On the eve of the 23rd

Your daily briefing for Monday, January 23, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The removal of Nélson Merentes as head of the Central Bank (BVC) was made official this Sunday, and Nicolás replaced him with PSUV lawmaker for Táchira state, Ricardo Sanguino, “so that the BCV can spearhead the fight,” because Merentes “handed him” his resignation letter. The guy who writes the messages for official bots on Twitter made a serious mistake and changed his name —surely a product of the moment’s excitement— making “Ricardo Sandino” a trending topic.

Who is Ricardo Sanguino?

In 2007 Sanguino said it was nonsense to think that Venezuela had the highest inflation in the world, because ‘consumption patterns in our country are different from those abroad.’

This economist is the longest-serving re-elected PSUV lawmaker in the National Assembly, and he headed the Committee of Finance for ten years. Among his most representative merits, Sanguino is responsible for freeing the government of any responsability regarding our country’s crisis, while he claims that Dolar Today is behind inflation; he defends the discourse of the economic war; he supports the creation of FONDEN and the monetary reconversion (saying that prices would plummet in five years). He also thinks that the opposition are the enemy of the people’s enemy that corruption in CADIVI was fostered by the government’s indulgence, because not only does he support controls, but he also advocates for harsher restrictions. In 2007, he said that it was nonsense to think that Venezuela had the highest inflation in the world, because “consumption structures in our country are different from those abroad” and, just recently, he stated that the bolívar hasn’t depreciated with the new banknotes.

His designation is evidence of an increasingly radicalized chavismo, and a boost to anyone’s depression.

Misión carnetización

Nicolás talked about covering needs and having the opportunity to “know the real truth” through the polls before the apartheID card’s issuance, right when journalist Aitor Sáez from Deutsche Welle in Spanish was deported, visa and all, after being held in Maiquetía Airport for three hours by PNB authorities, who refused to explain why he was being deported. Nicolás admitted that the ID card issuance process is meant to keep a record of loyalists, that there are many problems to solve and that the country will keep on, while he holds on to power. He’s been using that phrase a lot lately, perhaps it’s some sort of self-help mantra.

Nicolás admitted that the ID card issuance process is meant to keep a record of loyalists.

Declaring himself a pitcher, member of both a rock band and a salsa group where he used to tuned instruments, he danced to the beat of the Dimensión Latina and promised tears for National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges, repeating the nickname he chose to avoid using his name: “Cejota.” According to him, the dialogue (that hasn’t happened) is going well, and even though his agenda is packed with agreements made in November 2016 that remain unfulfilled, he remarked that there’s a document that’s being studied by both sides. I hope Mgr. Aldo Giordano was listening when he said: “We now have devils in robes, if you take their robes off, you lay their rot bare”; respect and coherence, you know.

Best friends

Nicolás wants good relations with Donald Trump, “the best political, energy and economic relations” but always based on respect, communication and non-meddling with internal issues. Thats’s why he wishes the best for the US and hopes his government -including political and economic elites- will be able to build cooperation alliances with all of America. At least he remembered that el finado had similar expectations with Barack Obama and he failed, but still he hopes that Trump will correct Bush and Obama’s mistakes.

Tillerson remarked that the US must continue supporting legitimate dialogue to solve the political crisis.

Remember that Nicolás had said that Donald Trump had been the target of a hate campaign, so yesterday he expressed concern for polarization and the possibility of a confrontation between American citizens. Obviously, nobody in his communications team —whom he accused of being debbie downers— had given him a summary of Rex Tillerson’s statements.

Don’t expect so much

US State Secretary Rex Tillerson said during an interview that he’ll join with other international actors, in search for a democratic transition in our country: “I think we are in full agreement as to the calamity that has befallen Venezuela, largely a product of its incompetent and dysfunctional government —first under Hugo Chavez, and now under his designated successor, Nicolas Maduro. (…) I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela.”

Tillerson remarked that the US must continue supporting legitimate dialogue to solve the political crisis; denouncing Nicolás’ anti-democratic policies, demanding the release of political and reinforcing sanctions against Human Rights abusers and drug traffickers. Ay, Delcy!

Public scorn for a proof of life

Prisons minister Iris Varela published images on Twitter of lawmaker Gilber Caro, with the caption: “Fascists imagined that we’d do what they do. We treat him with dignity despite his crimes.” With his head shaved off, after eleven days of being held along his girlfriend, Steicy Escalona, Varela talks about “crimes” even though the lawmaker hasn’t been indicted, unlike his girlfriend, who is accused of alleged rebellion and stealing military equipment.

Not to be outdone in the cynicism race, Ombudsman Tarek William Saab claimed that lawmaker Caro’s rights have been respected, although he adds that “no prisoner should be isolated.” In brief: they breach his parliamentary immunity, they isolate him and they send him to a common prison, but they’ve respected his rights. Both the minister and the Ombudsman are aware that sending him to the 26 de julio prison in Guárico could put the parliamentarian’s life in danger, but according to Saab, the Ombudsman’s Office has established communication with justice Maikel Moreno and the head of the Military Court to guarantee Caro the right to due process.

Pérez Jiménez was trending throughout this Sunday.

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.