For Thursday, December 08, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
January 13th, 2017, the date repeated throughout this Wednesday. The day went by and nobody explained what Mgr. Claudio Celli meant when he talked about the evident positive results of the dialogue this Tuesday, nor why was it pertinent for public powers to abstain from making decisions that could affect the dialogue that hasn’t happened. Few mentioned the poor words of UNASUR’s secretary general Ernesto Samper, most of them to mock his demand for a media ceasefire and his appeal to avoid institutional proselytism or partisanship. Sadly, these demands come with a 17-year delay.
This Wednesday, a group of nine Latin American Foreign Affairs ministers issued a statement requesting the continuation of dialogue. They obviously don’t live with the risk of dying due to crime or starvation, as if media peace could mark the route of the medicines that will be “borrowed” to the country or mitigate the current 378% of overcrowding in our prisons.
Repeating what we know
there’s no reason for political prisoners not to be released this very week, along with the establishment of an electoral schedule that includes presidential elections, the opening of a humanitarian channel and respect for the Legislative Branch’s authority
Jesús Chúo Torrealba, head of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, repeated that the opposition when negotiate with government representatives until the Executive Branch complies with the agreements established in previous meetings. The MUD doesn’t agree with holding the next meeting on January 13th: “because there’s no reason for political prisoners not to be released this very week, along with the establishment of an electoral schedule that includes presidential elections, the opening of a humanitarian channel and respect for the Legislative Branch’s authority,” he said, adding that the other difference they have with the statement issued by the mediators is that they didn’t demand institutions to fulfill their duties, and they didn’t recognize this regime as a dictatorship, so the government must be pressured to comply.
Sucre mayor Carlos Ocariz repeated that the dialogue must have results and that Venezuelans can’t afford the time that UNASUR’s representatives have: “We won’t play the delay game, so they can find excuse after excuse not to answer to the people, we won’t accept that,” and emphasized that they’ll go to any event if there are agreements; if there aren’t any, they won’t. Ocariz said that the MUD will keep talking with Vatican representatives and the rest of the mediators, but not with the government, remarking that the opposition complied with the agreements reached in the two first meetings of negotiations.
If it’s about repeating
Foreign Affairs minister Delcy Rodríguez restated that Venezuela’s still a member of Mercosur and denied that the country had been eliminated or expelled from the institution, remarking that Venezuela’s currently presiding Mercosur, as the law demands. If we were talking about mere wishes, Mark Ruffalo would be my lover. But he’s not aware or interested, and there’s a long etcetera of impossible events that must take place for my wish to make sense. According to Delcy, Venezuela has been the only country that has fulfilled Mercosur’s laws, the only State that complies with the Protocol of Montevideo regarding the commitment with democracy. Do you need any more cynicism?
Corruption without prescription
The National Assembly’s Comptrollership Committee approved the final report on File 1506, regarding the investigation on alleged administrative irregularities committed during the construction and repair of hospitals under Eugenia Sader’s tender. The Committee recommends declaring former minister Sader’s political responsibility due to several irregularities, from hiring companies not registered with the National Contractors Registry, to embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, estimating the damage to public property at $ 1,522,353,981 in unfinished works. Sader was also Director of Hospitals and the head of several institutions under the Ministry, among them the Foundation of Hospital Buildings and Supplies, charged with performing repairs and building new health care facilities. Wonderful.
He explained that health care facilities have only 3% of the required surgical materials, so citizens must buy the materials themselves in order to be attended: “patients are required to buy gauze, serums and even food. It’s a disguised privatization of the health system in Venezuela,”
The head of the Venezuelan Medical Federation (FMV,) Douglas León Natera said that the country faces a health care crisis due to the shortage of supplies, medicines and economic resources in hospitals and ambulatories. He explained that health care facilities have only 3% of the required surgical materials, so citizens must buy the materials themselves in order to be attended: “patients are required to buy gauze, serums and even food. It’s a disguised privatization of the health system in Venezuela,” adding that the government doesn’t allow clinics the access to foreign currency they require to purchase the medicines they need. León Natera demanded the Executive Branch to allow the opening of a humanitarian channel and offered the FMV’s building to be used as a collection center.
Nizar El Fakih, Yon Goicoechea’s lawyer, denounced that once again, the Bolivarian Service of National Intelligence (SEBIN) has ignored a court ruling for the release of a political prisoner. The autonomy with which the political police operates is beyond anything we have seen thus far, which makes the circumstances of the regime’s newest scapegoats, the six Credicard technicians arrested to support a hoax, all the more terrifying; additionally, we have the aggravating statements issued by lawmaker Hugbel Roa, who’s willing to earn some points by demanding punishment for those responsible for the “cyber-attack,” the same one he’s unable to explain. Meanwhile, Nicolás can surely ask for civil wars in his name.
The government has failed its commitments with the opposition and the dialogue’s mediators. The mediators’ diplomatic effort to recognize progress in an empty process, infuriates even the most indifferent, because the crisis doesn’t stop, because they can change the bills but not the wages. The Vatican provides some semblance of trust to the process, but if the necessary measures aren’t taken, no crucifix can stop despair or hopelessness, not until that distant, barren and useless January 13th, so out of touch with the issues affecting Venezuelans.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.