Sakharov for the Opposition

Your daily briefing for Friday, October 27, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Yesterday, the Venezuelan opposition won the award granted by the European Parliament to recognize the work for human rights the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The opposition’s represented by the National Assembly and its Speaker Julio Borges, and the political prisoners Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González.

European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani said: “This prize doesn’t represent a mere recognition to the democratic opposition’s courageous resistance. Today, this Parliament wants to express its sympathy and pay homage to all Venezuelans,” adding that our living conditions are in severe decline, that we’re experiencing a humanitarian crisis and that this has caused the exodus of citizens forced to flee the country.

According to the wise Delcy Rodríguez, this prize is evidence that the European Parliament “is starting to flirt with the fascism that costed them a great sacrifice in its history.” Pure envy.


Violating the Constitution and the people’s will, the mostly chavista Legislative Council of Zulia state sent a notice to the ANC, reporting on their agreement to “declare the vacancy of the office of the governor elected for the 2017-2021 period,” after the governor elected in October 15th, Juan Pablo Guanipa, decided not to be sworn into office before the body, considering it illegitimate and unconstitutional.

The ANC immediately approved the call for new elections in that state. Additionally, the Parliamentary Bloc announced the appointment of Legislative Council head Magdely Valbuena as governor in charge of Zulia, and she could be sworn in by the ANC today.

This barbarity only makes Laidy Gómez’s ceremony before Táchira’s Legislative Council and the mediocre event held on Wednesday by Alfredo Díaz in Nueva Esparta all the more unfortunate, a vacancy of decency.

Challenge and elect

Former Miranda candidate Carlos Ocariz challenged the results of regional elections before the National Electoral Council, claiming that he’d take the evidence of fraud before all the necessary bodies.

Meanwhile, the ANC approved holding municipal elections in December, urging the CNE to organize the event as soon as possible, based on Francisco Ameliach’s noble proposal: “… helping some opposition sectors to return to the path of political cohabitation and democracy.” The ANC also approved the appointment of Ramón Lobo as head of the Central Bank, a request made by Nicolás due to Lobo’s brilliant performance as Economy and Finance minister.


And just as imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab announced the arrest of Orlando Chacín, head of the board of the Venezuelan Oil Corporation (CVP), for his links with acts of corruption in the Orinoco Oil Strip with a total of 11 detainees allegedly involved in “sabotage” against joint ventures a spokesman of the Spanish police reported that former Electrical Energy vice-minister Nervis Villalobos was arrested in Madrid for his alleged involvement in an important bribe scheme related to PDVSA.

The police unit that arrested Villalobos, specialized in money laundering crimes, responded to a formal accusation by United States federal prosecutors. They also arrested former Corpoelec employee Luis Carlos de León, and a former executive of PDVSA’s purchases department. Villalobos is the first former high ranking official arrested as part of the American investigation on corruption in PDVSA, in which 10 businessmen have already been declared guilty. By the way, Villalobos is also being investigated in Portugal for the Banco Espirito Santo case.

Lima Group

Opening yesterday’s session in Toronto, Peruvian Foreign Minister and Lima Group Co-President Ricardo Luna expressed the pertinence of involving the UN and its Secretary General António Guterres, in actions that contribute to the Venezuelan crisis’ solution. Luna said that the goal of the Lima Group’s meeting was creating an appropriate situation for Nicolás “to feel forced to negotiate not only a solution for the country’s situation, but also the end of his government.”

Canadian Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, host and co-president, spoke of the need to broaden the coalition of countries that oppose the Venezuelan regime. The agreements of the Group’s statement include disregarding the ANC and all its decisions, the urgency of renewing the electoral branch, the release of political prisoners, condemnation for the regime’s refusal to accept international aid to stave off the humanitarian crisis, the human rights violations and the concern for the massive exodus of Venezuelans to other countries.


  • Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis asked the Venezuelan opposition to keep unity and show a common front despite the unexpected results of regional elections, saying that his country wants “a peaceful, democratic solution negotiated by Venezuelans themselves” to recover the democratic order. He insisted that Spain supports dialogue and international mediation and recognized that it’s necessary to “exert some pressure” with the European Union’s potential sanctions against regime members. His Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza rejected Dastis’ comments, of course.
  • Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz said: “There has been much talk of a political solution. That’s what we want. But a dialogue that’s merely a simulacrum, a theatre… Chile won’t support that kind of initiative. If there’s a political and negotiated solution, it will have to be in good faith, credible and real”; and in the meantime, he urged the opposition to keep effective unity!
  • Yesterday, President Donald Trump nominated Lee McClenny for the office of ambassador in Paraguay. McClenny has been chargé d’affaires in the American embassy in Venezuela since July 2014, and he’s the highest ranking diplomat in the country after both nations recalled their respective ambassadors in 2010, when el finado was still alive. If confirmed, McClenny will replace Hugo F. Rodríguez Jr. as the head of the American Embassy in Paraguay.

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.