"If I'm right..."

You daily briefing for July 24, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

From the Plaza Bolívar in Caracas and with a token audience, Nicolás started his weekly show as if he hadn’t been on screen everyday for hours, several of them en cadena. The Salsa classic Llorarás, by Oscar D’León, was playing in the background. That didn’t contribute to the audience’s enthusiasm, although it did give him an excuse to dance again with Cilia Flores, who, he says, wakes up earlier than him “because she’s campaigning.”

Nicolás is creating an album of memories, like the chamos who take pictures of every spot in their high school right before graduating, even though they’ve ignored them for years: the cafeteria, the main gate, the lab… that’s why he uploads videos of soldiers honoring him, of ministers laughing at his jokes and setting a new record, yesterday they brought him indoctrinated children who performed their show of political proselytism with praises for el finado, talking of molotovs against canaimitas and shouts of La Constituyente Va!

Nicolás had to recycle the week’s messages: that nobody runs the country but him, that there isn’t or will never be another power above the Constituyente, that they’ll accomplish what el finado couldn’t, etc. He spent quite a bit of time on July 16th’s popular consultation, claiming that it took place without incidents, as if his paramilitaries weren’t responsible for Xiomara Scott’s death and all the people wounded in a Catia church, but he did say that there are thousands of colectivos all over the country. In his version, “the people angry about guarimbas” took to the streets in droves to vote in the electoral drill and yet, they haven’t released those results.

The opposition’s agenda has taken a toll on chavismo. Most of the party’s messages are threats, almost as many of them against their own supporters than against the opposition.

The remaining time he had on air, he devoted to PSUV’s primaries, to the Constituyente. Since it’ll take place against the “special circumstances of our fight against fascist violence,” he demands that people vote with courage and bravery, ready to “beat them up with votes (…) we’re going to give a huge lesson to the opposition and the empire,” ordering public transportation to be free of charge that day and yelling that anyone who doesn’t vote “is betraying the Republic”; the exact opposite of the truth.

Nicolás asked for recognition of chavismo’s “social majority,” he never said political majority; he said that if presidential elections were to be held right now, “chavismo would win again,” he didn’t say that he’d win, and claimed to be ready “to reach a national agreement for Venezuela’s interests,” but he didn’t specify what he meant. He cautioned the opposition that their worst mistake is to underestimate his strength, that they must rectify on time, that a parallel State is unacceptable.

In compensation, he guaranteed prison for all of the Supreme Tribunal justices newly appointed by Parliament. Just last night, we got reports that justice Ángel Zerpa was isolated in El Helicoide. As an aside, journalist Javier Ignacio Mayorca added that “there are so many inmates in SEBIN Helicoide that Justice Zerpa is being held in a cell-like bathroom.”

The Prosecutor’s Office filed a motion for the release of “lawyer” Ángel Zerpa, that’s what the tweets say. There must be a reason for that.

CNE rectora Socorro Hernández didn’t do Nicolás many favors by restating the obvious: That any future election will depend on the Constituyente’s outcome. Tibisay didn’t do much better, speaking en cadena about contingency polling stations, which include el Poliedro de Caracas and its capacity to hold 20,000 people, which they’ll probably turn into a space for “millions of voters:” place your bets!

Defense minister Padrino López didn’t help Nicolás either, claiming that “calling for partisan demonstrations around these polling stations is nothing but an act of provocation with unpredictable consequences.” If a Defense minister should be ready for something, it’s for the predictability of the use of weapons, of the consequences of his threats. Meanwhile, former president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is back in the country.

“We call on the international community, the Vatican, the European Union, the entire continent, those who have shown their support for the people of Venezuela in their fight for democracy, to keep pressuring the National Government to stop the fraud of the unilaterally imposed Constituyente,” said National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges in an interview with CNN, adding that 90% of the population is against an election imposed by the minority that holds power.

Many messages going around social media suggested we take extraordinary measures for this week: water, food, candles, etc. It’ll be unusual, no doubt. International pressure has taken a toll on Nicolás. He dedicated too many words to the sovereignty that he understands as his power. The opposition’s agenda has taken a toll on chavismo. Most of the party’s messages are threats, almost as many of them against their own supporters than against the opposition.

Not even a plagiarized version of  “Despacito” could give a semblance of optimism or democracy to the Constituyente. Nicolás danced again, but demanding his audience “not to deceive themselves,” to force others to vote with him, to remember that treason can never be forgiven. That’s when he said “If I I’m right.”

Relax, you’re an endless source of huge mistakes, the leader of disaster, a disgrace, an accident, a lie who needs to keep collecting memories of his last days in power.

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.