General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz was true to her office. In the statements she made on Wednesday, she acknowledged 55 casualties (52 civilians and three police or military officers) and over 1,000 wounded (761 of them are protesters) in seven weeks of protests against Nicolás, remarking the excessive use of force applied by security forces and the involvement of civilian armed groups, against which the Prosecutor’s Office is carrying out at least 16 investigations. She revealed details on the case of student Juan Pernalete and showed a replica of the tear-gas canister that killed him, saying that they know which National Guard team was responsible for firing it, although they haven’t yet found the individual culprit, thus denying the Communication minister Ernesto Villegas’ bungled-up story, which the entire State media apparatus promoted as definitive. She restated that firing a tear-gas canister directly at a person is not only illegal, but deadly.

What else did she say?

The General Prosecutor criticized that deaths have been manipulated for the sake of propaganda, remarked that only the Prosecutor’s Office has the capacity to explain a crime, urging political actors to avoid speculations about the motives behind violent deaths, denounced the absence of security forces during looting sprees, associated protests to shortages of food and medicines, emphasized the importance of training and proper rest in order for security forces to do their jobs and strongly criticized doctored videos, lynchings and the criminalization of protesters. She also demanded politicians lower the tone of their discourse, and respect for the freedom to support any political ideology one may espouse.

PSUV’s reaction

Interior minister Néstor Reverol accused the Prosecutor’s Office of not acting properly concerning recent violent events that, in his view, have promoted a climate of impunity and hindered the adequate administration of justice, taking the opportinuty to praise State security forces once more, for “strictly complying with the Constitution and the Republic’s laws.”

Foreign minister Delcy Rodríguez said that Nicolás expanded the Truth Committee’s authority to deal with the current political violence, adding that it will establish the truth “efficiently and transparently” in each case, and submit a report to the as-yet-unelected Constituent Assembly. That’s how they’re trying to usurp the Prosecutor’s Office’s power. A special mention to Isaías Rodríguez’s sad involvement, as his best argument was speculating about the General Prosecutor’s emotional state and expressing his concern that she might’ve fallen into “anti-revolutionary networks.” I’ll spare you Pedro Carreño’s insults and Aristóbulo Istúriz’s irrelevant cynicism.

Deadly repression

Augusto Puga, student at Universidad de Oriente (Ciudad Bolívar headquarters,) one of the three people wounded by the National Guard when they  illegally broke into their campus, died last night. Puga had been shot in the forehead and, although they managed to get him to surgery, he didn’t make it. Others were wounded yesterday: Jean Mayora, shot in the hand (another three were wounded by gunshot); lawmakers José Brito and Juan Andrés Mejía were hit by tear-gas canisters on the knee and arm, respectively; several journalists were also hit by canisters.

In La Isabelica (Carabobo), a PNB ran over a 17-year old girl with his motorcycle.

Yesterday, the PNB and the GN used tear-gas (even forcing the evacuation of a school in Montalbán) rubber pellets (at least 20 people wounded between Baruta and Chacao) and live rounds, causing traumas, asphyxia, seizures and burns. Up until 6:00 p.m. the balance for both municipalities was 55 people wounded.

The 2014 loop

Wednesday was the TSJ’s turn to do what the CNE did on Tuesday: rub their subservience to the Executive Branch on our faces. The sanctioned justices of the Constitutional Chamber decided to recycle the model of lawsuits and constitutional amparos used in 2014 against mayors Daniel Ceballos (San Cristóbal) and Enzo Scarano (San Diego), to later remove and imprison them for not complying with their orders. This time, the ruling was issued against mayors of Chacao, El Hatillo, Baruta, Los Salias, Carrizal (Miranda) and, Alberto Adriani, Libertador and Campo Elías (Mérida), demanding that they ban the shutdown of public roads to avoid violating the rights of free transit, health, work and economic freedom. In fact, the Constitutional Chamber should demand the State guarantee citizen rights, not block them, but you see, the PSUV is desperate to demobilize protests.

A useless villain

Jorge Rodríguez, mayor of Libertador municipality, said yesterday that the opposition wants “elections without an electoral authority, or ballots, or votes,” comparing it to the Constituyente which, in his view, is a profound proposal for dialogue, an incoherent claim after which he said: “Who cares if MUD doesn’t participate in the Constituent Assembly? These are not party elections.” Surely, with the CNE’s latest decision, “all the violent right-wing’s questions” must’ve changed. He claimed that when there are no elections,  PSUV improvises them. He said that violence is promoted by the opposition leadership because they’re never injured. It was a lousy attempt at supporting a Constituyente that not even they know how to defend.

Goodbye Lenín

Nicolás didn’t go to Ecuador for Lenín Moreno’s inauguration. The fact that he was branded persona non grata and wouldn’t get -like his peers- the key to the city of Quito, may have influenced his decision.

The OAS is still at odds on how to approach the conflict in Venezuela, considering that any decision will have to be supported by two thirds of the member states during the May 31st meeting. Recently, Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández demanded elections in Venezuela as a solution to the crisis and claimed that Honduras’ Chargé d’Affaires, called for consultation last week, will only return to Caracas once elections have been held.

Maybe the image that best sums up this sad day was violinist Wuilly Arteaga, crying while holding his instrument, broken by a National Guardsman. The imminent threat of art, of the nobility of a few chords, of a kid who protests not with a hood and stones, but with his best tool: music. Several people offered to buy him a new instrument and luthiers were willing to repair the broken one. Wuilly got all the solidarity a boy can get in a country as hurt as he is.  PSUV only gets more loathsome and has shown its absolute incompetence to process the civil rebellion represented by the General Prosecutor’s statement, an open door for any chavistas who, interested in preserving el finado’s proposal, aren’t willing to stand by Nicolás in the absurdity of an imposed Constituyente.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Naky, thanks for the wrap-up but I totally disagree with your “honro su cargo”.

    Here’s the comment that I left you on Facebook. Honró su cargo!?! Y las persecucicones judiciales que intentó durante años, y los muertos del 2014, todo eso se borra con dar unas declaraciones sobre una realidad que no se puede esconder? Qué fåcil! Si la Fiscal quiere realmente honrar su cargo, que impute. Que impute a los Magistrados por el golpe a la Asamblea, que impute a los jueces militares por aceptar juzgr civiles, que impute al Presidente por un llamado a Constituyente ilegal, que impute a los responsables de la represión. Muchas declaraciones y pocos actos es lo que lleva la Fiscal.

    • Ayer honro (algo) su cargo. Que viene siendo de las pocas veces que lo ha hecho pero es que lo que no es usual es noticia 🙂

    • The Fiscal’s comments may make for an interesting exercise in kremlinology around the state of official chavismo, but I agree, she is not doing her job, she does not act anything like a Fiscal General should, and she has so corrupted her office that she is left delivering oddly equivocal homilies and reports of work half done in the face of crimes of the highest order at the highest levels.

      She is no less a warped simulacrum of the position she holds than her counterpart at the CNE who is busy at the complicated and forever incomplete task of trying to make a dictatorship look like a democracy.

      No, the Fiscal should not fool us . She did not arrive yesterday like some extraterrestrial visitor to discover injustice in Venezuela. She is in fact, at the heart of a monumental state of injustice she so selectively and tentatively describes.

  2. Whatever faults Ortega-Diaz may have, and they are certainly manifold, she nevertheless is taking some small footsteps in the correct direction, and she should be commended for finally doing so.

    This does not forgive past sins, those can (and should) be dealt with later.

    What is now becoming clear, is that her office has actually been doing the investigative portion of their jobs. Even if she/they have not acted appropriately in response. All that information is probably preserved somewhere. Let us hope that in due time it can see the light of day. It will be her only hope of survival from Chavista wrath now that she has publicly broken with Nicolas.

    Time will tell if it will make a difference. For now, let us be grateful for this first crack in the chavista firewall.

    • Colin, although I agree with Bruni, you are also right-on. LOD’s declaration, given her situation circumscribed by unscrupulous thugs, was valiant, even suicidal, Hopefully, she has safe-kept needed protective documents, which, although they may not completely forgive past sins, could make final judgment more lenient.

  3. “Reverol, Jorge Rodríguez, Isaías Rodríguez, carreño and Iztúriz said…”

    Damn, those latrine-muzzles barked xDD

  4. I am an American that empathizes with the people of Venezuela in your struggle for freedom and self determination.
    I don’t speak Spanish. I relied on the live blog on CC during her news conference.
    I asked then and I ask now, Is she trying to keep the US from sanctioning her, or truly breaking with the regime?
    Luisa knows where the “bodies are buried” and could most likely reveal incredibly damaging information about this criminal regime.
    It is hard to believe that she has not benefited from the billions of Dollars that have been stolen from the Venezuelan people and found their way into the pockets of the Chavistas. Many with much lower stature than Luisa have become very wealthy during their tenure.
    Using the information she possesses as a bargaining chip may allow her to escape with her ill gotten gains.
    She has poked a hornets just enough to stir it up without doing any real damage.

  5. ¿Honró su cargo?Well, this is misleading argument.It’s obvious that she’s trying to put some pressure on the dictatorship.Why? Not sure,but maybe personal interests.We don’t know.

    For 18 years she’s been part of this tyranny,setting up unfair trials for some citizens that are in jail now.

    Is it fair? Is it justice? Of course it is not!!!!.

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