Unstoppable death

Your daily briefing for Friday, June 16, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Yesterday, 20-year old student Luis Enrique Vera was killed while protesting in the intersection between Av. Circunvalación 2 and Av. Guajira (Maracaibo). He was run down by a Ford Superduty truck that crossed the street at full speed. Regrettably, Luis Enrique died the same way as Paúl Moreno, another student from Maracaibo.

In his inexcusable statement, governor Francisco Arias Cárdenas justified the actions of driver Darwin Rubio, saying that he’d panicked when he saw the protest.

In Rubio, Táchira, 21-year old UPEL student José Gregorio Pérez was murdered by paramilitary motorizados (colectivos) who shot him in the face. The Prosecutor’s Office appointed prosecutors to investigate each murder.

Three new lawsuits

Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz filed three annulment lawsuits before the TSJ’s Constitutional and Electoral Chambers against the presidential decrees Nicolás used to convene his Constituyente and establish its electoral rules, as well as against the CNE’s decisions regarding the process.

In all three suits, the PG requests an injunction to suspend the effects of both the presidential decrees and the CNE’s decisions.

In her meeting with representatives of the Andrés Bello Catholic University, who handed her a communiqué supporting her recent actions, Ortega Díaz said: “We can’t falter, we must have strength, unity must be our banner.”

The same story

Visibly upset, NONEbudsman Tarek William Saab issued a statement after his long meeting with Luisa Ortega Díaz. The point is simple: the PG didn’t sign the express justices’ appointment notice in December, 2015, but she did sign one dated January 21st, 2016, which allegedly validated the original notice. Fortunately, the Comptroller and he can attest to her presence back then and given their unquestionable credibility, Saab believes the debate’s settled. That’s why he called for cooperation between public powers, inviting the country to celebrate the CNE’s belated announcement of an electoral timetable and to cease street protests. Because whoever demands for other elections is disregarding the Constitution they themselves have violated at will.

The timetable

Several opposition lawmakers went to CNE headquarters in Plaza Venezuela early on Thursday to demand the shutdown of Constituyente proceedings, pasting signs and stickers on the building’s entrance.

Later (in fact, with a whole one-year delay), Tibisay Lucena announced that gubernatorial elections will be held on December 10th, ignoring all the threats concerning the all-powerful Constituyente, which will be able to decide on any matter, an issue that rector Luis Emilio Rondón did not disregard.

In any case, gubernatorial candidates may register between August 8th and 12th, and the campaign will take place between November 15th and December 7th.

Jorge Rodríguez did a lousy job at pretending his “joy for regional elections,” while Henrique Capriles Radonski was more on point, calling them a farce.

By the way, the CNE rejected all but 10% of the candidacies nominated for the Constituyente.

Human rights abusers

Human Rights Watch urged six high-ranking Venezuelan officers to answer for human rights abuses committed during protest repression. The institution mentioned the Defense and Interior ministers, as well as commanders of the GN, the PNB and SEBIN, and the Military Prosecutor General, among others.

“They’re not taking measures to prevent human rights violations or to bring those responsible to justice,” said José Miguel Vivanco, who also criticized Nicolás for publicly endorsing their actions during protests despite the “overwhelming evidence” of abuses. Vivanco thinks it’s unlikely that Venezuelan justice will investigate these officers, so he emphasized the importance of administrative sanctions imposed by governments or by international inquiries on human rights.

More tear-gas and corruption

To mitigate the concerns of human rights abusers after HRW’s statements, lawmaker Jorge Millán denounced that the government’s set to buy a shipment of over 77,000 tear-gas canisters from Brazil, through Veximca, to be used by the Armed Forces.

And while Food minister Rodolfo Marco Torres announced that they’re studying a new CLAP supply plan, the AN’s special committee created to investigate corruption in that program, confirmed that Samark López – Tareck El Aissami’s figurehead – heads a complex corruption scheme in Barbados and Mexico, which has cost the Venezuelan State tens of millions of dollars in exceedingly overpriced products.

Nicolás’ renewal

Hurt by “the loss of human lives,” as if he wasn’t responsible for it, Nicolás echoed Arias Cárdenas’ justification for Luis Enrique Vera’s murder. He said that his conscience is clear and that history will absolve them. He spoke of the people’s brave effort these past nine weeks, except that he wasn’t talking about the repression by his security forces, but about the absurd story of opposition attacks, claiming that nobody’s been able to stop him, that the country “has to fall into line little by little.” He celebrated the electoral schedule and said that “no country in the world can match Venezuela in the exercise of freedom.”

Nicolás repeats that he wants dialogue while he supports repression and murders; he repeats that he’s not afraid of laws, truth or justice, that’s why he breaks them without remorse. The only relevant thing about his cabinet changes was the sting in his words when he thanked major general Alexis Ramírez López for his work as head of CODENA.


The OAS is set to hold the second session of the Foreign ministers meeting about Venezuela on June 19th in Cancun, Mexico.

Yesterday, U.S. vice-president Mike Pence urged the rest of the countries in the region to condemn the abuse of power in Venezuela, criticizing repression and the violation of democracy in our country.

The parliaments of Chile and Peru accused Nicolás’ government of violating the Constitution by disrespecting the AN’s authority and Branch autonomy, in a joint statement in which they demand Nicolás to rectify.

The International Monetary Fund cautioned neighboring countries to “prepare for Venezuela’s economic collapse; there will be many refugees,” and they didn’t even know that the black market dollar’s value increased over a thousand bolívares in a week.

Conatel shut down the TV station of Los Andes University, which was in operation since October 2nd, 1999. At least they’re broadcasting live on YouTube.

Well, Divina Pastora, give us your blessing.

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.