“I’m the target of brutal censorship. Keep going like this, you’ll do great,” said Nicolás in his cadena. Later, he’d celebrate the example of dignity and sovereignty represented by his government right before confessing that his ministers travel to China every month; and he’d present himself as a faithful believer in respectful dialogue, saying that AN Speaker Julio Borges is a fiend and Henrique Capriles is a murderer and gay, always emphasizing sexual orientation, as if it really was a flaw.

“We’re not deluding ourselves here” he said (trying his best to inspire authority) before saying that his Constituyente is the “most beautiful, not a single comment on electoral rules,” that’s precisely why he didn’t allow a consultative referendum, but he didn’t mention that detail, sadly.

Announcements

And so, Delcy – the tigress of sovereignty – will be replaced by Samuel Moncada as Foreign minister, because “he speaks English fluently and knows how to use his hands; sometimes even the best diplomat needs to resort to punches.”

After destroying Mercal and PDVAL, eradicating any trace of food sovereignty, Carlos Osorio will be Nicolás’ Chief of Staff; Néstor Ovalles will be Labor minister and Héctor Rodríguez will run the campaign for the only party in the Constituyente, an unprecedented challenge!

As a reward for 80 days of fierce repression, Benavides Torres will head the Capital District government, even though Nicolás had said the opposition lied when they said his people are all handpicked. By the way, the honest Oscar Schemel, from the oh-so-impartial pollster Hinterlances, is a Constituyente candidate.

Regarding Venezuela’s situation

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, sent a letter to the OAS in which he restates the call for elections in Venezuela as the solution to the crisis and also rejects Nicolás’ Constituyente: “… instead of contributing to solving the problems, it risks complicating them even further and jeopardising the country’s democratic future.”

The Holy See ratifies its stance for a serious and sincere negotiation between the parties, with clear conditions, including the holding of direct, free and transparent elections as the only solution to the crisis, emphasizing that “citizens themselves must set the stage for solving internal issues.”

The Vatican’s priorities are the opening of a humanitarian channel to ease the shortage of food and medicines; an electoral timetable “that allows Venezuelans to decide their future without delay”; the restitution of the National Assembly’s authority and the immediate release of political prisoners.

And now the OAS

Even though the organization exists to build regional consensus precisely for times like these, it was impossible for them to create a contact team in the resolution on human rights, so Venezuela’s political crisis was left out of the institution’s 47th Regular Session of the General Assembly. Just as it was expressed by Mexico’s representative Luis Alfonso de Alba – one of the proposal’s main promoters – due to procedure, the last option to issue a statement on Venezuela was to approach it from the angle of human rights, but it wasn’t possible. The contact team was meant to broker a negotiation between the government and the opposition. The discussion on Venezuela’s case could be resumed in the Foreign ministers’ consultation session which remains open, although there’s no date for a new meeting.

Farewell, Santos Yorme

Pompeyo Márquez, Venezuelan politician, founder of the party Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), senator, minister, diplomat and columnist, died early yesterday. He fought against Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s dictatorship, participated in the armed conflict, was imprisoned during Rómulo Betancourt’s term and managed to escape in 1964 along with Teodoro Petkoff and Guillermo García Ponce. Pompeyo was a member of the Presidential Committee to Reform the State (Copre) and the Presidential Committee for Colombian-Venezuelan Border Affairs (Copaf). He firmly opposed el finado and Nicolás, a man who learned from his mistakes and shared his lessons and insights with great wisdom. He was an eminent Venezuelan, a lucid and necessary voice, an integral democrat whose works deserve a re-read. His column in Tal Cual was the first thing my dad read, a ritual I inherited even though it made me evaluate the rest of the voices, because wisdom always comes in different tints.

Yesterday was the first day of civil disobedience and it was mostly irrelevant. It was a gloomy day, even with Bret gone; no important news about what concerns us the most, with bigger discussions about the unheard of proposal of an Instagram protest than about the drop in oil prices, which severely hinders PDVSA’s capacity to produce dollars. Additionally, OPEC announced further output cuts, so drawn your own conclusions.

We go on, despite the absence and the silence, we go on.

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