They've got the bullets, not the votes (11:25 p.m.)

Your daily briefing for Monday, July 31, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Ignoring what citizens and independent parties have reported, CNE vice-president Sandra Oblitas announced that polling stations remained open for another hour because of the huge amount of people still trying to vote.

What’s actually true is that NGO Foro Penal reported five people murdered on Saturday and eleven yesterday, just one more than the Prosecutor’s Office.

Their most recent reports account for 96 people arrested and once again, Zulia state is on the lead with over 30 detentions.


Major Jorge Rodríguez smiled after he heard the amount of murders being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office and after referring to Luisa Ortega Díaz as the future former Prosecutor General. He said:

“There hasn’t been a single death associated with today’s election.”

And added that yesterday was a “song for peace, a song of love for the country.”

Diosdado Cabello started his joyous victory speech with a message for Nicolás, quoting article 349 of the Constitution:

“The president of the Republic will not be able to question the new Constitution.”

That aside, he promised to take over the Federal Legislative Palace, to rule by Constituyente decrees, to hang a picture of el finado and another of their made-up version of Bolívar, and laughed for the start of a counteroffensive phase and an inflection point.

Regarding yesterday’s record turnout, they should’ve mentioned it was more on the low side.


Defense minister Padrino López said to be proud of the State’s show of strength and of the Constituyente as “the way in which differences are dealt with in a democracy.” Although he regretted the assaults on 200 voting stations and wounded officers, he claimed that no death can be attributed to the Armed Forces, a sign of his professionalism.

Apparently, the only dead that matters is the National Guard killed in La Grita, Táchira state. Interior minister Néstor Reverol said: “We mean that peace triumphed in Venezuela today,” claiming that they’ll investigate yesterday’s events (the massacre) although “they have nothing to do with the electoral process.”

CEOFANB chief Remigio Ceballos claimed that there was a minimum of irregularities that didn’t have an impact on “massive turnout,” referring to “non-linear attacks conducted through social networks” and saying that they’ll continue “advancing toward victory” with the Armed Forces.

A detail: the brass had a lot more screen time than civilians, emphasizing that the only deaths that matter are those of military officers.

They’re the power, they’re chavismo.


Peru’s Foreign minister issued a statement in which they announce a meeting of Foreign Ministers scheduled for Tuesday August 8th, to discuss Venezuela’s present situation caused by the Constituyente and its impact on democratic order. So far, the ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay confirmed their attendance, along with Peru itself.

Most governments agreed to condemn violent repression, the disrespect against people’s will and the National Constitution. Likewise, all of them regret that the regime chose to follow through with yesterday’s election, specially Chile, whose government dedicated several paragraphs to describing Nicolás’ mistakes.

The United States also categorically condemned the ANC election and ratified their intention to take “swift and strong” actions against those behind the fraud.

Lastly, Paraguay’s Foreign minister Eladio Loizaga announced Venezuela’s imminent suspension from Mercosur.

The Old Continent

European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani said: “The international community does not acknowledge Maduro’s Constituent Assembly,” adding that it’s a sad day for democracy in Venezuela because, among its many shortcomings, “it goes against people’s will.” Particularly concerned by repression in the last 24 hours, he said that the international community “cannot remain silent before deaths in Venezuela,” pledging his full support for the Venezuelan people and the National Assembly.

Great Britain’s Foreign minister, Sir Alan Duncan, expressed his horror of the violence and said that “urgent negotiation is necessary to solve the crisis.”

Spain’s Foreign minister issued a statement announcing that they won’t acknowledge the ANC or validate any of its judicial acts.

Waiting for Tibisay

Although at 10:00 a.m. she said that “99% and more” of Venezuelans were allegedly voting at the same time, late on Sunday the CNE had yet to announce any results.

I repeat: they’re irrelevant.

The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) said they scarcely managed to mobilize 12% of the voter registry (two and a half million votes,) but that they planned to announce over eight millions. Just remember that the highest amount of votes obtained by el finado during an election was 8,191,132.

MUD announced a Roadblock for today at noon, while and at 5:00 p.m. there will be an event honoring those killed this July 30th. The National Assembly will meet in ordinary session on Tuesday and the March to Caracas is scheduled for Wednesday.

The nerve

CNE chief Tibisay Lucena started the cadena thanking all the men and women who worked tirelessly day and night so that Venezuelans could exercise our sovereignty, admitting that there were some difficulties and threats that they managed to overcome. She claimed that the balance was extremely positive, “because peace won,” as if the 16 people murdered in two days didn’t represent their massacre.

She congratulated the people for their participation, claiming that there were areas such as Mérida (marked by violence) where there were still people voting at 10:00 p.m., although they were actually under a curfew.

Calling this an unusual election, with an “extraordinary turnout, unexpected but announced,” Lucena said that 8,089,320 people voted, which is 41.53% of the electoral registry, 100,000 fewer votes than what el finado got in 2012 and 600,000 more than what Nicolás got in 2013.

Elected constituent representatives?

  • Cilia Flores, Iris Varela, Delcy Rodríguez
  • Francisco Ameliach
  • Diosdado Cabello
  • Carmen Meléndez
  • Darío Vivas
  • Aristóbulo Istúriz
  • Roque Valero
  • Érika Faría

You may fill in the remaining spots with the usual suspects.

They destroyed the electoral system yesterday.

Sanctions coming

The Wall Street Journal was the first outlet to glimpse at potential “swift and strong” economic sanctions that the U.S. could impose against Venezuela for refusing to cancel the Constituyente fraud: “the most likely option (…) is banning the export of refined oil products and lighter crudes to Venezuela.” Another option, the article adds, is barring PDVSA from using the American banking system and their currency.

According to economist Luis Oliveros, this would be like a tsunami: losing half of foreign income (amidst a severe economic crisis and with a colossal deficit,) while the government scrambles to find lighter crudes, additives and derivatives for gasoline production (a new supplier could charge more than the U.S., not to mention freight charges) but on top of this, they’d have to find placement for local oil, no easy task either. Venezuela would lose cash flow (so imports would be savagely undercut); the risk of default would be imminent, credits would grow more ferocious and the black market dollar would honor Buzz Lightyear’s famous motto.

Nobody really knows what’s coming and in spite of this, many of those who were threatened abstained from voting, a tremendous progress, a show of courage.

Yesterday, they finally demolished the Republic with a farse.

They have the guns, we have the reasons. We go on.

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.