The extension of the blacklist

Your briefing for Tuesday, February 14, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

This Monday morning, Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski talked about on his phone conversation with Donald Trump, during which he expressed his concern for the humanitarian situation in Venezuela. Both agreed on their intentions to work to promote democracy.

It was later revealed, thanks to a report by journalist Jessica Carrillo Mazzali, that the District Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York said that the narcosobrinos, Efraín Campo Flores and Franqui Flores De Freitas were negotiating the release of one of the chiefs of the Cartel de la Guajira, Hermágoras González Polanco, and also to get help with the drug shipment from Caracas from cocaine purveyors. Hermágoras González Polanco, who is both a Venezuelan and Colombian citizen, was arrested on March, 2008 by Venezuelan authorities, for illegal carrying firearms, as well as credentials from the former DISIP and the National Guard. He was sentenced in Venezuela to fifteen years and six months of prison on June, 2013.

And so, Tareck

The Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that the United States Treasury Department has included Aragua governor and executive vice-president Tareck El Aissami, in their its of sanctioned officials due to “his significant role in international drug trafficking” and the help he’s provided to terrorists. American authorities believe that El Aissami provided help to drug traffickers who shipped cocaine to Europe and the United States through Venezuelan ports, in both his role as a minister and as a governor. They also accused him of using his control over the national immigration office to sell passports and visas to Middle Eastern citizens with ties to terrorism. Along with El Aissami, they also sanctioned businessman Samark José López Bello, who is considered to be the governor’s front-man (testaferro). This decision revokes their visas, confiscates properties in US soil and bars them from carrying out financial transactions with American entities. El Aissami is the highest-ranking official to be sanctioned by Washington —above Rangel Silva and Rodríguez Chacín— and the list of drug traffickers sanctioned by the United States now includes 14 Venezuelans.

The media impact of this sanction is notable, but it will take days before we can see its possible practical ramifications. In any case, these are financial sanctions. The fact that Nicolás didn’t talk about in his cadena is a message in itself.

Delcy the optimist

She claims that the government has confirmed the willingness and commitment of oil-producing countries to comply with the agreement to cut oil production between OPEC and eleven external producers: “We ratify that the fulfillment of the historic agreement of December 10th, 2016 is developing well, and we can confirm the willingness to keep consolidating joint actions to protect prices.” That’s how she describes the costly tour she made through Russia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Algeria, to evaluate meetings that don’t need her presence and in which Venezuela has little relevance, considering the loss of its oil-output capacities and its poor development regarding the terms of the agreement they’ve begged for so much. Also, each country sent a letter to Nicolás, proposing the installation of a summit of heads of State both from OPEC and non-OPEC nations to create “a formula to protect oil prices for the next ten years.” Ha!

Generous China

The 15th meeting of the Chinese-Venezuela Mixed High-Level Committee reviewed the development of the agenda for joint economic cooperation. Planning vice-president Ricardo Menéndez called it successful but mentioned only 790 projects: 435 were already built, 205 are in construction and 90 are being “studied”. China’s enough for everything, that’s why they’re now included in the Bolivarian Economic Agenda, the Carabobo Campaign and the national industrialization process. Nicolás’ presence was as useless in this event as in the entire country. Consistent.



Peru’s Foreign Affairs ministry protested and condemned the fact that Venezuelan authorities were following lawmaker Freddy Guevara, first vice-president of the National Assembly, in Peruvian territory last week. The Peruvian Foreign ministry said that, upon hearing about this issue, they summoned Reinaldo Segovia, chargé d’affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy, in view of the Venezuelan ambassador’s absence. Segovia received the formal protest of the Peruvian Government “for this kind of persecution in the national territory,” which they consider unacceptable and can only be explained by what the Venezuelan government isn’t: “a democratic system respectful of the Rule of Law,” like Peru.

SEBIN’s treatment

The Brazilian journalists expelled from Venezuela after their illegal arrest by SEBIN in Maracaibo denounced the treatment they suffered during their detention: “Moral harassment, private jail, we were isolated, policemen followed us even to the bathroom. We were treated like criminals when, in fact, we were just doing our job,” said journalist Leandro Stoliar in an interview in his network, Rede Record. Stoliar and Gilzon Souza de Oliveira had their computed, phones, cameras and other equipment confiscated by the authorities. The Brazilian Press Association strongly condemned the journalists’ arbitrary arrest and remarked that they were investigating Odebrecht’s bribe accusations when they were detained.

Now in Colombia

National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges will speak in the Colombian Congress this Tuesday to explain the social and institutional crisis in Venezuela. Borges said that he’ll speak about recovering the vote, the persecution of dissident and the social and economic crisis we’re experiencing; remarking that there will soon be a meeting with the heads of the other Latin American Parliaments in support of the National Assembly. This news were important than the words of lawmaker Héctor Rodríguez —in his role as master of intrigue— who thanked opposition members still participating in the non-existent dialogue, to whom he expressed his support so they can impose their efforts on the rest. Inspiring and democratic.

Our everyday depreciation was up today: the Simadi exchange rate closed at Bs. 692.84 per dollar.

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.