Civil Disobedience

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges, on behalf of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), called for civil disobedience against the government – enshrined in article 350 of the Constitution – for violating the Constitution. From now on, the government’s authority and decisions are not to be acknowledged or obeyed by anyone.

The MUD also invoked article 333, which enables citizens to disregard the call for a Constituent Assembly and to restore constitutional order, so that new public powers can be appointed and free elections can be held.

Borges asked Venezuelans to organize in committees for the recovery of democracy and create permanent assemblies to declare that we won’t allow the use of schools and community centers as polling stations. He promised to reveal the results of a great National Accord for governability and our country’s recovery, made out by politicians along with various sectors of society.

Against the Prosecutor General

Tthe TSJ’s Full Chamber decided on Thursday that there are merits to prosecute PG Luisa Ortega Díaz, for disrespecting the tribunal’s decisions. During an extraordinary session called by its president Maikel Moreno, the justices also decided to call for a public hearing; to summon Luisa Ortega Dìaz, lawmaker Pedro Carreño (the plaintiff) and the Moral Republican Council’s members to appear before the Full Chamber, which is now in permanent session to discuss Carreño’s other lawsuits: precautionary measures to freeze her assets and prevent her from leaving the country, as well as a medical board to declare her clinically insane.

Lawmaker Freddy Guevara ratified that the Prosecutor General’s removal requires the vote of the National Assembly’s absolute majority and that they won’t proceed with it, but the TSJ still has the desacato card.

Luisa against the PSUV

“The country’s threatened by the dark prospect of the State’s destruction. We can now say that the State has been dissolved,” said the PG on radio, an extraordinary endorsement for the call to civil disobedience.

Convinced that Venezuela’s on the brink of the worst disaster in its republican history, Ortega Díaz said that it’s grotesque that several TSJ justices lack the required credentials to occupy their seats, remarking that she doesn’t have information regarding the preliminary hearing on merits to decide her removal from office and that she’s prepared for everything, because she’s a stateswoman. She restated how serious it is to have justices denounced for crimes, and also talked about the arrest warrants that the TSJ has disregarded, requesting citizens to remain alert: “This is the end of law,” in what she called a state of terror.

Luisa’s figures

The PG spoke of 23 arrest warrants that have been ignored, reporting 74 people dead and 1,413 wounded, 3,971 illegal prosecutions and 532 prisoners. She said that Fabián Urbina’s death was a homicide, she didn’t use the “disproportionate use of force” card – greetings to minister Reverol – and regarding Neomar Lander, she said that investigations are ongoing and they’ve not produced a conclusive result yet.

She explained that ignoring release warrants isn’t just dereliction of duty but an evidence of the destruction of the Rule of Law and, after saying that “human rights violations have been severe in Venezuela,” (as if she wasn’t accountable for it herself) she claimed that Venezuela’s file in the International Criminal Court must surely require a measuring tape. She asserted that she’ll go as far as the Constitution and the law allows, and repeated that it’s imprescindible to consult the Venezuelan people on whether they accept or refuse the Constituyente.


Last night, governor Henrique Capriles showed a Datanálisis poll that reveals that 73.4% of Venezuelans have a negative opinion about the Armed Forces.

Despite this, Nicolás launched a cadena from the Military Academy’s gym which started off with praises for “the Venezuelan military youth,” for whom he called for an applause, despite Fabián Urbina’s murder and the rest of the citizens who sustained bullet wounds this Monday.

He announced changes in the Military High Command and gave the ministries of Transportation, and Fishing and Aquaculture to more soldiers, as if they needed more spaces of power. He ratified Vladimir Padrino López as Defense minister, but removed him from the Strategic Operational Command. The expert in military matters, Rocío San Miguel, said that the changes will worsen human rights violations in Venezuela.

The other point of the day: the program “Chamba juvenil” will allegedly offer 60,000 jobs for young people between June and July. He’s is so fake he’s insulting. He had the gall to say that his government has given the youth: education, love, life and opportunities. Everything is an outrage with Nicolás.

A million

Bolívares fuertes, or a billion of the old ones – that was very nearly the price of the food basket in May (Bs. 990,918.92). According to a report by Cendas-FMV, the price increased by Bs. 123,146.87 (14.2%) compared to April, requiring 15.2 minimum wages to pay for it. The price has increased by 337.6% in one year and the gap between controlled and market prices is 7,824%. By the way, starting July, CLAP boxes will cost Bs. 17,000, the third price hike this year. It’s absurd even in writing.

We need more education

Professor José Ignacio Hernández clarified some doubts regarding the articles invoked as the center of the opposition’s strategy. In his view, the 333 allows the National Assembly to make the necessary decisions to block the Constituyente and restore the Constitution, as well as leading the democratic transition process, facilitating political agreements. The 350 “is the last line of defense for citizen freedom: it justifies disobedience and non-cooperation in the face of constitutional frauds.” In other words, now is the time to uphold the republican tradition and prove that we want to keep being a Republic.

Disobeying the government demands a lot of education in terms of how to implement it and experience it, and it’ll require all possible networks (political parties and the civil society) to train us in practice. The governing party demolished the State and destroyed institutionality in this country, and it’s now our task to recreate both from the rubble.

These are days to strengthen our networks and to be alert, protesting with conviction and without violence, holding onto our demands.

The Prosecutor General’s matter isn’t about faith but about pertinence, about how useful her stance is due to the role she plays. Whoever wants to, can keep abhorring her, remembering her mistakes, painting little horns in her pictures and waiting until this is over to make her pay. But nobody can deny that she’s crucial for transition and that the Prosecutor General is a valid authority in any serious country.

Apparently, Bret’s no longer a storm but a tropical wave, a respite for a country already deeply immersed in tragedy.

By the way, my family and I have been in civil disobedience before it was cool. 

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.