A strange recovery

Your briefing for For Tuesday, March 14, 2017, translated by Javier Liendo.

The results published by pollster Venebarómetro made me have to hold my jaw to keep it in place after reading: Even though 74% of Venezuelans consider regime change to be necessary, Nicolás’ approval ratings rose by 8.7%. Sadly, nothing explains this —unless dialogue can explain everything— especially when 83.3% of respondents evaluate the country’s situation as negative against a 16.7% who think the opposite. 45.6% of respondents identify as dissidents, 30.4% as chavista, and 22.3% as neutral, so the 67.3% who believe that “dialogue was a mistake” includes every sector. Someone should tell CNE’s rectoras that 94% of respondents believe gubernatorial elections to be important; they should also tell the PSUV that most of their militants feel pessimistic about the future, and Nicolás, that most Venezuelans (67.9%) want him out as soon as possible.

If it’s about stats

Interior minister Néstor Reverol said that crime in Venezuela is encapsulated in only 79 of the country’s municipalities. According to figures by the Observatory of Security, the ranking of states by crime rate is: Miranda, Aragua, Carabobo, Zulia and the Capital District. Caracas’ sharp drop seems to be the result of regime propaganda about their own security policies, rather than coherent data. Reverol said that they’ve been operating undercover in a few municipalities: “A silent OLHP, and we’ve cracked down hard on all gangs. Every outlaw must be held accountable,” later calling communities to trust authorities. Sadly, he did it during a CLAP handout event.

One year of CLAP

The best testament of this government’s failure in food supply celebrated its first anniversary of corruption at every level, inability to solve the country’s food crisis and scarcity; it hasn’t helped abate malnutrition and it hasn’t increased productivity. This Monday, Fedeagro’s vice-president, Aquiles Hopkins, once again stated that the CLAP program can’t increase production because they’re merely a distribution mechanism and Venezuela is barely supplying 30% of the food demand “because we’re scraping for resources, we have no seeds or chemicals, there are no policies to boost trade, the State imposes the prices with no regard for cost structures, forcing producers to work at a loss.” Hopkins said that with 25% of what Nicolás said had been invested on the CLAP ($6 billion), Fedeagro could completely revamp national production.

Goodbye bread

Nicolás and El Aissami spent the whole weekend taking some real action on their fictional war on bread, imposing restrictions and issuing threats against bakers, which include expropriation if they don’t comply with their main regulation: using 90% of their flour for price-controlled bread. The price imposed for that bread is unsustainable, forcing breadmakers to sell at a loss, which naturally means they have to offset this limitation with other products. But according to PSUV’s epic, that makes them enemies of the people, so the government could take over their shops and leave them to the CLAP. Inspections on bakeries will be performed by SUNDDE, the bolivarian militia, the CLAP and the Bolívar-Chávez battle units, their equanimity is ensured. Goodbye bread.

Swiss-Army-Knife Bernal

The chief of the CLAP program issued a statement yesterday about them and bread (repeating the threats) but also about the CNE-imposed political party re-registration drive to set up the opposition that the PSUV needs. So he cautioned that his party can’t assume that all collected signatures are valid until CNE says so, that there are parties paying people to sign and he also pointed out that double militancy is banned. True to his overlords’ discourse, he insulted OAS chief Luis Almagro – saying that he was a bitter man and the empire’s pawn-, disregarding Democratic Charter’s impact and condemning the attacks of progressive governments. Here’s the phony thing, he spoke about Odebrecht only to bash Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski —whom he called a thug— saying that sooner rather than later, he’d face prison for corruption. I wish he’d shown the same passion when speaking about the “CLAP Maternal.”

Human Rights

On Thursday, March 16th, Venezuela is set to participate in the third phase of the second cycle of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). This time, the State must answer for the adoption of the 274 recommendations (85% more than 2011) made by 102 countries that were a part of Venezuela’s Review Session, held in November, 2016. The session is an opportunity for the State to commit to carry out the recommended measures to correct its policies and find an urgent solution for Human Rights violations against the people, including the opening of a humanitarian channel. If you want to sink deeper into this, read what UCAB’s Human Rights Center has been releasing.


The Executive Branch’s flippant reaction to the discovery of mass graves in the Penitenciaría General de Venezuela (PGV) describes the reach of their inhumanity. The gap between official figures and the ones released by specialized NGOs is colossal: minister Iris Varela initially spoke of three bodies, then seven and then she settled for fourteen; but the NGOs speak of dozens. So the progress that the minister reports is merely transferring the trio of pranes —ganglords— that led the riots within the PGV last year, to their current detention center – “26 de Julio” prison -, because she suspects they’re responsible for the mass graves: “We’re putting them in the same place to have them readily at hand during investigations; these crimes won’t go unpunished.” National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges said that lawmaker Richard Blanco is expected to explain this issue in the AN today.

Yesterday night, I witnessed two men fight over the garbage bags in my building. I see people eating from the garbage every day, but the frequency doesn’t help me normalize it. If it hurts me to see that, I can’t imagine how horrible it is for them to experience it. It’s a tremendously cruel sort of indignity, and it will only get worse. This horror is unforgivable.

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.