Deafening silence

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

While some of the victims of the infamous Lista Tascón presented their cases before the Inter American Human Rights Court to get justice and recognition after thirteen years of this vile act of political discrimination; the scandal of the sanctions approved by the U.S. Treasury Department against vice-president Tareck El Aissami, accused of drug trafficking, was barely mentioned by Venezuelan politicians on Twitter, despite storming the headlines worldwide and generating dozens of opinion articles. Hush!

How to divert attention from this issue?

You simply have to take advantage of the Odebrecht scandal, send authorities to seize Oderbrecht’s Caracas headquarters and have the 57th Public Prosecutor’s Office issue an arrest warrant against Euzenando Prazeres de Acevedo, the company’s head in Venezuela, on charges of corruption and collusion between public servants and contractors. The body responsible for the search was the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, not the Prosecutor’s Office, like lawmaker Juan Guaidó posted on Twitter. Again, Twitter.

Tareck also used Twitter…

To respond to the sanction imposed by the Treasury Department, calling it outrageous and miserable. The text had several typos and the randomly uppercased letters —which are usually read as yelling in digital media— looked more like the mistakes of a terrified Community Manager: “Untainted morals, greater strength and anti-imperialist conviction and greater chavista conscience,” adding that truth is invincible and that they’ll see (the plural must be for the PSUV?) how this vile attack will vanish, and of course, justifying the government’s irrevocable madness by admitting: “I personally take this miserable and vile attack as recognition of my condition as an anti-imperialist and revolutionary,” he twitted. Isn’t he cute?

The spokesman’s importance

The U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, ratified the accusations against El Aissami and said during a press conference at the White House, that the action was a gesture of goodwill from Donald Trump to the Venezuelan people and a demonstration that he’s seriously committed to fight against drug trafficking: “he wants to send a clear message to the people of Venezuela, that America stands with them (…) In this case we did freeze assets, tens of millions of dollars of assets. That will have a very big impact on [El Aissami and his circle],” Mnuchin said.

Her optimism was short-lived

Delcy Rodríguez referred to the sanctions against El Aissami as an outrageous and grotesque lie: “this attack is yet another falsehood against a decent and honest Venezuela,” she read from a statement filled with praises for the accused. According to the Foreign minister, these sanctions attempt to justify “the obscene and unacceptable existence of imperialist privilege, providing American government institutions with wide policing powers. They’re completely illegal and blatantly violate public international law,” a train of thought that she connected with a surreal description of El Aissami: a prominent crime expert, recognized for his outstanding security management capabilities as well as for his dogged fight against drug trafficking and Colombian paramilitarism. Ombudsman Tarek William Saab, several PSUV lawmakers and, of course, a myriad of State-hired bots also sang praises to the vice-president.

What if you change the subject?

PSUV’s wit was barely enough that while others were defending the vice-president’s honor, he was going to head the first 2017 plenary of the Government Federal Council. What better occasion? Who could be more inspiring in this scenario that gathers ministers, governors, mayors and representatives from all of the nation’s states? He was certainly not comfortable, the sanction must’ve somewhat affected his usual pride and he limited himself to talking about the expenditure schedule (when the country’s expecting the electoral schedule,) which will operate with a new mode that incorporates “project monitoring and oversight (…) a tool that allows us to measure each project’s individual efficiency in real time,” said El Aissami. How wonderful! How genius! Such efficiency!

And in the National Assembly

Parliament approved the creation of a special high-level committee to investigates the U.S. Treasury’s drug trafficking accusations against El Aissami. Headed by Freddy Guevara and made up of José Luis Pirela, Luis Florido, Freddy Paz, Maribel Guédez, Juan Miguel Matheus, Eliézer Sirit, Ismael García and Carlos Prosperi, they have the task of presenting their investigation as soon as possible, requesting the American government the evidence to substantiate their accusations and filing a request before the Prosecutor’s Office to start an investigation to establish -with national talent- whether the crimes the vice-president’s being accused of (including the selling of passports,) as well as Samark López (with Pudreval as the origin of his condition as businessman,) are true or not.

Honor in the mustache

For some reason, Nicolás’ cadena overlapped the discussion taking place in the National Assembly. Calling everyone who dissents from his government a “savage, traitor and vendepatria,” Nicolás came to the inexorable conclusion that the real target of the Treasury Department’s sanctoins is him. And so, he announced a campaign to defend El Aissami’s honor, repeating the script about “vile, illegal and preposterous accusations” and remarking that they’ve already written a letter to protest against them, he ordered the Foreign minister to summon the American chargé d’affaires “so he can publicly apologize for this.” Nicolás claims that he’ll respond legally, diplomatically and politically against this attack that he considers reckless and brutal. It was really fun to see his indignation for the idea that the agency sanctioning El Aissami was playing the roles of “police, judge and jury,” something the PSUV does in any situation. For another unknown reason, Nicolás named Clinton, Bush and Obama, saying the empire was rotten, that he’s foreseen its defeat and downfall, but no, he didn’t mention Trump. You see, the deafening silence.

Our everyday depreciation keeps rising thanks to a Simadi exchange rate that closed at Bs. 694.53 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.