A cashless country

For Friday, December 16, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Nicolás imposes another cadena to say that the Colombian-Venezuelan border will remain closed for another 72 hours. He also confirmed the reduction of the period available to exchange Bs.100 banknotes in the Central Bank (from 10 to 5 days,) the arrival to the country of a shipment of 76 billion Bs.50 bills (which will soon circulate as coins); he showed the Bs. 500 bills while claiming that these and the rest of the new bills will start circulating “in the next few weeks” (not hours or days) and limited the -2% VAT incentive for electronic transactions to 60 days (because someone briefed him on how poor tax collection is right now.)

The economic arena is weakest field, but we have excellent performance in everything else.

-Aristóbuo Isturiz

According to Nicolás, the hurried operation to remove Bs.100 bills from circulation has been successful and he said that 2016 is closing “in crescendo.” He had the nerve to rename Banesco as “Socialist and Communist National Bank,” is he threatening to nationalize them? His best phrase in the cadena, was a short description of the PSUV: “Mafias want to thrive on other people’s work, other people’s wealth, other people’s sacrifice.” Starting yesterday night, Venezuela’s a cashless country.

More threats

Diosdado Cabello, the lawmaker with the highest non-attendance record, claimed this Thursday that the National Assembly won’t be installed on January 5th, 2017, because it remains in contempt, for not complying with the Supreme Tribunal of Justice’s decisions and added: “Be careful, you may end up in prison this Christmas for usurping authority.” He also spoke of 1,200 million Bs.100 bills that have been confiscated, of the sovereign decision to close the border and of the attack against Delcy Rodríguez, saying: “If Argentina’s ambassador in Venezuela had a little dignity and decency, he would’ve already packed and left Venezuela.” Dignity and decency, the joke is on him.

Let the Pope know

Amidst the financial chaos we’ve suffered this week, the ornamental vice-president, Aristóbulo Istúriz, claimed that PSUV has plans to build the socialist economic model -with a 17 year delay- and since they want productivity and the opposition wants “the oil rent model,” confrontation is inevitable: “There will be conflict with or without dialogue, today the fight develops in the economic arena,” adding that this is their weakest field, but they have excellent performance in everything else.

No appointment

That’s 60 laws in total, which is a satisfactory number compared with the previous Assembly.

-Herny Ramos Allup

The National Assembly had to suspend the appointment of a National Electoral Council authority and his replacements because they lacked the quorum to perform a valid vote. The election required the majority (109 out of 163 parliamentarians,) but there were only 106 when the appointment process started in the Hemiciclo. The missing lawmakers were Adolfo Superlano (UNT-Barinas,) William Barrientos (UNT-Zulia,) and Ricardo Fernández (Acción Democrática-Zulia,) plus the entire chavista caucus. Despite the fact that the Assembly is in “permanent session,” they didn’t set either date or time for the next meeting.

Balance and conclusion

AN Speaker Henry Ramos Allup made a balance of Parliament’s performance this year. He highlighted that they’ve approved 17 laws, but there are 31 laws approved in first discussion with reports ready for the second round of voting: “That’s 60 laws in total, which is a satisfactory number compared with the previous Assembly,” adding the 109 agreements approved in plenary concerning various matters, including the numerous administrative irregularities that were notified to the Comptroller’s Office. Ramos Allup cautioned that the government is threatening with not publishing in the Official Gazette the appointment of the new AN board to be elected on January 5th.

Un Nuevo Tejemaneje (UNT)

Lawmaker Enrique Márquez -first vice-president of the AN and head of UNT- announced that his party will investigate the lawmakers who didn’t attend to this Thursday’s plenary to establish “the extent of their responsibility or irresponsibility,” remarking that he was unaware of the reason for their absence. Although a few real pieces of work have left this organization in the past -to join chavismo-, Heliodoro Quintero, William Ojeda and Ricardo Sánchez, and despite the distrust caused by the opacity with which Timoteo Zambrano has participated in the failed dialogue, Márquez was furious for the “systematic campaign against UNT.”

It takes mettle and auctoritas for MUD to reorganize, to overcome their mutual mistrust and the pre-distribution of the power they’ve still yet to conquer precisely because they compete among themselves.

Nobody needs to villify an organization with such an obviously weak track record, but the fact that a spokesperson from any other of MUD’s parties feels he (yes, he) has the moral authority to complain about this, is lepe-worthy. All parties have made inexcusable mistakes of all kinds. It takes mettle and auctoritas to reorganize, to overcome their mutual mistrust and the pre-distribution of the power they’ve still yet to conquer precisely because they compete among themselves.

Denying diplomacy

Venezuela denounced Mercosur before the OAS. Delcy claimed that the country still holds Mercosur’s temporary presidency and that the government dismisses Argentina’s “self-appointment,” complaining that Paraguay “has concealed the number of Mercosur’s rules that Venezuela has incorporated.” She remarked that this Wednesday’s attack was “a personal revenge” of Argentinian president Mauricio Macri. Laugh or cry, your choice.


The US State Department issued a new travel alert about Venezuela for the “violent crimes, social disturbances and omnipresent shortage of food and medicines” that the country’s experiencing, remarking that the political and security situation is “unpredictable and could change rapidly,” recommending US citizens to be prepared to cover their needs and to leave the country if the situation worsens. They also caution that this could disturb the services provided by their embassy.

Chavista Calixto Ortega abstained from voting in the TSJ’s decision recognizing the equality of children born in same-sex families. The government banned the film “El Inca” because the story damages the boxer’s honor, according to his family. Today’s depreciation: the Simadi exchange rate closed at Bs. 674.53 per dollar this Thursday; meanwhile, Cuba proposes paying its debt with the Czech Republic with rum. Venezuelans will have to do something like that these cashless days.

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.