After all we’ve been discussing lately, with the government not showing up to the dialogue worktables and questioning the upcoming meeting on December 6th, some are concluding that the dialogue is coming to an end. Now, why would that happen?

To Reform PDVSA

this is a company whose production, from 1999 to today, has gone from 3.3 million barrels to 2.6, while the payroll has gone from 44.500 to 139.000 workers

President Maduro said in cadena that PDVSA needs to be renewed; rid of corruption. Bear in mind that this is a company whose production, from 1999 to today, has gone from 3.3 million barrels to 2.6, while the payroll has gone from 44.500 to 139.000 workers, and the corporate debt went from 3.4 million dollars to over $100.000 million.

The reason? Simple enough. Not only did El Intergaláctico terminate a few thousand of the most skilled PDVSA workers back in 2003. Now, 100.000 PDVSA workers are PSUV militants, whether they’re actually part of the labour force or just on the payroll. But sure, a more PSUV-style, obrero reform is needed.

The “Confiscated” Meds

Caritas replied yesterday, saying that they took all the necessary steps to withdraw the medicines, and that they found out about their confiscation, like everyone else, through Twitter

I know it’s a lost cause to try and explain legal terms in this country, but let’s try it anyways. SENIAT argued that the shipment of medicines which arrived at the Puerto La Guaira for a catholic charity, Caritas, were abandoned. They argued that Caritas did not present the proper documents to withdraw the shipment in time.

This isn’t the same as expropriating the shipment, and it really is more subtle. However, Caritas replied yesterday, saying that they took all the necessary steps to withdraw the medicines, and that they found out about their confiscation, like everyone else, through Twitter. I wonder if this comes as a revelation to the Church as to who they’re working with, or if they’ll continue to look the other way.

Crime and Punishment

Remember the Cariaco massacre we mentioned last week? Where 9 fishermen were murdered in Sucre state for no apparent reason. Well, the people of Cariaco have been protesting, and finally five people have been arrested. We hope the victim’s families at least get some justice.

Efecto Cocuyo also reports that at least 12 State security force officials were involved in various crimes in a single day, ranging from gun theft to asociación para delinquir. It’s not shocking, but it could come as a relief to see some of them get caught.

Cash and no cash

SUNDDE President William Contreras said yesterday that they’ll sanction businesses who offer cash advances for their customers, calling it an act of tax evasion. This on the same month that banks were told they could give out a maximum of less than 5 dollars in cash daily. Translation: “we burnt out all of the country’s cash and it’s your fault, so bow to our crazy regulations or face our wrath.” You have to wonder at which point someone looks up and asks “hey, how about not doing more of the same thing for a change?”.

But while citizens have no access to cash anymore (or food, or medicines, or anything realy), we do have Suena Caracas. That’s right, the government’s annual concert is alive and well, with a budget of two million dollars. It seems as though the usual panem et circenses has been replaced by just circenses.

Two sides of prison

a picture of Braulio Jatar was made public yesterday, showing how his health and appearance have been deeply affected. Braulio is just one of over 100 political prisoners taken in 2016 with no legal justification

While the Narcosobrinos have already been deemed guilty, their actual sentence is still a few months away. One can infer that it’ll be affected by how much they’re willing to cooperate with the US government, and who they’re willing to throw under the bus. However, some experts agree that it’ll swing between 20 and 30 years. Funny, that’s about how long we’ve been prisoners too. High five!

Lastly, a picture of journalist and political prisoner Braulio Jatar was made public yesterday, showing how his health and appearance have been deeply affected. Braulio is just one of over 100 political prisoners taken in 2016 with no legal justification. But we expect the government’s good faith.

Endure, compatriots. We’ll endure.

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Carlos is a Law and Liberal Arts student at Universidad Metropolitana, and a teacher of Philosophy, Entrepreneurship, and Public Speaking at Instituto Cumbres de Caracas. MetroMUNer (@MetroMUN) and VOXista (@voxistas). But really, he's just an overcompensating, failed singer-songwriter.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Fidel Castro’s death means nothing from a consideration of political tactics. However, it comes at a time when the pendulum in LatAm politics is very clearly swinging towards the right of the political spectrum, so his death is of very symbolic importance marking the “end of an era”.

  2. Let me explain some things about the narco-nephews. First of all, they are not going to sing now. That is not in the cards (por ahora).

    The nephews do have the knowledge to potentially indict the leadership. The nephews are capos in the Maduro-Flores cocaine cartel. However, the type of deal I’m referring to requires new identities, witness protection program, and a new life. We are not there yet. Such a deal has to be approved by the president of the U.S. The nephews have not reached this point and are not even aware of this option. The U.S. government and the administration OTOH are viewing this case strictly as law-enforcement matter and are not pursuing other options (por ahora). We may never get there IOW.

    The nephews case opened a Pandora’s box when U.S. citizen Josh Holt was detained and falsely accused by SEBIN. The U.S. government was caught unprepared for this event (despite warnings). By treating the nephews as law-enforcement matter the U.S. is not framing the hostage taking in the proper context. At times it seems Josh Holt is an inconvenience to the higher-ups at State Dept. who mistakenly thought they could try to get Josh back by asking (and not giving anything in return). State Dept. officials failed to properly assess and interpret the situation. State Dept. officials failed to properly frame and prioritize the hostage taking of a U.S. citizen by a State actor.

    One reason for the U.S. hostage is to keep the narco-nephews from talking. The nephews need hope. They need to believe that momma Cilia and uncle Nick are going to get them out. Josh Holt and potentially other Americans are the key to that.

    Today the mighty Unites States is being slapped around by decrepit State actor. Justice has not been served in the case of the narco-nephews. The incoming Trump adminstration can take the ball and roll with it or they can ignore it. Whatever happens, Venezuela has set itself up should the U.S. decide to scapegoat the regime. Cocaine trafficking and hostage taking are indefensible actions.

  3. The drug trafficking may be the key to US involvement in Venezuelan affairs. That is what finally triggered the invasion of Panama.
    The thugs with guns that think they are an army will shit their pants and cry like babies when confronted by US soldiers.
    I have campaigned for US assistance to the opposition in Venezuela. The answer I keep getting is that the Venezuelan people elected Maduro and they have to work this out.
    The opposition needs to petition the OAS members for direct assistance. This would be be the avenue that US aid could flow to opposition forces. The drug smuggling that is being facilitated by the Maduro regime is effecting many OAS member countries.
    This is the narrative that must be repeated until other countries decide to assist you in your struggles. Peaceful opposition will not work.

  4. There are quite a few paralell US Govt investigations going on at the same time which target both narcotrafficking and money laundering and corruption inside the regime, there are quite a few former venezuelan officials with direct knowledge of these matters which are even now helping the US investigative teams with their investigations , the narconephews case is just one of them ……the scope of these paralell investigations is broad and deep, they dovetail with the language which the Obama administration ADDED to the language of the sanctions which came from congress …..making the object of the sanctions legally more open and potentially damaging than the original . Dont think the above has ocurred by pure happenstance , instead I think there is method behind all these measures , that the US Govt is carefully preparing a host of potential lines of attack which they will in due time choose to use at the most opportune time (i.e.at the most damaging time)

    The regime knows this , they are aware of their vulnerability , their almost savage response to the repatriation threat of the consul to Aruba is a sign of this, so is their taking an innocent american citizen as a hostage…..,

    The US govt is not the only one preparing itself for future highly damaging attacks against the regime , there are other powerful interests which are covertly and quietly advancing their own plans , this regime has in 17 tears accumulated quite a few very powerful and even unscrupolous enemies , these are working full time to discredit the regime everyway they can without showing themselves. Whatever happens has a legal face or a financial face but the intent is clear , they mean to harm the regime until it breaks down and topples …!!

    Its a big chess board out there and many pieces and games being played at the same time ………!!

    People forget that there are some 7 billion USD still to be paid these next 12 months and Pdvsa is showing a total breakdown it is capacity to continue operations , this game hasnt yet played to its full potentials ……!!

    Lets not overestimate the importance of the narconephew case and where it can go from here, paraphrasing an old venezuelan saying ‘there are many stripes in that tiger’……

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