Taking Inspiration from Nicaragua

For Thursday, February 9, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

National Electoral Council board member Tania D’Amelio announced this Wednesday that CNE would meet with political parties today, probably to emphasize how impossible it’ll be for them to fulfill the conditions the government will impose on them. The abuses and attacks against political and electoral freedom are one of the rectoras’ specialties. And so, the 59 parties pending renewal, will have to collect 0.5% of voter signatures in 12 states, over 14 hours with just 380 captahuellas (fingerprint scanners) while the PSUV will have 4,800 machines and a week available for their internal process.

Although the only non-chavista board member, Luis Emilio Rondón, said that the renewal of political parties’ official status doesn’t affect the establishment of an electoral timetable for gubernatorial elections, it’s obvious that this whole thing has Nicaragua plastered all over it.

Remember that Daniel Ortega did whatever he wanted in that country and the international community didn’t lift a finger. It won’t be different here. So we must defend our legitimate right to association. The opposition needs to set priorities, the reach of individual actions, the relevance of unity and a political strategy. Likes don’t legitimize leadership, and trending topics on Twitter don’t topple dictatorships.

Heads-up for Gladys

I don’t think that the head of the Supreme Tribunal (TSJ) was amused by the statement issued by National Assembly Speaker Julio Andrés Borges, after the meeting he held in Brasilia with Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, saying that he’ll meet with his counterparts throughout the region, in recognition and support of Venezuela’s Parliament and democracy. Some instances of contempt are costly.

Strangely, Guevara added: “Without cornering them or allowing them to tighten their hold on power,” which is exactly what we’ve been doing.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Freddy Guevara explained part of his agenda for the next few days, which includes a meeting with OAS SecGen Luis Almagro, to rekindle international pressure with the Inter-American Democratic Charter (Almagro stated today that dialogue had reached a dead end and that the Vatican’s presence disabled the application of the Charter); refocusing negotiations with the government and generating sanctions for Venezuelan officials accused of corruption or Human Rights violations. Strangely, he added: “Without cornering them or allowing them to tighten their hold on power,” which is exactly what we’ve been doing.

Regarding sanctions

A group of 34 US lawmakers signed a letter to President Trump, urging him to increase pressure on the Venezuela government, noting that officials accused of corruption and Human Rights violations must be immediately sanctioned. Additionally, they requested an exhaustive investigation on drug trafficking allegations and Venezuelan vice-president Tareck El Aissami’s support for terrorist cells.

Dancing the crisis away

Salsa was streaming out of Miraflores, even though the Venezuelan State lost its case on political discrimination before the Inter-American Human Rights Court, as well as a trial in the Appellate Court in Paris, which ordered them to pay the Canadian mining company Gold Reserve $730 million in damages due to expropriation of the company’s assets in Guayana.

We have no food or medicines, but we do have rhythm. Chavismo’s priorities.

Nicolás keeps dreaming that meeting the heads of oil-producing countries to raise oil barrel prices, as if PDVSA’s situation (production dropping consistently for the last four years) didn’t have an impact on its inability to service debt and invest on new production capcity.

Analysts estimates that the oil barrel must reach $100 for chavismo to be able to repay “$10 billion in interests this year, plus maturities estimated at $2 billion,” according to Bloomberg. But Nicolás chose to express his indignation with the presence of opposition lawmakers in Washington, demanding their courts to proceed against what he considers severe crimes of high treason. Since he’s a coherent guy, he announced the creation of Corazón Salsero, the Salsa Movement for Peace and Life, “to bring joy to the Venezuelan people.” It’ll launch on March 15th, with a concert in the Plaza Bolívar of Caracas to show “different dance moves.” We have no food or medicines, but we do have rhythm. Chavismo’s priorities.

An ongoing repo

Reuters says that Venezuela’s Central Bank is studying a repurchase deal (selling an asset to an investor with the promise of purchasing it back at a established date and price) with Nomura investment bank, to offer PDVSA bonds worth over a billion dollars. The BCV would sell the bonds, promising to repurchase them in three years.

The deal is pending review by Ricardo Sanguino, head of the BCV. With this financing, the bank will try to raise international reserves, which are now at their lowest ever: $10.5 billion, to repay over nine billion dollars in debt this year. 70% of total reserves are depreciated monetary gold. Reuters points out that Nomura refused to comment on the deal, and the BCV didn’t reply to requests for clarification.

 

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