Finally Sanctioned

For Thursday, July 27, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

It’s been 117 days since protests started and, in view of the imminence of Nicolás’ imposed election, MUD called for a 48-hour general strike starting on Wednesday morning at 6:00 a.m. At 7:00 p.m., lawmaker Freddy Guevara reported that 92% of the country complied with the strike. By sector: Transportation, 92%; Business, 86%; Public Sector, 82% of institutions and 77% of the oil industry.

Other balances

The strike took place in all 24 states, as well as repression. 97 people were arrested, including Maracaibo councilman Ángel Machado.

There were reports of 20 people injured by firearm, four of them in severe condition. Rafael Antonio Vergara (30) was killed in Ejido; the Prosecutor’s Office appointed Prosecutor 13 of Mérida to investigate his death. Although major Carlos García reported the murder of another young man in Timotes, he was actually reported to be brain-dead. Another death that was confirmed was that of a 16-year old teenager during a protest in Petare, prompting the Prosecutor’s Office to appoint Prosecutor 104 of the Metropolitan Area of Caracas to the case. Lawmaker Tomás Guanipa ratified Juan Requesens’ complaints: paramilitaries (colectivos) are used for repression while dressed in military uniforms.

Sanctions

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this Wednesday that:

“As President Trump has made clear, the United States will not ignore the Maduro regime’s ongoing efforts to undermine democracy, freedom, and the rule of law.”

Sanctions were imposed on thirteen current and former officials of the Venezuelan government, while the U.S. labeled the Constituyente a flawed procedure and threated to include any constituent assembly member in the OFAC list.

These were the officials sanctioned for actively advancing the Constituyente:

  1. Tibisay Lucena
  2. Elías Jaua
  3. Tarek William Saab
  4. Iris Varela

For violence and repression during protests:

  1. Néstor Reverol
  2. Carlos Pérez Ampueda (PNB)
  3. Sergio Rivero Marcano (GN)
  4. Jesús Suárez Chourio (Army)
  5. Franklin García Duque (Former PNB)

For corruption:

  1. Rocco Albisinni Serrano (CENCOEX)
  2. Alejandro Fleming Cabrera (Former CENCOEX)
  3. Simón Zerpa Delgado (PDVSA)
  4. Carlos Malpica Flores (Former Treasurer)

Pirates of oblivion

Nicolás said that he doesn’t recognize the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions and that they’re a victory and a mark of honor, expressing his support for the thirteen officials sanctioned because he won’t suffer the U.S. “to act as owners of the world, imperialism can’t stand above nations.” Consequently, he gave each of those sanctioned a replica of Simón Bolívar’s sword, as an “act to dignify these brave Venezuelans,” promising that their revenge will be the Constituyente’s triumph.

In his version, they defeated the “indefinite general strike,” even though it wasn’t even called that way. Chavismo has now 29 officials sanctioned by the American government, a record few celebrate.

Instigation

Regime propaganda was focused on reminding people that if they enjoy a subsidy or want to enjoy one at some point, they must vote, taking the opportunity to treat them all as idiots and claiming that they can get assistance if they don’t know how to vote; an indelicate way of ensuring that null votes will be both technically and factually more difficult.

Major Ramón Muchacho sent a representative to the TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber’s hearing, which was postponed to August 3rd, and the major was barred from leaving the country, as if they hadn’t invalidated his passport already in political retaliation.

Abroad

The European Union expressed concern for the “controversial” Constituyente and how it could worsen the Venezuelan crisis, demanding the government to take urgent measures.

The OAS held the sixth session to discuss Venezuela’s situation, which concluded without a formal statement anyway, only a text supported by 17 nations requesting the Constituyente’s suspension since it would deepen the crisis.

Before this meeting, the Cuban government denied being part of the mediation to solve Venezuela’s conflict. They only guide the dictatorship and make a nice profit from it.

Justice Alejandro Rebolledo met with OAS chief Luis Almagro, to talk about the situation of the justices newly inducted by the National Assembly, now either arrested or hiding from repression.

Canada issued a strong statement condemning violence and repression, the justices’ detentions and the sentence against major Gustavo Marcano, saying that these actions are alarming and explaining that “they only increase tensions.”

Rafts?

To make things worse, airlines Avianca and Delta announced that they’ll suspend their flights to and from Venezuela. The former will work until August 16th and the latter, until September 23rd.

The international airlines still operating in the country are: American Airlines, Copa, Air France, Iberia, Air Europa, Tame and TAP.

Not wanting to leave the country is one thing, and the certainty that there won’t be a way to do it, even if we wanted to, is quite another.

Nighttime repression

As if we didn’t have enough with the 30 people reported wounded in Barquisimeto, Cabudare, El Cují and Duaca (Lara state); with armored vehicles to breach gates and doors, last night’s repressive pattern was tremendously intense in Caracas, in areas such as Palo Verde, Petare, El Marqués, La Candelaria, El Paraíso, Montalbán and La Vega.

The most serious development is that tear-gas and pellets are now being replaced by gun violence, including automatic weapons, and the use of tactical units as invading armies.

Panic doesn’t bring more votes, but indignation does move more protesters. Resorting to terror is an absurd strategy on the eve of the alleged campaign closure event.

NGO Foro Penal reported 159 arrests during this first day of general strike. Zulia state is sadly on the lead again, with 100 arrests.

Be extremely careful.

We go on.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.