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.

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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.

31 COMMENTS

  1. We go on…waiting for a political solution that will never come. These scum know diplomacy has its limits and they are ready to run this country into the ground to save their positions of power.

    So peacenicks: what is your solution?? You always got to emphasize there will be “no military intervention” just to try to rub it in.

    So please, tell me how the MUD/opposition and the international community are going to get us out of this mess?? Please map this out logically rather than just blind faith.

    I hate to say it, but Dick Cheney was right: “there are people who read history and there are people who write history.”

    Well what we have here are a bunch of passive readers saying what is politically correct, while the Chavistas are writing history in Venezuela. They know what it takes to take power and to stay in power.

    • You can take some comfort from the fact that the UN SecGen is on the case and is STRONGLY advocating dialogue.

      As well as the fact that “Chile will support all those sanctions adopted by the UN”. With Russia and China on the security council, this is similar to offering to eat all of the bacon sandwiches offered at a wedding in Riyadh.

      Coming fast on the heels of the motion to ban Chavistas from the ladies’ knitting circle in Uruguay, Maduro must now surely be feeling the intense international pressure.

      It’s a good job that that nasty Mr Trump has been put back in his box by all these more intelligent people. Statesmanlike diplomacy wins the day.

  2. We go on…waiting for a political solution that will never come. These scum know diplomacy has its limits and they are ready to run this country into the ground to save their positions of power.

    So peacenicks: what is your solution?? You always got to emphasize there will be “no military intervention” just to try to rub it in.

    So please, tell me how the MUD/opposition and the international community are going to get us out of this mess?? Please map this out logically rather than just blind faith.

    I hate to say it, but Dick Cheney was right: “there are people who read history and there are people who write history.”

    Well what we have here are a bunch of passive readers saying what is politically correct, while the Chavistas are writing history in Venezuela.

    • I believe that if the Venezuelans want to get rid of the regime they will.If they do not then that is their problem and theirs alone.Many are conformists and voted in the slimy regime and you get what you pay for.It is not the United States problem to bail them out.The US can and should stop dealing with them economically and politically,but if no countries in Latin America or the US general public for that matter support military intervention then so be it.I guess we will have to read history on what could have been.

      • I take issue with your view that it is not a US problem. I could quote John Donne or Edmund Burke but altruism may not be your thing,

        You are obviously unmoved by the fact that Venezuela is now the largest trans-shipper of cocaine in Latin America, facilitated by the FANB and a criminal government. You are equally unimpressed by the fact that it has been shipping uranium to Iran since 2008. And you are unconcerned by the evidence that ONIDEX has issued and continues to issue documentation to thousands of known terrorists in FARC and Hezbollah. Not a US problem?

        I certainly agree that it would be better if Venezuela could restore democracy by its own efforts, but the light at the end of that tunnel went out a couple of weeks ago.

        There are now only a couple of feasible outcomes if no external help is offered. Venezuela becomes another North Korea – isolated and increasingly psychotic, focused on the external threat as the only means of uniting a deprived population. Or after the complete economic collapse anticipated in a timeframe which may be measured in months rather than years, it is bailed out by Russia, China or Iran under conditions which allow policy dictation by one of these the not-so-white knights. So, assuming that your “let them lie in their own bed” view is representative of majority opinion in North America (and I suspect that it may well be), which of these neighbours do you prefer to look at from your doorstep?

        • Tracy/U.S. general population do not make U.S. foreign policy–strategic long-term thinkers do/should, because, if you ignore developing dangerous threats for too long, they often become a clear/present dangerous threat to your own national security.

        • I am and always have thought that Non-interventionism is the best way to go.The United States and it’s military adventurism has done more harm than good.If Venezuela wants to ally itself with Russia, China or Iran then so be it.The North Korea comparison is a bit too much.I feel Venezuela may be a place between Cuba and Angola.Not that this is a good thing obviously but the US works with authoritarian regimes all the time.Here is a list.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_authoritarian_regimes_supported_by_the_United_States

          What has isolation done for the situation in Cuba?How has that worked out for them?

          I do not feel Venezuela is a threat in any way shape or form to the United States or any of its allies, so I prefer my government to use our tax dollars on something else besides promoting civil conflict in 3rd world hell-holes.

          • Tracy, as you can see from your list, no authoritarian govt. in the Western Hemisphere currently is being supported by the U.S., and virtually all in the U.S.’s back yard supported in the past have not been Leftist (the PRI, was not Leftist, held free democratic elections). Cuba is a special case and has lasted/done immense harm due to the Missile Crisis hands-off Executive agreement still being honored. Your policy of letting the Venezuelan Castro-Communist dictatorship run would be devastating for U.S./Hemispheric security in the long run. Luckily for the U.S., you/yours are not making strategic U.S. foreign policy decisions.

        • Cocaine shipments do not justify invasion. More cocaine to the US goes through Costa Rica than Venezuela. Should the US invade “Pura Vida”?

          Hillary Clinton agreed to sell US uranium to Russia for only a couple of million given to Bill. If the US was going to conduct hostilities to prevent uranium shipment, the Army could lay siege to our own uranium mines and string up Hillary instead of Maduro.

          FARC is apparently no longer a US problem and every country in the Middle East supports soem fanatic or another. Should the US invade Saudi Arabia and Iran simultaneously?

          Venezuela needs to arm itself if it going to change governments. Chavismo will never go peacefully. If you are not willing to band together to overthrow your own dictator, then I am not willing to pay taxes and send my friends and family members to do it for you. Shame on you for suggesting that I should and you shouldn’t.

          The US has been playing “empire” for 60 years.
          Its time it stops doing that.

          Venezuela has exactly the government it deserves to have.
          Rise up and overthrow your own godamn dictator. If you tried, the US would help, but Venezuela doesn’t seem willing to do it it has to do to make it happen.

          • Much more cocaine is run through Venezuela than Costa Rica, much of whose trans-shipped cocaine was originally trans-shipped through Venezuela. The U. S. stopping the spread of Castro-Communism/terrorism from Venezuela to neighbors/Region is far from playing “empire”. Venezuela has proven itself incapable of saving itself, and has become a Hemispheric security problem, not quite yet to the critical point of requiring interdiction.

          • Cigars,
            Just for the record, if you track back through any of the threads here, you will find that I have never stated that I support a US invasion of Venezuela. Also for the record, I do not and would not support it, at least not today.

            At the same time, I did and do admire Trump’s clear statement on restoration of democracy in Venezuela AND that he would not rule out any options, including military intervention if it became necessary. I am saddened by the abhorrent reaction of other leaders. At the moment, the Venezuelan regime faces absolutely no credible threat or inhibition to their continued pillage and repression. The pusillanimous statements of most world leaders – and the direct positive support offered by some – has offered the narcoklepcy nothing but comfort and encouragement. Now, inevitably, the ANC has accelerated the process of cleansing Venezuela of any effective political opposition.

            I would support (today) a UN police action or even an OAS police action to restore democracy if it were well-crafted. The threat alone would possibly be sufficient to release the geni from the bottle. However, neither of those things are going to happen.

            What is required above all else today is very clear external support for regime change in Venezuela, and especially from the OAS nations. This does not translate into military intervention but may do so in the future. If you cannot support this on Edmund Burke’s argument then you should support it on the basis of enlightened self-interest. Despite your words, I suspect that you know that the Venezuelan regime is already a serious threat to peace and prosperity in the Americas, and that includes the USA. Closing your eyes to the building of a cess-pit outside your front door does not change the smell.

            Bookmark this thread and come back to it in about 3 years time and see if you still feel the same way.

          • “Hillary Clinton agreed to sell US uranium to Russia for only a couple of million given to Bill.”

            Fact Check: Hillary, as secretary of state, was one of nine federal agency heads to sign off on Russia’s purchase of a controlling stake in Uranium One, an international mining company headquartered in Canada with operations in several U.S. states. It was part of a regular process for approving international deals involving strategic assets, that could have implications for national security.

            So, were the heads of the other 8 agencies also “bought”? Was Obama bought, who had final approval?

            Not that at matters at this point, her political career is over but it’s amazing to see such untruths believed by so many people.

    • Guacharaca – In my view Dick Cheney was to George W what Godlessgiven is to Nicolas. You wouldn’t want to take neither one of them hunting nor cross paths with them in a dark alley.

      • George W was a good man. Maybe a bad president, but a good decent man. Don’t slander him by comparing him to this disgusting human being Maduro.

        • Rory14 – I wasn’t suggesting GW was a ‘bad man’ but rather that he was influence by one (Cheney) who might just fit the bill. On the comparison to Nicolas, I take your point.

  3. On the Dick Chaney quote: I believe he also said “there are people who shoot their friends during hunting outings and there are those who don’t “

    • Haha, probably true. However, whether you like Dick Cheney or not, you have to respect the fact that this is a guy who will ignore public opinion and take power.

      Saying what is politically correct will not improve our situation one bit in Venezuela.

      I once shared the same opinion as Quico that these guys are on the wrong side of history and will not follow through on the Constituyente (because it is political suicide). However, for me this is not about buying someone a hamburger, but living through this shit on the ground. I have a gringo friend, and he says everybody asks him “hey gringo, when are the Marines coming?”

      So whether you hate Trump, right wingers, Dick Cheney, or Machavelians in general, you still have a lot to explain. The hawks at least offer solutions, and I think the “fuck international public opinion” will get us out of this mess a lot sooner. I have not heard any good explanations yet of how we can get out of this without resorting to an intervention of some sort.

      Please offer solutions, and not just shoot the messenger.

      Solutions?? Solutions please???

      • There are some solutions which can be imagined and tested which do not require external military intervention, but they do all require serious commitment by external governments.

        It seems to me that the only hope left is that the alternative solutions are actively being tested but no-one is talking about them. MUD’s overt strategy is suicidal.

      • If the politicians that condemned Trump’s remarks, would pledge to eat out of the garbage, not take any medical treatments for themselves and their families, lock themselves in their houses before dark every evening, until Venezuela is once again free, I might care about their opinion. They should also burn 99% of their cash and any investments they have, no longer collect any rents on property they own and never publicly speak their mind.
        No sane person would do this. So why do they expect the Venezuelan people to live in these deteriorating conditions?
        Their knee jerk reaction against “Yankee Imperialism” is a betrayal to all of the people that are suffering and have died under this criminal regime.
        Ask the suffering Venezuelan people how they feel about foreign intervention, immediate foreign food and medical aid, the restoration of democracy and the return to the rule of law and I’ll bet 100 Big macs that the majority will welcome any help they can get.
        The same politicians that condemned Trump, will be screaming that something must be done when another 100,000 people have died, the infant mortality has tripled, refugees flood over their borders and Castro decides to export Communism to one of their countries.
        Just as cancer left untreated will metastasize and spread throughout a body, the Chavez / Maduro / Castro / Al-Assami – Hezbollah / Iran unholy alliance will be a destabilizing force throughout the region.
        The failure of the US to engage and support the moderate elements in Afghanistan after the Russians left, eventually contributed to 9/11. The Taliban were not considered a threat to US interests. The environment the Taliban created allowed for the quick spread of Al-Qaeda influences throughout the region and into sub Saharan Africa.
        To claim that the Maduro etal criminal / drug smuggling / terrorist alliance is not a threat to the US is foolhardy. Carving this cancer out of Latin America and having the Castro regime wither as a result will be a benefit to every citizen in Latin America that desires to live in a free, democratic and safe nation. Protected by laws enacted by representatives, rather than persecuted by laws imposed by tyrants.
        As for the talk of American Empire, No other country in the history of the world has invested as much treasure into rebuilding vanquished adversaries into free democracies.
        I do not have any desire to see US soldiers die to remove this regime. I also have no desire to see this humanitarian disaster continue.
        The condemnation of trump’s remarks has empowered the regime to act with impunity in the comfort of knowing that no country will act to remove them.

        • “The condemnation of trump’s remarks has empowered the regime to act with impunity in the comfort of knowing that no country will act to remove them.”

          I entirely agree with you. My only hope is that some politicians are discussing in private what they feel they cannot discuss on a public platform.

          There are some options for removing the regime without any external military intervention, but they all require external support.

          The key to removal of the Venezuelan regime is to convert FANB support for the regime into active support for the restoration of democracy. This cannot happen while the officer class is tied in common cause to the civil leadership by the imperative desire to stay out of jail. They cannot afford to see an independent judiciary established in Venezuela.

          The answer then lies in offering amnesty to serving members of the FANB for past misdeeds in exchange for their active support of a credible plan to remove the government, replace the public powers (TSJ, CNE and Ministerio Publico in particular) and organise free and fair elections. Part of this plan must include the likely threat of criminal justice if they are among the officers who fail to accept the offer. Stick-and-carrot. This forces the officer class in the FANB to play a serious game of prisoner’s dilemma. They will not know how many other officers have agreed to accept the offer. Once any individual has accepted the offer, he is fully compromised. It will work if and only if implementation is subtle AND credibility in the coup is sufficiently high to achieve a critical mass of support for it.
          One of the major barriers to this is that no-one in the MUD has the credibility to make such an offer. It needs to be underwritten by a coalition of nations. A pre-requisite is that these nations must state publicly that they do not recognise the Maduro regime as legitimate, that they will support regime change and that they call on the FANB to actively help to restore democracy.

          Nothing at all will happen while external nations demand more “peaceful dialogue” and condemn Trump for his unstatesmanlike language.

          • Credible/effective solution, may not be practical ,especially if, although international prosecution is off the table, there probably could not be a binding guarantee that new Ven. govt. to-be-elected future prosecution would be off the table.

          • Net,
            A pre-treaty agreement is drafted and endorsed by the coalition nations which sets out the amnesty terms clearly and forms part of the offer to the FANB. It will also have been endorsed by key figures in Venezuela, although no names will appear on it. The interim government ratifies it as a treaty level agreement and it is reratified by the newly elected executive. The guarantee (to the FANB) that the new government will do this is practical. Until such time as the armed forces are restructured (and they certainly need to be), FANB holds all of the cards. If it feels betrayed right at the start then it will renegue and re-form a dictatorship with a new figurehead. Once the treaty-level agreement is in place, it is highly unlikely that any future Venezuelan government will seek to break it, since it will face damaging international consequences.
            There are a number of other practical problems – notably the ubiquitous Cuban presence in the FANB. However, it probably does not do to dwell on the detail too much in public, on the slim chance that someone is already working the problem. I certainly hope that this is the case.

  4. Well, as some of you know, I’ve long “hoped” that Venezuela itself would do its own house-cleaning and throw these bums out but I’ve now given up hope that it will actually happen without US military intervention. I also see chances of a US military intervention as slim so the future is not bright.

    The is one last possible chance and that could be a combination of US sanctions and a debt payment default in a couple of months but long-time poster Venny Trader recently said not to count on the latter. Russia or China will likely step in and pull Maduro’s fat out of the fire yet again. Venezuela’s oil reserves are just too valuable, even if PDVSA is now a dumpster fire.

    This is getting grimmer by the day and the ANC is panning out to be everything we feared it would be.

    • That’s the regime’s gameplan. It can succeed, but this is far from guaranteed.

      First, the regime is pretty bad at distributing resources, even to its own supporters. Maduro isn’t very good at “sensing” anything. A future where they fail to supply the military enough can happen despite their intentions.

      Second, there’s good reason to think Russia and China will turn to neutrality regarding the regime. They used the crisis to buy lots of assets in firesale prices. That’s nice for them. But they also need to think of recouping their investments. The price may be cheap, but they aren’t doing this for charity, and still want to profit.

      As long as Chavismo rules, the actual value of their investments is nearing 0$ and their balance is negative. What’s the point of buying oil production, if production plummets lower and lower due to bad management? In order to recoup their investments, they’ll first need to stop throwing good money after bad. If reports here are accurate, this has already begun to happen.

      Third, international pressure can topple the regime regardless of its plans – but this will happen only if Venezuelans apply their own pressure. Even then such a decision by other state is not guaranteed, but that’s the necessary condition.

  5. I wanna see all the stuff Luisa Ortega Díaz took to Colombia! As a prosecutor, she would KNOW what evidence can be especially helpfup to build a legal case against specific people. Didn’t she already implicate Maduro in the Odebrecht bribery scandal?

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