Repeat Elections

    14

    This Friday from Lara state, Nicolás demanded that opposition governors pick a side: “Either you respect the rules or you respect them. The ANC is the country’s superpower and we’re all compelled by the Constitution to respect its authority,” restating that elected governors must be sworn in by it, or else “elections will be repeated and the candidates will be disqualified (…) we must teach the right to respect the law.”

    He said it was mean for the opposition not to recognize all the results of October 15th elections, claiming that he immediately admitted his defeat in 2015 parliamentary elections, so much so that he imposed the ANC to sidestep the will of the people who elected the National Assembly and threatened to strip military members’ benefits over the results.

    Too Much Cynicism

    Nicolás condemned the alleged smear campaign against the electoral system, which he said was a “disrespect” to millions of people who voted on Sunday, and he spoke of the gringo right-wing campaign caused by his achievements in electoral matters, claiming that Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos lacks the political strength to win elections over and over, like he does with his subservient CNE.

    He asked his supporters to prepare for municipal elections, because “that’s the third step in the constituent path.” It was noble of him to attend the swearing-in ceremony of questionable Bolívar governor Justo Noguera over the phone. He appointed Noguera as head of both State-owned steel “producer” SIDOR and the CVG, under the argument that he should be able to“govern along with the working class, with no distinctions between political development and the development of Guayana as a power.” You can check the figures of Noguera’s previous tenures in both companies to understand that they’re the opposite of development.

    Making threats

    Even though the Interior ministry didn’t explain in the Official Gazette why they ordered the takeover of police departments in states where opposition candidates won; decree 41.259 does warn that if governors refuse to the inducted by the ANC, they won’t be sworn into office by Legislative Councils because on the chavista planet, the ANC’s fake absolute power ranks it above all other public powers. Constituyente Gladys Requena said that the governors’ contempt has consequences which the ANC will assess. Meanwhile, governor Juan Pablo Guanipa said that the five opposition governors will start a consultation process in their respective states with several sectors to establish the actions they will take regarding their swearing-in.

    Pay Smartmatic!

    Through a statement, the company that provided the technological platform for voting and election services in Venezuela for CNE since 2004, clarified that they didn’t supply products or services for regional elections: “Smartmatic simply gave the software to the National Electoral Council, in the presence of political parties, during an audit of the source code,” so they didn’t participate in programming voting machines or offered tallying services. The company accused the government of not paying the debts incurred for the products, services and technical support during 2015 parliamentary elections and the ANC elections. The government is so brazen now, that they might simply say that after denouncing the fraud on July 30th, they misplaced the unpaid bills; no worries, whatevers.

    But there are serious debts…

    American company NuStar Energy banned PDVSA from using a storage terminal in the Caribbean because they haven’t paid their bills for over 26 million dollars, said Reuters. The suspension was activated when the Venezuelan oil company failed to fulfill a payment set for October for the use of NuStar facilities in St. Eustatius island: “We should not dispatch that shipment,” wrote NuStar vice-president James Calvert, in response to a load request, according to one of the reviewed documents. PDVSA hasn’t paid the monthly fee for nearly a year and the dispute arises months after they expanded their storage contract in St. Eustatius after solving a similar controversy involving unpaid bills with Buckeye Partners in the Bahamas.

    Distributing the profits

    Over 90% of Venezuelan household’s income goes to acquiring food, said Consecomercio head María Carolina Uzcátegui, adding that this situation is resulting in poor food consumption as well as nutritional deficiencies. Only 10% of the salary is for transportation, shoes and clothes. According to Uzcátegui, in order to achieve notable change, the recommended measures would be unifying the FX exchange rate and stablilizing the economy; however, she shared a couple of discouraging details: “Out of every 10 shops open in the country 5 years ago, only four remain open,” and basic food basket products have almost doubled in price in the last two months.

    Charged

    The Prosecutor’s Office charged First Sergeant of Military Aviation Arli Cleiwi Méndez Terán, in the murder of David José Vallenilla on June 22 of this year, during a protest in front of the La Carlota military airbase. The sergeant was charged with the crime of homicide with malice and futile motives, and unwarranted use of an institutional weapon. Additionally, a Venezuelan judge ordered the arrest of 10 policemen suspected for the murder of two warao natives during a protest for food last September 22nd in Tucupit, Delta Amacuro State. One of the victims was shot several times in the thorax and the other in the head.

    Abroad

    Canada confirmed that the Lima Group will meet in Toronto on October 26th to discuss ways for countries in the region to search for a solution to the Venezuelan crisis and to keep pressuring the regime, adding that their goal is clear: a peaceful solution to the crisis and the restoration of democracy and human rights for all Venezuelans.

    Ecuadorian Foreign minister María Fernanda Espinosa said that she’s yet to discuss with president Lenín Moreno an official stance on Venezuela’s regional elections. Wow! In the same unexpected vein, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza condemned the U.S.’s most recent statement – a call for the creation of an independent CNE- and he also accused the Chilean government of promoting chaos in the country for sheltering four of the TSJ justices appointed by the National Assembly.

    The black market dollar reached Bs. 36,201 and the euro, Bs. 42.712. Todo bello.

    14 COMMENTS

    1. After MUD decided to play ball with Maduro in those elections, Lima Group should be disbanded.

      I’m tired of seeing the government of my country losing time with Venezuela after it’s clear that MUD’s leadership adopts self-harming insane strategies that border on them being compromised. Enough with these endless meetings that don’1 (can’t) solve anything.

      Francisco Toro used his privileged space in one of the most famous newspapers in the world to say that the extremely shady elections in Venezuela were ok. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/10/17/venezuelas-democracy-is-fake-but-the-governments-latest-election-win-was-real/?utm_term=.6c9489e2fc30

      Anabella Abadi recognized that, yes, there was vote-buying schemes, but that practise is so normal in her country that it can’t constitute a fraud. You know, ‘beyond the equator there are no sins’! https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/10/18/hell-happened-miranda/

      Raul Stolk, just a few hours after the election, was already pretty sure that the elections were ok. And, amazingly enough, wrote that “it was extremely hard to call the election results from the beginning.” Yeah, very hard!
      https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/10/16/sketchy-election-fraud-road/

      I’m probably missing other relevance evidence, but it’s what it’s, these are not irrelevant writers talking about Venezuela, they are influential and relevant enough to impact MUD’s strategy, they reflect MUD and vice versa.

      With that said, I ask: do you think that Venezuela can be saved while such people lead/influence the opposition? Better yet, do you think that they want any help? They actually think that the ones who disagree with them are idiots. Check Javier Lendo’s, a writer at CC, comment: https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/10/18/hell-happened-miranda/#comment-147796

      Either Venezuelans manage to found a new political force totally detached from absurd strategies and people like that, or Venezuela will keep going downhill, while we stare in despair.

      And, Naky, when Maduro make a repeat of the elections to expel those 5 — hell, what happened with ‘after all, the opposition did walk off with five governorships!” –, you go vote! Help legitimize Maduro once again! “Maduro is so democratic that he made elections twice in less than a month”, I can already listen the Bolivarians in my country saying it.

      God help Venezuela.

    2. After MUD decided to play ball with Maduro in those elections, Lima Group should be disbanded.

      I’m tired of seeing the government of my country losing time with Venezuela after it’s clear that MUD’s leadership adopts self-harming insane strategies that border on them being compromised. Enough with these endless meetings that don’1 (can’t) solve anything.

      Francisco Toro used his privileged space in one of the most famous newspapers in the world to say that the extremely shady elections in Venezuela were ok.

      Anabella Abadi recognized that, yes, there was vote-buying schemes, but that practise is so normal in her country that it can’t constitute a fraud. You know, ‘beyond the equator there are no sins’!

      Raul Stolk, just a few hours after the election, was already pretty sure that the elections were ok. And, amazingly enough, wrote that “it was extremely hard to call the election results from the beginning.” Yeah, very hard!

      I’m probably missing other relevance evidence, but it’s what it’s, these are not irrelevant writers talking about Venezuela, they are influential and relevant enough to impact MUD’s strategy, they reflect MUD and vice versa.

      With that said, I ask: do you think that Venezuela can be saved while such people lead/influence the opposition? Better yet, do you think that they want any help? They actually think that the ones who disagree with them are idiots. Check Javier Lendo’s, a writer at CC, comment
      Either Venezuelans manage to found a new political force totally detached from absurd strategies and people like that, or Venezuela will keep going downhill, while we stare in despair.

      And, Naky, when Maduro make a repeat of the elections to expel those 5 — hell, what happened with ‘after all, the opposition did walk off with five governorships!” —, you go vote! Help legitimize Maduro once again! “Maduro is so democratic that he made elections twice in less than a month”, I can already listen the Bolivarians in my country saying it.

      God help Venezuela.

      • It’s actually quite the embarrassment, even Canada went out of his way to support the Venezuelan opposition, completely matching US position, Canucks can hardly agree with Yankees when it comes to foreign policy. You know the odds of Trudeau and Trump agreeing in something?

        And then the opposition goes in the other direction, to give the regime the perfect cover to legitimize their sham elections.

        And then these idiots of Caracas Chronicles, saying that don’t worry, it was a fraud but we are OK with it. Shit happens I guess.

        Oh and then these same idiots blame the people for not turning to vote!? If people did not voted for you is a reflection on you. People died protesting and you only care about a seat that you already knew was worth nothing in the great scheme of things.

        And then the last straw… for these people to be overtly allergic to receive any help from Trump and his state department. Get over it, Obama is not the President anymore and he couldn’t care any less about Venezuela. Be thankful that at least Trump actually cares.

        how can anyone take Venezuela seriously? There is no consistency!

        Consistency and integrity is what the MUD and CC writers lack.

        • You know what’s incredible?

          Nicholas cries that the opposition is trying to overturn the administration, and MUD doesn’t even have the fucking balls to say…

          “Yes, we ARE!”

          As if such a sentiment can ever be considered undemocratic or treasonous, but they’re still playing this bullshit game of “playing by the rules,” except Maduro keeps changing those rules.

        • “even Canada went out of his way to support the Venezuelan opposition”

          Yes, that was unexpected, but the bodies piling up during the wave of prostests made any democratic government, even if leftist, take MUD’s side, yet MUD seemed to be more concerned about pleasing PSUV than the governments and leaders willing to free Venezuela, like Almagro and the Lima group, and MUD decided to throw the great international support they had in the trash bin.

          MUD has spat on our faces by accepting to take part in those elections, because if elections exist, and according to the CC writers mentioned above, they are also also fair, there can’t be any dictatorship in Venezuela for God’s sake, and we look like fools, extremists, for having ever considered the hypothesis of Venezuela being undemocratic.

          The major opposition party in Vnzla is basically saying that Trudeau’s Canada and Trump’s USA are insane to call Venezuela a dictatorship, unbeknownst to them that, maybe, they are the ones in need of recovering their senses and understanding the situation for what it is.

          We have been ridiculed!

          I don’t think the politicians in my country (Brazil) should care about democracy in Venezuela anymore, their focus should only be the humanitarian crisis/national security threat unfolding in the border. Of course, until there’s a new opposition in Venezuela willing to play ball with us, and not with the PSUV anymore!

          • “The major opposition party in Vnzla is basically saying that Trudeau’s Canada and Trump’s USA are insane to call Venezuela a dictatorship”

            Like I said, you know the odds of these two agreeing on something? Trudeau basically likes to contradict Trump every change he gets, but on the issues related to Venezuela he is not afraid to take a united front with the US.

            Somehow I think Maria Corina is the only sane person left in Venezuela, because she understands the positions of the international community, I just wish the MUD leaders can leave behind their misogynistic & resentment attitudes towards the good looking “sifrina” and get behind her.

    3. There are still constitutional and democratic means by which the regime can be defeated, though I can’t fathom what they are. Maybe some more “elections”?

      Cannuck, can you help us out here? I believe this is your area of expertise.

      • Why go to more Governor elections, when it’s at least 50-50 that the 5 Oppo elected Governors, currently in discussion as a group, will bend (break?) to the will of the ANC, to “conservar espacios”, and, thereby, put the last nail in the Oppo/MUD coffin? The Emperor has no clothes–Long Live The Emperor!

        • My comment about elections was, of course, sarcasm. After the blatant fraud of 31 July, why anyone would consider participating is beyond me.

    4. Little of this will matter soon, IMO, because financial pressures – from years of theft and mismanagement – is finally crushing Maduro’s house. From CBS News:

      “The nation’s state-owned oil giant, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA, has two major bond payments totaling about $2 billion coming due in the next two weeks. While the market expects the company, better known as PDVSA, to avoid default, the missed payments have rattled investors and raised fresh questions about how long embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s regime might last.

      Last week, Venezuela missed five coupon payments (since paid) totaling nearly $350 million tied to the debt of PDVSA, the government and the utility Electricidad de Caracas. That stoked a minor sell-off in a number of outstanding bonds.

      As for the upcoming payments, the first is due next Friday. PDVSA needs to pay $841 million in principal, plus interest, on that bond. It’s a critical moment for Venezuela because a default is seen as hastening Maduro’s demise. Making matters worse, the collateral against the bond is Citgo, PDVSA’s Houston-based refining and retail subsidiary.

      The following week, on Nov. 2, a nearly $1.2 billion PDVSA bond is maturing. Total outstanding obligations for 2017 are about $3.4 billion, and there’s no grace period for the two biggest payments.”

      This is going to get a whole lot worse in no time. If Maduro cashes out his few reserves, he’ll have little money to operate. If not, he’ll be smashed by the market, with the only chance of bailout being for him to leave office or totally restructure financial institutions – which the Chavistas are incapable of doing.

      Sort of strange that the looming bond crisis is not a topic on this site since the countries physical survival hinges on how the bond payment epic is going to play out. We’ve all known for some time that Maduro’s outfit and MO was totally unsustainable. He can impose it on the pueblo only so long as he has the resources to do so. And those, it would seem, are almost gone.

    5. More PDVSA problems, this time with deteriorating oil quality. Venezuela’s deteriorating oil quality riles major refiners

      CARACAS/HOUSTON (Reuters) – Venezuela’s state-run oil firm, PDVSA, is increasingly delivering poor quality crude oil to major refiners in the United States, India and China, causing repeated complaints, canceled orders and demands for discounts, according to internal PDVSA documents and interviews with a dozen oil executives, workers, traders and inspectors.
      The disputes involve cargoes soiled with high levels of water, salt or metals that can cause problems for refineries, according to the sources and internal PDVSA trade documents seen by Reuters.

      The quality issues stem from shortages of chemicals and equipment to properly treat and store the oil, resulting in shutdowns and slowdowns at PDVSA production facilities, along with hurried transporting to avoid late deliveries, the sources said.

      U.S. refiner Phillips 66 (PSX.N) canceled at least eight crude cargoes because of poor oil quality in the first half of the year and demanded discounts on other deliveries, according to the PDVSA documents and employees from both firms. The canceled shipments – amounting to 4.4 million barrels of oil – had a market value of nearly $200 million.

      Another key buyer of Venezuelan crude – India’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RELI.NS), operator of the world’s largest refinery – has repeatedly complained about oil quality, a PDVSA employee told Reuters. State-run firm China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) also complained earlier this year about excessive water levels in oil cargoes, a former PDVSA employee said.

      The deterioration of PDVSA crude is the latest symptom of the firm’s ill-maintained production infrastructure, and it threatens to accelerate an already severe cash crisis at a time when Venezuela is hoarding dollars to pay some $3.4 billion to bondholders in the next few weeks. PDVSA’s financial woes radiate through the country’s recession-racked economy, which depends on oil for more than 90 percent of its export revenue.

      Venezuela’s Oil Ministry and PDVSA did not respond to requests for comment. ..
      One of the PDVSA employees said quality started to drop about two years ago, and the deterioration has accelerated recently.

      “We’re refitting chemical injection points, recouping pumps and storage tanks,” the worker told Reuters. “But without chemicals, we can’t do anything.”

      While the magnitude of these problems are fairly recent, at least two of the causes of the problems- deferred maintenance and fraud- have been ongoing problems since Chavez took over management of PDVSA in 2002-03.
      Oil workers in Venezuela describe several layers of problems that are hurting crude quality.

      Deferred maintenance, a shortage of spare parts and equipment theft have shut down some storage tanks, where crude is left to separate from water that needs to be removed.

      PDVSA has also rushed deliveries – before the crude is properly processed, and water and sediments removed – because the firm is behind on promised deliveries to customers, two PDVSA sources told Reuters.

      PDVSA has also run short on cash to import the chemicals it needs to process crude.

      As poor economies haven’t toppled regimes in Zimbabwe, North Korea, or Cuba, I hesitate to make any predictions for Venezuela.

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