Anything for Abstention

Your daily briefing for Monday, October 9, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Ignoring OAS chief Luis Almagro’s speech about Venezuela in the plenary session of the Venice Commission, which concluded with the approval of the preliminary resolution that labeled the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) illegitimate, Nicolás claimed in his Sunday show that the so-called dialogue progresses “in private,” and that a new meeting is scheduled for this week.

“Despite what they say publicly, we’re at a 95% progress toward an agreement with the political opposition,” he said, adding that they’ve nearly finished drafting a document with the agreements and that its contents will be revealed “in due time.” He’s lost some of his touch for sowing discord: “Everyone who votes in these elections will be recognizing the ANC, because these elections were convened by this original power.”

Elections are a constitutional mandate, not a concession of the ANC, which simply made them happen. The ANC isn’t an original power, it’s a fraud.

More traps

Although campaigning via public media is no option for opposition candidates and the National Electoral Council scrapped voting stations and electoral tables (by relocating voters) while refusing to replace candidates on the ballots, Nicolás needs more obstacles to boost abstention. That’s why he told ANC head, Delcy Rodríguez, yesterday to legislate so that opposition leaders involved in “sabotage” are banned from the election: “I ask Delcy Rodríguez for her cooperation in tightening the Electoral Law and all the country’s laws and review the legality of all right-wing opposition parties.” He stated his intention of reforming the Criminal Code and the Law of National Security, to raise prison sentences and punish “any assaults on life.” In such a way, a ruthless legislation would be established, he claims, as he expresses his disappointment for the ongoing “conspiracies and schemes,” those empty excuses to explain the collapse of the State. Nicolás claimed that this task is a priority.


He also relaunched the program 0800-SALUD YA, but it’s now bound to the carnet de la patria. You’ll have to call that number, database registration will require you to provide the carnet’s code and 72 hours later, they’ll get back to you establishing a Barrio Adentro module where you must undergo an examination to certify your pathology, after which you’ll get the medicine within an unspecified period of time.

Despite reports collected throughout the week, Nicolás claimed that all medicines are guaranteed thanks to agreements signed with India, and took the chance to blame U.S. sanctions for the delay in the handover of medicines that have been missing for months. He promised “antibiotics and various medicines” for hospitals and approved Bs. 114,964 million to acquire them.


Nicolás commented on his meeting with ministers of oil-producing countries, in which he allegedly proposed new ways of establishing crude prices, that are currently under discussion (probably like the dialogue with the opposition). He also mentioned the possibility of a summit of heads of State by the end of this year or early 2018, with the hope of “reaching an agreement on a method to establish oil prices.”

The truth is that Venezuela is producing less and less than usual, but that’s irrelevant.


We demand that the CNE immediately release the information on non-eligible candidates on national and regional media, on mandatory broadcast, through bulletins and micro bulletins, because voters have the right to know,” said MUD electoral manager Liliana Hernández yesterday, explaining that the CNE has an obligation to do so, reminding the rectoras that they’ve already violated various political rights of voters.

Meanwhile, CNE head Tibisay Lucena claimed that the body fulfilled all the steps established on the electoral timetable, mirroring the arguments used by rectora Tania D’Amelio to justify their refusal to replace the candidates: that the CNE has the authority to establish the period, that they’d set August 16th as the limit to make changes to the ballot and, consequently, any attempt of replacing candidates now is inadmissible and outside the legal period.

Lucena also said that 50% of inspections have concluded, that all technicians and polling station managers have been trained and that they’ll finish distributing electoral material today.

Vote intention

Based on a sample of 1,500 people, taken between September 1st and 20th in both urban and rural areas of the country, Venebarómetro’s special edition on 2017 elections showed that 55.7% of Venezuelans are “completely sure” that they’ll vote on October 15th, while 29.9% said they “might vote” and only 5.3% said they were “completely sure” that they won’t vote. Among those who have the intention of voting, 51.7% said they’d vote for opposition candidates while 27.6% said they’d vote of PSUV candidates. On the opposition’s decision to participate in the coming elections, there’s general consensus: 72.5% think that they should go while 22.1% think they shouldn’t. 90.2% think the country’s situation is negative and 9.7% think it’s positive. But, hey!, get this: 68.1% of government supporters think the situation is negative.

Journalism’s not a crime

Journalists Jesús Medina Ezaine (Venezuelan), Roberto Di Matteo (Swiss) and Filippo Rossi (Italian) were granted full freedom after having been arbitrarily detained for 48 hours by the National Guard as they were getting ready to start a journalistic research in the Tocorón prison. Judge Alfonsina Vega, of the fifth court of control, decided that the 14th Prosecutor didn’t have adequate evidence to substantiate any crimes. Lawyer Martín López explained that the journalists didn’t commit any crime, since they accessed the prison authorized by its director, so their rights were violated. Confiscated equipment, which the National Guard exhibited on the same table where they show drugs and weapons, hasn’t been returned to them yet.

Just like taking pictures showing the healthcare crisis radically changed Mrs. Lenny Martínez’s life, trying to conduct research on the hell of our prisons spoiled the lives of these journalists.

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.