To Stir Miraflores

Your daily briefing for Friday, November 4, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Friday, November 4, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

They will never come in here again, not by hook or by crook, not with votes or with bullets will they set foot in Miraflores again, no volverán.

“They will never come in here again, not by hook or by crook, not with votes or with bullets will they set foot in Miraflores again, no volverán.” A phrase worthy of the guy who accompanied the exploration meeting for dialogue for just 10 minutes. Sadly, he forgot to mention that Reporters Without Borders included him in their list of Predators of Press Freedom, where Venezuela ranks 139th out of 180 countries in the World Ranking 2016 for this right. Neither did he mention that he lied, that aguinaldos will -hopefully- be paid on November 15th, and in two parts, but he invested a lot of effort convincing the rest of the PSUV that dialogue is irrelevant for him.

One absurdity after another

Nicolás claimed that the opposition’s looking for excuses to leave negotiations -while the PSUV sabotages them-, as if the opposition were holding a gun and the exercise weren’t an attempt to solve the profound political, institutional and sociall crisis affecting the country, remarking that only he guarantees the opposition’s political rights. He asked for patience and wisdom during dialogue, criticizing the ultimatum issued by the Democratic Unity Roundtable: “They can’t say they want results in ten days,” adding that he’s received letters of solidarity from other countries -but mentioning none- because he’s one of the most hardworking presidents, that’s why abandonment of office doesn’t apply to him.

He insulted Harvard professor Ricardo Hausmann to justify the economic crisis, calling him a fraud, a failure and a traitor, openly demanding his arrest and trial for sabotaging chavismo’s extraordinary economic policies. “We’re the only country in the world that pays $60 billion, which is an extremely high percentage, that is absolutely solvent, financially, politically, institutionally, morally, and criminal risk asessment firms increase its risk as a country,” said Nicolás, saying nothing about political instability, the economic breakdown, oil dependency or the loss of our international reserves. A detail: according to Nicolás, a house is built in Venezuela every three minutes.

The MUD’s demands

Sucre mayor Carlos Ocariz revealed the demands that will be presented on November 11th, which make a stark contrast with Nicolás’s statements:

– The electoral solution: “We’ve proposed two ways: the reactivation of the presidential recall or early elections,” adding that in elections, the commitment of both sides is a “very short-term” solution, and also an agreement to hold parliamentary elections in Amazonas again.

– The release of political prisoners, the return of exiles and the end of political persecution.

– Restoring Public Powers, mainly the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) and the National Electoral Council (CNE.) Additionally, returning authority to the Legislative Branch, which includes overruling the contempt declared by the TSJ against the AN.

– Tending for the victims of humanitarian crisis, expecting the promotion of an urgent initiative to find support for the supply of food and medicine. The government also blocks chances in this area, because it was reported this Wednesday that half of the three-ton shipment of medicines sent by Chile in August -and which has been held by the government since then at the Venezuelan port of La Guaira- have already expired.

Ocariz said that the MUD will be clear with their information they have on the dialogue process, as well as with any results deriving from it, adding: “We’re here to promote respect for the will of a country that wants elections, and if we see at some point that this isn’t happening, we’ll denounce it.”


The Nuncio doesn’t watch presidential cadenas

While Twitter users reported that armed groups had broken into the Catholic University of Táchira’s old building to attack the students, in Caracas, university students marched from Libertador avenue to the Apostolic Nunciature, to deliver to its representative, Mgr. Aldo Giordano, a document with their demands regarding the restitution of the constitutional order: the release of all political prisoners, an electoral schedule, the end of persecution against political leaders and students, and improving the supply of food and medicines. In response, the Nuncio expressed Pope Francis’s love and consideration towards Venezuela and his concern for the country’s crisis, remarking that dialogue is a valid instrument to resolve conflicts and emphasizing that it’s important for the country’s political actors to tone down the rhetoric. The Nuncio doesn’t watch presidential cadenas.

The narconephews’ trial

Efraín Campos Flores y Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, the presidential couple’s nephews, attended their last day of hearings before the start of the trial on Monday, November 7th. The guys who pleaded not guilty have been in prison without the right to bail for almost a year. 12 out of 90 people interviewed will unanimously decide whether the nephews are guilty of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States, in a trial that won’t take more than two weeks, according to judge Paul Crotty.

Journalist Jessica Carrillo explains that the defense was nearly denied even breathing air, because in view of their request for certain subjects not to be discussed during the trial through the use of in limine motions -instruments to forbid the introduction of evidence that could be more damaging than revealing-, the judge will allow the presentation of evidence of the nephews’ wealth and power; disclosing that the drug came from the FARC; using Campos Flores’s confession regarding the money’s destination -allegedly, Cilia Flores’s AN campaign- and the confession of a confidant for the DEA who identified the substance he was shown during a meeting in Venezuela in August, 2015, as cocaine.

Nicolás can block any possibility for change, but he can’t reverse his lack of credibility and his rejection levels; he can’t deny that tension in the streets keeps increasing: people are hungry.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.