The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) issued a statement yesterday announcing that they’ll go on with the exploratory phase of dialogue once the government removes the obstacles that motivated their decision not to attend the meeting in the Dominican Republic.
OAS chief Luis Almagro tweeted after his meeting with lawmaker Freddy Guevara:
— Luis Almagro (@Almagro_OEA2015) September 28, 2017
“There is no effective dialogue in Venezuela without conditions for the transition. We must keep exercising international pressure.”
Meanwhile, Freddy Guevara urged Venezuelans to ignore the regime’s statements, and demanded conditions for change. He said that they (the opposition) won’t accept blackmail and that no free and democratic country will recognize the ANC, so they’ll increase pressure for the regime to comply with our demands.
The government’s version
Although Nicolás’ delegation made the trip for nothing, Jorge Rodríguez said after meeting with president Danilo Medina, that the opposition’s refusal to attend is caused by “internal conflicts and orders from Florida.”
He mentioned past and future agreements that have little to do with the opposition’s agenda.
On September 13th, he said, they agreed to: establish a working timetable to decide the future without foreign interference, including the electoral schedule that is already established (?); reject any sanction or threat against Venezuela in favor of sovereignty (?) and, lastly, participate in this meeting in September. They wanted to settle another three matters in this meeting: a declaration of peace; an agreement for the respect of sovereignty without interference from the international community and a clear electoral schedule.
The same stuff with a different twist.
Parliament Speaker Julio Borges denounced that it’s illegal for Nicolás to submit the Budget Law for 2018 before the ANC, because that body has no authority to approve laws and the State’s economic and financial management is bound by the budget that can only be approved by the National Assembly.
Nicolás is seeking to make the same mistake he made back in 2016, when he submitted the Budget and the Indebtedness Law before the TSJ and, consequently, the nation didn’t get any foreign financing because any debt incurred without the approval of the National Assembly’s majority “is void and won’t be recognized in the future.”
Shortly afterwards, vice-president Tareck El Aissami asked private businessmen for their support to develop “the new economic model,” limiting specifications to: leaving the rentier philosophy behind and thinking of new sources to obtain foreign currency. Solid.
Mercedes De Freites, head of NGO Transparencia Venezuela, released the report “State-run companies in Venezuela, a model of control,” a research report that they started back in July 2016, with the cooperation of Vendata and allies from Brazil and Argentina:
18 years ago the State only owned 34 companies that we can identify, today they own 526 companies.
That would be four times what Brazil has (130) and ten times what Argentina has (52).
De Freitas explained that part of the crisis we’re suffering has been caused by the State’s control on these companies.
74% of the companies currently owned by the State were expropriated, created or confiscated during the administrations of Chávez and Nicolás. According to the study, State-run companies lost Bs. 775 billion only in 2016: “This has to do with the 35 negative GDP points Venezuela has accumulated in the last four years.”These companies’ payrolls, the study continues, “are used to boost political militancy for the government party.”
The research took longer than desirable due to the State’s opacity, but they can assert that production dropped, while payrolls increased, citing the example of Lácteos Los Andes, whose payroll has been inflated by 117% since it was acquired by the State.
While Venezuela’s ambassador before the UN, Jorge Valero, said before the Human Rights Council that any foreign interference would “undermine the successful human rights model achieved in Venezuela in recent years,” relatives and lawyers of mayor Alfredo Ramos denounced that he’s in critical health condition after suffering a hypertensive crisis that could have serious consequences if it doesn’t receive the proper medical attention.
José Manuel Olivares, gubernatorial candidate for Vargas, denounced that the sentence against his brother Juan Carlos will be used to force him to abandon his candidacy.
In addition, Alejandro Zerpa’s defense requested the Ombudsman’s Office to keep the humanitarian measure after the surgical intervention in his spine, which he needed because of the torture he endured in prison.
Lastly, Adolfo Baduel said that his father, general Raúl Isaías Baduel, is experiencing white torture that’s having a psychological impact on him.
The 27 UPEL students are still in prison, which constitutes a violation of the order issued by the 5th military judge of control.
The most wanted
Despite what I described above, imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab and minister Néstor Reverol wanted praise for launching an anti-kidnapping plan and the website “The Most Wanted” which, according to them, will stop crime on its tracks because “it encourages formal complaints and turns citizens into direct actors.”
Reverol forgot that in April 2016, he opened a Twitter account (@OLPSolicitados) to monitor criminals with the help of citizens, and it’s already inactive.
Will a website help us overcome our homicide rate? It’s almost nine times the global average.
The U.S. Congress’ Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a bill to send humanitarian aid to Venezuela, which will now be voted on by the plenary chamber.
Argentina and Paraguay issued a joint statement in which they ratified their condemnation for political persecution in Venezuela and called for the restoration of democracy, urging all parties to “exhaust all possible measures in the context of a concrete and believable dialogue and the full respect of human rights.”
Chilean Foreign minister Heraldo Muñoz said: “What Chile wouldn’t want is simply to participate in a symbolic process with no real effects for a democratic solution,” adding that in order to have concrete results, there must be a timetable agreed upon by both parties, which means they understand that the opposition wants guarantees and minimum conditions for a productive dialogue.
The Lima Group confirmed their meeting in Canada in October.