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 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.


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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    • I agree. They have a nice breezy style. Naky’s do have more content and substance. But, Carlos’s briefings still provide the important points in a manner that reminds us that today’s static picture is only one frame of a moving and evolving story.

  1. From Wikipedia:

    The Story of the Prodigy (La Chinita)

    One day in November, 1709 (or 1749 according to other versions of the story), a woman, washing her clothes by the shore of Lake Maracaibo saw a small wooden tablet floating towards her. She picked it up thinking it might be of some use and took it home with her, along with the clothes. The following morning, while preparing coffee, she heard knocks as if somebody was calling her. She went to see what had happened and was astonished to see the tablet shining, with the image of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá now upon it. In a variant of the tradition, the woman first saw no more than the outline of the Virgin on the tablet, and for this reason hung it on a wall of her house; later, on Monday, 18 November, she heard knocking and strange noises coming from inside her house, and upon investigation found the tablet dazzlingly bright, illuminated by lights which shone like a rainbow. Surprised and filled with a strong emotion, she ran out of her house, shouting “Milagro! Milagro!” – hence the name “El Milagro” (which means Miracle in Spanish) given to the avenue where this woman’s house stood. Later on, many people arrived to witness the prodigy.[6]

    From that day on, the inhabitants of the state of Zulia in Venezuela, where Maracaibo is situated, found their Queen in what they call the “Chinita”. As it has been expressed by many people, “She is the way that leads to Jesus”. To this day, the tablet, still bearing the image on it, can be seen in the Basilica of Maracaibo.

    Legend has it that the government decided that the wood with the image belonged in the capital city, Caracas. So they ordered it moved. As the soldiers following the order carried the image away from Maracaibo it got heavier and heavier until finally no one could lift it. They returned it to the Basilica of Maracaibo where it has remained since.


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