Let Them Talk

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, August 2, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The day revolved around Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma. The courts responsible for their cases argued that they revoked their house arrest because they didn’t comply with its conditions, and they were suspected of planning to escape.

The MUD said the measure was “a clear demonstration that the dictatorship has been imposing its will through violence and human rights violations.”

The international backlash was impressive, enough to make them reconsider the cost of this move, which closely follows the electoral fraud that has already produced winners without results. The statements regarding López and Ledezma were a sum of the various descriptions of Nicolás’ dictatorial role and all of them demanded the immediate release of both leaders and all political prisoners.

Disregard and recognition

This Tuesday, the National Assembly unanimously passed an Agreement disregarding the results announced for the National Constituent Assembly’s election held on July 30th. 21 nations rejected the results and only five supported them, but PSUV organized a circus for its public powers to pledge their support for the electoral fraud and their loyalty to Nicolás after the U.S. announced sanctions against him.

That’s what Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López did, on behalf of the Armed Forces, as well Supreme Tribunal head Maikel Moreno, a group of chavista governors and another of mayors.

Vice-president Tareck El Aissami read (or tried to read) a statement during a Cabinet meeting, in which he said:

“Colonial times are over, this is the time of free and sovereign nations.”

He claimed that the sanction is a serious attack on Nicolás and jeopardizes global peace. Funny, he later talked about the regime’s plans to take over the Federal Legislative Palace for the ANC; perhaps El Aissami is more concerned with global peace than with the country’s peace.


National Electoral Council board member Luis Emilio Rondón said that the elections held on July 30th didn’t fulfill the necessary requirements to merit his approval. Not only was the process illegitimate, but also most of the usual electoral controls were bent or scrapped altogether, lowering the standards and undermining the election’s credibility. He noted that parliamentary elections back in 2015 were audited 18 times, while only eight audits were performed in this case.

Against the mayors

The TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber is still moving against opposition mayors and set the hearing for José Antonio Barrera, mayor of Palavecino municipality, Lara state, for Friday. Likewise, it denied the request made by Carlos García, mayor of Libertador municipality, Mérida, for the postponement of his hearing, which is still set for today at 10:00 a.m.

Regarding this matter, NGO Transparencia Venezuela presented a thorough report detailing how many municipal authorities who are at odds with Nicolás’ policies have been removed, arrested, issued arrest warrants, banned from leaving the country or disqualified from running for office: 34 out of 77, or 44% of opposition mayors.

In addition to the 12 mayors denounced before the Prosecutor’s Office, the Constitutional Chamber has been ramping up its assault by issuing 39 rulings between May and July, 2017, threatening to remove 14 mayors from office or imprison them. The General Comptroller’s Office has taken over 15 Municipal Comptroller’s Offices and expectations for the ANC’s decisions aren’t optimistic.

From the empire

Last night, President Donald Trump condemned Nicolás for the detention of Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, making him personally responsible for their safety and demanding their release. According to Trump, they “are political prisoners being held illegally by the regime.”

His wors mirror the statements issued throughout the day by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who remarked that they want to see Venezuela return to its Constitution and resume the electoral timetable.

Almost at the same time Trump’s statement was released, Michael Fitzpatrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary for South America in the State Department, said in an interview that even though the U.S. regards Venezuela as a dictatorship, they keep recognizing Nicolás’ government as legitimate and they wouldn’t be willing to recognize a parallel Executive Branch formed by the opposition, restating that they won’t support the National Assembly if it tried to establish a parallel State. Let Juan Carlos know.

Other sanctions

European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani requested the European Union on Tuesday to impose sanctions on members of the Venezuelan regime, such as restricting their movement within the EU and freezing their financial assets, and to that end, he sent letters to European Council head Donald Tusk and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker. The decision to impose these sanctions falls on the European Council and requires the unanimous consensus of the 28 member countries. Tajani also said that the arrest of López and Ledezma was unjustifiable and condemned constant human rights violations in Venezuela.

The value of control

Yesterday, mobile phone service carriers Movistar and Digitel published their new service fees, causing a strange debacle on social networks, as if the current ones were fair or the new ones were any more expensive than a couple of movie tickets. Later, Propaganda minister Ernesto Villegas announced that Nicolás “ordered the reversal of these unauthorized fee adjustments,” because price controls are still an incentive despite the fact that the private sector in Venezuela has been demolished.

Our mobile services are bad because prices can’t cover the costs and it’s impossible to expect or demand a good phone service with fake cheap prices. Suspending the hikes will only further reduce the service’ sustainability, but some people applaud the dictator’s measure. Coño.

Colombia’s Foreign minister María Ángela Holguín had some strong words to say yesterday and cautioned her country about a possible Venezuelan exodus due to escalating political violence in Venezuela: “We won’t set up shelters for now,” but they’ll take measures as the need increases.

“For now” still pounds in my head.

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.