Political Retaliation

Your daily briefing for Thursday, August 17, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

As Nicolás made a sudden appearance in Cuba to pay his respects to Fidel Castro’s tomb, reminding us of the island’s role in his perverse script, Diosdado Cabello requested the Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation on an alleged corruption network within that institution, involving dissident chavista lawmaker Germán Ferrer, deposed Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega’s husband; as well as chief of staff Gioconda González; prosecutors Pedro Lupera and Luis Sánchez, and lawyer José Rafael Parra Saluzzo.

claimed that they’ve dismantled the corruption network because Nicolás ordered an investigation on the companies that exploit the Orinoco Faja Petrolífera, which allegedly revealed that once the Prosecutor’s Office started finding evidence of illegal activity, this network of people began extorting the companies that worked with PDVSA. Diosdado clarified that the investigations “have nothing to do with politics” and handed over the original documents of bank accounts opened in Bahamas in April, 2016.

Since he’s the one denouncing an act of extortion, it’s not hard to imagine Cilia Flores or comptroller Manuel Galindo launching accusations of nepotism.

Tarek, the efficient

The imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab immediately responded to Diosdado’s request, offering a press conference proving that this an act of political retaliation.

Showing the original documents that he received as evidence, he claimed that lawmaker Germán Ferrer “acted in flagrante delicto – even though the accounts were opened more than a year ago – with malicious intent,” assuming that Ferrer was the network’s leader and demanding the TSJ to order his arrest, while the ANC (of which the accuser, Diosdado, is a member) begins the process of breaching Ferrer’s parliamentary immunity.

Just for the record: only the National Assembly can do that, but PSUV decided to scrap the current Constitution long ago.

Obvious mistakes

Tarek is a disastrous spokesman, but yesterday he broke his own records and asked people to think how a parliamentarian with a modest salary could have accounts in dollars (applicable to 99% of the chavista ruling clique).

He denounced an anonymous campaign from abroad without naming any countries; promised to summon the extortionists, without establishing who they are; and claimed to have evidence of Luisa Ortega Díaz’s corruption since 2008, without explaining why the government took nine years to file charges.

It’s a lousy way to start a razzia in the Prosecutor’s Office, which they’ll probably link to any “traitor.”

With the same urgency of Tarek’s statement, Luisa Ortega Díaz’s apartment was illegally searched yesterday afternoon, and the maid was arrested.

For abstention!

After Jorge Rodríguez’s statements detailing the opposition’s contradictions, mentioning the timeframe to register, modify and replace candidacies and demanding the CNE to make parties promise they’ll honor the results of gubernatorial elections, CNE chief Tibisay Lucena offered incredibly useless information.

The only relevant thing she reported was that 226 people from 78 political parties registered their candidacies, but she didn’t reveal the date for the elections, the electoral schedule or the company that will replace Smartmatic. Today, the parties will choose their position in the ballot.

Hairstyled Torquemada

Truth committee head Delcy Rodríguez said that they’ll ask the CNE for a full list of opposition candidates for gubernatorial elections to “investigate and approve them,” a way of clearing the path for the TSJ’s disqualifications, speeding up the process of canceling candidacies and choosing the candidates against whom the PSUV wants to compete in the 23 states. She said:

“We’ve opened an investigation against the people responsible for violence in 2017.”

Then she pointed out that investigations have already been already launched against Parliament’s Speaker and second vice-president, Julio Borges and Freddy Guevara, the former for sending letters to international banks and the latter for greeting a protester, as proven by a picture he showed.

Pedro Carreño also spoke of challenging the candidacies of Carlos Ocariz and Conrado Pérez, but he didn’t mention that lawmaker Luis Lippa has already been barred from running for office.

A massacre in Amazonas

Governor Liborio Guarulla denounced a massacre in Amazonas Judicial Detention Center, located in Puerto Ayacucho, where 37 inmates were murdered and six National Bolivarian Policemen and National Guard officers were wounded. The most popular theory so far is that the officers were going to begin an inspection and there was “a exchange of gunfire” which resulted in this massacre.

Humberto Prado, head of the Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons, confirmed the slaughter and added that there are approximately 250 inmates inside that prison.

Pence in Chile

Accompanied by president Michelle Bachelet, U.S. vice-president Mike Pence restated that the U.S. will use all its strength and diplomacy until democracy is restored in Venezuela, thanking Chile for condemning Nicolás’ regime and saying that whatever they do about Venezuela, they’ll do it together:

“We all live in the same neighborhood (…) we will continue to act, together, to support the people of Venezuela.”

Bachelet expressed concern for “the levels of violence and the humanitarian crisis experienced in Venezuela, which generates a tremendous wave of migration to neighboring countries.” She repeated that Chile will do its utmost to support Venezuela in its fight to find a peaceful way out, but they won’t support military intervention or coup d’état.

As for sanctions, they’ll support all those adopted by the Security Council of the U.N.

By the way, yesterday U.N. chief António Guterres said that Venezuela must remain free of foreign intervention and authoritarianism and emphasized that the solution to the crisis can only be political.

The dictatorship is working hard to do evil well, to boost abstention from all possible sides, to exhibit its repression and intensify it, without tear gas but with cruelty.

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.