For Tuesday, January 24, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Let’s keep in mind that the CNE violated the Constitution by refusing to hold gubernatorial elections in December 2016 and decided they would hold them in the first half of 2017. So far, they haven’t set a date, and the opposition demands the right to vote in the 59th anniversary of the end of Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s dictatorship, the second-to-last in our history

Following the protocol of abuse of power, the government deployed checkpoints in all accesses to Caracas, closed several Metro stations, and the National Police along with the National Guard blocked the access to National Electoral Council offices in several states of the country with the excuse of protecting them, as if protection meant restricting the right to protest. But blocking transit wasn’t the regime’s worst attack in some states. Let’s keep in mind that the CNE violated the Constitution by refusing to hold gubernatorial elections in December 2016 and decided they would hold them in the first half of 2017. So far, they haven’t set a date, and the opposition demands the right to vote in the 59th anniversary of the end of Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s dictatorship, the second-to-last in our history. Following the script, the only non-chavista CNE authority, Luis Emilio Rondón, went to Libertador avenue, to the police blockade that stopped the march’s progress and received the Agreement sanctioned by the National Assembly last week. Rondón expects that “the CNE’s board will discuss the electoral schedule in the coming days.” That’s what he tweeted, at least.

Tension

2016 is summed up by the frustration of an expected change and survival through a crushing crisis, so most people would want the opposition to stop making promises they can’t keep, to consolidate around a real political alliance and to focus on relieving us from a dictatorship instead of posing for pictures for any international news agency

It’s been exhausting to read reactions on social networks all day long, regarding the marches and their results; regarding the MUD and their role. Spice it up with the release of the proposal presented to the MUD and the government by UNASUR mediators for the dialogue -that hasn’t happened-, and you’ll get the worst possible atmosphere to recall even a whiff of Democracy. Try to read the proposal. It’s disgraceful. A shove for the opposition to disengage from dialogue altogether, an absurdity that has only contributed to confusing the international community, the same one that assumes there’s been some progress between the parties, when we’re actually worse now. 2016 is summed up by the frustration of an expected change and survival through a crushing crisis, so most people would want the opposition to stop making promises they can’t keep, to consolidate around a real political alliance and to focus on relieving us from a dictatorship instead of posing for pictures for any international news agency. Acción Democrática already issued a statement refusing to sign the mediators’ proposal, many parties are yet to express their position and make a good case about how gubernatorial elections will help solve the people’s daily issues.

Broken on many fronts

The Basic Food Basket’s price rose to Bs. 544,990.78 in December, which means that “in order to pay for food in a five-member household, people would need to earn Bs. 18,166.35 daily,” according to Cendas. This Monday, we also had the report released by Baker Hughes Oil Services, which says that PDVSA’s oil drill availability was down by 37% in 2016, with a significant reduction of land equipment, seafloor drilling capacity, oil drilling machines and the lack of equipment to extract gas. That’s why the International Monetary Fund said this Monday that Venezuela “continues to experience a profound economic crisis that edges closer to hyperinflation” due to fiscal deficit and economic restrictions -not surprising-, estimating a marked economic contraction -with the GDP dropping by 6%- and accelerated inflation in 2017.

Denouncing torture

Now they add other victims, institutions involved and authorities who participated in alleged torture, among them former Defense and Presidential Office minister, Carmen Meléndez; Aragua governor and vice-president Tareck El Aissami, and generals Néstor Reverol and Gustavo González López

The Casla Institute of Prague, a platform for Latin American studies in the Czech Republic, presented new cases of alleged torture in Venezuela before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, according to its director, Tamara Sujú. In July 2016, Casla presented the first “report on emblematic torture cases and methods used in Venezuela between 2002 and 2016,” with 55 documented cases of abuses and cruel treatment. Now they add other victims, institutions involved and authorities who participated in alleged torture, among them former Defense and Presidential Office minister, Carmen Meléndez; Aragua governor and vice-president Tareck El Aissami, and generals Néstor Reverol and Gustavo González López. The document also mentions the Anti-Coup Command, explaining that it has carried out “a new wave of persecution and intimidation and already has six new political prisoners.”

Fabricio and renewed grudges

Chavismo’s excuse to hold their own event this January 23rd, was taking the remains of politician and guerilla man Fabricio Ojeda to the National Pantheon. It was an unnecessary show of cynicism to have Diosdado Cabello and Tareck El Aissami carry the remains of the guy they consider a memorable martyr for having been tortured, as well as the words of praise for “Ojeda’s fight” in the mouths of the people responsible for the loss of guarantees and liberties, those who destroyed our democracy. Mum Ra’s brother, José Vicente Rangel, famous for his resourcefulness, decided to speak against the bourgeoisie and the oligarchy; condemning enemies and traitors, while he claimed that Ojeda was the real strategist behind January 23rd events, that he rose against institutions of the Fourth Republic -not against the Armed Forces- and before speaking about Pérez Jiménez’s dictatorship, he chose to renew the grudge against political parties, the same that el finado capitalized so well in his hayday. When you have the chance, read the Supreme Tribunal of Justice’s decision that, with the excuse of the National Assembly’s “contempt,“ establishes that National Pantheon honors can be granted by the president, a way of forcing the show to go on and destroying yet another institution.

In his record restricting free journalism, Nicolás can now boast that the newspaper El Nuevo País, 29 years after its foundation, has stopped circulating on a daily basis and has now become a weekly publication due to lack of paper.

Nicolás will travel to the Dominican Republic today anyway, to participate in the Fifth Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC,) where they’ll sign an official statement to demand the US to end the blockade on Cuba and to return Guantanamo’s jurisdiction to the island. If Raúl Castro’s in attendance, so is Nicolás.

Our everyday depreciation continues rising. Yesterday, the Simadi exchange rate rose Bs. 2.75, and is located at Bs. 684.86 per dollar.

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