Against Velásquez, Against Bolívar

Your daily briefing for Thursday, October 19, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Shortly before 1:00 a.m. yesterday, the National Electoral Council proclaimed Justo Noguera as the new governor of Bolívar, reporting on their webpage that the chavista candidate got 49.09% of the votes and Andrés Velásquez 48.83%. Noguera shared pictures of the unusual proclamation ceremony on Twitter.

Velásquez condemned him, labelling him as fraudulent and saying that he’ll challenge the results presenting all the evidence explaining how electoral ballots were forged, and he’ll also appeal to the international community to establish that “the Venezuelan electoral system can and has been tampered with.”

Yesterday afternoon, lawmaker Enrique Márquez, chair of Un Nuevo Tiempo, posted several tweets about the forged ballots.


CNE chief Tibisay Lucena presented before the ANC the report of the technical details and results of the elections, claiming that it was one of the best electoral processes she’s done, and that it was flawless. She disregarded the wave of international criticism about the irregularities committed before and during the process, as well as the pertinence of audits.

Later, the ANC inducted the 18 chavista governors and ordered state legislative councils to induct them as well.

Delcy Rodríguez forgot to mention that chavistas in Mérida filed a request before the Superior Prosecutor’s Office to nullify the results of regional elections, asking imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab to urge the TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber to nullify the results that showed Ramón Guevara as the winner.

And the others?

Regarding the induction before the ANC, Zulia governor Juan Pablo Guanipa said that an initial pact was reached among the five opposition governors to discuss agreements as a block. Guanipa asserted his respect for the Constitution and the Law, and restated that governors must be inducted by the legislative councils of each state. He said that results on October 15th are as fake “as the eight million people who voted in the Constituent Assembly.” He added that there were irregularities all over the country, and requested an audit for the entire process.

Meanwhile, José Gregorio Vielma Mora, former governor of Táchira, requested the transfer of five companies owned by the regional administration to the Planning Ministry, arguing that the strategic plan of integral development must be guaranteed.

Hunger grows

The basic food basket reached Bs. 1,844,836.76 in September, which is an inter-monthly variation of 38.8%, similar to the one recorded in August (39%), although the variation in absolute numbers was higher: Bs. 515,634 compared to Bs. 372.942 in August, the second highest recorded in the last 20 years. A minimum wage covers scarcely 7.4% of the basket. The price of every product soared, greatly impacting the basket’s total price.

Professor José Manuel Puente’s statemnts in the forum Entendimiento Nacional ratify the most serious consequences of this trend: the country’s experiencing its worst crisis ever and, by the end of 2017, 82% of the population will be in extreme poverty. Puente said the country’s Gross Domestic Product has suffered a colossal blow in the last four years, causing the current macroeconomic collapse, that’s why we rank 8 in the list of countries with the most intense recessive cycle. If you can, watch the video made by the New York Times about Venezuela’s food crisis.

Bad oil

While OPEC is considering to extend its agreement with Russia and other oil-producing nations to reduce output for another nine months, Reuters reports that PDVSA is shipping oil with increasingly significant quality issues to refineries in the United States, India and China, causing complaints, shipment cancellations and discount requests. Complaints describe shipments with high levels of water, salt or metals, which can cause problems to refineries.

Quality issues derive from the shortage of chemical products and infrastructure to process and store crue, as well as the fact that shipments have been sped up in order to avoid delays, which ended up actually slowing or even shutting down some PDVSA facilities.

Human Rights

Tarek William Saab said that 21 people have been arrested in the investigation of the embezzlement case where preferential dollars were illegally awarded through Cencoex and Cadivi.

Rosaura Valentini, Yon Goicoechea’s wife, met with European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani to denounce the situation experienced by political prisoners in Venezuela, underscoring that they’ve been isolated in El Helicoide for the past ten days, punished for signing a letter encouraging people to vote.

Meanwhile, Odebrecht asked the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil to threaten to fine prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz, to prevent her from revealing information related to a testimony that has remained confidential so far.


  • Antonio Tajani said in an interview for NTN24 that he expects EU member countries to impose sanctions not against the country but against Maduro and his cronies.
  • President Donald Trump spoke on the phone with Mauricio Macri and both agreed to “continue to work together to help the people of Venezuela restore democracy in their country,” the White House reported in a statement.
  • Jesús Silva Fernández, Spanish ambassador in Venezuela, said that it’s crucial to clarify the electoral process with a broad, plural and transparent audit, while Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation called Mario Isea, Venezuelan ambassador in Spain, to express their condemnation for Nicolás’ statements regarding the existence of political prisoners in that country.
  • The Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) expressed its concern for the rising repression and the intensification of human rights violations against lawmakers in Venezuela, during the closing ceremony of the institution’s 137th Assembly, held in Saint Petersburg. Chavista outlets reported that a delegation of the ANC attended this session to “dismantle the right-wing’s plan,” but lawmaker Delsa Solórzano tweeted the truth: the ANC’s delegation lied to obtain the credentials by impersonating journalists, but they were discovered and their access was revoked.
  • IDEA’s former heads of State and government supported yesterday the “clear vision” of OAS chief Luis Almagro regarding Venezuela, and asked the international community to impose sanctions on the government.

Yesterday the travel ban blocking Venezuelan officials from entering the U.S. came into force.

Panamanians who want to enter Venezuela must now hold a visa, starting yesterday also.

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.