El moreno Maikel

Your briefing for Carnaval Weekend, Feb 25 - 27, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

There are days when being Venezuelan hurts. Last Friday, the reason was the appointment of Maikel Moreno Pérez as the new head of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. There’s nothing worth mentioning about Magistrate Gladys Gutiérrez’s tenure in that post, at least nothing that isn’t part of the travesty of a Judiciary dancing to the Executive Branch’s tune. “From this moment on, me and my colleagues will work day and night to end impunity and corruption in this country,” said Moreno. His first statement shows two blatant lies, because a magistrate needs to sleep, and because it’s unlikely that those who have supported those crimes will now work to clear them. Nicolás, El Aissami and Moreno, a sinister triad, a dreadful insult.

To the TSJ!

Vice-president Tareck El Aissami and the ministers will present their annual reports before the TSJ instead of the National Assembly in a new violation of the Constitution, supported by the overused excuse of the AN’s alleged contempt, repeating the arguments they used with Nicolás for his own annual report. The ruling comes a day after Parliament approved a vote of no confidence against Electric Power minister Luis Motta Domínguez, for his responsibility in the electrical crisis of 2016. Nicolás also bypassed the Constitution once again, and failed to remove him.

No corruption

The same day that Venezuela loses its vote in the UN General Assembly for failing to pay a debt of $24 million to the institution, general comptroller Manuel Galindo says that corruption has dropped in the current administration due to good practices: “I don’t think that corruption in Venezuela is as pervasive as it is in those countries considered to be tax havens. We do believe that internal corruption has decreased,” adding that everything was much more chaotic en la cuarta, but leaving the Prosecutor’s Office to deal with the accusations of the U.S. Treasury Department against vice-president Tareck El Aissami.

The power of additional credits

In their presentation concerning the nation’s annual budget, NGO Transparencia Venezuela provides details revealing that the amount approved will scarcely cover April, remarking that the contribution of oil income to the budget is set to be the lowest in recent years, while the bulk of it comes from taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, Value Added Tax and Income Tax. The Executive Branch allocates 21% more money to their propaganda machine than to public services (electricity, water and transportation): more money to the military than to internal security and public order; additionally, they also reduced the resources meant for courts by 63%. Nevertheless, Nicolás wants us to cheer up because with the approval of a cooperation deal with Palestine —no doubt a place at the forefront of technology— they will allegedly build three pharmaceutical factories.

Suspicious silence

The head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, said yesterday that the governments of Cuba and Venezuela have remained eerily silent about Donald Trump. He also demanded elections in Venezuela: “There must be a general election immediately (…) You need elections to transition from autocracy to democracy,” adding that the failed recall referendum was the last constitutional avenue, emphasizing that seeking constitutional solutions to the crisis is a trap, because they’ll all be blocked by the TSJ. In the end, he called for all countries in the region to pay close attention to Venezuela’s situation, explaining that civic guarantees are non-existent and that the status quo is unacceptable.

Another level

Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri said that finding a democratic solution to Venezuela’s situation is paramount and that he supports Luis Almagro’s initiative of applying the Democratic Charter in the country: “I’m here to help in any way possible. Venezuela and Spain were the countries that welcomed the highest number of my countrymen during the Argentinian military dictatorship. It seems as if there was always another level to hell in Venezuela. The situation gets worse everyday,” said Macri, remarking that they must get the votes needed to activate the Democratic Charter because many countries depend on Venezuelan oil.

One more

The Venezuelan Committee of International Relations (COVRI) issued a statement about UNASUR’s lackluster performance in the dialogue that hasn’t happened, recommending that Samper should be replaced as head of the institution and requesting the OAS to activate the Democratic Charter. In addition to describing Nicolás’ tendency to abuse his power, the text severely questions Ernesto Samper, Yuri Chillán and Mauricio Dorfler, advising the MUD not to recognize these representatives as legitimate, saying that the three former presidents that act as mediators no longer have the strength or credibility to participate in negotiations. They also propose the creation of a group of allied countries to support the dialogue’s progress.

And Trump’s level

Regarding our diaspora, Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is a bit late, cautioning yesterday at the UN about the danger of a massive Venezuelan emigration to other countries in the region due to our severe crisis, and calling for a group of countries to help us.

After the White House barred CNN, The New York Times, Politico and LA Times from its press briefing, Donald Trump said to have a problem with Venezuela right before meeting with Kuczynski: “We have a problem with Venezuela, they’re doing a terrible job and so we’ll have to talk about many different issues.” The meeting only lasted 10 minutes.

The memes about skier Adrián Solano got all the attention as most people ignored the severe indictment against Santiago Guevara, professor at the University of Carabobo, for alleged treason. Read his story in El Carabobeño when you can.

Venezuela beat Argentina 1-0 in its debut in the Sub 17 South American Championship, with a beautiful goal by Sebastián Chalbaud.

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.