Only Bullets

Your daily briefing for Thursday, May 18, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

“My mom sent him to the store to buy corn flour and he didn’t come back,” says in a video María Elizabeth, José Francisco Guerrero’s siter. At only 15, he was murdered yesterday in Sabaneta (Táchira) with a shot in the hip. Despite her commotion, María Elizabeth says that the National Guard fired against José Francisco, the youngest of seven siblings. The Prosecutor’s Office appointed Prosecutor 16 of Táchira to investigate the boy’s death. Manuel Felipe Castellanos (46) was also murdered in Tucapé. The National Guard opened fire against a demonstration and he was shot in the neck. Additionally, six students from UPEL Maracay were wounded while protesting, allegedly by National Guard officers and armed civilians who broke into the university, according to lawmakers Dinorah Figuera and Adriana Pichardo.

A PSUV militant

Over half the deaths during protests have been caused by firearms. However, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López announced he was sending 2,600 officers in the 2nd Phase of Plan Zamora in Táchira, which he claims is meant to contain the surge of violence that they’ve exercised themselves. 45 murders is a terrible toll, but Padrino was apparently more shaken by the assault on a military unit in San Cristóbal and explained that the murderers had infiltrated the protests, reporting that rubber pellets won’t be used anymore and that the opposition’s to blame for shortages.

He threatened them with this phrase: “Make no mistake, we’re tired of seeing blood running in the streets,” as if tiredness was an incentive instead of an inflection point.

Serial killer

Interior minister Néstor Reverol said yesterday that the man responsible for Diego Arellano’s death might be the one who murdered Armando Cañizales and Miguel Castillo, since the biologist was shot with a metal sphere similar to the one found in the bodies of the other two victims.

Although he knew about the Polisucre indicted for the death of Carlos José Padrón in San Bernardino, he didn’t mention the Great Patriotic Pole’s bodyguard, officer Jonathan Camacho, indicted for Carlos Moreno’s homicide, as well as the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office –against his explanation– has accused several PNB officers for the most recent crimes. Chavismo easily surpasses even the best screenplays for Criminal Minds.

In numbers

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization revealed that nearly half a million people are homicide victims each year on a global scale, and that the ten countries with the highest murder rates in the world are all in Latin America and the Caribbean. Venezuela’s in third place, behind Honduras and El Salvador, so the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict’s complaints, regarding the escalation of violence that we experience, becomes much more relevant and urgent. Since April 1st, they’ve reported 1,208 protests across the country, 55 deaths –from April 6th to May 16th–, only 43 of which have been acknowledged by the Prosecutor’s Office, but the OVCS demands an end to the Plan Zamora and the start of proper investigations to establish responsibilities for the death of protesters or third parties in the context of protests.

The fool

During the swearing-in ceremony for the women’s general staff for the defense of gender in the Constituyente, Nicolás showed the great respect he has for them. When a militant asked him to come off the stage and take a picture with them, he replied: “No, no. Not yet.” The lady insisted, so he took on the alpha male role, despotic enough to yell: “Quit the anarchy, I won’t tolerate anarchy and chaos; people, we’re in a terrible war and we have to keep the discipline Discipline! Because the country’s at stake here. I’ll be there in a moment, but first things first. Dscipline! Either we have discipline or we’ll have a serious problem. I’m nobody’s fool, and I’m not here to be a fool! I’m here to lead the Revolution!”.

The fact that he has to clarify his role that loud evidences his solvency in office; the fact that he attacks his own militants evidences his unwavering coherence.

Prisoner in the country

Journalist César Miguel Rondón was detained along with his wife in Maiquetía airport, where their passports were nullified because they were allegedly reported as lost. The couple have never requested SAIME to nullify their passports, a crucial requirement to register them as lost, but that is not a rear practice of the government and Nicolás’ urgency on Tuesday night demanded immediate solutions. It’s an abusive practice based on a poor interpretation of one of César Miguel’s tweets, another evidence of chavismo’s arbitrary and discretionary handling of the law, seeking to increase the division of the public opinion, by attacking one of the most respected journalists in the country.

The UN Security Council

Venezuela’s situation was discussed on Wednesday as per the United States’ request. Their representative, Nikki Haley, explained that her intention was to shine a light on the country’s situation, cautioning that it’s getting worse and suggesting her peers to try and stop the problem before it begins.

Ambassador Rafael Ramírez didn’t participate in the meeting, but issued statements to the press, a master class on disastrous spokesmanship, in which he lied several times, denied our crisis and claimed that the violence was caused by the OAS and Almagro, not by scarcity, inflation, crime or Human Rights violations.

He said that protesters were taking advantage of the fact that officers “don’t use guns to control public order “ –that explains the 45 deaths– and that opposition leaders “are the same who participated in the 2002 coup d’état,” such as Miguel Pizarro, who was 14 back then.

Former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa said yesterday that Venezuela’s situation must be solved through dialogue “as well as through elections.” The meeting between Juan Manuel Santos and Donald Trump at the White House will take place today and Venezuela will be one poit of discussion. The Foreign ministers of the Caribbean countries will meet today and tomorow in Barbuda, and they’ll also discuss Venezuela’s situation.

Amazonas governor Liborio Guarulla cast his curse: “This is a declaration of war, the idea is for them to pay for their cruelty, for their evil, for their injustice, with disease and misery,” a kind of compensation since Cendas-FMV reported yesterday that the Food Basket’s price for April was Bs. 867,772.05, an increase of Bs. 95,157.75 compared with March, demanding 21.4 minimum wages (Bs. 40,638.15) to buy it.

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.