This Tuesday, the same National Electoral Council that hasn’t said a word about gubernatorial elections —promised for the first half of the 2017 by Tibisay last year— announced that the process to renew political parties will start on Saturday, February 18th and end on April 3rd.

59 parties that either didn’t participate in the last two elections, or couldn’t secure 1% of the votes issued in those elections, are compelled to go through this process. The CNE decided that the procedures would be explained in detail on Thursday, February 9th, and that the timetable will be published on February 16th, remarking that the guidelines of this renewal will comply with the ruling issued by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice’s Constitutional Chamber.

This process is the most recent push of the Electoral Branch to alienate the opposition even more from the country’s scene; to destroy smaller parties (by setting the bar way above their capacities); to shatter unity (because allegiance to a party means that the Democratic Unity Roundtable will be left without membership). It will also put into diplay the inaction of citizens who lack incentives to participate, even though they have all the necessary information.

No incentives

I don’t know if this delay is caused by self-sabotage, an inability to understand the extent of the crisis we’re experiencing, or a passion for failure.

After three weeks of expectations, MUD’s secretary general Jesús Chúo Torrealba announced that a special board to restore the democratic alliance is now starting operations, coordinated and headed by him and also involving José Ignacio Guédez (La Causa R), Enrique Márquez ( Un Nuevo Tiempo) and Juan Carlos Caldera (Primero Justicia). The goal? “To build a series of agreements to inform the country, within a week, regarding the new government of the democratic alternative, in the face of the struggles we have ahead”, in Torrealba’s words. I admit I don’t know if this delay is caused by self-sabotage, an inability to understand the extent of the crisis we’re experiencing, or a passion for failure. Although Guédez spoke about closing an exhausted cycle, in truth, it’s us citizens who are exhausted.

Exhausted by so much mediocrity

In a seven-year study, the Institute of Tropical Medicine found 3551 kissing bugs (chipos) —five different species of them— in 32 parishes of Caracas. 75.2% were infected with the parasite trypanosoma cruzi, the vector for Chagas disease, making our city, which is already one of the most violent in the world, also the most vulnerable to the disease, since 48.7% of the insects studied had fed from human blood. 


Additionally, the National Assembly debated about the nutritional situation of Venezuelans. Lawmaker Ángel Medina says that Venezuelans are eating less than 14 kg of food monthly: “A humanitarian channel must be opened (…) this government has made people eat from the garbage and has imposed terrible conditions on our future generations,” he said. Lawmaker Karin Salanova remarked that signs of malnutrition are obvious even without official figures, that an alarming percentage of children are experiencing severe malnutrition and an even bigger number is dying of hunger, according to recent studies carried out by Cáritas de Venezuela.

Fortunately, the CLAP bags are a priority.

Exhausted from announcing future announcements

Erick Romero, SENIAT’s National Manager of Internal Taxes, claimed that the law establishes a new Tax Unit hike to be announced on February 15th. As usual, he presented Income Tax (ISLR) collection figures as an accomplishment, even though they simply justify inflation. He also ratified that citizens earning an income lower than 6,000 tax units are exempt from paying. The head of Fedecámaras, Francisco Martínez, explained that determining tax units with our inflation rates is difficult: “It musn’t be an easy decision for the government (…) since our current inflation rate stands between 500% and 800%, which is quite high, and it will have significant economic impact on all Venezuelans.”

Exhausted by the threat of default

This year, Venezuela must pay $193,000 million in both internal and external debt, which is 97% of the GDP for 2017 ($199,000 million), according to Torino Capital: “If we compare the debt with an estimate GDP based on a long-term link between exports and GDP in dollars, we calculate that the debt is 129% of the GDP”, they say, adding that, even though national authorities have shown willingness to honor these commitments on time, a government that holds such a debt “will eventually default on part of the payment”. The issue is that they’ll do so in a country experiencing post-war conditions.

Exhausted of so much empty goodwill

Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, sent a letter addressed to National Assembly Speaker, Julio Andrés Borges, expressing his concern for the political, economic and social situation that we’re going through and regretting that the humanitarian aid offered by his nation had been rejected by the government. Both Temer and Argentina’s Mauricio Macri also spoke about Venezuela after a meeting they held in Brasilia, presenting their stance in a joint statement, in which they ratify their support for “dialogue to find ways to overcome the difficult context the country faces.”

Exhausted.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for writing such an excellent article. It really puts together a picture that reviews the devastation brought upon the populace. It helps me better frame my arguments and prepare in our collective fight for democracy, human rights, and rule of law.

  2. At what point do other countries admit that no “dialogue” is possible at this time because the regime is not acting in the rational best interests of the people of Venezuela?

    • Dialogue is the only thing keeping the international community’s hands tied. As long as the threat of dialogue is latent, OAS at al have no choice but to stand back and watch.

      • That is my point, Emi. The Opposition needs to demonstrate effectively and conclusively that that door is closed and they need to force the other nations of the OAS to decide who they stand with.

      • The MUD allowed the Dialogue Troy Horse completely conscious that it will destroy the momentum, kill the referendum and slap Almagro in the face. They did it even in the knowledge that without political solution, the most likely outcome is violence (still more to come).

        They may have negotiated the governor election and they may have discussed the release of a lot more political prisoners BUT the more likely negotiation was the amount of grease they got to let Maduro survive 2016 and why not? 2017 and 2018 (if smells like a dog, walks like a dog and barks like a dog..).

        Maduro is now dancing salsa with a lot more passion because:

        Una vez metido
        olividar lo prometido x 2

    • But even if Venezuela were declared a full frontal dictatorship by OAS, no one is going to do a thing about it. No one is going to risk a penny against Venezuela let alone spill blood.

      Sure it is embarrassing, but Chavismo is shameless.

      Perhaps when Colombia and Brazil get refugees camp in the scale of those in Jordan the international community will care to do something.

      Este peo es de Venezolanos para Venezolanos.

      • They may be “shameless”, but as a practical matter, people, countries, and institutions do not lend money to dictatorships. The way to defeat this regime is to cut off the flow of money for them to steal.

      • The MUD destroyed the application of the OAS Democratic Chapter with the dialog fiasco. They embarrassed Almagro and showed a very overt evidence of their lack of vision.

        Even the Obama’s passive-aggressive stance with Venezuela began to truly count on the benefits of OAS action. Unfortunately the MUD incompetence cooled off any energy the international community could have had to support OAS.

        At the end of the day is where you are going to put your money, on the asshole that has managed to survive against incredible odds or on a organization that traded its last cow for magic beans.

        So, yes, ahora el peo es de los Venezolanos but due to different reasons…

  3. Sick of the dialog word.

    Dialog is what you need when you have 2 factions in a civil war and you want to negotiate a peace.

    Dialog doesnt apply to “I want to have my democratic rights but the government wants to deny them, so lets see if I can settle for 1/4 of my rights”

  4. Nothing will ever happen until we accept how corrupt MUD is. Why is it so hard to understand that? We don’t stand a chance as long as we don’t put the Borges and the Calderas in the same bag than the Rupertis.

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