Young, but in Miraflores

Your briefing for Monday, February 13, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Without a single word about the conditions in which young Venezuelans are currently living, with little to celebrate and much to demand, Nicolás didn’t dare accompany chavismo’s “march” this Sunday. That’s how significant it was. He spoke from Miraflores, ignoring that young people are the main victims of violence in Venezuela, the most prone to turn to crime and choosing self-imposed exile under the worst circumstances. Right after calling the opposition “Ultra-rightist, stupid, sifrinos, oligarchs, fascists,” he revealed the great Plan of Socialist Justice for Peace -they use that word everywhere now-, which he hopes to activate next Wednesday to fight crime, kidnappings and murders committed by paramilitary agents, or rather those he considers paramilitary, in other words, any dissident. The plan is also supposed to fight corruption, investigate and persecute it, a bold goal after the scandal caused by SEBIN’s actions in Maracaibo this Saturday, when they arrested four journalists who were investigating one of Odebrecht’s unfinished works.


“I fully support the Prosecutor’s Office and the Judicial Branch in order for them to serve justice in the case of Odebrecht, and we’ll go hard on those responsible for receiving bribes,” said Nicolás this Sunday, as if those powers needed his support to do their job. He repeated that he’ll finish Odebrecht’s projects in the country, claiming that he has the resources to do it quickly. Sadly, he didn’t explain the origin of these resources, or why would he focus on these projects first when he has people eating from the garbage and dying for lack of medicines. How hard could it be for chavismo to find a scapegoat (or several) to account for those $98 million in bribes, considering the $20 billion that were embezzled with Stime just in 2012, according to former minister Jorge Giordani? The people responsible for those arrests in Maracaibo didn’t do Nicolás a favor. Au contraire, the incident puts Venezuela on the spotlight of Odebrecht’s mess. Let’s see if he’ll give these officers their support too.

The issue with journalism

“I want CNN far from here. I want CNN out of Venezuela!”, said Nicolás. If he said his name instead of CNN, he’d be closer to what the country wants. But the problem is that the network “sticks its nose” in news of a country that isn’t their own, and they’re interfering in the issues of Venezuelans, which only we have the right to solve precisely because they’re ours -with the kind of Branch Autonomy and Rule of Law that chavismo’s know for-. CNN disturbs and bothers him, mainly because, in his view, they don’t depict “the true Venezuela” -the one promoted by their propaganda machine; that’s why he wrapped up by demanding an end to manipulation.

The manipulation is theirs

Other internal wars are waged at the heart of the fictional economic war. Yesterday, Nicolás spoke about the Bread War and promised to beat it, his being such a victory-laden record and all. His argument keeps failing: what do bakers stand to gain when they stop selling? What’s their profit for enraging those who must stand in line to buy bread? But of course, a new enemy is important, and now the enemy is the Venezuelan Federation of the Bread Industry (Fevipan), so he demanded that anyone who “persists on denying people their bread” must go to prison, because shortages are merely a nuisance, because selling without a profit margin is inspiring and it’s a pity that bakers (whom he called hypocrites, wicked and evil) refuse to do that. Nicolás shares something more beside his name with Napoleón’s Chauvin, and that’s the capacity to mock himself with statements like these: “Those who conspire from outside our borders should think twice and thrice. Venezuela offers a solid support for peace in the entire continent. There won’t be peace in Colombia if they destabilize the bolivarian revolution. I demand respect for peace in our country.”

An inexcusable mistake

Let’s conclude with his evident anger for a detail that I’ve mentioned before and that pushed him off centre yesterday, if he ever has such a thing. While attempting to connect with the parade in Aragua commemorating the Day of Youth, as he claimed that “the people is on the street,” the cameramen showed him a considerable broad take without traffic or people. And Nicolás said: “I don’t know why they show these lousy takes, I’m always criticizing the camera guy, we’re watching a parade and they show a wild take where we can’t see anything (…) Let’s see if they get back to the parade now.” Since they didn’t follow his order, he broke the silence a few seconds later, to tell them to interpret his silence. Hahaha!

Back on February 12th, 2014, Miguel Rodríguez Torres was minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace, and he’s directly responsible for the repression that took the lives of Bassil Da Costa and Robert Redman that day. Juancho Montoya also died that day, but under different circumstances. Torres decided to tweet from his account (@RodriguezT4F) inspiring messages for the Venezuelan youth, which he called “heirs of La Victoria’s glory,” emphasizing that victory is about fighting for prosperity, tolerance and reconciliation to renew Venezuela. The same man who ordered authorities to crack down on unarmed protesters in 2014, protected by impunity, believes he has the right to remind our young of the values he failed to uphold, and kept anyone else from upholding. When he and the entire chain of command that allowed this severe show of State violence, are prosecuted in trial, he’ll have the right to tweet whatever he wants from prison. In the meantime, he should keep his reflections in the same place where he keeps his decency, if he ever had such a thing.

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.