Last Friday, vice-president Tareck El Aissami excitedly interrupted Maduro to report that the Supreme Tribunal of Justice’s Plenary Chamber had voided the parliamentary immunity of lawmaker Freddy Guevara, first vice-president of the National Assembly.

El Aissami pointed out that the ruling would be carried out by the ANC – which only means they’re ignoring the fact that, according to the Constitution, only the National Assembly has the authority to remove its member’s immunity and that the lawmaker is also barred from leaving the country.

A ruling issued by the Judiciary is relayed by the Executive Branch in a political event attended by soldiers. What better summary of the state of public powers in Venezuela?

No hearing on merits

The Plenary Chamber declared that Freddy Guevara had allegedly engaged in criminal association, continued public instigation and use of teenagers for criminal acts. According to Justice Marco Medina Salas, in cases of flagrant crimes, such as the ones Guevara is accused of, there’s no need for a preliminary hearing on merits and any trial against him must be carried out by competent civilian courts.

SEBIN agents surrounded the lawmaker’s home and yesterday, the Chilean Foreign Ministry confirmed that Freddy Guevara had requested protection at their embassy in Caracas, remarking that honoring their humanitarian principles, they took him in as a guest.

 

El Aissami condemned the decision.

The Venezuelan National Assembly, as well as several parliaments, foreign ministries, international organizations and figures voiced their concern and condemnation before this new violation against the Rule of Law in Venezuela, unanimously demanding respect for branch autonomy.

Revolving doors?

Political prisoners Yon Goicoechea (arrested in August, 2016) and Delson Guárate (arrested in September, 2016) were released from prison on Friday, with precautionary measures.

Not keen on having vacant cells, Nicolás claimed that same day that Julio Borges is guilty for U.S.-imposed economic sanctions and asked imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab to prosecute him for treason. He also threatened to arrest governor Juan Pablo Guanipa.

On Sunday, Avanzada Progresista secretary general Luis Romero announced that, two days after his release, Yon Goicoechea would be their mayoral candidate for El Hatillo municipality.

Six months

The Central Bank stopped publishing official data in 2004 and, for the past decade Venezuela hasn’t authorized the International Monetary Fund to perform the annual review of economic indicators, which all member countries must comply with. Consequently, the institution set a six-month deadline for Venezuela to provide official economic data. Non-compliance could mean that the IMF might decide to expel the country. In the statement they explained that the Executive Board meeting (the decision makers) took place in advance and bears no relation to Nicolás’ announcement to start a process of restructuring the foreign debt for $120 billion.

All IFM predictions about our economy are alarming: 12% contraction in 2017, 6% more in 2018; a 652% inflation rate this year that will increase to 2,349% next year; as well as a colossal 44.6% cumulative contraction between 2014 and 2018.

Debt and trust

During the opening ceremony of the Military Academy of Medicine, Nicolás announced another cabinet reshuffle, including Jorge Rodríguez as communication minister, Ernesto Villegas for Culture and Jorge Márquez as Chief of Staff.

Describing Venezuela as a solid and reliable country, he angrily asked why we suffer a risk-country ranking that’s worse than some countries at war. Claiming that this is a matter he wants to discuss with bondholders “face to face”. Meanwhile, El Aissami said that he’ll meet with them on November 13th in Caracas, after denouncing attacks and financial persecution by Donald Trump’s administration, as well as emphasizing that Venezuela has fulfilled foreign debt payment for $71.7 billion in the last four years.

Sadly, he didn’t explain how their financial probity has impacted Venezuelan citizens.

In any case, Venezuelan bonds in dollars sank by almost 20 points by the end of last week, alongside Venezuela’s ranking, and non-payment risks became much more probable.

Only China said something different about the risk of default.

Another sanction

Canada imposed new sanctions against high-ranking and former members of the Venezuelan regime, including Nicolás, El Aissami, Adán Chávez, Gustavo González López, Rodolfo Marco Torres and José David Cabello.

The Canadian Foreign Ministry remarked that the sanctions freeze the assets of people included in the list and barre them from moving through Canada’s territory. Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said that her country is committed with the protection of human rights and the fight against corruption.

These sanctions add up to those imposed on September 22nd against other 40 chavista figures and only three names appear again: Nicolás, El Aissami and González López. The best answer our Foreign minister could come up with was accusing Canada of having “imperial aspirations,” a hit!

Where’s Jesús Medina?

A month ago, Jesús Medina, journalist for Dolar Today, and two foreign journalists were arrested in Tocorón while they were performing an investigation inside that prison. They managed to walk free and Medina shared shocking images of the dynamics of a prison dominated by pranes and characterized by luxury. A few days ago, Medina denounced threats against him; and, on Saturday, November 4th, he disappeared after sending a message alerting a colleague: “They’re taking me, urgent,” he wrote.

The National Union of Press Workers (SNTP) and the Press and Society Institute demand that the State answer for the journalist’s whereabouts; a demand mirrored by Edison Lanza, IACHR’s special rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.

This happens the same day that an investigation made by Armando.Info was granted second place in the Latin American Investigative Journalism Award. Military outsourcing collects a series of articles that show how active soldiers with their own companies became contractors for the State, a relation forbidden by Venezuelan laws, benefitting no less than 785 officers.

The indestructible black market dollar starts the week at Bs. 44,347.76.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t understand why the Goicochea ordeal is not being taken as seriously as it is.
    Goicochea is a member of VP and yet he is being ‘nominated’ by AP, without a peep from him.
    This is in essence the regime forcing people the opposition to run for elections.

    It is equivalent to announcing that Leopoldo is “running” for mayor of Chacao.

    Goicochea is being coerced into this. He is essentially a hostage, and so is the rest of the country.

    This is not a betrayal from Goicochea, this is a hostage obeying his captor’s orders to save his life.

    His silence should be the wink we all need to understand this.

    • “This is not a betrayal from Goicochea, this is a hostage obeying his captor’s orders to save his life.”
      Free Speech, you are 100% right.

      • I don’t recall if he was one of those who signed the letter that was smuggled out of prison uring everyone to participate in the 15 Oct fraud, but are we still maintaining that signing the letter was voluntary?

        • I would consider the possibility that he is in cahoots with the regime if it weren’t Avanzada Progresista the party that, hastily and without any kind of clarifications, announced their “support” for Goicochea’s nomination.

          • Well, before I get another verbal beat-down, I never suggested any political prisoner was in “cahoots” with the regime. I made the cardinal sin of actually wondering if it was not possible that they had been threatened into signing the letter in order to bolster opposition participation in the fraud.

          • @MRubio

            Oh don’t get me wrong. I do believe that some political “prisoners” are in cahoots with the regime. I was just pointing out that for this case it does not seem like so, IMO.

            But of course, everything is possible and it wouldn’t be all that surprising at this point considering this is Venezuelan politics…

          • Well then Free Speech, I suggest your gird your loins for making the above comment. I see fire and brimstone in your future.

            Strange how the worm turns.

            Emi was absolutely disgusted and horrified that I would dare suggest that ANY of those who signed that letter might have done so against their will. Then, the self-appointed canadian thought policeman piled on even more and blasted me for my do-nothing, know-nothing thoughtless mischief.

            Now Emi’s agreeing 100% that Goicochea is a hostage obeying his captor’s orders to save his life by participating in the elections.

            And they bitched because I said the site was incoherent at times. Crazy me.

          • My name should suggest I am 100% for your right to opine, criticize, present your perspective and overall voice your thoughts and concerns as best you see fit.

            I am not aware that you received such backlash in the past but fret not, I will gird my loins per your advice.

          • Gut tells me he’s got a pistol to his head and a red-hot poker waiting to be shoved up his ass if he doesn’t play.

            But then, I was the same guy who questioned “the letter”, so what do I know?

            PS, I’ll answer that question for cannuck: NOTHING.

  2. OT:

    What’s the deal with Hugo’s daughter and the stolen millions?

    Who is working towards making her suffer, and making her poor again?

    • Gabriela Chavez is worth over $4.3 billion. She alone could cover payments to bondholders for a few months. Hugo Chavez stole the money, gave it to Gabriela, and died. Now is a good time to give it back.

      And while this is happening, evict her from the Casona. Of all people in Venezuela, she does not need public housing.

      Maduro, Cabello, and the other corrupt thieves could pay off all foreign debt by dinner time tonight if needed. instead, the poor go hungry and the sick go without medicine to pay the bondholders.

  3. The legislation under which the Venezuelan sanctions were imposed is the Canadian version of the Magnitsky Act, which those who are following the independent prosecutor’s investigation into the Trump campaign may be familiar with.

    I wonder if Venezuela will put personal sanctions against Canada’s Foreign Minister the way Russia did. Sooo bad, not letting them land here with their stolen property….

    • What?

      You can’t think of the Canadian name for your version of the Magnitsky Act?

      It can’t sound any more ridiculous than Magnitsky!

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