Large-scale Corruption

Your daily briefing for Thursday, August 24, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Luisa Ortega Díaz attended the meeting of Mercosur Prosecutors in Brasilia to say that justice isn’t guaranteed in Venezuela and that the likeliest outcome regarding cases of corruption and drug trafficking is that evidence vanishes. That’s why she decided to hand over the evidence she’s kept guarded to American, Colombian and Spanish authorities, who must now take up the cases and investigate them “in virtue of the principle of universal jurisdiction.”

She linked Nicolás, Diosdado Cabello and Jorge Rodríguez to the Odebrecht corruption scandal and said that Nicolás owns the Mexican company Group Grand Limited, responsible for distributing CLAP bags. She said that Diosdado Cabello got a $100 million payment from the Spanish company TSE Arietis, owned by his cousins Luis Campos Cabello and Nelson Campos Cabello.

She said that Tarek William Saab is involved in six cases of corruption regarding the PDVSA embezzlement scandal and that the very first move the new prosecutor general made was to demand these cases be dismissed.

She argued that the government’s accusations against her were false and remarked that there’s no such thing as a UBS bank in the Bahamas.

The imposed prosecutor lashes out

Tarek William Saab made an appearance to discredit Luisa Ortega Díaz, criticizing her for presenting her accusations outside her post and country, accusing her of being an accomplice, a way of admitting the veracity of her claims.

Saab’s artillery against his predecessor included cases such as the Panama Papers, Cadivi and Cencoex, claiming, for instance, that 80% of Cencoex causes were dismissed. Considering that the current Foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, was one of those responsible for Cencoex, Saab should probably be more careful around these cases.

He restated that the Prosecutor’s Office became a lair for extortion and highlighted the number of cases that were dismissed because money was involved.

Brazil’s stance

Brazilian Foreign minister Aloysio Nunes offered asylum to Ortega Díaz, “because we have one of the world’s most modern legal frameworks for refugees.” He also revealed that the Prosecutor General has a busy international agenda for the coming days, including her visit to The Hague and the OAS.

Brazil’s attorney general Rodrigo Janot said that the interference of Nicolás’ regime has turned the Prosecutor’s Office into an institution “dominated by a truly dictatorial political power” and that they’re witnessing an institutional violation.

A new State model?

The ANC’s main proposal to fight inflation in Venezuela is “a functional system of price restrictions.”

Gerson Hernández (constituyente and head of the Bolivarian Chamber of Construction) explained that “induced inflation leads to price speculation,” so they’ve decided to “tackle the black market dollar and review the mechanisms to regulate and monitor prices” so they’re “better adjusted to reality and don’t turn into an escape valve for businesses that don’t comply with regulations.”

Political prisoners

Several NGOs demanded that the international community take action in view of the evidence of torture and cruel treatments suffered by Venezuelan political prisoners, and that institutions with authority on Human Rights visit the country to monitor the situation.

They mentioned the case of journalist Carlos Julio Rojas – held in Ramo Verde – who has been severely tortured. Also on Wednesday, lawmaker Wilmer Azuaje‘s wife, Kelly García, denounced that her husband has suffered physical and psychological torture during his detention in El Helicoide, where mayor Alfredo Ramos has spent 25 days in isolation. Relatives of former Defense minister Raúl Isaías Baduel denounced that Military Counterintelligence agents were responsible for his forced disappearance 15 days ago.

Despite these serious cases, Julio Chávez proposed that the ANC should investigate lawmaker Freddy Guevara’s liability concerning violence during protests, so he’ll request a preliminary hearing on merits to strip Guevara of his parliamentary immunity, adding that “others will soon get their turn.”

Pence in Florida

U.S. vice-president Mike Pence said that president Trump sent a very simple message for the people of Venezuela:

“We are with you. We will stand with you until democracy is restored (…) We will not allow Venezuela to fall apart.”

Regarding Panama’s decision to demand a visa for Venezuelans, Pence said that it’s a strong measure, asking the region’s countries to do more, explaining that Venezuela’s collapse would affect all of them, clearing the way for drug trafficking and more illegal immigration, and endangering the entire hemisphere’s wellbeing. He said that the American government will continue to take action until free elections are held, all political prisoners are released and repression ceases.

The Wall Street Journal’s article revealed much more than the vice-president.


  • Choroní: there’s little information coming from security agencies regarding the catastrophe in sectors Romerito and Tremaría. At least 600 families are in need of food and water. Authorities report four deaths and at least 29 people missing. Aragua’s Engineers’ Center offered its headquarters to receive donations. Aside from this, Civil Protection announced that they’re still searching for the young couple lost in El Ávila.
  • Back to school: Education minister Elías Jaua announced that the 2017-2018 school year will start on September 18th for elementary school students and on October 2nd for high school students. He announced a new Curriculum for High School Education, involving 14 areas of instruction.
  • Censorship: unofficial reports revealed that Conatel met with representatives of cable providers to order them to drop Colombian channels Caracol and RCN, which would now join the ranks of NTN24 and CNN off the Venezuelan airwaves.

The Planning Office for Universities (Opsu) tweeted this:

“Did you know that in the past, only the bourgeoisie’s children could study in a university?,” a fallacy that unleashed a landslide of replies with honest testimonials: people describing their parents’ professions, where they studied and what, thanks to the benefits of free education or through initiatives such as Fundayacucho. The access to higher education was far greater during democracy than under chavismo.

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.