“The lawmakers destroyed the National Assembly,” said Nicolás at the start of his national campaign for the imposed Constituyente, claiming that it was beginning in the heart of Guayana even though he was in Caruachi. He got there by plane, without parades or open-top cars.

Nicolás danced calipso while repression in Caracas was choking citizens inside shopping centers. The Constituyente’s propaganda includes goals like peace and justice, judicial and social security and perfecting the ‘99 Constitution. But as Nicolás went on, he added a few points better suited to his perspective: more price controls, more political persecution with absolute powers for his Truth Commission and a new Constitution for a new model of State. He reported, as an accomplishment, that the Guri Dam’s spillways are open for the first time in eight years, taking credit, in effect, for rainfall. He signed Sidor’s collective bargaining agreement, demanding every State company to submit employee data, because the Constituyente is one imposition and voting for it is another. On top of all that, he insulted Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos: “He has to ask for my blessing because we’re his fathers, bow and get on your knees before your father, Santos; I am your father, Santos.” A Statesman indeed.

Open the gate

Katherine Haringhton, the official sworn in as Deputy Prosecutor General by the TSJ usurping the authority of both the Prosecutor’s Office and the National Assembly, turned up at fiscalía headquarters this Thursday but she was denied entry.

“We came to create a task force,” she said, “to reason with the Prosecutor General so she cooperates with us for a country in need (…) We’ll keep waiting, I’m certain that she’s going to think this through, calmly, seeing that we come in peace and harmony,” adding that she’s a Prosecutor’s Office retiree, that she’s going to enforce the law, that she’s going to wait until everything’s back in order and that this isn’t an outlaw State, that it has laws, except when she had no issues processing citizens with anonymous testimony, for instance. She left a notification of her attempt to take office and left. The Prosecutor General reported Harrington’s attempts on Twitter and made SEBIN and the National Guard directly responsible for any irregularity against fiscalía headquarters and employees. Last night, the Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement formally arguing why Harrington wasn’t and won’t be recognized in the office the TSJ gave her.

Backward talk

Shortly after Harrington’s gate incident, it was revealed that the TSJ’s Full Chamber would meet later in the day to decide Luisa Ortega’s fate, dispensing with the five-day period to start the preliminary hearing on merits to remove her from office. Hours later, the meeting was canceled.

Minutes after the gate show, website Aporrea reported that lawmaker Germán Ferrer, Ortega Díaz’s husband, denounced that the Court 39 of Control had issued an arrest warrant against the Prosecutor General and hours later, he denied that rumor, cautioning that it would fall on the TSJ to issue that warrant, but denouncing the harassment against her.

Cynicism

Former Prosecutor General Isaías Rodríguez said on state television that nobody has been as damaging for the Prosecutor’s Office as Ortega Díaz, but he focused his greatest efforts in delegitimizing the popular consultation approved this Wednesday by the National Assembly. He had the gall to claim that “the Constitution of 1999 doesn’t mention a plebiscite, but a consultative referendum,” the same one that Nicolás blocked, with the consent of the TSJ and the CNE, ignoring a constitutional process required for the people to decide whether we want his Constituyente or not.

CNE rectora Socorro Hernández also condemned the call for this popular consultation and called it an action outside the Constitution: “That falls within the electoral branch’s authority, therefore, it must be verified by the electoral branch in order to be valid.” She should read professor José Ignacio Hernández’s analysis.

Plebiscite

Yesterday, MUD revealed the questions for the plebiscite that will take place next Sunday, July 16th, remarking that the plan is to hold it using religious temples, that any Venezuelan of legal age and registered in the Electoral Registry may vote, including those living abroad. The remaining details will be announced in the next few days. The questions are:

  1. Do you reject and repudiate holding a National Constituent Assembly proposed by Nicolás Maduro without prior approval from the Venezuelan people?
  2. Do you demand the National Armed Forces and all public authorities to obey and defend the Constitution enacted in 1999 and support the National Assembly’s decisions?
  3. Do you approve the renewal of public powers in compliance with what the Constitution establishes, and the holding of free and transparent elections, as well as the creation of a national unity government to restore the constitutional order?

Reactions

The German government condemned the assault on the National Assembly, demanding the Venezuelan government to punish those responsible. Yesterday, the Office of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights urged all Venezuelans to renounce violence as a method for expressing opinions or opposing those who think differently. The European Union demanded the government to guarantee the safety of elected officials and the integrity of democratic institutions, saying that: “A political solution to the crisis will only arise from dialogue and political will. It’s an urgent need for the future of the people of Venezuela who deserve to live safely and peacefully.” OAS head Luis Almagro requested the call for an extraordinary Permanent Council meeting to discuss recent developments in our political crisis, preferably as soon as this Friday, July 7th, if the Permanent Council’s schedule allows.

Yesterday, chavismo’s public relations management was a mess. Aside from the seven explanations for the assault on the National Assembly, including justifications, legitimations and denials; the fact that Diosdado talked about restoring justice while Mario Silva offers to “beat all those coños de su madre down and imprison everyone in this place”; that Saab tried to put the Prosecutor General’s case back under the spotlight again, while he ignored the assault and Parliament and that Nicolás openly promised more political persecution, doing nothing about Wednesday’s violence, is evidence of their strange idea that whatever they don’t talk about, doesn’t exist.

That applies to the humanitarian crisis, to every repressive abuse and to the general disregard for their electoral imposition. The risk of living amid propaganda while the country collapses is the huge gap between their version and reality, making them spiral ever further down into absurdity, far enough as to take credit for rain as a personal achievement, to demand justice while they hide behind their hordes, to pretend popularity in front of hand-picked audiences. We know who should be kneeling before the country.

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