The weight of words

Your briefing for Thursday, March 23, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The same day of the Brussels terror attacks anniversary, as news were trickling in about the attack on the British Parliament, lawmaker Héctor Rodríguez was filing a request before the Supreme Tribunal to nullify the agreement approved this Tuesday at the National Assembly regarding the Democratic Charter, because “that request is dangerous and an assault on the country’s political and democratic stability,” even though the TSJ had ruled every act of Parliament to be null and void and despite the fact that lawmakers were demanding elections, not the application of the Charter. The PSUV also requested the TSJ to investigate the opposition legislators for constitutional violations and treason: a promise of new political prisoners in democracy, because according to the aspiring governor of Miranda, democracy in Venezuela is fully evident in the “re-registration of political parties.”

Boundless cynicism

“There’s no repressive policy or harassment against political participation in Venezuela,” said Larry Devoe, executive secretary of Venezuela’s National Human Rights Council, during the IAHRC’s public hearing. He blatantly lied, saying that there are no political prisoners in the country and that the opposition had ratified this during dialogue when they approved the document referring to “persons deprived of liberty.” Devoe presented unedited images of Leopoldo López in prison, claiming that his confinement complied with Human Rights standards. He also said that political prisoners are in prison due to their partaking in criminal activity —the crime of dissent, you know— that the people arrested in 2014 participated in severe acts of violence; that 35 out of the 43 people killed that year were murdered by violent groups and he also denounced an international smear campaign against Venezuela. My respect to the Human Rights activists present at the hearing, who presented verifiable data to describe the hike in repression and listened to Devoe without spitting on him.

Chronic patients

This Wednesday, chronic patients and representatives of the Coalition of Institutions for the Right to Health and Life (Codevida) organized the event “Encadenados por la paz” to denounce the shortage of medicines. Patients with renal diseases, cancer, Parkinson’s, lung hypertension, rheumatism and organ transplants, displayed protests signs with the medicines they can’t find. Francisco Valencia, head of Codevida, demanded answers from Social Security Institute director Carlos Rotondaro: “We’ve reached alarming levels. We don’t want our people to keep dying due to lack of treatments at the High Cost Pharmacy.” Just so you know: this Tuesday, Nicolás approved nearly $1,975,000 and Bs. 1,386,000 to buy smartphones for the CLAP. Impossible not to be infuriated.

Venezuela Potencia

Potent Veneuela. That’s the name of the trade fair starting today at the Poliedro de Caracas, despite the fact that another fire broke out in Amuay Refinery yesterday, that several states in the country reported shortages of gasoline and that truck drivers cautioned that 95 octane gas has been running out for the past 20 days. PDVSA claims on Twitter that gas supplies are guaranteed, but they forgot to mention that the government ordered output cuts in several oil deposits of the Orinoco Oil Strip to comply with OPEC agreements, according to Reuters. Todo bello.

“Eco” Socialism

The regime took full advantage of the World Water Day, celebrating it as they ration water supply, honoring a brigadier who drowned in the Aro river, and even creating the Caura National Park, to protect 7,533,000 hectares between Bolívar and Amazonas, while they prepare an even worse ecocide with the Mining Arc. Nicolás was happy because this new park will be protected by the native peoples, the same ones who have had no representation at the National Assembly for over a year thanks to PSUV’s impositions. Nicolás made a strange historical recount —in which he attacked the opposition time and again— to announce his intention of restructuring the country’s water companies in coordination with the ministries of Environmental Mining Development, Ecosocialism and Water, and Native Peoples.

He claimed that small local miners are aware that they must stop using mercury thanks to a “tremendous awareness campaign,” so he suggested the creation of a Prime Time show on State-owned TV stations for “the dissemination of environmental education.” He created UPA (Fruto Vivas Popular University of the Environment,) which will offer careers under the ecosocialist concept and he also admitted the need for a new push in the State’s garbage treatment policy and the reorganization of solid waste. He cautioned everyone that “abundant rains” are coming.

¡Qué bolas ese bicho!

Those were Nicolás’ words, in reference to when PSUV lawmaker Víctor Clark’s was denied speaking rights in Parliament this Tuesday because he didn’t sign the attendance sheet, and he added: “The National Assembly grows more useless every day. A day must come for the people to recover the National Assembly to build the nation, for the peace of the country, to make Parliament useful again.” Clark was there to talk about PSUV’s requests before the TSJ, and Nicolás took the opportunity to once again denounce foreign meddling, alleging crimes of treason (as if he were a judge) and calling for justice against traitors because “Nobody has the right to meddle in Venezuela’s issues.”

$11.7 billion repatriated

Miguel Pérez Abad, head of Banco Bicentenario, said yesterday that the government’s call for dialogue with the private sector inspired such confidence that it allowed $11.7 billion to be repatriated. Economist Asdrúbal Oliveros tweeted: “This figure isn’t consistent with volume of imports recorded nor with balance of payment reports.” Meanwhile, Pérez Abad also praised the National Economy Council and highlighted its stimulus of the economy, predicting between 5% and 10% annual growth in non-traditional exports, contradicting every expert in this Tuesday’s IESA forum.

Yesterday, NGO Reporteros Sin Fronteras (RSF) denounced that over 20 foreign journalists were either expelled or barred from entering the country since August, 2016, saying that these measures are arbitrary and add up to other difficulties faced by journalists -censorship and confiscation of material and equipment-, preventing them from doing their job in the midst of the political and economic crisis. That’s why Venezuela ranks 139 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Ranking.

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.