Vice-president Tareck El Aissami arrived early to the Federal Legislative Palace to hold an event he notified with barely any anticipation at all. He was surrounded by soldiers, enough for the National Guard to open every door to the building. In the Salón Elíptico, against all the fundamental ideas of the Declaration of Independence, he praised the imposed Constituyente, he encouraged harassment against the opposition, calling chavismo to “attend” to Parliament; he spoke of Panama’s congreso ‘anfitriónico’ (sic), of a time of labor (rebirth), of the need to forge a new independence “in battle, in the street,” and he claimed that the National Assembly is “a branch of government that has been taken over by the oligarchy.” This first assault was the negation of the solemnity this day represents, but it enabled them to disregard the popular will expressed through our votes, plan the following assault, legitimate chavismo’s attack and guarantee complete impunity for perpetrators.
Once the mobster left the hall, legislators started their event. Parliament Speaker Julio Borges referred to Nicolás as a dictator who seeks to impose a fraud to obliterate the Constitution after 206 years of continued independence, challenging our capacity to live with civility and to pursue prosperity in freedom; remarking that the country is appealing to conscience within the Armed Forces, urging them to serve the Constitution, saying that soon “weapons will yield to civilian justice.”
In the Hemiciclo, historian Inés Quintero was the speaker for the 5th of July, emphasizing the virtue of civilian life, the importance of preserving the Republic and the contributions women and students have made to both throughout history, with a necessary reference to our current situation.
“It’s past time for us to erase the presence of the Armed Forces from this civilian day.”
That was probably the most shared phrase on social networks, but she came up with others just as relevant during her speech, ratifying the need for the separation of public powers, the strength of civility and the Republic, and the value of protecting what is ours.
“My absolute recognition for all those Venezuelans who have contributed to the continuation of the Republic, 206 years later,” she said.
There are no chavistas in that list.
If a kid had thrown a rock against El Aissami during his assault on the National Assembly, it would’ve been promptly called a “terrorist attack;” the kid would be detained and isolated and perhaps he would’ve been prosecuted by a military tribunal for treason by now. However, the chavistas El Aissami left in the Federal Legislative Palace spent several hours harassing the staff, throwing fireworks against the building, threatening to break in.
Nicolás imposed his ludicrous joke of a parade en cadena, which included children, a GN ballena, soldiers with religious speeches and, of course, the demand for loyalty.
Armed groups broke into Parliament with the GN’s consent, to attack anyone who opposed them with metal tubes, guns, bottles, fireworks, punches and kicks, summing up the PSUV’s country, the one where civilians are attacked while soldiers are praised.
The assault on the National Assembly is the perfect demonstration of Nicolás’ infamous phrase: “And what we couldn’t achieve with votes, we’ll achieve with guns”; an unjustifiable violence that left people injured, robbed and held captive, through the only power they have left: armed hordes.
The hordes’ leader
Upon finishing his speech, Nicolás reported that he’d been informed of “a strange situation involving the opposition at the National Assembly’s east gate and hallways,” condemning the violent incident and ordering an investigation. NONE-budsman Tarek William Saab used Twitter to condemn the assault, urging authorities to perform an exhaustive investigation –which will include him, yeiiii! – to determine the culprits’ responsibility and make sure they’re adequately punished. While the siege went on with hundreds of people held hostage within Parliament, Tarek called to maintain the climate “of peace, harmony and national cohabitation,” without demanding explanations from recently decorated colonel Lugo, responsible for the National Assembly’s security, who should’ve resigned his post after such a stunning failure; without calling for the restoration of order, without showing up, to fulfill the obligations the TSJ handed to him.
The governments of Colombia, Panama, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, the United States, Peru and Mexico formally condemned the assault. Mercosur’s founding nations did the same in a separate statement, while former presidents Andrés Pastrana and Tuto Quiroga requested Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos, to convene an urgent UNASUR meeting to discuss the Venezuelan situation. Antonio Tajani, head of the European Parliament, also condemned the attack, as well as Spanish president Mariano Rajoy and the British ambassador in Venezuela, John Saville.
The National Guard was saving all the aggression they couldn’t be bothered to exercise to restore order in Parliament, to use it along with the SEBIN to illegally break into residential buildings in El Paraíso, after all the tear-gas they’d already used to repress the area early on Wednesday.
Councilman Jesús Armas denounced illegal searches (without a warrant or the presence of prosecutors) in Res. Alto Alegre and Res. Victoria, carried out by a hundred officers and six armored vehicles, saying that the officers fired live rounds against the buildings and that the neighbors were terrified.
There’s plenty of material on social networks proving the damage they caused.
No assault lasts forever
Civility vs. barbarity, that was the lesson for this sad Independence Day. Weapons against solemn events, metal tubes beating down votes, screams silencing words. A dictatorship no longer interested in keeping up appearances, enjoying the chaos they’ve caused and pressed by fear. That’s why they give free rein to robbers, to illegal home searches, to arbitrary detentions. That’s why they demand loyalty from those who commit their atrocities for them. Nicolás condemns the violence he feeds, the one he promotes in every speech, because he understands peace with battles, because when he talks about the homeland, he means power, because he needs to crush dissidents or at least persuade us that he will. We go on.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.