Your daily briefing for Monday, June 26, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

According to pollster Datanálisis, the Armed Forces reached their highest rejection level in recent years this month: 73.4%, ratified after this weekend’s celebrations, when troops were used to bolster numbers in an event with no civilian support on Saturday – a true expression of the government’s situation – and yesterday, during the induction ceremony of the new chiefs of Strategic Regions of Integral Defense (REDI).

Minister Vladimir Padrino López set the course for his subordinates by saying:

“We have to direct our efforts towards creating light units of special action. Lighter, deadlier, mobile and capable of adapting to any situation all over the national territory (…) in view of these new scenarios of political violence, psychological war, economic war, international harassment, international isolation…”

A message that clearly mirrors Nicolás’ threats: more repression and prison for dissidents, with the promise that if we stop protesting, we can still be killed by crime, hunger or lack of medicines to treat a simple disease.


The beating of the century

That’s how Nicolás describes his current situation, before pointing out that he’s not “an individual, in the sense of individuality,” adding compadre to make his appalling statements more popular, such as his complaints regarding military uprisings, the deaths during protests (which he blamed on the opposition), or the kids from the U-20 football team whom he called “ungrateful.”

He said the opposition was “uselessness, backwardness and destruction,” which is a perfect summary of his government and helped him bring up his own thoughts on the possible resolutions at the OAS and the UN’s Human Rights Council, claiming that he managed to contain and defeat an international coup with its corresponding massacre and a “military trickle” that would enable the appointment of a transition junta.

That was an answer to all of former Interior minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres’ key messages:


Although he never mentioned him directly.

Updating enemies

But he said nothing about OAS head Luis Almagro’s statements offering his resignation in exchange for certain minimal conditions, a lesson on dignity before chavismo’s vulgar blackmail.

Nicolás claimed that MUD advisor Roberto Picón was (illegally) arrested because he was seeking to sabotage the CNE’s servers, with the help of accomplices within the institution at a national and regional level (what an own goal,) explaining that

“Servers are huge machines with a thousand computers in one single piece of hardware and there’s where they keep the Internet, the database.”

It was a lousy justification for detaining Roberto Picón without an arrest warrant and disregarding due process, repeating the joke about the world’s best Constitution, which they now want to scrap, with the strongest electoral system in the cosmos, which is now in shambles.

Nicolás ordered the Armed Forces to declare themselves “in general popular constitutional rebellion in civilian-military union” in case of threats to his physical integrity, his freedom or his government’s legitimacy.

Impossible honor

In a statement, PDVSA repeated what we already knew: that there are Portuguese judicial bodies investigating a money laundering scheme involving Banco Espírito Santo, adding that they’ve appointed a team of advisors to study the appropriate legal mechanisms to “determine the existence of fraud against the corporation,” but also to investigate “the possibility of filing a lawsuit to obtain the corresponding economic compensation for damages.”

PDVSA claimed that they keep reinforcing their internal checks to prevent these situations from replicating – they bankrupted the company, there’s nothing else to steal –; that they won’t tolerate corruption and that they’ll keep investigating to determine the corresponding liabilities. I’d swear the statement concerning the truck full of cocaine was better written.

Lucena’s threats

During an interview with Mumm-Ra’s cousin, José Vicente Rangel, CNE head Tibisay Lucena cautioned that she won’t allow any kind of sabotage against Nicolás’ imposed Constituyente, so the institution will take criminal actions against those who try to block elections. Mind you, she offered a solution for this unconstitutional imposition: anyone who disagrees may abstain from participating. Isn’t that great?

Lucena claimed that the Constituyente wasn’t meant to solve economic problems (contradicting Nicolás himself) but rather to react to a severe political crisis which must be solved “through the path of dialogue,” between the PSUV and the State they brought to failure, between Executive Branch authorities that will change their perspectives merely by becoming constituent representatives, an echochamber for the PSUV, a dialogue between 18 years of continued power and the architects of that continuity.


He who must not be named

For Nicolás, Voldemort was Dobby before former Interior minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres. This weekend, the major general said in an interview that the Constituyente isn’t a sovereign decision, so it is illegitimate, splits the military structure and also pushes us to even worse violence. He called for the creation of a great national front in defense of the Constitution and claimed that the Armed Forces are seeing internal reshuffling amidst crisis and that the government has held several meetings with generals, including one involving Tibisay Lucena, to persuade them of the need for a Constituyente.

Strangely, chavista newspaper Últimas Noticias published a document last Saturday, which reveals the link between Rodríguez Torres and the DEA in exchange for protection. It was Eva Golinger, lawyer and former chavista, who pointed out that the DEA rarely mentions their informants by name in documents, they tend to have code names.

Ouch, Díaz Rangel.

Hunger strike

Fourteen Chacao Police officers were supposed to be released from prison almost a year ago and yet, they’re still detained at SEBIN El Helicoide. This Saturday, two of them started a hunger strike to demand their release. In case their demands are dismissed, the remaining officers will progressively join the protest. The officers wrote a letter holding Nicolás, Tareck El Aissami and Gustavo González López personally responsible for their physical integrity and their lives, adding that they won’t renounce their rights or their demand for freedom. They put fingerprints over each of their signatures, using their own blood as ink.

Today, students will block the streets in a nationwide trancazo from 12:00 m until 4:00 p.m. The event on Friday was a success, even if some of us had to flee from tear-gas.

We continue.

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.