Circus Tales

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

A coup more grotesque than the one Pedro Carmona Estanga tried on April 2002. That’s how Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz described what the Executive Branch is doing in tandem with the rest of public powers controlled by the PSUV. That’s why she didn’t show up for the public hearing in the TSJ, to avoid “validating a circus,” performed by a tribunal she considers unconstitutional and illegitimate. She said they’re violating her right to counsel and due process, that she hasn’t committed any crime or misdemeanor, that the decision to prosecute her and remove her from office has already been announced, so she doubled down on not recognizing the TSJ.

The International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) expressed its concern for the prospect of the Prosecutor General’s removal and the arbitrary assaults committed against her, demanding full respect for her rights and liberties. Ortega Díaz promised to upload the document of her defense for the whole country to read. I could write ten full pages about her statements, but this briefing has a different format.

Back to the Prosecutor’s Office

The Supreme Tribunal invalidated the National Assembly’s appointment of a Deputy Prosecutor General and swore in Katherine Haringhton Padrón, who was sanctioned in 2015 by the United States for human rights violations, to the post.

Nicolás’ reward after she was sanctioned was appointing her vice-minister of the Integrated System of Criminal Investigation, a post from which she was promptly removed (via Twitter) by Interior minister Néstor Reverol. Haringhton personally handled proceedings against judge María Afiuni, María Corina Machado, Antonio Ledezma Díaz and Rodolfo González, alias “El Aviador.” Ortega Díaz herself expressed her support and solidarity for Haringhton back when the Americans sanctioned her, calling her a brave, efficient and heroic prosecutor, so much so that she ended up providing judicial counsel for SEBIN after her removal. A piece of work.

The circus

In five days, the TSJ will rule on the preliminary hearing on merits against the Prosecutor General, deciding whether to proceed with her public trial for serious misconduct. Human cannonball and chief justice Maikel Moreno claimed that Ortega Díaz has violated the Constitution and that she has moral and ethical responsibility, not criminal, that’s why they’re holding the preliminary hearing.

The clown in this circus, as always, was lawmaker Pedro Carreño, who described the Prosecutor General’s alleged serious misconducts as: assaulting the Moral Republican Council’s respectability by denouncing irregularities in the justices’ appointment; antagonizing the Judicial and Executive Branches by denouncing the rupture of constitutional order and accusing the government of exercising “State terrorism.” He requested a handwriting analysis on the signatures of the meeting records. Comparing protests in the country with the Arab Spring was a brilliant, simple way of admitting that we’re in a dictatorship, but it was even prettier to verify that this is a trial for treason to the chavista cause, and not for faults against the office.

Other characters

Strong-budsman Tarek William Saab presented his evidence to confirm his version of the story, claiming that the Prosecutor General did attend the justices’ appointment proceedings and that she fully approved them. He accused Ortega Díaz of slander and injury, saying that she used false testimony to request the justices’ invalidation and proposed she take a polygraph test to see who’s lying.

The juggler —the public defender who was no such thing— was Javier Hernández, who spent more time parroting Pedro Carreño’s arguments than defending Ortega Díaz. The lion-less tamer —the Comptroller who says he fights against corruption while practicing it, Manuel Galindo— explained that it was the responsibility of permanent executive secretary María José Marcano Bermúdez to “collect the necessary signatures to validate the records and copy them in the respective book,” taking the chance to request a civil or criminal proceeding against her for fulfilling her task and a face-off between witnesses!

UPEL students

NGO Foro Penal confirmed that the fifth judge of Military Control of Aragua sentenced the 27 students illegally arrested at the Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador last Sunday to prison, for the crimes charged by prosecutor Katiuska Ocho Chacón: instigating rebellion, stealing Armed Forces equipment, destroying military facilities and breaching a security zone. The 22 men were sent to El Dorado and the 26 de julio prison, while the five women were sentenced to house arrest. These chamos are now part of the staggering 433 political prisoners in Venezuela.


Ricardo Hernández, major of Cárdenas municipality, in Táchira state, confirmed the death of 24 year old Engler Alexander Duque Chacón. There are two versions as to the cause: either he was hit by a tear-gas canister or by mortar explosion. In any case, Engler was protesting.

Daniel Antequera, lawmaker for Lara state, was arrested by the state police. The oppression exercised by armed civilians is horrendous. The most alarming cases were the attacks against Hospital de Clínicas Caracas and the Red Cross, but they also committed abuses in Montalbán, La Candelaria, San Bernardino, El Paraíso, San Marín and Vista Alegre, as well as in Barquisimeto, with the obvious consent of military and police officers.

Illegal plebiscite?

According to Nicolás, the vote proposed by MUD for July 16th, independently of CNE, violates the Constitution. He should know if he’s an expert at anything, it’s at violating the constitution. The irony was thick as he denounced the installation of “a parallel, illegal, unconstitutional, improvised State,” that he claimed that “Nobody can seek to impose on the country a political event that has no trace of constitutionality or legality,” a day after he vowed to make sure that all public servants vote in his Constituyente with payrolls in hand.

Dabucurí on fire

Interior minister Néstor Reverol confirmed the splashdown of an airplane belonging to the National Executive’s Coordinated Service of Air Transport that was frying from Margarita to Maiquetía with nine people on board. A flight control malfunction on departure from Margarita forced the plane to turn back, but the malfunction got worse, they tried to water-land but ultimately crashed 40 nautical miles off Margarita’s coast. Reverol claims there are 100 people working in the search-and-rescue mission.

I’ll put it this way: all of chavismo’s statements yesterday were focused on their “enemies”. The circus freaks tried and failed to respond to every one of the Prosecutor General’s arguments. In hard-core projection mode, Nicolás “denounced” impositions while carrying them out himself, the same way Padrio López responded to Henrique Capriles on Monday. Katherine Haringhton represents a gross denial of justice and the government knows it. This July 5th, take some time to enjoy listening to professor and member of the the National Academy of History Inés Quintero, who will be the speaker for the National Assembly’s session.

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.