Brought down

Your daily briefing for Saturday May 6, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The 50 months of el finado’s sowing were ignored by chavismo but not by the people of Villa del Rosario (Zulia state), where a group of citizens brought down and burned the commander’s statue. Nicolás had his own time for recognition and that’s why a banner was hung in the National Assembly’s administrative building with the words: “Maduro Dictador.” The banner was cut down by court employees, but the protest achieved its purpose.

This Friday, the government chose to upload other things on social networks: a video of Nicolás talking to some cows -what a way to show that he sees his militancy as livestock-, a picture of Paul Gillman costumed as a nazi, and another video showing a group of soldiers training and singing:

“Quisiera tener un arco y una flecha,
para atravesar la maldita ultraderecha.
Quisiera tener un puñal de acero
para degollar un maldito guarimbero.”

I would like to have a bow and arrow,
to pierce de damned ultra-right.
I would like a steel dagger, 
to slit the throat of a damn guarimbero.”

All of Nicolás’ videos have failed disastrously. They needed something with an extra-kick of sarcasm, it’s publicity anyway. It’s also urgent for the government escalate the conflict on social media, to radicalize even the moderates, to make sure anger trumps civility and there lies the “mistake” of detouring training soldiers to be recorded from several angles. Don’t play their game. We have lots of legitimate reasons to hate this government; let them sing their barbarity, their misery; we have other songs.

The moderates

According to Education minister Elías Jaua, the government is facing an armed rebellion -sadly, he didn’t mention their enemies use stones in combat- and they’re doing it with water and tear gas, bypassing rubber bullets and denying their disproportionate use of force. Strangely, pictures of the Constituent Assembly’s meeting with the diplomatic body never showed the entire scene, the same happened with the meeting with university authorities. Foreign minister Delcy Rodríguez took the opportunity to condemn international media’s treatment of the protests, which haven’t been peaceful in her view and only seek to disturb the country’s great peace.

Agriculture Minister Wilmar Castro Soteldo issued a shameful statement saying that Juan Pablo Pernalete’s murder was meant to cause Tarek William Saab’s son to react because they studied in the same university, just as Armando Cañizales’ death was meant to push Gustavo Dudamel over the border because he was a musician.

Hecder and Miguel

Perhaps in the next few days, Castro Soteldo will link the deaths that plunged Venezuelans into mourning yesterday with other conspiracy theories. Yesterday morning, Hecder Lugo Pérez (20) died from wounds he suffered while protesting in the Tulipán sector in Carabobo. The video of how the National Guard shot him in the head was widely shared yesterday. And Miguel Medina (also 20) was shot in Maracaibo last Wednesday when he was looking for his brother who was protesting in Circunvalaciòn 1. These two deaths, coupled with the musical homage for Armando Cañizales that his orchestra peers set up at Cementerio del Este, were ample reasons to weep. End the violence!

Cynical brass

Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López sympathized with Armed Forces officers for the opposition’s attacks against them, claiming that one of his obligations is to protect his helpless officers. According to him, “It’s time for an end to so much violence, so much death, so much blood,” but he didn’t mention the money spent on tear gas, rubber bullets or marbles. Obviously, the attacks, the lootings and the illegal detentions must help drain so much military oppression. Padrino López said that the “serious and decent citizens want to leave their homes and get to their jobs to produce” -with or without metro in Caracas, for instance- and that “those who try to boycott or hide the products are not welcome in these spaces.” Perhaps he should read the communiqué issued by the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference regarding the priorities of Venezuelans and how Nicolás’ constituyente won’t help solve them.


Governor Henrique Capriles denounced that Interior minister Néstor Reverol and Prisons minister Iris Varela are using prisoners to repress and intimidate opposition protests: “They made a test-run in Maracaibo using prisoners to repress all demonstrations and protests,” adding that the decision was made because security forces are fatigued by ongoing protests. “Iris Varela and Néstor Reverol, under orders by Nicolás Maduro, are in command of paramilitary groups and National Police officers repressing across the country,” said Capriles, who had denounced earlier that 85 officers of the FAN were arrested for expressing their dissatisfaction with the actions of the GNB and the PNB.

Don’t wait for it, Jaua

The Association of Mayors for Venezuela won’t be a part of the Constituent process. Gerardo Blyde, mayor of Baruta municipality, said: “We can’t be involved in a constitutional fraud,” remarking that gubernatorial and local elections must be held this year. The mayors set a stance about their role in the protests, citing their duty to support those who protest for the defense of our fundamental rights and so, they offered municipal services to those who need them during demonstrations. They emphasized of protesting peacefully and without vandalism: “peaceful protest is effective, because it’s a fight to resist those who broke the constitutional order,” said Blyde.


The OAS Permanent Council held its first meeting without Venezuela, but National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges did meet with the ambassadors of other member states. The UN also said that any constitutional reform in Venezuela must be transparent and can only be successful by respecting the essential principles of democracy and the protection of Human Rights. Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos will meet with Donald Trump on May 18th and they’ll discuss mechanisms to face Venezuela’s democratic meltdown, information backed by the statements of deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said yesterday: “Some of the acts there have been deplorable and certainly something that we’re monitoring very closely.”

In keeping with their promise to ruin any dissident activity, chavismo announced that women would march today to the Ombudsman’s Office to support the Constituyente. Ah! But CNE rectora Tania D’Amelio tweeted that the political party re-registration drive resumes this weekend. Hundreds will go, surely. Read the following articles when you can: “The armed forces will decide the fate of Venezuela’s regime” in The Economist and “Venezuela is starving” by The Wall Street Journal. They’re as tough as they are thorough.

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.