, another proof of the respect they feel for the people they claim to represent.
The lawmakers left because they went to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice to file an appeal of annulment against the National Assembly, so that they invalidate all of Parliament’s acts: “Nothing the Assembly does will have any effect until they respect the Constitution. There’s no political trial against the president in Venezuela, because the Venezuelan political system is presidential, not parliamentary,” said Héctor Rodríguez, considering Parliament’s recent actions as a double constitutional crime, and then making “a call to stop golpismo.” Brilliant. Meanwhile, this impartial tribunal ruled in favor of Venezuela’s Permanent Representative before the UN, Rafael Ramírez -oh, surprise!- and banned the AN from investigating or accusing him for the $11,000 he embezzled.
The Foreign Affairs ministry issued a statement to express its rejection for the group of Foreign Affairs ministers who constitute the bloc and who met in Cartagena to discuss Venezuela’s situation and decide whether to apply the Democratic Charter and its sanctions. The statement begins by claiming that Venezuela is “in full exercise of the temporary Presidency” and assuming that whatever’s decided in that meeting they didn’t convene “would take place out of the bloc’s legitimacy, and its consequences would be null and void.” Arrogance, or madness? They should review the motion passed in Peru’s Congress condemning the coup d’Etat and the statement issued by the 25 former presidents demanding the OAS to protect Venezuelan democracy.
“Could people like them (the opposition) rule this country?”, Nicolás asked in his cadena. Whoever comes will be a statesman by default, after him.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.