Constituyente or war

Your daily briefing for Monday, June 5, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For 65 days Venezuelans have been demanding the restitution of constitutional order, violated by the Executive Branch through the Judiciary. After the first month of protests, on May 1st, Nicolás announced a historic trigger, a concept that proved to be beyond him but which he summed up in a call for a Constituent Assembly, once again breaking the law, since a president can only have the initiative to propose it, but never to convene it, except that the TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber ruled that Nicolás is “sovereign” and he could do it. July 30th is the date chosen by the CNE for this imposition that would mark the end of the Republic, for electing what we don’t want to elect, what they won’t allow us to show that we don’t want to elect. In two months the CNE arranged Nicolás’ imposition and yet, Amazonas still has no representation in the National Assembly a year and half after its lawmakers were challenged by a TSJ ruling. The Constituyente has a date but no rules, because that’s how chavismo operates, institutionality’s irrelevant for them, propaganda narrative is all they case about, including Tibisay Lucena.

Nothing but war

Nicolás announced on Sunday the expasion of his Constituyente’s electoral rules, as if it was a novelty to include a referendum for approving or rejecting the new Constitution that nobody wants. He left behind the comparison between chavismo and the Jews who survived the Holocaust, but he claimed yesterday that some opposition protesters “are using drugs used by the Islamic State (…), captagon, it’s a tremendously powerful drug,” trying to impose the fallacious theory about local terrorism, aside from the fact that Syria’s the one of its main producers, internationally renowned as the drug of jihadists.

Right after denouncing the virulence against the Constituyente, he said: “Constituyente or nothing, Constituyente or war,” claiming that the process is irreversible, that it’s the only road we have.

Consistently, he lied and claimed that several opposition leaders presented their candidacy to be constituent representatives; attacked OAS chief Luis Almagro, whom he blamed for the death of Venezuelans in protests; and also General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz, saying that protests started when “someone said there was a rupture of constitutional order in Venezuela. She was the missing piece for the assault.”

Figuera’s sad case

“Orlando Figuera, stabbed and burnt alive by minds sick of hatred in Altamira on May 20th, just died,” tweeted Communications minister Ernesto Villegas early on Saturday. His terrible case has been an emblem for official propaganda that has twisted his story and circumstances. Foreign ministry Delcy Rodríguez said that “the opposition’s violence and human rights abuses mustn’t go unpunished,” claiming that Orlando was the victim of racial and political hatred. Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López wrote that he condemns “all the forms of violence caused by anti-ethical politics meant to seize power.” The video with the testimony of Orlando’s mother revealed by Villegas, was another self-goal for chavismo. Three ministers talked about his case only because it can be attributed to dissidents, that’s all you need to know about their concept of justice. None of them have demanded a solution for the rest of the people murdered, wounded and tortured. Lousy polarization won’t take away the pain of Orlando’s family and friends, au contraire, it just intensifies them. Venezuela cries for justice, not more polarization.

Ombudsman stand-off

Tarek William Saab was interviewed by Mum-Ra’s cousin José Vicente Rangel, and took the chance to attack the Prosecutor General, claiming that he wasn’t appointed to his office to “behead or implode another Public Power such as the TSJ, because that’d be an institutional coup d’état,” as if demanding explanations about ruling 378 (the one that establishes Nicolás’s sovereignty) was worse that the ruling itself. Once again, he gave his skewed balance of protests and once again, he focused –in his bet for polarization– on dissident violence, the ban against anonymity (hooded faces) and the inappropriate “use” of children.

Since he’s allegedly always spoke about the progressive use of force, he condemns “specific cases of officers violating human rights,” as if it was a rare occurrence instead of the norm, while celebrates the ban on rubber pellets, which wounded dozens of people in Montalbán last Thursday.

Saab should watch the interview of former Ombudsman Gabriela Ramírez, in which she claimed that “The rule of law is being dismantled in the context of great political pragmatism (…) probably to preserve power,” adding that NGO Foro Penal, and not the Ombudsman’s Office, is preparing the report on arrests and the defense of human rights. Ramírez also condemned that a single political party wants to replace the Constitution: “We’d be replacing a Constitution that was debated by all sectors of the country, for a Constitution debated by a single political party, giving support to a single view of the country,” rejecting the TSJ’s latest rulings as a setback in the country’s history and the fact that civilians are being sentenced by military tribunals.

A farce

National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges said on Sunday that the referendum to approve the new Constitution is a farce: “They want to perpetuate the coup d’état that started with the TSJ’s rulings, through a communal constituent assembly that has no expiration date, that takes all powers for itself and seeks to destroy not just democracy, but the Prosecutor’s Office, the National Assembly, the Armed Forces as we know them and people’s will through elections.”

Calling Tibisay Lucena’s work as unbelievable, shameful and unworthy, he said that the country rejects the Constituyente and that Nicolás is trying to impose it despite knowing that even chavismo disagrees with it. He called the opposition to persist in absolute rebellion against the Constituyente initiative, “let’s fight today so we can secure a country forever.”

A national sit-in was called for today, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with 15 rallying points set up in Caracas.

We go on.

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.