Pellets on the skin

Your briefing for Friday, April 21, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo

The opposition took to the streets once more on Thursday. Repression is turning so much more sadistic that people couldn’t even gather at rally spots. The National Guard and the Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB) demonstrated that it was futile to expect they would run out of tear gas supplies, and that rubber pellets are certainly a possibility, even against peaceful protesters. Once again, they attacked a health care center, shot demonstrators at close range and choked them; they even left  a man on the ground having a seizure, providing him no help and ignoring that muscles usually don’t respond after a seizure. They tried to take him as part of their arrest quota and, since they couldn’t get him on the motorcycle, they tossed him back on the ground. There was also a man who stripped naked –attacked with pellets and tear gas– who touched a nerve for many.

Silence and sit-in

The MUD called on the country to organize non-violent protests on Friday, April 21st, and to march in silence on Saturday to honor those who died. In solidarity with the West side of the city –which has suffered brutal repression these days– the rallying spot for Saturday’s march in Caracas will be Montalbán. On Monday 24th, the agenda includes sit-ins over the country’s main roads. Freddy Guevara said this was “a long fight,” and that it would take peaceful and sustained pressure on the government to guarantee the opposition’s fundamental demands. His best statement addressed Nicolás: “You brought thousands of buses from all over the country to fill just one avenue, while we didn’t spend a single bolívar and managed to mobilize 24 states.” 

PSUV’s version

Interior minister Néstor Reverol offered a fake balance of April 19th murders, which (according to him) are “victims of the fascist right-wing’s hate and intolerance.” It took him merely a day to solve the murder of Paola Ramírez. He claimed that the culprit was businessman Iván Pernía, who is allegedly a member of the political party Vente Venezuela and who shot over twenty times against a “noble” group of motorizados. Videos of the event on social media debunk that story, and even Paola’s mother testified about the last conversation she had with her daughter. Reverol said that Henrique Capriles seeks to blame the murders on the government, and that he will be held accountable before justice for that, insinuating further plans for the next few days. Despite his firm version of Paola’s death, he declared that the remaining cases of citizens murdered and wounded are merely being investigated. Chavistas speak so blithely of “snipers and terrorists“ that it’s obvious how little responsibility they’re willing to accept for the country’s mayhem.

Nicolás is all fake

In a white robe, calling himself “the doctor of love” and comparing himself to José Gregorio Hernández, Nicolás chose Fuerte Tiuna as the setting to show the progress of Misión Barrio Adentro and to celebrate a health care system he referred to as “solid.” Facts are irrelevant compared with three things that upset him: the aesthetic displeasure he felt when he saw the naked protester, his anger for Juan Manuel Santos’ tweet and a weird tale for which he ordered a probe on mobile service provider Movistar for allegedly supporting the coup d’État his government is still waiting for. He mixed that with his notions regarding cyber-warfare and talked about a $100 million investment on dissident social networks. He threatened Santos to reveal the dark secrets of the peace process and claimed that Colombia is a failed state before cautioning about a massacre in the works against the FARC. It was vile for him to conclude the cadena dancing salsa, but that’s meant to show that his grasp in power is strong.

Inert CNE

On a video spread throughout social networks, CNE rector Luis Emilio Rondón warned that delaying a call to elections increases the country’s conflicts, as he remarked that the CNE has done nothing about gubernatorial elections that should’ve been held in December 2016, and were proposed for the first half of 2017, with no sign of progress because they “must” first conclude the political party re-registration process. Rondón called for reason and respect for the Constitution. Hopefully, Tibisay Lucena will watch the video.

No hair or brain

Lawmaker Héctor Rodríguez said yesterday that chavismo has guaranteed peace in the country, legitimizing the repression of these last few days. He also claimed that arming 500,000 civilians is not contrary to “handling situations peacefully,” justifying the purchase of weapons. What he didn’t know was how to defend PSUV’s hate campaign “Al Guaire lo que es del Guaire,” although he did ratify –quite clumsily– that PSUV wishes to reignite polarization. Along that line, Jorge Rodríguez announced that he met with the ex-presidents willing to mediate in the dialogue that hasn’t happened and with two opposition leaders whose identities he chose not to disclose, wow! He denied repression, denounced that protests were not authorized, restated that a coup d’État is in the works and said that the CNE can’t establish an electoral timetable as long as the parties are not validated. He’s grown weak, even in intrigue.

Worldwide reactions

Séphane Dujarric, spokeswoman for UN secretary general António Guterres, read a statement where the institution expresses concern for protests and the need to “reactivate dialogue efforts.” The fact that this happens right after her meeting with Colombian Foreign minister María Angela Holguín may have contributed to Nicolás’ anger, because president Santos’ controversial tweet merely says: “I warned Chávez six years ago: the bolivarian revolution failed.”

The European Union condemned violence and murders during protests, as so did the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Germany and Italy. What all of these nations have in common, aside from their condemnation of repression and its sinister consequences and the call to negotiation to reach agreements, is their insistence on crucial issues necessary to solve the crisis: releasing political prisoners, recognizing Parliament, establishing an electoral timetable and improving people’s economic and social situation. Yesterday, Delcy had a lot of work copy-pasting the word “Interference” in dozens of tweets, but the diplomatic situation keeps worsening day by day. They can’t claim ignorance now.

Lawmaker José Guerra reported that the inflation rate for March was 16.2%, lower than January’s (18.6%) and February’s (20.1%), while the National Index of Consumer Prices has increased by 65.5% during the first half of 2017. 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.