New Sanctions

For Thursday, August 10, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.


The United States sanctioned eight new Venezuelan government officials on Wednesday. Six of them are National Constituent Assembly (ANC) members:

  • Francisco Ameliach
  • Adrán Chávez
  • Hermann Escarrá
  • Érika Farías
  • Carmen Meléndez
  • Ramón Darío Vivas

A National Electoral Council (CNE) rectora, Tania D’Amelio (under investigation for allegedly committing electoral fraud), and National Guard colonel in charge of the Federal Legislative Palace’s security, yes, the guy who shoved speaker Julio Borges out of the National Assembly, Bladimir Lugo (who has actually been an aggressor, indicted by the Prosecutor’s Office for human rights violations) are also included.

Their visas were revoked, they banned from entering the U.S., their assets and accounts were frozen and also, no American citizen or company is allowed to do business with them.

Just this year, the OFAC list has added 32 officials and people linked to the chavista administration.

Delcy Rodríguez condemned the economic sanctions imposed by the Treasury Department, saying that they’re illegal.


The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) said on Wednesday that with the consensus of all member parties, except for two, they decided to register their candidates for gubernatorial elections, which will allegedly take place on December 10th.

The spokesman was Causa R leader Andrés Velásquez:

“The decision of registering MUD candidates was made along with the decision to increase social pressure. Otherwise we would be turning our backs to those who have made a sacrifice in facing down this government.”

He added that the candidacies will be chosen by consensus, except those in which such consensus can’t be reached, which would demand primaries. In any case, the idea is for gubernatorial elections to become a protest, just like the Popular Consultation on July 16th.

You’ll need an ANC certificate

Diosdado Cabello said last night that all those interested in registering for gubernatorial elections must get a certificate of good conduct issued by the national constituent assembly:

“Because if they think they’ll be able to register after calling for setting Venezuela on fire or for a foreign invasion, they’re crazy. Perhaps they haven’t read the decree approved yesterday by the ANC and the constitutional law of the Truth Committee.”

This requirement is astonishingly coherent: a fraudulent body made up of human rights abusers and corrupt lackeys will issue certificates of good conduct.

One less mayor

While Chacao’s Municipal Chamber appointed councilman Gustavo Duque as new mayor to replace Ramón Muchacho, after the ruling against him, the TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber sentenced El Hatillo mayor David Smolansky to 15 months in prison, for allegedly refusing to comply with a ban on protests in his municipality. Just like his peers before him, Smolansky was disqualified from running for office, an arrest warrant was issued against him, he was barred from leaving the country and ousted from office. He’s to serve his sentence in SEBIN headquarters. Bur he did not turn himself in.

On Tuesday, the UN spoke about patterns of systematic human rights violations, so here’s the TSJ’s favorite pattern. That’s how they’re reshaping the State, by demolishing the popular will that elected those authorities.

Cumulative inflation

The National Assembly(AN) estimates that the cumulative inflation rate for 2017 is 248.6%. Lawmaker Ángel Alvarado released the National Assembly’s National Index of Consumer Prices (INPACAN), estimating that the monthly inflation rate for July was 26%:

“This rapid increase in the monthly rate is due to the poor dollar offer in the official market; our currency’s profound depreciation in the black market and the climate of political uncertainty that dramatically worsens the economic situation.”

Then he ratified that the ANC won’t improve the country’s economic prospects; on the contrary, they’ll get worse, because there won’t be economic change in Venezuela without regime change.

Despite this outlook, minister Elías Jaua announced that they’ll invest Bs. 138 million to overhaul 8,000 schools, which would be Bs. 17,250 per school, enough as to buy the cleaning products to clean them for one or two days. Genius!


  • On Wednesday, the National Assembly refused to recognize the ANC. Speaker Julio Borges expressed his gratitude for the support of the Foreign Ministers of Latin American nations who do not recognize the ANC and its decisions due to “its illegitimate nature” and said that the declaration opens the way for eventual sanctions against regime authorities accused of corruption, drug trafficking and human rights violations.
  • Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza summoned the ambassadors of the countries that signed the Lima Declaration on the Venezuelan crisis on Tuesday to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry headquarters. According to him, they’re trying to “corner us once again,” so he expressed his absolute condemnation for the meeting.
  • With 75 votes in favor and 9 against, Peru’s Congress authorized the expulsion of Venezuelan ambassador Diego Molero from the country. This is a motion. The final decision falls on Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s government.
  • Aerolíneas Argentinas won’t be selling any tickets to Caracas until safety is once again guaranteed. 11 airlines have now ceased their operations in Venezuela.

Erika Farías wrote a memorable tweet after sanctions were announced:

“Damn yankees, go hell. I’m with Bolívar, Lenin, Zamora, Fidel, Chávez and Nicolás we’re overcoming and we’ll be victorious.”

Nicolás is yet to announce when he’s planning to hand over replicas of Bolívar’s sword to these newly sanctioned officials.

We go on.

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  1. “Nicolás is yet to announce when he’s planning to hand over replicas of Bolívar’s sword to these newly sanctioned officials” Touché. Too funny.

  2. I, for one, would love to see the CC staff put together a list of alta-chavistas and their proven assets outside the country. Include the names and assets of close family members as well because we all know where the money originated.

    That would be a fascinating read.

      • Good one, Ulamog! Maybe she’s pissed at herself for not doing a better job laundering the $$?

        Also: “Delcy Rodríguez condemned the economic sanctions imposed by the Treasury Department, saying that they’re illegal.”

        Really? She’s a US legal expert now? And besides, why would a true communist revolutionary care about money or doing “business” with anyone?

  3. I think rather than sanctions I would like to see south american nations such as Brazil, Columbia and Argentina, Mexico put together a peace keeping force, possibly under a UN banner. The objective should be to oversee free and fair presidential elections. The men in green are ‘brave’ when beating up twenty year old students armed with sticks and stones. Faced with professional soldiers they would roll over in no time. The objective should be elections, give people the chance to vote for Maduro, or otherwise. South American countries have the capacity to do this rather than rely on ‘the marines’. I really wish they would, this problem should be solved by professional soldiers, not left to the young who have their futures ahed of them. If planned correctly I believe there would be minimal violence, Diosdado may yell for war, I dont think the rank and file will listen.

    • I don’t think military force is a solution but I think you are on the right track regarding the need for increased pressure and coordination from Venezuela’s neighbours- multilateral pressure. The focus on the USA as the source of a solution, either through military measures or broader economic sanctions is I think where the majority of unicorn fantasies are coming from. Some thoughtful reflections on the subject:

      • Double unicorn farts/pots of gold at ends of rainbows. The U.S. is key to toppling the Regime, as is M.Rubio. Venezuela is a much more dangerous Hemispheric actor going forward than Cuba (with the exception of the Missles fiasco) ever was.

      • I would support US intervention, military or otherwise.
        It is reasonable to ask why should US or soldiers from any other country die for people that won’t even put up a nominal resistance themselves?
        The front line of protesters that has taken the brunt of the abuse and shown the most resistance have been the students. This is shown in the murders committed by the regime soldiers, police and collectives.
        Where are the parents that want their children to have a better future?
        How did millions of people succumb to threats of retaliation and vote in the ANC?
        I would feel much better about our soldiers intervening on the side of the rebels rather than actually initiating the rebellion.
        The 7 million people that voted in the plebiscite may be impressive. Out of a population of 30 million it fell short.
        An even smaller participation in the ANC vote, makes me think a large amount of people have just decided to sit this out.
        The signers of the US declaration pledged “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.”.
        The Venezuelan population does not seem to be as committed to gaining their own liberty.
        History has proven that when people are given liberty and democracy rather than earning it or creating it themselves, they do not tend to cherish it and protect as fervently as the people that sacrifice for it.
        The Iraqi military fleeing when ISIS was confronting them is a recent example. Russia and Poland, countries whose people suffered immeasurably under Communism, have both taken giant steps backwards. These democracies were created from the ashes of Communism without the struggles that have been accompanied with other wars of independence.
        The MUD is deluding themselves and lying to the Venezuelan people to believe that the government will change without armed struggle. The decision to participate in the regional elections is a distraction that wastes time, energy and money and distracts people from the only task at hand. Removal of this criminal regime and the ending of Cuban influence in domestic matters.
        The regime is not going to leave without a fight. The sooner this fight begins, the sooner this regime will be gone.

  4. On whether or not to participate in the local elections. At first I was against it, but if we don’t participate, that’s the end of it. If we do participate, however, the government will use every trick in the book to disquaify our candidates and to cheat in the elections ….. and if miracoulosly we end up winning a few or just one, they will assign someone from their party to actually oversee/run that municipalty/state. Internationally, this would be another nail in the coffin for chavismo.

    • We and the whole world doesn’t need any more proofs or justifications to condemn the regime as a criminal totalitarian dictatorship.
      What we need to do now is physically (by armed force) remove and jail this criminals from power.

      When someone declares war on you, you have two options.
      Surrender or Fight

      • I agree. Agreeing to participate in any future election, validates the past fraud.
        Further, it allows the regime time to manipulate the Gov elections, by changing the rules, disallowing candidates, and broadcasting to the world, that VZ is a democracy by holding elections with even its “most” vocal opposition. The chavista spin doctors are very happy for this news. Of course, any bad vote outcome, will be voided.

        I am curious of those in favor of participating, to enlighten those against of the “end game”. I understand, that it re-enforces the principles of democracy, civility, and takes the moral high ground. All are to be applauded.

        But tell us, to what end? What happens AFTER these elections? My guess is that there will be violence, and the regime will announce presidential elections for the following Dec 2018, to get the remaining MUD dreamers on-board. 18 months from now, they will have finally nailed the coffin of all hope.

        In the mean time, whether you wish to acknowledge or not, there will be another 25,000 deaths by malnutrition, malaria, childbirth, violence, lack of medicine, etc.
        Let nots even try to list the economic and social damage.

        To me MUD dreamer are the equal to those who believe the USA or LATAM will make a difference. There will be NO military intervention. At best the sanctions we see and just maybe some areas with more bite.

        When you have cancer, you pray, you hope, you plead for a just outcome.

        When that cancer becomes malignant, you go radical, you do not abide by common sense. Chemo, poison, all out war, is the only hope

        It is only a matter of time.

  5. What a cunning way to fake struggle and keep people occupied and politically minded for a few months while they prepared a campaign for bullshit worthless seats nobody on the streets gives two shits about.

    I guess mud financists and their cronies and family members living abroad must be hapy of their favorite candidate getting a seat by “consensus” so they can continue the cogollo as scheduled and as has always been.

  6. ‘Unicorn farts and Rainbows’. I understand why you say that, but the only way the Chavistas are going is if a big stick is used to force elections or the rank and file army rebell. Who is going to do it? I dont think the USA will. Unless other South American countries grow some balls and sort out their own back yard I see no other possibility than a protracted civil conflict in Venezuela which will be truely hideous. I was trying to point out that South American countries do have the power to stop this quickly with minimal casulties if they were able to summon the resolve. If this doesnt happen it will be Cuba mk2 or civil war, the Chavistas will never submitt to fair electons. Your unicorns can fart away, but somebody has to weild a big stick now.

    • Fair enough, the problem is that South American economies are in bad shape after the fall of the commodity boom and the excessive expending under the populist pink tide regimes. Argentina, Brasil or Colombia are an election away from falling once again into another radical left disaster.
      I’d say that it is incumbent upon the US who is best positioned to unlock this crisis just by its sheer menacing power, resources and experience.
      As a world leader the US enjoy the many perks and benefits that come with that role, but as a dominant power and leader of the free world you also have responsibilities of keeping the world stable weather you like it or not. In the end we all are stakeholders at these, specially fighting a regime who master plan involves spreading around latin america and the world.

      • Neighboring countries MAY participate in a U.S.-led initiative, but the only major S.A. countries to show any real balls to date are Peru/Argentina.

  7. Lots of chatter on the spanish sites about Gen Baudel. Anyone have any updates? Chatter as well about something going down in Fuerte Tiuna last night.

  8. […] Remember that no fewer than 17 lawmakers have already registered their candidacies for governor’s posts. The logic is simple: the election rules will depend on the Constituent Assembly. If you’re angling for a governorship, why would you imperil your certificado de buena conducta? […]


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