Damn Soldiers

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

National Guard commander Benavides Torres said on Sunday that the human rights abuses committed by his men were isolated incidents, legitimizing repression and guaranteeing impunity by minimizing the impact of their actions.

Yesterday, 17-year old student Fabián Urbina was killed with a shot in the thorax while he was protesting in the Francisco Fajardo highway near Altamira. Many people injured by gunshots in legs, feet and hands were taken to Clínica El Ávila, where Fabián died. According to official accounts, Fabián’s the 75th person and the 15th teenager murdered in 80 days of protests. Salud Baruta reported 92 wounded during the day, 35 of them choked on tear-gas, 14 with trauma, some of them with fractures caused by lead spheres and nuts, while the remainder was shot with rubber pellets. Salud Chacao reported 28 wounded with trauma, pellets, asphyxia, hypertension and bullets.

An unacceptable pattern

Several bullet caps from guns used by the National Guard were recovered yesterday at the Francisco Fajardo highway.

There are many witnesses accounts, pictures and videos, but in spite of this, Interior Minister Néstor Reverol chose to use Twitter for his statements about what he called “an irregular incident that’s under investigation.” According to Reverol’s theory, security bodies employed inadequate and disproportionate force to “disperse a violent protest,” adding that the officers “have been put under their unit’s custody to determine individual responsibilities,” without clarifying how many more deaths he requires to admit a despicable repressive pattern. Reverol promises “the full weight of justice for the culprits.” Officers shouldn’t carry firearms while controlling public order, even less use them against citizens, and although they do and it constitutes a crime, the minister couldn’t be bothered to show remorse and extend his condolences to the boy’s family.

Benavides Torres made the same mistake with his own tweets.

“Luisa arriba, defiende la justicia”

That was one of the slogans that Prosecutor’s Office employees used in support of their boss yesterday, as they denounced the breakdown of constitutional order with the call for Nicolás’ Constituyente, endorsing the Prosecutor General’s recent legal actions.

Ortega Díaz thanked them for their support and (with the Constitution in hand) took the opportunity to set up and unusual speech, acknowledging people’s current concerns: “We deserve to live well, without fear, without conflict, without sorrow, without someone constantly harassing us,” but she was also hopeful, promising to work even harder, criticizing the government for its poor grasp on public spending and recent repression, mentioning the inalienable rights of Venezuelans.

The fact that Ortega Díaz talks about the need to investigate drug trafficking and corruption cases will certainly have an impact on the TSJ’s response to lawmaker Pedro Carreño’s requests: she’ll soon be declared mad or incompetent, or both. Her words are evidence that she didn’t pull this off without studying possible scenarios and she’s been doing it right under your nose, Nicolás. Luisa didn’t come out of the MUD.

Without fuss

The cocaine-loaded PDVSA truck was completely ignored by the government. Only the oil company itself had the nerve to publish a press release claiming that the truck isn’t registered in their database and the driver isn’t one of its employees, adding that once they inspected the tank, they found it unfit to transport Liquefied Petroleum Gas or any other product commercialized by PDVSA.

The signs that the truck carried are fake as well. So anyone can buy a truck, cover it with PDVSA logos and transport whatever amount of drug they need all over the country. No questions asked, unless fate causes the truck to crash, of course.


Any psychoanalyst would have a great time with our Foreign minister and her capability to state, with her Cuban accent, self-descriptive phrases when she seeks to attack an opponent: “This has been a tortuous and fraudulent path,” a simple way to describe the 18 years under chavismo.

“We won’t return to this institution until it’s democratic,” that’s what many expats say about our country, although it was rather weird for her to say she wouldn’t return while being there. “Claiming that there’s a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is the biggest lie of all,” perhaps she forgot the word “fallacy” or perhaps, due to her Cuban streak, she wanted to quote el Gran Combo’s lyrics instead.

And lastly, the pearl that the OAS isn’t a space for dialogue because it’s used as a space for blackmail, exactly what the Constituyente is. She concluded her tantrum with: “We don’t recognize this meeting or its results, we won’t endorse them,” with arrogance in lieu of sovereignty, but the fact that the OAS couldn’t approve a binding statement last night was an accomplishment, to hear her say it. The resolution required 23 votes, but it only got 20.

Zapatero back in role

In Bolivia, former president and mediator Rodríguez Zapatero cautioned that there will be a catastrophe in Venezuela if an agreement between the Executive Branch and the opposition isn’t reached soon, explaining that “enmities have been growing for the last 20 years.” So he thinks it’s crucial that more countries commit to develop agreements and reject confrontation.

Last night, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, the U.S., Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru expressed their dismay in view of the lack of regional consensus about Venezuela and restated their minimum demands, among others: releasing all political prisoners, no more illegal detentions and civilians being tried before military tribunals; no more violence and full respect for human rights; fully restoring constitutional order and the National Assembly’s authority, and the termination of the call for a Constituent Assembly in its current form.

A storm, just in case

An orange alert was decreed due to a tropical storm that’s expected to hit the eastern part of the country, a tropical wave 700 km southwest of the Paria gulf, with winds averaging 65 km an hour. The tropical storm is called Brett, with winds between 73 and 110 km per hour and the most affected states will be Sucre and Nueva Esparta.

Todo bello.

Another horrible day. All the indignation we feel for the abstentions and votes against at the OAS, should be channeled in stating the arguments required by those that continue to support the regime. We need a lot of people to break the gridlock, to find a way out of this crisis that keeps killing kids who only knew chavismo and nothing else.

The Executive Branch must end its assault on the Constitution, the Republic and the citizens; the only violence in this equation comes from them and their soldiers, their damn soldiers.

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.