More Worthless Money

Your daily briefing for Monday, July 3, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Nicolás announced the third minimum wage hike of 2017 as an accomplishment. Starting on July 1st, the wage went from Bs. 65,021.04 to Bs. 97,531. The base figures for cestatickets, which don’t generate benefit liabilities but are now paid in cash, increased for the fifth time from 15 to 17 tax units, leaving minimum integral wage at Bs. 250,531, some $32 at black market rate or $94 at the most recent DICOM rate.

The hike applies to all levels of public sector employees and includes a special 30% bonus for pensioners. Nicolás knows it, each hike causes unemployment, destroying people’s purchasing power even more, boosting inflation and increasing the black market dollar that he promised to eradicate. He had the nerve to talk about a law against speculation to regularize prices, out of “respect for the quality of life of Venezuelans” that he’s assaulted from all possible flanks, and he said happily: “Give me the Constituyente and I’ll give you victory over prices!”


Yesterday morning in Saint Pietro square, Pope Francis said that he prays for Venezuela and feels close to the families that have lost relatives during protests, so he called for “and end to violence and finding a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis,” mentioning that our Independence Day is near, begging the Virgin of Coromoto to intercede for Venezuela, after which he recited the Hail Mary along with the worshippers accompanying him during Angelus.


The judge 43 of control granted full freedom to the university students who were illegally detained – robbed and mocked – by the PNB last Thursday in El Rosal. El Pitazo dedicates an important piece to the PNB, which already has a record of 71 officers indicted for common crimes just in 2017.

But yesterday morning, a command team (some say that they were SEBIN and others claim it was Aragua Police) violated the autonomy of the Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador (UPEL) in Maracay, for a second time in less that 24 hours, and arrested 28 students without a judicial warrant or a reason. They’re being held in Poliaragua’s Central Command and not even their lawyers or the relatives have been able to confirm their physical state.

This case deserves as much visibility as the one USB students fortunately got.

Roberto Picón

National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges condemned the unconstitutional and illegal arrest of MUD Technical Support Team Coordinator Roberto Picón on June 22nd, violating his human rights: “We denounce that the regime once again criminalizes and militarizes political dissidence by violating the National Constitution and presenting Roberto Picón before a military tribunal, accusing him without evidence of the absurd crimes of treason, military rebellion and stealing military equipment.” He remarked that they requested the Prosecutor General and the Ombudsman to immediately issue a statement regarding the abuses committed by SEBIN and demanding Picón’s immediate release.

And on Saturday?

My building had no power for two days, thanks to Corpoelec’s efficiency. Since May 2016, this institution stopped reporting on Guri’s water level, but what’s that for a government that doesn’t report on inflation, shortages or epidemiology.

After 92 days of protests against Nicolás, the opposition rallied in the Francisco Fajardo highway in support of the Prosecutor General, accused on Friday of being involved in a coup d’état for indicting SEBIN political police chief Gustavo González López and former National Guard commander Antonio Benavides Torres. Several lawmakers spoke of the importance of remaining in the streets and preventing the constitutional fraud, and urged citizens to support the commands for the Recovery of Democracy.

Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz tweeted that she was grateful for the event, saying that people’s trust bolsters her institutional fight and that the Prosecutor’s Office is “committed with human rights and democratic liberties.”


The PNB didn’t stop repressing, robbing or arresting people in Chacao. Likewise, some protesters showed that the razor wire recently installed around La Carlota air base is useless: they broke it down, entered the base and threw stones.

Once again, Barquisimeto suffered repression by the National Guard, the PNB and armed civilians incorporated in Plan Zamora. The assault on urbanización Sucre included the talents of Polilara, CICPC, the Anti-kidnapping Command (CONAS) and CICPC’s Anti-extortion Brigate (BAE), according to La Prensa de Lara.


A spokesman for La Resistencia warned the MUD yesterday:

“You have until today, until 6:00 p.m. to issue guidelines and clear goals to bring down the dictator. Time’s up.”

He argued the need to call people to the streets without return, to have “objective lines” to oust Nicolás while they keep “falling in the streets, shedding our blood,” except that those crimes are solely the government’s responsibility, not the MUD’s, who have provided a democratic, non-violent strategy for our cause from the start.


You better sit down: several people claim that the GN lieutenant indicted for the death of Manuel Sosa, murdered on May 26th in his home in Lara state, will be promoted to captain on July 5th. The prosecutor 21 with faculties in Fundamental Rights accused lieutenant Johnnjuar Arenas Castillo (C.I.: 17.728.568) of being responsible for the shot that killed Sosa and issued an arrest warrant against him, but he appears on the promotions list for Independence Day.

It was also reported that the CICPC helicopter piloted by Óscar Pérez wasn’t found by the government, but by the owner of the lot where the officers left it, Reinaldo Reyes Castillo, who informed the GN command and took the soldiers to the spot, according to his sister. Later, Mr. Reyes was detained by SEBIN, supposedly as a witness, but he wasn’t released.

Mayor Ramón Muchacho and lawmaker Américo De Grazia are the newest targets of discretional passport invalidation. Lastly, singer and composer Antonio Bordell, former member of the band Unicornio, unforgettable after winning the OTI festival with the song “Puedes contar conmigo”, was murdered on Saturday.

FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, aka Timochenko was hospitalized this Sunday after suffering a “transient ischemic attack,” which affected his speech and lowered his muscle strength.

Today, MUD will lay out the activities for the thirteenth week of protests.

Let’s support UPEL students!

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.