Nicolás reappeared on Thursday, after two days of much needed silence. He spoke at the graduation ceremony for the Micromisión Simón Rodríguez, in Miraflores. Ineffective, deceitful and repetitive, he failed to inspire the awe he should have, the firmness he needed; he merely yelled recycled talking points and used the graduates as a chorus for slogans.

He announced that the consultation period for his Constituyente has been extended for a week, emphasizing the need to force dialogue on those who don’t want to negotiate, admitting his failure on Twitter and how disappointed he is he can’t get a hashtag to trend, and claiming that “neither traitors nor bureaucrats” will keep him from imposing his illegal Constituyente.

Nicolás, the corrupt

In a document revealed by Brazil’s Federal Supreme Tribunal, the wife of Brazilian publicist Joao Santana, Mónica Moura, confessed that she received $11 million at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry headquarters, directly from Nicolás’ hands when he was the Foreign Minister. The Santana-Moura partnership was the brains behind el finado’s last re-election campaign back in 2012: “Chávez, corazón del pueblo.”

As part of her plea bargain with Brazilian justice, Moura confessed under oath that Nicolás handed her $11 million in cash and still owed her $15 million more. Nicolás demanded Moura receive all payments for the campaign without declaring them, with some of the payments fronted by Odebrecht and Andrade Gutierrez.

“Maduro was always distrustful, he would only hand out the cash to a single person, due to the high risk the negotiation involved, that’s why he handed all the money to Moura,” said the publicist, arrested in 2016 and sentenced, along with her husband, to eight years for corruption and money laundering. Santana and Moura were hired by Maximiliano Arbeláez, who was also Venezuela’s ambassador to Brazil, and had excellent relations with big Brazilian company directors as well as with the Worker’s Party top ranks.

Ousted, not removed

On May 6th, Alfredo Ramos, mayor of Iribarren municipality in Lara state, said that Nicolás and Diosdado Cabello had ordered a writ amparo be filed against him to try and remove and later imprison him. On Thursday, Ramos reported on Twitter that PSUV councilmembers approved his removal, calling it a coup d’état on his municipality, asserting that nothing will stop his fight for democracy.

But chavismo also strikes against its own people, and that’s why Health minister Antonieta Caporale was removed from her post, according to Official Gazette dated Wednesday, May 10th, and replaced by Pharmacist Luis Salerfi López Chejade (Hospitals vice-minister and Salud Aragua secretary.)

Nobody can yet confirm whether this is related to the first publication of the weekly epidemiological bulletin in two years.

Decline

We already know that Russia’s aiding Cuba with oil shipments in view of Venezuela’s decline; but, yesterday, OPEC released its Monthly Oil Market Report for May which shows that PDVSA’s output for April was 1,956 million barrels per day (bpd), which is 26,000 bpd less than March. Additionally, the National Assembly’s Consumer Price Index (IPCAN), calculates the inflation rate for April at 16.5% for a total of 92.8% cumulative inflation rate for the first four month of 2017.

Illegal weapons

Mike Pompeo, head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) cautioned yesterday about the increasing likelihood that armed militias in Venezuela slip out of the government’s grasp and warned about the tremendous risk involved in the increasing weapons transfer in the country. During a hearing on global threats before the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Pompeo spoke about Venezuela’s crisis, specifically about the paramilitary groups known as colectivos: “The risk of these armed groups acting outside Maduro’s control increases by the minute,” he said, since they were armed to defend chavista interests from opposition protests.

The US Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, said before the same committee that “The unpopular and autocratic government of Venezuela will opt for more repressive methods to contain political opponents and discontent in the streets.”

Descending

A political think tank created by Uruguayan Julio María Sanguinetti was invited by the Montevideo Circle. Although they were meant to talk about technology, Venezuela came up —a less theoretical and far more urgent matter. Thus, several politicians and businessmen concluded that every day Venezuela descends “one step further into hell” and its “destruction process” has no historical precedents. Argentinian president Mauricio Macri was invited as a special guest and said: “I still don’t see a way out for Venezuela (…) three years ago we wondered how bad it could get and now the situation’s catastrophic.” Former Spanish president Felipe González also spoke of our country’s current situation saying that “the people are on the streets demanding something as alien as freedom and food.” For Brazilian former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, our situation couldn’t be worse because the military side with Maduro “and that changes the terms of the conflict.”

González demanded Nicolás scrap the Constituyente and call for gubernatorial and later presidential elections, and to give back the Venezuelan people’s voice: “It’s not about voting for a Constituyente, but about complying with the Constitution, respecting the National Assembly’s authority and Branch autonomy. We must help Venezuela find a way out of this tragedy and there isn’t much time,” he cautioned. Although they all agreed that Venezuela needs foreign help, the consensus was that there’s little other countries can do from outside if the government and the opposition don’t open negotiations.

Heinz Dieterich, former advisor for el finado, attacked Nicolás, calling him a political illiterate, criticizing the inability of the PSUV and its leaders to connect with the Venezuelan people and the value of resorting to a tactical retreat before an adverse and unsustainable situation. Dieterich insists that it’s impossible to diversify the economy when Nicolás failed to accomplish it during the oil boom; considering the Constituyente a joke, after national dialogue was a complete failure, saying that Nicolás’ “brainless” government’s in check and wondering how much longer the Armed Forces will support the PSUV.

17 COMMENTS

  1. BBC: Venezuela health minister fired over mortality stats.
    …President Nicolas Maduro argues that the health crisis is caused by medicines being hoarded to encourage a coup against him.

    Venezuelans face shortages of everything, from food to vaccines, and this has provoked big protests in the country….
    In the health sector, large numbers of doctors have emigrated. A leading pharmaceutical association has said about 85% of medicines are in short supply.

    The bulletin is still online. I wonder how many downloads there have been.

    • What is a stupid attitude I attribute to the lack of advice from the “Santana-Moura partnership”.

      Chavistas should desperately want to make daily-life at least ‘appear’ normal in such a chaotic scenario of daily protests; clearing blocked roads and making public transportation work in full capacity should be priority zero, they should want people being able to arrive at work and return back to home as there was nothing out of the ordinary happening in the commuting realm. “There’s everything completely normal in the country, can’t you see people going to work, trucks delivering goods and the public transportation working? The protests are dying out.”, that’s what Maduro should be saying and working hard to get at the same time.

      Maduro, please hear me out, Santana is already at home due to the plea bargain, for God’s sake get some advice with him, it can be by email. Put that metro back to work you idiot! By closing the metro, you just add fuel to the fire!

  2. I would so like to see the OAS in cooperation with the MUD and supported by the Venezuelan people, create an intervention force to free Venezuela from the dictator.
    The cowardly corrupt “soldiers” of the Venezuelan military will wet themselves and desert if they believe that the US military is on its way.
    I think the government will fall without a US soldier having to set foot on Venezuelan soil.
    Maybe a few F-16’s or F-18’s flying low and fast over Caracas will be enough.
    These soldiers are not going to die for Maduro.

  3. The Venezuelan people have lost 19 pounds per person on average in the last year.
    31 million people have collectively lost 589,000,000 pounds or 294,500 tons.
    That is more weight than 3 US Nimitz class aircraft carriers displace.
    I think it is time we sent an aircraft carrier to Venezuela to end the “MADURO DIET”

  4. “…saying that Nicolás’ “brainless” government’s in check and wondering how much longer the Armed Forces will support the PSUV.”

    As long as the blood money keeps rolling in. I read today that nearly 90 officers have been removed, jailed or arraigned due to dissent. The money must be running out.

  5. “At least 65 members of Venezuela’s military, ranking from officers to the captain of an important border region unit, have been detained, raising questions about whether a fissure exists within the nation’s armed forces, according to an attorney representing several of those arrested.

    Some of the officers have been charged with betraying the motherland and instigating rebellion while others are still awaiting a court hearing, said Alonso Medina of Foro Penal, a non-governmental lawyers’ organization.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/attorney-65-venezuelan-military-members-detained-47357644

  6. Training and discipline are what nurture an esprit de corps.
    I do not believe that the Venezuelan military will remain a coherent organization when faced with the task of attacking their own citizenry.
    No military trains to fight their own people. This is a task that is beyond the comprehension of the average soldier.
    The psychological preparedness that an army requires is as important as the physical conditioning that every soldier needs.
    The burden that will be placed on the Venezuelan soldiers will overwhelm any training or propaganda the regime can utilize.
    No matter what Maduro claims, the truth will be staring these men in the face.
    Are they to kill their neighbors? Their cousins? their priests? Their teachers? Their doctors? The old couple that runs a neighborhood store or bakery? Their children’s friends?
    The members of the military are not isolated from social media. The regimes propaganda may be a continuous narrative, but I am sure the true story has been circulated throughout the military.
    The regime is finished. Maduro is at the mercy of the military. The military is at the mercy of the world. No civilized country will accept a military junta as a solution to the crisis in Venezuela. Should the military seize power, there will still be no money. Financial assistance from world bodies such as the IMF will only come after democracy is restored. In effect the military can not afford to seize power.
    The only solution is the restoration of democracy and the rule of law.
    Is it possible that the military has been kept in their barracks due to the regimes uncertainty of their loyalty?
    One can always hope.

  7. Venezuela: Anti-Socialist General ‘Extremely Critical’ Following Torture in Secret Police Custody.
    Retired Brigadier General Ángel Vivas of the Venezuelan military, an outspoken critic of the socialist regime who refused to hand over weapons and accept arrest for years, is suffering severe medical harm after being beaten and tortured by secret police, his family contends.

    Dictator Hugo Chávez ordered his arrest before his death after Vivas challenged the new Bolivarian Socialist motto for the Venezuelan military, “Nation, Socialism, or Death” – the same as the Cuban motto. He was convicted of “insubordination” and sentenced to prison, but instead armed himself and went home, refusing to accept the arrest. Vivas was finally taken to a Secret Police (Sebin) prison in early April following the start of a new wave of anti-socialist protests.

    Viva’s family told the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional that the 60-year-old was beaten severely upon being apprehended on April 7 and displayed signs of being tortured in prison, among them a wound on his temple that has affected vision in his left eye, complete loss of hearing in his left ear, what appears to be a broken rib, and a severe lower back injury that appears to have damaged his internal organs. His family, who saw him for the first time since his arrest on Wednesday, say he is now also unable to stand up straight, uses a cane, and has lost a significant amount of weight.

    “His health condition is extremely critical,” one relative told the newspaper.
    More at the link.

  8. Thing is, U.S. will probably have to send naval assets to the area when time comes just in case. But this does not mean or imply collusion

  9. The military are not an united organization but a divided archipielago of many different interests and loyalties deeply infiltrated by govt stooges and squealers , in the last 12 years most those suspected of being independent minded have already been purged or set aside in desk jobs where they can do no harm and can be controlled , they are bureaucrats not warriors ( despite the ritual martial hoopla) they want to play it safe , not risk their careers and lives on some uncertain adventure, they are courted and handed cushy jobs and benefits which of course they dont want to lose , but besides that a climate of total mistrust exists among them so that no two of them dare not join together into any kind of plot , no one knows who will tell on the others in order to gain a promotion or a pat in the back …..!! Only in face of some very hair raising matter will they join forces and maybe tell the regime to take it easy ……!!

    The regime has not bought their loyalty but their fearful acquiescence , neutering whatever concerns existed within the ranks ………dont judge them by the words they shout ….but by their conduct.

    Very important to note is that the part of the army which is involved in repressing activities is relatively small , the GNB only comprise a part of the army , normally they are not held in high regard by the rest of the regular army who traditionally have see them as specially corrupts and crooked also as NOT THE REAL ARMY…, this is where the regime has concentrated its indoctrinating efforts ……(in the past there was always talk of doing away with it to replace them for a beefed up police force )

    Its now proven that if we had an army like they had in the past , people who were united and bound by a common sprit de corp , formed as comrades in the same schools from the same low middle class social backgrounds they would have toppled this regime once it started to behave unconstitutionally ,

    Its not the tradition but the reality of the matter is that most professional army people hate getting enmeshed in politics which they see as messy and chaotic, not their stuff ……… Once we get back to a normaly a new army has to be created which both can be trusted to be able to launch succesful coup but to do so only when some traumatic event has made it necessary to defend an institution , its a risk but one which needs to be taken ….what we are going thru now is evidence of the necessity of developing such army……!!

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