Five Venezuelan youth died yesterday, even though repression wasn’t nearly as obscene as it was in previous days. Isael Macadán Aquino (18) was shot in the head early on Wednesday, while participating in a protest in Anzoátegui state. Jhonatan Zavatti Serrano (25), shot in the head last Monday as he walked by Barrio 5 de julio in Petare, died in the Domingo Luciani hospital, in El Llanito. Roberto Durán (26) died from a chest injury he suffered while protesting in Barquisimeto yesterday afternoon. Later, Zulia state’s Security Secretary confirmed the death of motorcyclist Luis Paz (20), who was run down and burned during a protest in Maracaibo. Also, lawmaker Carlos Paparoni reported that Víctor Betancourt (18) was mowed down in Cumaná, Sucre state.
Currently, there are still significant discrepancies regarding the death toll during protests. We’ll have to wait for the Prosecutor’s Office’s update, but unfortunately, we’ve already lost over 80 people.
Dismantling the State
Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz disregarded the rulings issued by the TSJ on Monday.
— TSJ Venezuela (@TSJ_Venezuela) June 29, 2017
She compared them to rulings 155 and 156, which marked the breakdown of constitutional order. According to the PG, these rulings reveal a clear intention to nullify the Prosecutor’s Office: “this ruling represents the reality where young Juan Pernalete was killed with a bolt-gun and not with a tear-gas canister,” said Ortega Díaz, adding that the government probably wants to achieve through court rulings what they can’t achieve through votes.
She spoke of State terrorism and of how the TSJ is dismantling the Constitution, saying that the Constituyente is being imposed by a minority and even criticized the National Assembly for tolerating the TSJ’s trumped-up contempt, remarking that “there’s no such thing.”
It is a pity that she didn’t say it back in August, 2016, when the Tribunal declared it.
What else did Luisa say?
That the only ones who should be removed are the justices appointed through an illegal process, that the Constitution compels her to defend it and that’s why she disregards the rulings and demands their annulment, that she’ll continue to fulfill her constitutional role and that repression will no doubt escalate even further. She claimed that all civil rights are at stake, that there’s no right to due process and, quoting el finado, she concluded with the phrase:
“I swear I will defend the Constitution and democracy even with my life, I swear.”
Threatened and threatening
TSJ chief Maikel Moreno rejected and condemned the “terrorist” attack carried out by the brigade aboard the CICPC helicopter on Tuesday, remarking that far from intimidating the justices, these actions “inspire them to act more firmly.” There was so much truth in his words, that the Full Chamber announced on Twitter that the first session regarding the preliminary hearing on merits against the Prosecutor General will take place on July 4th. They also applied precautionary measures, barring her from travelling abroad and conducting any financial transaction with her assets, as well as freezing her bank accounts.
Vice-president Tareck El Aissami, NONEbudsman Tarek William Saab, chief justice Maikel Moreno and CNE head Tibisay Lucena met at the Hall of Evil yesterday. Upon leaving the meeting, Lucena provided useless information: elections are to be held on July 30th whatever it takes, polling stations will be designated as security zones and their security perimeter will be increased from 100 m to 500 m.
According to Lucena, Nicolás is entitled to impose an unconstitutional election, but blocking “the right to vote and to a profoundly democratic process, is a crime.” Perhaps she needs to read rector Luis Emilio Rondón’s press release, which contradicts everything she says.
Anyhow, the Citizen Branch and the Judiciary will promote actions against people who commit electoral crimes.
The NONEbudsman justified the Constitutional Chamber’s ruling in favor of his office, claiming that it doesn’t affect the Prosecutor’s Office’s authority because the faculties are different, and that the ruling only grants him the capacity to review files of judicial proceedings, to ask for support to complete planimetric analysis or dactyloscopy, but by no means to start a conflict with the Prosecutor’s Office, although he said that his office’s restrictions during the months of protest are a violation. It’s quite odd that Saab was much more emphatic when he denounced and monitored the alleged harassment against his mom, than with any of the cases of human rights violations committed by security forces against citizens. There are hundreds of them, by the way.
The helicopter, the gunfire and the grenades that didn’t leave any wounded, was the most widely reported news around the world, but for Foreign minister Samuel Moncada, there wasn’t enough condemnation of the “terrorist” attack yesterday morning. A bit later, the UN repudiated “any kind of violence” in Venezuela, saying that they’re following the country’s situation closely. The European Union demanded “an end to violence” and urged the government and political parties to avoid polarization and confrontation in the country, demanding respect for the “Constitution, democratic principles and the Rule of Law, human rights and fundamental liberties,“ adding that violence only deepens the country’s divisions.
Yesterday, the French Foreign minister demanded an immediate end to violence. Brazil rejected the attack on Parliament, Uruguay once again brought up the need to widen the group of nations capable of mediating in the Venezuelan crisis and Colombia did issue a statement citing almost all the serious events that took place yesterday, from the helicopter, to the attack against lawmakers and the aggressions against the Prosecutor General, ratifying the key factors that make dialogue between the parties and impossible task.
The CICPC helicopter was found in Osma (Vargas state.) Interior minister Néstor Reverol claimed that there’s a direct link between Óscar Pérez (the pilot) and North American agencies, adding that Interpol has already issued an arrest warrant. Today’s march is bound for the CNE, the institution that competes with the TSJ in destroying the Republic and legitimizing the dictatorship through the “democratic” process of elections that 90% of Venezuelans reject.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.