Thieves and Streams

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The National Guard and the PNB fired tear-gas canisters straight at protesters on Monday, once again. They used the ballena’s water power, the rinoceronte and even deafening fireworks to cause harm, spread panic and block the way for demonstrators. Yesterday, the GN carried metal batons we hadn’t seen until now, while setting up ambushes, robbing ice-cream vendors, stores, citizens, political leaders and journalists, operating like criminals bent on wreaking as much havoc as possible, profiting from the chaos around them. That must be why they remained impassive as armed civilian groups harassed protesters.

Over 250 people were wounded in Caracas on Monday, with rubber pellets, projectiles, marbles, concussions, luxations and asphyxia. And despite the barbarity, a group of citizens protested in Avenida Urdaneta, a symbolic setback that chavismo’s still at odds to reconcile.

Record and denounce

Repressive forces forget that any citizen with a smartphone can record a piece of this horror and that’s why there are videos of the ambush against Capriles and his team, the attack against lawmaker Carlos Paparoni, the assault on protesters in Avenida Urdaneta and repression in the Francisco Fajardo highway.

That’s why Human Rights NGO Funpaz consigned before the Prosecutor’s Office a pellet cartridge made by Cavim already containing a marble by design.

Last night, Eastern REDI commander Sergio Rivero reported that Anzoátegui police officer Onan Pereira, suspected of firing the marble that killed César Pereira, was removed from his post and turned into the Prosecutor’s Office. The event was recorded on videos and pictures uploaded on social media. General Rivero said that technical tests are still underway, but that didn’t prevent him from claiming that the marble was fired by a homemade weapon, as opposed to a professional one.

The government’s version

For the PSUV, truth is the denial of reality, which they promptly replace with their propaganda. That’s why Foreign and Defense ministers Delcy Rodríguez and Vladimir Padrino López co-hosted an event “in recognition of the victims of guarimbas in 2014 and 2017,” which not even official outlets have mentioned yet, for some reason, even though the Armed Forces’ Twitter account described it in flamboyant terms.

According to Delcy, it’s impossible to “ignore the GN’s role in keeping the peace” and so, an assault on an officer is an assault on the Rule of Law. A quote to remember: “That terrorist minority must know that there will be no place for impunity on these violent actions.” Padrino López insists on congratulating the GN, “a component trained and equipped to cooperate in safeguarding internal order (…) complying with humanist principles and rejecting vandalism,” which constitutes his certainty that the work they’re about to develop will allow them to know “the truth of these acts of violence.” It’s insane for them to continue spreading this discourse where soldiers raise the stakes with more violence, but believe themselves fair judges. Meanwhile, the economic debacle overwhelms us.

Constituent Boogeyman

Since the CNE isn’t the appropriate institution to decide where the Constituyente’s constitutional or not according to rectora Tania D’Amelio, its work continues to be democratic and in compliance with the law. That must be why Nicolás decided to swear in (with Goldman Sachs’ money) the campaign team for his Constituyente, called “Zamora 200,” a mockery for each citizen who has mourned the loss of Venezuelans killed during the eponymous plan.

Led by Elías Jaua and Adán Chávez, the team will have “five battlefronts”: Constituent street government; organization of the electoral political apparatus; strategy and propaganda; street mobilization and constituent social movements. They’ll also have a “national command of anti-terrorist security,” led by SEBIN chief Gustavo González López. According to Nicolás, 14 million Venezuelans are registered with the carnet de la patria and inscriptions conclude next week.

Despite all the (poorly set up) intrigue about the immense amount of dissidents willing to participate in his imposed Constituyente, a phrase perfectly explains this event: “This is no time for in-fighting among revolutionaries, it’s time for unity.” Nicolás keeps ignoring the most solid arguments against him: he obliterated chavismo’s political support and bankrupted the nation; he’s reviled by the majority of the country and has no credibility. As repression becomes crueler, it’s ever more obvious for the world that he’s president solely through coercion.

Christopher Columbus’ meddling

If I were Delcy, that’s how I’d handled the invitation that European parliamentarians Antonio Tajani and Esteban González Pons extended to National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges, to speak during an extraordinary meeting of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. It was Speaker Tajani who reported that Borges “will speak about what’s happening in Venezuela, about the social and institutional crisis, and also to request support from our institutions to halt the constituent process that the government seeks to impose in Venezuela.” Delcy should know that Borges will also meet in Rome with Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin and also with parliamentarians and high ranking members of the Spanish government in Madrid. So, perhaps, lawmaker Tania Díaz might want to review her statement about how receptive European legislators are to the Constituyente.

The rest of the world

Although Susana Malcorra resigned the Argentine Foreign minister for personal reasons, she’ll attend the OAS meeting. Canada, once again, led regional concerns for our growing crisis and ratified their commitment with the promotion and protection of democracy and Human Rights. The two proposed resolutions for the OAS meeting circulated yesterday; they differ mainly in that one condemned OAS head Luis Almagro’s role and the other didn’t, but there’s a key similarity between them: both recommend shutting down the imposed Constituyente. All experts agree that it’ll be unlikely to reach the 22 votes required to approve any resolution if all 33 member states participate. Yesterday, the government signed the creation of mixed mining companies with South African companies. Mercosur’s presidential summit will be held on July 21st. Nicolás isn’t invited.

Today, Venezuela faced Japan in the Sub-20 Football World Cup this morning. Our boys have kept unbroken their row of victories.

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.