Republic-less Weekend

Your daily briefing for Monday, August 7, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

While the country waits for the government to get its act together about the uprising led by National Guard Captain Juan Caguaripano, we’ll do a recap of what happened in Venezuela during the weekend.

About last Sunday…

A group of soldiers rebelled against the government early on Sunday in Fuerte Paramacay, Carabobo state. The uprising was announced by soldiers via a message on Twitter urging their peers to disregard Nicolás’s mandate, declaring themselves “in legitimate rebellion” against “the regime’s murderous tyranny” and pointing out that they weren’t launching a coup d’état but rather a civilian and military action to restore constitutional order.

Hours later, the uprising would be called a “terrorist attack” carried out by “civilians dressed as soldiers,” according to a statement issued by the Defense Ministry, which also claims that the seven rebels arrested confessed that they were hired “by far right-wing activist linked to foreign governments.”

Although these men managed to steal 93 rifles and four grenade launchers, Army commander Jesús Suárez Chourio said they were successfully nreutralized. What a success.

The ANC suspended a session scheduled for the installation of the “Truth Commission” due to these events. This operation was led by former National Guard captain Juan Carlos Caguaripano, accused of rebellion and treason in past years.

Consolidating the fraud

Despite Smartmatic’s charges of fraud and Tibisay Lucena’s poor response to them, chavismo installed the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) on Friday and chose former Foreign minister Delcy Rodríguez as its head, and Aristóbulo Istúriz and Isaías Rodríguez as first and second vice-presidents, respectively. They’re desperate for polarization, so their speeches focused on the need for political persecution disguised as justice, which is the pillar for their new Constitution and the guiding tenet of their new State. Our legislature’s leadership condemned the ANC’s methods and called for an extraordinary session this Monday, August 7th.

The CNE hasn’t released polling station or parish level election results, much less a detailed list of null votes or abstention figures.

Mayor Antonio Ledezma and Leopoldo López were transferred back to house arrest.

Bolívar, Guárico and Delta Amacuro have suffered massive floods.

The OAS’s Inter American Commission on Human Rights granted protective measures to the Prosecutor General and her family.

The Vatican issued a belated statement regretting the worsening of Venezuela’s situation and demanding the suspension of the Constituyente.

President Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron demanded Nicolás restore the rights of Venezuelans, while a State Dept. statement said the ANC was “the illegitimate product of a process rigged by the dictatorship.”

Panama granted political asylum to two of the justices newly appointed by our National Assembly.

A total of 22,000 Venezuelans petitioned for a special permit to remain in Colombia in less than 24 hours.

Diosdado’s call

On Saturday, the Prosecutor General’s headquarters were militarized and during the ANC’s first session, Luisa Ortega Díaz was ousted from office while Tarek William Saab was appointed to replace her. All the theories that had Delcy acting as a supposed mediator between chavista factions were destroyed yesterday: every decision unanimously approved by the ANC came from Diosdado Cabello.

Ortega Díaz was attacked while trying to enter the Prosecutor’s Office headquarters, she denounced the coup against the Constitution and was backed by many, within the country and abroad, who mostly dismissed Saab as legitimate prosecutor general. During his swearing-in speech, Saab accused Ortega Díaz of enabling violence and deaths during protests.

Venezuela was expelled from Mercosur due to the rupture of democratic order. The OAS General Secretariat supported this decision. Nicolás’s response was: “Nobody can expel Venezuela from Mercosur.” The ANC decided that it will legislate for two years, until August of 2019. Saab’s replacement in the Ombudsman’s Office will be Alfredo Ruíz (since his role as prosecutor general is allegedly temporary).

In defense of the Constitution

A forum which brought together many different voices in favor of the Constitution was held in the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), even Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz made an unexpected and brief appearance. UCAB rector Francisco José Virtuoso spoke about the university’s commitment to seeking solutions to the crisis and urged those present to work together, respecting differences, to recover democracy. Luis Lander from the Venezuelan Electoral Observatory explained the ANC process’ irregularities. Lawmaker Freddy Guevara said that civil disobedience must be massive from now on. Luisa Ortega expressed her gratitude for the national and international support, saying that she disregards her removal and detailing why Venezuela is under a de facto government.

Former Ombudsman Gabriela Ramírez acknowledged the difficulty of reaching consensus with the opposition, but celebrated that they have the defense of the Constitution in common as a cause. National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges highlighted the possibilities of a democratic country and the overwhelming majority of people who wanted it. Governor Henrique Capriles remarked that differences are nothing compared to the higher goal: creating a common front to save the country. “We have to make way for politics and politics must have results for the people, because something much worse could happen otherwise,” he said.

The UCAB Center for Human Rights accused former Interior minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres of  human rights abuses. That’s the only relevant thing that can be said about him.


He started off his weekly farce of a show by pretending to be talking to commander of the Army Suárez Chourio over the phone and claiming that he was live. He immediately said: “A week ago, we beat them with votes and today, we had to beat them with bullets,” congratulating the Armed Forces for yesterday’s victory -??- and demanding the heaviest punishment for the captured rebels. He said that “the country’s progress won’t be stopped by some terrorists from Miami and Colombia,” adding that there were skirmishes and he lead his troops as commander-in-chief.

He gave instructions to find and prosecute the people who confronted CNE rectora Socorro Hernández in a supermarket, accusing them of “committing hate crimes, attacks, harassment. Whoever they are, they must be prosecuted.” Once again, he attacked presidents Santos, Temer, Macri and Trump. Saying that this week was intense, good and that they’ve kept fighting, he scarcely spent a few minutes talking about the worsening floods.

Robeilys Peinado tied for the bronze medal with Cuban Yarisley Silva, with a record of 4.65 meters, thus winning Venezuela’s first medal in a World Athletics Championship.

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.