Your daily briefing for Wednesday, October 4, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

CNE authority, Luis Emilio Rondón, demanded the activation of the Automatic Candidacies System so that candidates for governor can be replaced on the ballot as established by the Law of Electoral Processes, reminding his colleagues that the CNE must guarantee that candidacies are known to the public, to avoid null votes.

Yesterday morning, the head of the AN Interior Policy Committee, Lawmaker Delsa Solórzano, submitted before the CNE a Parliament-approved resolution demanding the CNE to comply with the law and replace the candidates.

Regionales Unidad is the app launched by MUD to inform citizens about our polling stations, voting tables and electoral ballots, a way of confronting the CNE’s opacity.


Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab reported on the investigations and detentions carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office, remarking that 18 companies have been audited for the Cadivi-Cencoex case, although 13 of them don’t have a main office – they’re “ghosts” – and claiming that they received $85 million in subsidized dollar allocations. He described the raid on Azucarera Río Turbio C.A., which received $156 million “preferential dollars” between 2014-2017, and brought about an arrest warrant against its legal representative, Ricardo Peña.

They managed to arrest the owner of Importaciones Constructora VJL, José Báez. Saab also spoke of the arrest of five PDVSA Monagas officials for dismantling over 600 vehicles owned by the company. Also, three companies that were awarded contracts in the Orinoco Oil Strip – linked with mixed company PetroCedeño – were raided as part of the investigation, to establish whether their contracts show any overpricing, but funny enough, none of the alleged culprits live in Venezuela right now, although in theory, Interpol will issue red alerts for their arrest.

World power

Fedecámaras chair, Carlos Larrazábal, highlighted the national business owner’s concerns regarding the delay in foreign currency grants: “There was an agreement with suppliers but they’ve not been granted the dollars of previous auctions,” adding that without foreign currency offers or a transparent and secure exchange market, the only option left is the black market.

But they’re not the only ones who are concerned.

People investing in Venezuelan bonds are bracing for a coming five-week period where the government will face maturities of$3,5 billion debt, according to Bloomberg, pointing out that unlike the most recent transactions, where grace periods allowed the government to avoid default, coming periods have no such complacencies, such as PDVSA’s $842 million due on October 27th, and the $1,1 billion for a bond that expires on November 2nd.

A detail: for the first time in many years, crude shipments to the U.S. dropped below half a million daily barrels, according to Reuters.

Let’s talk of conspiracies

Vice-president Tareck el Aissami announced the arrest of Manuel Chacín Díaz, whom he accused of terrorism, claiming that he’d been issued an arrest warrant last year, accused of intentional homicide, aggravated robbery and criminal association.

According to El Aissami, this man was getting his orders from Óscar Pérez – the former CICPC Special Forces (BAE) agent and swoon-inducing helicopter pilot, wanted since June of this year – and frequently talked on the phone with Leopoldo López, so he accused political party Voluntad Popular of recruiting young criminals to carry out “terrorist actions.”

Cynicism reared its head when El Aissami spoke of potential sabotage in public services to cause chaos and rekindle street protests, as if the suspension of power, water and gas supplies required outside intervention.

The accused party responded to El Aissami with a statement out of which this line is noteworthy:

“Voluntad Popular’s activists and leaders are not precisely the ones leading in OFAC sanctions, which shows that several government officials have proven links with drug trafficking and international terrorism.“


Interior minister Néstor Reverol submitted a report before the ANC to review the progress made in terms of security policy and claimed that the training of the Armed Forces and the National Bolivarian Police prevented thousands of deaths during the months of protests.

He said that 71% of the 1,455 people injured during protests were military officers.

It’s not strange for him to say that he won’t stop congratulating security bodies “for their bravery and courage to guarantee peace in the country.”

According to Reverol, criminal activity this year dropped by 18.7%, the problem still lies in “the perception of security.”

He also submitted the constituent bill for Peace Quadrants. Sadly, he didn’t talk about the 439 political prisoners or about how the hearing for one of them, Mayor Delson Guárate, was postponed for a tenth time yesterday.

Meanwhile, the hearing for the presidential couple’s narconephews concluded. The defense made several requests that were dismissed by the  judge and they’re likely to get a definitive sentence on December 14th.

Teodoro, the reference

While Nicolás recorded videos with a copy of the World Atlas to give some context to his tour through Russia, Belarus and Turkey, with a stop in Algeria – the second in three weeks – during which he took pictures with the Senate Speaker for Instagram, it was reported that the Inter American Bar Association (IABA) suspended Hermann Escarrá for being in the OFAC List and also, the black market dollar surpassed the Bs. 29,000 mark.

But last night in Buenos Aires, Teodoro Petkoff, head of TalCual, was recognized with the Premio Perfil a la Libertad de Expresión Internacional award. Although he couldn’t attend the ceremony, the host of the event said that this prize rewards “the effort of those who are able to speak out for those who have no voice and celebrate differences of opinion, as well as creative, open and pluralist debate,” adding that Teodoro is one of the strongest critics against the authoritarian methods developed in Venezuela.

Teodoro showed his gratitude for the award with a text read in the ceremony: “I want to thank Perfil de América for this award to free speech, not for me but for TalCual (…) we’ve tried to be the bastion of free speech and the defense of the rights of Venezuelans (…) I’m certain this honorable prize will contribute to turn the world’s eyes to Venezuela in this difficult moment in its history.” And I add “Amen”.

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.