Censorship as vindication

Your Daily Briefing for Thursday, February 16, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

This Wednesday, Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez demanded that actions be taken against news network CNN after they published a report about the alleged sale of Venezuelan passports to terrorists, calling the journalistic report an “imperial operation of a television network in the service of American political and military agencies,” as part of a “war propaganda campaign against Venezuela.”

She left Communications minister Ernesto Villegas to make good on her demand, while she promised to prove that Misael López —the whistle blower at the center of the report— acts on behalf of the U.S. intelligence agencies. Hours later, the National Telecommunications Committee (CONATEL) issued a communiqué suspending the network’s availability on Venezuelan pay TV, repeating the Foreign minister’s opinion: the contents divulged by CNN “constitute direct attacks that attempt against democratic peace and stability (…) since they create a climate of intolerance.”


After being shut off from Venezuelan cable providers by CONATEL’s sanction, CNN published a direct and free link to their live signal on YouTube, and also issued a statement whose main idea is undeniable: press freedom is essential in any democracy.

They established that the sanction was caused by the Passports in the shadows” report and they defend their journalistic work and their commitment with truth and transparency. In what other countries is CNN’s signal also banned? Cuba, Syria, North Korea and Iran; PSUV’s wonderful ideological allies. Censoring a TV network for releasing a report simply proves the validity of its content, while violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of speech and of press. The National Press Workers’ Union called for a rally at CONATEL’s headquarters today to protest this measure against CNN.

Empty comments

“I don’t want any trouble with Mr. Donald Trump,” said Nicolás, although yesterday’s cadena was dedicated to the launch of the Socialist Justice mission, the one that will fight the crime that has only encroached and festered under chavismo. But just like he didn’t mention him this Tuesday, Nicolás wanted to reach Trump yesterday with strange arguments, considering Trump to be soft enough to let himself be pushed around and swayed, to let himself be cornered, and then warning him that CNN and the State Department are pressing him to impose the wrong policy. Nicolás asked him: “Open your eyes and ears,” recommending him not to fall in “the erratic path of mistakes” (sic) and warned him that if something happens to him, “Venezuela will roar and it will roar hard and the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean will support us like never before,” he said.

The response

Mr. Trump responded to Nicolás’ words by uploading a picture alongside Lilian Tintori, Leopoldo López’s wife, vice-president Mike Pence and senator Marco Rubio at the Oval Office.

It’s the second punch Trump throws at Nicolás while he pleads for good relations, which is hugely inconsistent with his alleged anti-imperialism. Delcy was the only one to react to Trump’s post with four poorly written tweets, condemning Trump’s interference and attack because “he presumes to rule over our country”; remaking that while Nicolás proposes the start of a new era of respect, Trump supports Leopoldo López, whom she called the mastermind of bloody initiatives, but she pivoted in the end, regretting that “Miami lobbies and mafias” are pushing Trump to pursue this policy against Venezuela. Interesting.

There will be no elections

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice’s Electoral Chamber suspended student elections at the Central University three days before the polling. Elections are suspended until TSJ comes to a final ruling regarding a protective measure filed by four (4) students alleging “inconsistencies in the electoral event’s timetable and in the schedules for enrollments and the start of activities.”

The TSJ announced that both electoral institutions will be summoned to court and notified the Prosecutor’s Office about the opening of a judicial procedure. There won’t be elections for 2017-2018 until a final ruling is issued. Hasler Iglesias, head of the UCV’s Federation of University Committees, said that the suspension violates the voting rights of students, teachers and the entire University staff.

There will be no equanimity either

The Armed Forces issued a statement in support of vice-president Tareck El Aissami regarding sanctions imposed by the United States for drug trafficking. Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López used the hashtag advanced by official bots (#VenezuelaconTareck) to reject the sanction with which “they’re unjustly attempting to sully [Tareck El Aissami’s] honor, by making absolutely baseless and illegal accusations.” The Armed Forces pledged their unconditional support for El Aissami and his family, as if they had the authority to do so. The writer of the statement was even more tasteless than the one in charge of Manuel Rosales’ statements when he was running for president.

And there will be no honor for Samark

CADIVI dollars won’t be a problem, though. El Pitazo reports that on February 10th, the registry of the Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Cabello shows the arrival of a ship with a Liberian flag loaded with 11,600 tonnes of food. The shipment’s consignee was the Corporation of Supply and Agricultural Services, a Liberian State-run company that used the services of the company Postar Intertrade Limited to complete the transactions. Postar Intertrade Limited, which transported 633 containers of food, was founded in 2013 by Samark López Bello, the businessman sanctioned by the American Treasury Department as Tareck El Aissami’s alleged frontman. In order for López Bello to carry out these operations, he must have been granted preferential dollars at a Bs. 10 rate, while the black market dollar rebounded to over Bs. 4,000.

There’s only five days until the Bs. 100 banknote is invalidated again, and there still aren’t enough higher-denomination bills in circulation, so the validity of the Bs. 100 bill will likely be extended – again. Todo bello.

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.