Dialogue and still no elections

Your briefing for February 21, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Thank you, Sofía

The remarkable Sofía Ímber, journalist and cultural developer, passed away yesterday morning. She founded the Museum of Contemporary Art of Caracas in 1973, and managed it for 27 years. The institution was justly named after her in 1990. El finado removed her in 2001 and her name was scratched off the museum’s façade. She worked in radio, television and the press, and she was the recipient of many awards as a journalist and cultural developer. She also gave us the noble gallery of the Central University. Take the time to read Diego Arroyo Gil’s book “La señora Ímber. Genio y figura,” a beautiful stroll through the life of a woman who described herself as bold.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, promotion of the arts, consistent writing, credible critique, these are true legacies for the nation. They may erase the names, but not the mark. Democracy will return and with it, her name. Thank you so much, Sofía Ímber.

A terrible day for Nicolás

Let’s start with the guy he still fears to cross publicly despite recent developments: Donald Trump keeps mentioning Venezuela in phone calls with Latin American leaders, this time with Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela, after similar instances with the heads of Peru, Colombia and Argentina, according to official reports. The mere mention is a message onto itself.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges met with members of Dominican Republic’s Chamber of Deputies to discuss our crisis; Eudoro González, chief of the Venezuelan delegation in Mercosur’s Parliament, announced the institution’s board unanimously decided to allow Venezuelan lawmakers to remain in Parlasur.

Also this Monday, the heads of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee and the Human Rights sub-committee urged the Venezuelan government to free Leopoldo López and all political prisoners and demanded the government fulfill the commitments acquired in the dialogue that hasn’t happened, highlighting the evident loss of liberties and rights in Venezuela

More boldness

The General Comptroller’s Office, partly responsible for this government’s gross corruption levels, announced yesterday that the only public institution not under PSUV’s control, the National Assembly, is in contempt for denying access to their inspector, Mayren Ríos Díaz, appointed by general comptroller Manuel Galindo on February 13th, 2017, even though he’s yet to answer for the notorious case of nepotism within the institution he heads.

According to the Comptroller’s Office, Ríos Díaz was barred from entering the AN administrative offices, a clear sign of disrespect for the Comptroller’s authority. The National Assembly issued a statement where they denounced that Galindo is overreaching by ordering the intervention of Parliament’s Internal Inspection Department, in an attempt to stall the call for public contest to appoint a new head for this Department. The National Assembly will call for public contest after the retirement of the provisional Internal Inspector, and the General Comptroller is expected to guarantee that all acts of the contest are published in Official Gazette as needed.

Moral reins

The same day that Animal Político releases its report revealing official figures from Mexico’s National Defense Bureau, explaining that 34 out of 58 aircrafts discovered in violation of the Mexican airspace in the last ten years were Venezuelan, and that they were used to transport drugs, Nicolás claimed that the PSUV must take the moral and political reins of a new phase. After 18 years in power, he thinks that the party needs a shake-up “to deal with the battles in different fronts, in current times with a great movement of reflection and action for new battles and triumphs.” The Bolivarian Central Command has until April 19th to accomplish this.

Nicolás emphasized that this is a priority —forget about food or medicines— remarking that there will also be a reorganization of the social programs to guarantee victory: “a line where we train mentally, physically, politically, logistically and militarily to be the party of peace and achieve victory in any arena.” He added that when the CNE calls for election “I don’t know when or what year,” they must win, asserting that they’ve always had great electoral machine, but it’s now exhausted. When he demanded “coherence between word and action,” I turned off the radio.

A million

The tax unit will increase to Bs.300 on March 1st. Although Tax Law establishes that the T.U. must increase proportionally to yearly inflation figures, thanks to this regime’s opacity, the Central Bank no longer releases official data on anything. Most experts agreed that 2016 would reach a 500% inflation rate, so a 69% T.U. increase won’t help the purchasing power of Venezuelans, nor will it create generate more income for the State. From the infamous Black Friday (1983) to this Monday, the bolívar/dollar exchange rate has multiplied by a million. We went from Bs. 4.30 to Bs. 4,300,000 —or Bs.F 4,300.

The regime mocks us by celebrating this T.U. hike —which is used to calculate food stamps as workers’ compensation— not only because food stamps aren’t part of the wage, but also because it’s quickly depreciating money that will dissolve with inflation, and as long as inflation’s real causes remain unsolved, every hike will be a fraud. Either inflation goes down or we’ll continue to grow poorer everyday. Most Venezuelans are basically working to eat and Nicolás is focusing on restructuring a party that’s more dead than el finado.

Once again, Zapatero reactivated the dialogue that hasn’t happened, while CNE rectora Tania D’Amelio can’t say for sure whether there will be elections this year.

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.