Another sanctioned dictator

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, August 1, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added Nicolás to their list on Monday, as a consequence of the electoral fraud that gave chavismo its largest amount of votes after 18 years of government, several of them with the highest inflation in the world, in economic recession and a literally deadly shortage of food and medicines.

According to the U.S., the ANC “aspires illegitimately to usurp the constitutional role of the democratically elected National Assembly,” turning Nicolás into “a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people.” In addition to freezing his assets in the U.S., sanctions prevent any citizen or company to sign agreements with him and adds him to an exclusive list of heads of state in office: Robert Mugabe, Bashar Al Assad and Kim Jong-Un. “We firmly believe that sanctions do work, and we will continue to monitor the situation and consider additional sanctions,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. The OFAC list now contains 36 Venezuelans.


Since only a handful of people watched his early celebration this Monday, which he used to threaten opposition leaders, TV stations and alleged traitors, while yelling: “What the hell do we care what Trump says?!,” last night he went to CNE headquarters so that its chair Tibisay Lucena could hand him the partial results for ANC posts.

He claimed that “Venezuela has a mighty electoral, military, political and popular power.” He praised the campaign, thanked those who participated and denounced that two million people couldn’t vote due to the protests.

His only reaction to sanctions was:

“The U.S. government can’t order us around (…) I’m not going to obey orders and I’m an anti-imperialist, impose whatever sanctions you want.”

He claimed that he’s proud of the sanction, although he later added that he’d like to talk with Trump “because he’s making the worst mistake in the world.” He didn’t say if he’d gift a replica of Bolívar’s sword to himself. Sad.

Jorge the Just

Mayor Jorge Rodríguez cautioned that the licenses for bus lines working in La Bandera terminal who didn’t work on Sunday would be revoked, and was the first to claim that turnout would’ve reached 10 million were it not for the blocked roads and the absence of transportation.

He accused Leopoldo López of breaking his word for not calling for peace, the only demand made by the truth commission:

“That was the only thing we asked of him, and Leopoldo López couldn’t even come through with that, he has no word, he’s a human being with no word.”

He then went on to describe his rendition of the “fight” between Leopoldo and governor Henrique Capriles, as if he still had any talent for intrigue.

Add this to Interior Minister Néstor Reverol’s tweets reporting that he’ll activate another phase of the National Policing and Active Contention Plan against “violent demonstrations,” reviewing criminal incidents, incorporating new techniques and ways to act against alleged terrorist attacks and increasing the supply of equipment for the National Guard.

A promise of peace.

And then, Luisa

The Prosecutor General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, said that the constituent process was a charade that forces her to invoke article 333 of the Constitution, because it mocked the country. She ratified that all political rights are at risk and that she won’t leave the Prosecutor’s Office because “we could be witnessing systematic patterns of human rights violations,” because as a citizen, she won’t be an accomplice and this isn’t the country el finado wanted.

She shared several insights into the Odebrecht case, the active “public servants” involved and the government’s attempt to protect them. Ortega Díaz said that out of the 121 people killed during these months of protests, 40% of murders have been committed by armed civilians and at least 25% were committed by State security forces:

“That’s why they want to be rid of me, they need those murders to be suicides.”

Aside from that, NGO Foro Penal reported that since protests started on April 1st, 5,051 people have been arrested, 1,383 of them remain in detention, 547 civilians have been prosecuted by military tribunals and there are 498 political prisoners, updating detention figures for this July 30th to 96 people.

Ortega Díaz concluded:

“We won’t allow them to destroy the Constitution, the rule of law, our country, we won’t allow them to rob us of our dignity, to rob us of our hope.”

And in the National Assembly

MUD lawmakers met on Monday in the Federal Legislative Palace to coordinate their next moves. Parliament Speaker Julio Borges said that despite government coercion against public servants and PSUV’s displays of power, according to all measurements turnout was scarcely three million voters, compared to the 14 million who elected the National Assembly back in 2015:

“We will continue to fulfill our duty and we remain committed to the fight (…) We won’t deviate from our duty, our commitment to change (…) Now more than ever, the Venezuelan people can count on their Parliament, they can count on their lawmakers.”

Other reactions

Russia, Nicaragua and Bolivia supported the fraud. Uruguay was easier on the process than Chile. For OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, the process was a tremendous failure and he claimed that his office doesn’t acknowledge the results because of the process’s illegitimacy and the obvious manipulation of the electoral system.

According to Ernesto Samper, the ANC election is “a dangerous leap into the darkness.” Germany condemned the disproportionate use of force during the elections that only served to further divide the country. Colombia’s Foreign minister María Angela Holguín ratified that her country believes Venezuela stepped away from democracy with the ANC election. Argentina’s Foreign minister Jorge Faurie said that Mercosur isn’t far from applying its democratic clause to Venezuela. Yesterday, the UN’s Office of the High Commission for Human Rights denounced Venezuela for ongoing violations against the right of assembly and for violently dispersing protests.

The black market dollar keeps rising and Venezuelan bonds are starting to plummet.

Nessun dorma

SEBIN’s operación tun tun started off early this August 1st, revoking the house arrests of mayor Antonio Ledezma and Voluntad Popular leader Leopoldo López, both dragged from their homes in the darkness.

the belief is that López will go back to Ramo Verde, but nobody knows where either of them are. There are videos of both detentions, a way for the regime to publicize that they’re a dictatorship.

Concerning Ledezma, his message yesterday started with: “Despite all the risks in recording this,” meaning that he knew this scenario was a possibility. The video needs its own briefing, due to all the messages it deals with, but his reproach is doubtlessly more severe against the opposition than against the government.

There were also reports of SEBIN patrols around the Prosecutor General’s house, but they apparently left quickly.

A horrible night, in the words of former Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla, the beginning of the Constituyente era.

It doesn’t matter how hard they pretend, they’re not happy. Neither those in power, nor the citizens. The street’s climate yesterday was of mourning, with fraud in everyone’s lips, with the recognition of their ridiculous absurdity, surpassing el finado, challenging what’s possible or even sane. With the amount of people they claimed voted, they could’ve submitted the Constituyente to a consultative referendum, we could’ve recalled Nicolás, they could’ve held gubernatorial elections, they could’ve complied with the law.

But they suck even at lying.

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.