La Chinita

Today is the day of La Chinita, the virgin matron of Zulia. Commemorating a miracle that happened 307 years ago seems to me a great way to start a day in Venezuela.

The TSJ

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice stated yesterday that “protesting is not an absolute right, and it does admit limitations”. Newsflash: this isn’t a newsflash. Protesting has never been an absolute right. For example, if I’m upset that the streetlight at my corner isn’t working, I can organize a protest. What I can’t do, however, is break the law in my protesting or significantly limit other people’s rights with it. Which is why we’re not supposed to close down streets for long periods of time, as it limits others’ right of transit. See? Limits. This does not in any way mean the Government has the right to arbitrarily prohibit some protests or some areas of the country.

The CNE

Candidates have started to emerge to substitute Socorro Hernández as rector of the CNE. Out of the 17 presented candidates, four of them were denounced for having partisan ties. Many NGO’s, including UCAB’s Center for Political Studies, made their criticism public, along with several other recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Government

Datanálisis published some poll numbers yesterday, according to which Nicolás Maduro’s administration faces 78,5% disapproval. This easily explains why, according to the Venezuelan Observatory for Social Conflict, there have been 5.772 protests as of November 2016. Food, housing, and political and work rights are the main focus of most protests. Quick translation: it’s a fact that nobody likes the government and we protest about everything.

But why?

“they thought they were above the law. They acted with impunity because of who they and their family were”

Just a quick addition to the long list of reasons our government fails us. Yesterday, Lorenzo Mendoza was held up at Barquisimeto by the National Institute of Civil Aviation for no apparent reason. Mendoza was heading to Ecuador as a special guest of their Chamber of Commerce, who rescheduled the meeting in solidarity. He called for the government to stop the persecution (good luck with that), and reminded all that Polar offered some agreements to keep corn production up, which the government has alternatively ignored or failed to uphold, resulting in our imminent end of Harina Pan supply.

Yesterday marked the end of the arguments phase in Efraín Campo and Franqui Flores’s (the infamous Narcosobrinos) trial. Closing statements included prosecutor Brendan Quigley’s remark that “they thought they were above the law. They acted with impunity because of who they and their family were.” It now lays with the jury. El Pitazo has the full story.

And the opposition

Not everything worth celebrating is a victory. I say this because yesterday, Rosmit Montilla was finally released from his unjust political imprisonment. I believe this is definitely worth celebrating, specially for those close to Rosmit. But I do not, in any form, believe that the release of one political prisoner taken in 2014 is a victory in a year which has seen over a hundred new political prisoners being taken.

And lastly, the Marcha de los Récipes took place yesterday. Opposition political parties, NGO’s, Civil Society organizations and, most importantly, many personally affected individuals, marched to the Nunciatura Apostólica to stress the importance of their demand that the humanitarian channel be open, and aid be accepted. Maybe eventually these gestures will open mediators’ eyes. I sure hope so.

It actually seems like a not-so-particularly-chaotic day for Venezuelan standards. So I suggest we all enjoy our Friday. Here’s to you, Chinita.

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