All Hollows Eve

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, November 1, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Last night, National Electoral Council chairwoman Tibisay Lucena offered some information on an election that doesn’t even have a date yet, claiming that the Venezuelan electoral system “grows more solid and reliable each time,” although she reported nothing regarding the measure filed by Andrés Velásquez in Bolívar state, which severely questions the solidity of Lucena’s boasting.

They approved the electoral registry of 19,740,846 voters and claimed that 4,8000 citizens have submitted their mayoral candidacies: 4,016 men and 784 women. She made a rhetorical question: “Now they say there are no conditions?”, only to say that the technical guarantees offered by the CNE are focused on audits political guarantees? what’s that for?

But don’t worry, they’ll analyze 201 polling stations to study new locations, emphasizing that station relocations were not made on a whim. Ah! There won’t be any indelible ink in these elections either.

Solid and reliable, eh?

Finally, Lucena said that 15 candidates have registered so far to run for Zulia’s governorship, agreeing with the ruling issued by the TSJ Political Administrative Chamber, which suspended the political disqualification that the Comptroller’s Office imposed on Manuel Rosales in August, 2014. Rosales already registered his candidacy, although his party Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT) dismissed them.

Thug brass

The same day Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López signed a decree expanding the list of basic products under military oversight (from 18 to 27 products, as if oversight had been useful thus far), military prosecutor Edgar Rojas Borges released a letter addressed to Padrino López, claiming that “the anarchy and the serious crime rate that dominate Venezuela” seem to have spread to the barracks. Concerned about the “inordinate increase” of cases of robberies, desertions and abuse of authority within the Armed Forces, the Brigadier writes the Minister about the need to urgently create a team to “deal with a problem that threatens to get out of control” and thus find solutions to a problem he blames, among other reasons, on the lack of instruction from commanding officers and the failure of institutions in establishing a culture of values and principles, letting the culture of impunity spread, where soldiers involved in crimes are protected by their superiors.

A gem of a text.

No quorum

The National Assembly suspended the session convened for yesterday because some lawmakers didn’t attend. Parliament Speaker Julio Borges said it was irresponsible, and claimed that the list of legislators who didn’t attend the session yesterday will be released, reminding us all that some lawmakers are not being irresponsible, they just  “can’t travel by plane, who go without pay and are politically persecuted.”

The AN will continue the discussion on the results of regional elections, including a speech by Zulia governor-elect Juan Pablo Guanipa.

Multiplying censorship

Concluding its 73rd General Assembly, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) issued a statement saying that the Venezuelan government is multiplying censorship mechanisms against the press, while the situation couldn’t be worse in Cuba. The IAPA denounced that a pattern of attacks against journalism committed by organized crime and the countries’ governments have been established in America, including Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador and Ecuador as examples of countries where harassment against the press is also expressed through legislation. “The violence against journalists and the media, the spread of laws and projects that seek to control journalism, along with the pressures imposed by the authorities and the lack of access to official data” are the main obstacles for press freedom, according to the IAPA.

Debts and spills

According to Reuters, the Depository Trust Company (DTC) told holders of PDVSA 2020 bonds that they’ll get the $842 million payment on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a slop tank in the Amuay refinery (Falcón state) overflowed this week and the products were spilled, polluting the coast and staining the tankers. According to labor union leader Iván Freitas, the heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday, as well as lack of maintenance, caused the spill. They said that it’s hard to estimate the magnitude, but that it’s significant and could be around 200,000 barrels, including gasoline and gasoil. It is worth to remember that Amuay is operating at a third of its capacity, according to documents released by PDVSA early this month.


  • The Pan American Health Organization released a new epidemiological alert saying that, between September and October, there were 570 suspicious cases of measles in Venezuela, specifically in 10 parishes of the Caroní municipality in Bolívar state.
  • Lawmaker Ismael León denounced the technical shutdown of the Concepción Palacios Maternity Hospital because contaminated operating rooms had to be closed.
  • According to figures by Chile’s Immigration Department, the amount of Venezuelans who have requested resident visa in the first six months of 2017, is bigger than the entire records for 2016 (31,949 requests,) representing an increase of almost 2,000%, ranking first in foreign petitioners.
  • In the World Bank ranking, Venezuela is once again among the last countries for business: we rank 188 out of 190 countries, leading the sad mark of the worst business climate.
  • Telecommunication companies Movistar, Digitel and Movilnet announced the increase of their fees in all of their plans and services, after prices were frozen by the government for a long time.

On October 31st, 1958, the Punto Fijo Pact was signed between AD, Copei and URD. The signatories of the Punto Fijo Pact promised to act in tandem around three aspects: the defense of constitutionality and of the right to govern according to electoral results; the creation of a government of national unity, of coalition, in which no party would hold the hegemony of the executive cabinet; and the elaboration and presentation of a minimum common program. It’s been 59 years of that exercise, which formalized and institutionalized the rules of the game and created an offer that validated vital principles for the nation.

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.