Wayward pilot

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Everything was serious this Tuesday. Everything.

For lack of votes, Nicolás offered bullets, the National Assembly was assaulted by chavista colectivos and attacked by the National Guard, a police helicopter fired against the Supreme Tribunal of Justice and that same Tribunal’s Constitutional Chamber transferred the Prosecutor’s Office’s exclusive capacities to the Ombudsman’s Office, in their ongoing series of coups d’état.

Sadly, the day started with confirmed reports that 17-year old student José Figuera had suffered brain death, after having been shot in the head this Monday night while protesting in El Limón (Aragua state,) an incident denounce by lawmaker Mariela Magallanes, who said that at least nine protesters had been wounded by firearms.


He who must not be named, former Interior minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres, confirmed yesterday that he established relations with the CIA, that it wasn’t a secret for anyone and that he actually did it following el finado’s instructions.

He mocked the documents published by the regime-owned newspaper Últimas Noticias; he claimed that intelligence services are damaging the country and also make a laughingstock out of Nicolás; he denied having met Freddy Guevara and María Corina Machado, but confirmed meetings with Julio Borges and Henry Ramos Allup, remarking that he’d meet the devil himself if he had to, “because we must solve this crisis.”

He promised to release videos of drug trafficker Walid Makled’s interrogations, regarding his links with government officials.

The regime already ordered his arrest for this, or for his influence within the Armed Forces or for his recent surge of relevance.

Guns without votes

Yesterday, Nicolás said:

“I say this for the whole world to hear, and I hope that the world would listen after 90 days of violence, destruction and death, if Venezuela falls into chaos and violence, if the bolivarian revolution is destroyed, we’ll fight back, we’ll never surrender and what we couldn’t achieve through votes, we’d do with guns, like Bolívar, Sucre and Negro Primero did before us. Make no mistake, we want peace, we’re peaceful men and women, but we’re fighters.”

Lawyer José Vicente Haro explained that with this statement, Nicolás committed several crimes set out in the Criminal Code: instigation to commit crimes, apology to crime and conspiracy.

A flying diversion

Yesterday afternoon, a helicopter flew over TSJ headquarters. There was gunfire and explosions, and the soldiers posted at the Tribunal fired back. Several videos on Twitter show the helicopter in flight and there were pictures of it showing a protest sign saying: “350, freedom,” while other videos showing the pilot and a few officers declaring themselves in rebellion went viral on Instagram.

The statement was read by CICPC’s Special Actions Brigade inspector Óscar Pérez, who produced and played the main role in a film called “Muerte Suspendida” back in 2015. If Nicolás thinks it’s legitimate to use guns to accomplish what he couldn’t do with votes, shouldn’t we apply the same logic to inspector Pérez’s actions?

The diversion

“I saw a little video on social media,” said Nicolás before looking at Communications minister Ernesto Villegas to tell him: “You look like you have news for us.” The minister responded with the confirmation of a “rebellious action, an armed attack from a helicopter,” and asked Nicolás what his orders were. Maduro replied that air defense had been activated and condemned this “terrorist” attack, which conveniently failed like all the rest he’s denounced so far, claiming that inspector Pérez was former minister Rodríguez Torres’ pilot.

Nicolás demanded the MUD to condemn this event, but the lawmakers were being held hostage within the Federal Legislative Palace.

He asked the Prosecutor’s Office to take a step forward in balance and justice, saying that they’re “made for this battle,” and claiming that the PSUV will achieve definitive victory because the opposition will never rule this country again. And so, all of a sudden, they have the excuse to militarize Caracas and unleash even more repression, as if what they’ve been doing so far wasn’t enough.

Bold journalists

Nicolás handed over 500 pensions for militant journalists among his audience in Miraflores. He asked if anyone wanted an interview in relation to the aforementioned events and one of them stood up to ask him whether he’d reshuffle security forces after the helicopter incident. He replied: “If I have to decree, what I have to decree, I will. If I have to bring Plan Zamora to the next phase, I will,” adding that Primero Justicia leaders are acting with impunity thanks to the Prosecutor General.

The own goal of the night? “For every incident like the one we just saw, we’ve neutralized another ten before they take place,” and repeated the show of ordering the activation of all security plans if something happened, demanding “an April 13th multiplied by a thousand,” a thirteen thousandth, then.

TSJ’s newest coup

The Constitutional Chamber issued two new rulings against Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz. With the first, they widened the Ombudsman’s Office’s capacities regarding criminal investigations, claiming that “it has faculties to investigate, issue statements and process complaints requiring the cooperation of the rest of public institutions, if necessary.” With the second, they invalidated the Deputy Prosecutor General’s appointment made by Ortega Díaz on April 17th.

For professor José Ignacio Hernández: “The Constitutional Chamber’s plan is evident: they appoint the Deputy Prosecutor General; they remove the Prosecutor General and then the Deputy Prosecutor takes her post. Fraud.”

Declaring Ortega Díaz clinically insane, as proposed by lawmaker Pedro Carreño, would probably be a slower move.

Assault on Parliament

“I’m the National Assembly’s Speaker,” Julio Borges said to colonel Lugo, while denouncing the attacks suffered by lawmakers Dennis Fernández and Delsa Solórzano. Lugo replied by flopping his hands in Borges’ face and saying that Borges can be the Speaker of whatever he wants, but he’s the commander of the military unit, and forced Borges to leave, pushing him through the door.

The whole conflict started when soldiers entered the Hemiciclo carrying allegedly electoral material. Worse still, the National Guard once again remained passive as chavista groups harassed both lawmakers and journalists for hours, using fireworks, threatening to cut off Parliament’s water and power supply, claiming that they wouldn’t let anyone out.

Colombia celebrates that the FARC’s no longer an armed group, after 53 years of conflict. Any Venezuelan is terrified that our own conflict’s just starting with Nicolás’ own threats. We have a master’s degree in crime, but we can’t tolerate the imposition of a government completely devoid of legitimacy and supported only by Armed Forces packed with malandros such as colonel Lugo.

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.