In the National Assembly special session to appoint the new Supreme Tribunal justices, lawmaker Carlos Berrizbeitia, head of the Judicial Nominations Committee, read the names of the chosen candidates.

TSJ Constitutional Chamber head Juan José Mendoza said that the appointment is criminally liable for usurpation, flagrancy and treason, repeating that all of Parliament’s decisions are invalid due to the trumped-up “contempt” charge. He then added: “The Constitutional Chamber declares that it falls on civilian and military authorities to take the appropriate coercive actions in order to keep national peace and security.”

The justices newly appointed by the National Assembly agreed that they’d rather face the risks associated with their appointment (threats of imprisonment, illegal searches, etc.) than resigning themselves to living in a dictatorship. Additionally, most of them emphasized that they fulfilled all requirements established by the Constitution and the Framework Law of the TSJ.

Weapons, again

Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López started the event (yes, theres was an event) for Plan República’s deployment with accusations against the opposition, cautioning that they’ll resort to weapons in case of anything that threatens people’s security (except colectivos) or their own: “The weapons of the Republic are ready to suppress any element, specifically any armed element, that threatens our citizens’ right to live.” Perhaps the people murdered during protests weren’t citizens to him.

He ratified his support for Nicolás’ constituyente and bellowed that he was tired of the violence for which he’s responsible, claiming that the groups he calls “terrorist cells,” have been armed “by opposition leaders.” He should take a look at the participation figures for last Sunday’s ANC drill revealed by lawmaker Henry Ramos Allup. 203,032 people aren’t enough to justify the military deployment he defended yesterday.

No Production

Nicolás celebrated his agreement with the national diamond company of Angola, one of the world’s most corrupt regimes, with terrible statistics for life expectancy, infant mortality and economic inequality, and announced that he’d sign a deal with China for $400 million to boost mining activities.

Meanwhile, vice-president El Aissami claimed that Venezuela has honored its debts without compromising international reserves, even though they’re at historic lows. Nicolás once again asked for another chance with the constituyente, as if he hadn’t been president for four years already, destroying what was left of the country’s productivity through price controls, expropriations and colossal corruption. He said that, under his rule, Venezuelan economy will shock the world (out of sheer panic, I imagine) and promised to constitutionalize the economic engines, which have remained off since 2013.

The businessmen who attended yesterday’s show, which could’ve been titled: “Anything for Dicom,” should read about the steps Russian state-run oil company Rosneft is already taking in view of potential economic sanctions by the United States.

Mercosur

Yesterday, the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile signed a joint statement on Venezuela’s situation and urged Nicolás “not to advance any initiative that could further divide Venezuelan society or worsen institutional conflicts.”

The document was also signed by representatives from Colombia and Guyana, countries associated with the bloc, and from Mexico, a guest country. Evo Morales was the only one who didn’t sign the document, defending Nicolás and accusing the United States of supporting a coup d’État in Venezuela. Let’s keep in mind that Venezuela is currently suspended from Mercosur for a judicial rather than a political reason, for failing to comply with the bloc’s requirements to become a full member.

Several analysts believe Uruguay’s Tabaré Vásquez to be responsible for the text’s blandness, which revolves around the need for dialogue (an impossibility in our circumstances) and his willingness to mediate in it. ZzzZzz.

Stood up

The irascible Foreign minister Samuel Moncada had a meeting on Thursday with the UN Secretary General, but it was canceled. António Guterres had to leave New York for personal reasons and Moncada ended up meeting with his Chief of Staff, but the press couldn’t get a statement from the Minister. Poor guy, it’s impossible to be a chavista official and answer questions from non-partisan journalists.

Allegedly, Moncada took the opportunity to ratify Venezuela’s commitment with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which is absolutely consistent with all of the Orinoco Mining Arc’s operations and the future results of the agreement signed with Angola yesterday.

Check out Isaías Medina’s statements, the official who quit the Venezuelan permanent mission to the UN. In addition to clarifying that María Gabriela Chávez doesn’t do anything and throwing in his two cents about the narconephews, he claimed: “In my opinion, considering Sunday’s mandate, Nicolás Maduro is no longer President of Venezuela.” Ouch, Nicolás.

Let’s drink some calming tea, please

Moncada should use this circumstantial diplomatic setback as a reason to issue a response concerning the recent win in international support obtained by the Venezuelan democratic cause.

OAS chief Luis Almagro used his speech at the Atlantic Council to announce that he’ll study whether there are crimes against humanity in Venezuela that could be filed before the International Criminal Court, saying that the organization will take institutional measures to typify human rights violations.

He also expressed his concern for potential sanctions against Venezuela, asking for a proper review of possible collateral impact on the people. 17 countries requested a new meeting to discuss Venezuela’s crisis at the OAS Permanent Council, which could potentially take place on July 26th. The embassy with offices in Venezuela which has most closely followed our conflict is Canada’s. Yesterday, they urged the government to restore the Rule of Law and to contribute with institutional renovation, after saying it was ironic for the TSJ to condemn the appointment of new justices by Parliament, “when those in office were illegally chosen.”

Yesterday, SENIAT decided to “punish” businesses that joined the civic strike, shutting them down for tree to nine days, as if tax collection was irrelevant and political sanction was more important than productivity. Despite all this, we go on.

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