More pain

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Tuesday started with terrible news: 17-year old Yeison Mora Castillo, shot on Monday in the eye during protests in Ciudad Bolivia, Barinas, died. The kid worked at a hardware store. Later, in San Antonio de los Altos, the National Guard chased and shot 31-year old Diego Arellano in the chest, a biologist, herpetologist, who worked at the Central Universeity’s Pharmacy School, and who was also a Scout, a sportsman and a fan of Desorden Público. He was murdered for dissenting too.

The world reacts

The UN Security Council will discuss Venezuela’s situation today during a meeting behind closed doors as per request by the United States, one of the council’s five permanent members. Yesterday, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, appointed 41 new diplomatic delegation chairs and it falls to Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa to head the UE delegation in Venezuela. The Celac’s Foreign ministers meeting scheduled for May 20th in the Dominican Republic to discuss Venezuela’s crisis was postponed for an undefined date. Legislators from a dozen countries, together with the European Parliament’s delegation, will meet in Brasilia to increase international pressure for a peaceful solution to Venezuela’s crisis, said parliamentarian Rubens Bueno yesterday. Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Guyana, The United States, Spain, Italy, Portugal, the European Parliament and Venezuela are set to attend. Meanwhile, Colombian Chancellor María Ángela Holguín announced that her country’s ambassador to Venezuela is not reurning by now.

Democracy can never be negotiated

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro denounced yesterday that crimes against humanity are being committed in Venezuela, directly accusing Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López of being “absolutely responsible of supporting the crimes of murdering dozens of peaceful protesters” and of applying military justice to civilians. He also explains that Interior minister Néstor Reverol and general Benavides Torres are institutionally responsible for each attack committed by State forces, condemning their actions and saying that the Armed Forces “cannot continue killing and torturing people with impunity.” Almagro urges the region’s countries not to be complicit “with an irresponsible silence” but rather demand a democratic solution to the Venezuelan crisis.

For a seventh time

The Official Extraordinary Gazette N° 6,298, published on May 13th, 2017 and released yesterday, establishes yet another extension of the decree with which the Executive declares a State of Economic Emergency, under the pretense that they’ll adopt “urgent, firm, exceptional and necessary measures to preserve internal order and to guarantee that the people can fully enjoy their rights, as well as their proper access to medicines and other items essential for life.” Nicolás unconstitutionally extends his own special powers, those nobody controls or monitors. That is why calling him a tyrant is falling short, since the decree remarks that he could suspend the guarantees, the same ones he violates at will anyway, such as the right to life, to information, to due process, the ban against isolation and torture and other intangible Human Rights.

An excuse for threats

Nicolás spoke last night aledgely to announce that the new DICOM FX rate will enter into force on May 23rd. But what he actually needed was to reinforce the cruel fallacy of pretending that the chavista clique are just as victims as Jews during the Nazi holocaust, claiming that: “Chavistas are the new Jews of the 21st century. We don’t have David’s Star but the red heart.” He blamed National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges for “all the violence and the armed rebellion and the persecution taking place in Venezuela,” saying that he traveled to the US to “convalidate plans for internal and extreme assaults.” He said that Tulio Hernández and César Miguel Rondón “are promoting a new Rwanda, a persecution” and suggested that they should be in prison. He had the nerve to contradict himself, however, claiming that the country remains at peace.

The response

With six tweets on his account, César Miguel Rondón clarified his stance: “The tweet Nicolás Maduro mentions contains three questions, none of them inciting violence. I ask about the feelings of victims of escrache, which I condemn. I have a public career spanning four decades. I’ve never uttered a single word inciting hate or violence among Venezuelans. My Monday editorial –Nobility and Puputov– and other tweets sufficiently state my stance on escrache, which I continue to condemn. I don’t agree with escrache because I don’t agree with self-served justice. As a democrat, I’ve respected the opinions of others, even if I don’t share them. With words, never with violence. I apologize if the tweets caused faulty interpretations, I don’t encourage those actions, I’m a democratic civilian.”

Prosecutor and journalists

Yesterday, the National Guard violated the Andrés Bello Catholic University’s autonomy in Puerto Ordaz to arrest a student. As he covered the protests, Marcos Valverde, journalist and professor, was illegally detained and released only seven hours later. This takes place the same day that Tinedo Guía, head of the National Association of Journalists, revealed that he met with General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz, who asserted that she’ll demand an end to attacks against journalists in the course of fulfilling their obligations, and protection for them in their job.

Reinforced cynicism

Interior minister Néstor Reverol denounced on Tuesday that the National Sit-in violated the right to free transit and promoted terrorism to sabotage “food supply and fuel distribution in the country.” He said that that the opposition’s frustration claimed “the life of innocent victims, once again sending Venezuelan families into mourning,” as if gunshots had come from protesters and not the National Guard or government-controlled armed civilian groups. This line was also adopted by general Fabio Zavarce (GN) in a video released by minister Reverol, saying: “When you block or shut down the highway, that’s not a peaceful protest,” which should help explain the four people murdered in less than 24 hours, besides dozens of people wounded and arrested. I won’t repeat the shameful words of Táchira governor José Vielma Mora, a bit more creative but no less cynical.

You can hear them on your own:

Amazonas governor, Liborio Guarulla, called “The Great March of Shamans and Maracas” for today, May 17th, in Puerto Ayacucho with the phrase: “The Dabukurí war has started.”

Everything counts these days. If you have maracas, shake them today.

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.