Deadly marbles

Your daily briefing for Monday, May 29, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo. 

César Pereira, a 20 year-old Voluntad Popular activist and Iutirla student, died on Sunday morning when a marble entered his abdomen during a protest in Peñol del Faro. The Prosecutor’s Office appointed the 20th prosecutor for Anzoátegui state to lead this murder investigation. Including César, the tally is now up to 62 people killed during 58 days of protests. 49 of them directly in street activities.

CSI: Fuerte Tiuna

Despite what you just read, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López thinks that Plan Zamora is a plan “to protect internal order,” because the alleged evil conspiracy they’re fighting is the shutdown of main roads, which is disrupting the country’s well-stocked supply lines.

Pretending to be the Chief of Public Prosecutions, he claimed that none of the casualties during protests were caused by weapons used by the National Guard, saying that protesters themselves are the ones firing metal buckshot, and that “70% of deaths have been caused by firearms and homemade weapons,” only to frame the PNB and the GN, equating protests to internal subversion and armed insurrection and once again singing the praises of the GN’s “impeccable” handling of demonstrations. Beyond that, he spoke like a PSUV fanatic, saying that even though the game is tight, the only possible way out is the Constituyente.

Another split

Former Ombudsman Gabriela Ramírez came out against the Constituyente: “No Assembly can be Constituent if it doesn’t first watered by the stream of popular sovereignty. Its electoral rules must go to the entire country for universal and direct approval. It’s unthinkable to elect constituent representatives if the people haven’t yet approved the terms and conditions of such an   election. And then, those men must submit the results of their efforts for popular approval,” comparing the way the previous ruling clique “met behind closed doors to think how they believed we wanted to be governed,” with Nicolás’ imposition, pointing out the setbacks in terms of Human Rights, the flagrant HHRR violation of not allowing everyone to express themselves through votes and the consequences of imposing the Constituyente. As if she had excelled during her own tender, she criticized Tarek William Saab, accusing him of being “more interested in defending himself than the people.” The cracks are still opening.

“Even under the rocks”

That’s Nicolás’s order to find those responsible for the death of GN Lt. Danny Subero, allegedly lynched this Saturday by a group of citizens in Lara state, during the funeral for student Manuel Sosa who had been murdered in Valle Hondo. The same guy who wanted Venezuela out of the OAS due to its supposed irrelevance for the local agenda, condemned yesterday the institution’s statement concerning the Subero’s crime and demanded that opposition leaders do the same.

Nicolás also decided to reveal a detail that Tibisay Lucena kept for herself, saying that two days have been enabled for electing constituent representatives, adding that over 50 requests for interpreting the Constituyente have been submitted to the TSJ thus far. Sadly, handling all that information didn’t inspire him to explain that he depreciated the bolívar at least by 60% with DICOM’s first auction, or why the Wall Street Journal reports that Goldman Sachs had purchased $2,800 million in PDVSA bonds at 31 cents on the dollar.

As an attack on president Juan Manuel Santos, after telling him to “wise up,” he said that Colombia “needs a Chávez,” and then alerted Latin America’s oligarchy that “they could pay dearly for their moves against Venezuela.” He ratified that Constituent Assembly members will have absolute power above any known law, summing it up as “a Constituent Assembly to change everything.” Spoken like a true statesman, huh?

Agro-food emergency

The Confederation of Associations of Farmers (Fedeagro) decreed an emergency in Venezuela due to the severe setbacks in the planting period, caused by input shortages and distribution problems caused by State monopoly: “the lack of supplies causes agricultural production to collapse and will worsen food shortages,” cautioning that most of the corn production should’ve already be sown by now, but they’ve scarcely been able to buy 30% of the required seed, fertilizer and agrochemical inputs to fulfill that goal.

Add this to complications caused by unseasonable rains and the hazard they represent to production; the inexplicable privilege that Agropatria has provided to public programs in terms of supply distribution, on top of the price hike of over 1,000% compared to 2016. Fedeagro demands that a humanitarian channel be opened to help supply all the farmers in the country.

“Come out here yourself, Maduro”

Was governor Henrique Capriles’ response to threats of imprisonment, warning Nicolás that he’ll have to face justice with political change and telling him that the dialogue he so desperately needs right now, was the recall referendum of 2016. Capriles opened the possibility for those who can arrive early this Monday to the Ombudsman’s Office on their own should do it, cautioning Interior minister Néstor Reverol and CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena they could face the same.

He read the list of fatalities during protests, in response to Padrino López’s statements denying GN responsibility; he ratified that we have the highest number of political prisoners in the last 50 years and condemned those who take justice into their own hands. With a different theory on Danny Subero’s death, he requested the Prosecutor’s Office to start investigations to reveal the truth and said that peaceful constitutional pressure should increase, in preparation for 72 hours of protests and suggesting that regime agents in demonstrations should be isolated and handed over to the authorities, but never attacked.

Today’s march will head to the Ombudsman’s Office. Protesters will wear white in honor of the dead.

On Tuesday, the idea’s to go to consulates, embassies and diplomatic delegations in the country and on Wednesday 31st, the march is set to reach the Foreign Affairs ministry.

In case you didn’t read it, courier companies operating in Venezuela have been banned from bringing helmets, bulletproof vests, bats, baseball balls, gas masks, gloves and first-aid products such as antiacid, gauze, cream for burns, bandages and eye drops. In the words of José Cabello, head of SENIAT: “They won’t use the country’s customs offices as a bridge to arm their terrorist groups.” Because Napalm and Maalox are notoriously similar, you know.

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.