Fire and silence

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, June 27th, 2017.


On the 87th day of protests, 17-year old political activist Jofre Rodríguez was shot while taking part in the Student Roadblock, the demonstration called for yesterday. Jofre was taken in for surgery and is allegedly out of danger, but he still needs 0+ blood type donors at Turmero’s polyclinic hospital.

He was hurt by a man who fired from a vehicle identified with decals for State-owned company Agropatria. The CICPC already arrested him and the Prosecutor’s Office appointed Prosecutor 22 of Aragua state to investigate the crime. Let’s see what the government says about the Agropatria employee and the vehicle, maybe they’ll bring back the story about illegal identifications, a vehicle not registered with the company and an employee who isn’t registered with the IVSS. They had all day to say something about the crime but they didn’t, that’s a message in itself.

Block, flee, return

“They don’t pay us to clear debris from the roads coñoelamadrenojoda,” a PNB complained as he removed some objects from a street in Caracas when he tried to make his way home, as if repressing and shooting people was a truly ennobling task.

Several simultaneous roadblocks were a lot of work for PNB and National Guard units, charged with patrolling, repressing and moving on.

Yesterday, there were people injured by tear-gas canisters shot against their bodies and also rubber pellets. Once again, the GN attacked and robbed citizens in Chacao municipality, including paramedics and journalists.

At least five people were arrested in Altamira and their faces were covered to prevent journalists from taking pictures of them.

Repression continued in several spots in Caracas and Aragua well into the night.

Lawmaker Melva Paredes reported:

“Armed colectivos fire against students in Av. Caracas in El Limón MBI, Edo. Aragua, five people with bullet wounds.” There was also looting in several areas of Maracay.

Meanwhile, in eastern Caracas, Sucre mayor Carlos Ocariz confirmed that three GN officers took bullets during clashes in Urbanización Miranda.

Due process?

Roberto Picón and Arístides Moreno, illegally arrested last Thursday, were  brought before a military tribunal for the crimes of treason, military rebellion and stealing military equipment, for which they will taken to El Helicoide.

Picón was accused on TV by Nicolás of seeking to hack and sabotage the electoral system, a possibility dismissed by experts on the matter, since such an action would mean tampering with each voting machine during a small window right at the moment when information’s sent once elections end. As evidence of the alleged conspiracy, Nicolás said that a couple servers were confiscated, revealing his ignorance and once again mocking his hand-picked audience’s intelligence.

Today is Roberto Picón’s daughter’s birthday, impossible to celebrate while her dad is unjustly imprisoned.

Voldemort again

Former Prisons minister Iris Varela decided to reveal some information about former Interior minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres, such as accusing him for Bassil Da Costa’s murder, the first student who lost his life during 2014 protests, even though SEBIN officer José Ramón Perdomo was sentenced to 29 years in prison for this crime.

According to Varela, Rodríguez Torres “could do anything in his fascist madness,” such as criminalizing the oh-so-noble paramilitary groups (colectivos) who support the government, and killing Juancho Montoya and José Odreman, both colectivo leaders. Varela claimed that Rodríguez Torres has been working to undermine people’s support for the government and that it was el finado himself who put an end to his presidential aspirations, but it’s only just now that Varela thinks it’s right to reveal “the murderous nature of this indecent man.” Odd, isn’t it?

Cynicism is inherent to chavismo

On Monday, during the graduation ceremony for Army officers, Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López claimed that opposition elements “have devised a plan to fracture State institutions,” such as the Armed Forces “with the intention of taking over Venezuela’s natural resources,” adding that they seek to split the State to break people’s morale, so well protected by shortages, inflation and repression.

The minister should know that there’s nothing deadlier than a failed State or a corrupt and incompetent government. If he needs proof, he must follow the Prosecutor’s Office’s investigation into the deaths of four patients aged between two and 16 years old, which took place in May and June, in the J. M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital, caused by infections they picked up due to contamination in the Hemodialysis Unit.


Yesterday was the International Day in support of of Victims of Torture.

During the protest, we saw El señor de los Papagayos (the Man with the Kite) using his beautiful creation to congratulate human rights activist Lisbeth Añez (Mamá Lis) for her birthday. She was illegally arrested on May 13th, accused of treason and military rebellion for visiting political prisoners and bringing them food.

Also yesterday, lawmaker Gilber Caro’s lawyer reported that his client is subjected to physical and psychological torture in Tocuyito prison. Toni Marval explained that Caro goes without proper food, that prison guards won’t let his family bring him food, he’s barred from seeing his children or making contact with any other people in the prison, and he gets just one hour of sunlight a day.

Yesterday afternoon, two students from UCAB Guayana were released: Arianny Lezama and Isabel Bartoli.

China just released Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is suffering a terminal cancer; that’s how merciful chavismo’s allies are.

Almost a million and a half

The Food Basket’s price for May 2017 rose by 17,5%, reaching Bs.1,426,363, according to a Cendas report. The increment between months is 3.3 minimum wages, meaning that in order to buy the basket, people need Bs. 47,545.44 daily. The price has increased by 369.8% between May 2016 and May 2017 (Bs. 1,122,747.79), which represents 17.3 minimum wages.

Jofre was my student in the training program Prepárate Venezuela.

Despite being the youngest in the group, he stood out. In public speaking (the module I teach,) he had an excellent performance due to his passionate delivery, his sometimes exaggerated energy, but also his coherent conviction about what he does and the country he wants.

There’s no way to be spared from this tragedy and it’s deeply painful when it falls on young people with talent to build a different country. I wish him a fast and full recovery from this tragedy. For Jofre and for the country.

We go on.

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.