A Team with Experts

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, November 28, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Noticia al Día

The former chairman of Fedecámaras, Jorge Roig, was the spokesman for the event that announced the delegation that will travel to the Dominican Republic to accompany opposition lawmakers in the start of the process of negotiation with the government. Representing civil society, the technicians and advisers will be: former electoral authority Vicente Díaz; Vale TV chairwoman Ma. Eugenia Mosquera; lawyers Juan Manuel Raffalli, León Arismendi and Daniel Sierra; human rights activists Feliciano Reyna and Francisco Valencia; economist Asdrúbal Oliveros; political consultant Colette Capriles; union leader Marcela Máspero and Jorge Roig himself.

The demands

The opposition’s demands are: free and transparent elections; a humanitarian channel for food and medicines; the release of all political prisoners and the full restitution of the National Assembly’s powers. Roig said they were aware that they were going to negotiate with a discredited government that has violated human rights conventions.

Later, Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas said that the six most important points of the agenda “have already been convened for discussion and we hope each matter can be dealt with productively” throughout December 1 and 2.

A noteworthy reaction to the announcement was Foro Penal’s statement criticizing the opposition’s lack of clarity of purpose and goals, particularly with regards to political prisoners, saying that this was the reason why they didn’t attend the consultation meetings with the AN’s committee. Sadly, they didn’t try to correct the mistakes they criticize with prompt information.

Citgo goes on

ANC-imposed “Prosecutor General” Tarek William Saab said in an interview that there could be new arrests for the Citgo case, because they’re merely in “a preliminary investigation phase” and the gradual investigation on companies that were involved in acts of corruption, could reveal other accomplices. He stated that suspicious activity in the Prosecutor’s Office has dropped since he took office and said that they’ve had significant findings of irregularities in corruption cases linked to Cadivi and Cencoex, in the Orinoco Oil Strip, PetroZamora, PDVSA Carabobo and joint venture Bariven.

Since botox is great for caretablismo, he said that “any Venezuelan with a release warrant signed and sealed by the court responsible of a case, must be released.”

Sadly, he didn’t mention SEBIN chief Gustavo González López in his statement.

As expected

While the National Assembly’s Finance Committee presented a proposal to dismantle FX exchange controls based on allowing Venezuelans to manage their dollars, as well as letting relatives abroad send money to Venezuela in transparent transactions and thus “sincerely adjust dollar prices,” Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said that the Armed Forces stand behind Nicolás in the fight against corruption in PDVSA, which supports the reasoning behind Reuter’s article stating that after general Manuel Quevedo’s appointment, more soldiers will take management positions in a company with severe operational issues and with the lowest output levels in almost three decades. “As a soldier, I’ll be at the front of the battle,” said Quevedo yesterday, and he should start working toward the goal established in the statement issued by OPEC chief Mohammad Barkindo, which aims at keeping output quotas, “for a sustainable stability of the market in a medium and long term.”

Human rights

While Erika Farías’ tweet showing a picture of a truck “modified” to transport people in Caracas went viral, San Cristóbal Mayor Patricia de Ceballos denounced that her husband Daniel Ceballos has been isolated for the past 50 days in El Helicoide. Ceballos is a political prisoner since March 2014, indicted for the crimes of rebellion and criminal association. In another, no less dramatic sphere, lawmaker José Manuel Olivares said that Venezuelan contributes 80% of all malaria cases in Latin America: “There’s been a 709% increase in malaria cases across 20 states,” the evidence of one of the toughest consequences of suspending vaccination campaigns in the country. The NGO Ciudadanía en Acción delivered a letter at the Food Minister cautioning the government about the serious crisis of protein and caloric malnutrition in the population. They said that 78% of Venezuelans aren’t taking the necessary proteins and 60% show caloric malnutrition. The NGO’s letter includes technical measures that could be implemented to solve the crisis,  as well as political measures.

Official selfies

From Minsk, Ricardo Menéndez reported on the negotiation table between Belarus and Venezuela to develop a roadmap to broaden bilateral cooperation, working on energy, agricultural, industrial, financial, commercial and military collaboration. Nicolás signed agreements with Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, to strengthen the agricultural and energy system and to finance economic development. It was only in September when UN  High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, criticized Venezuela for denying experts on essential rights access to the country. Perhaps that’s why Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza made all that racket after his meeting with independent UN expert Alfred de Zayas, who said he’d review “the joint efforts to promote social progress and better living standards,” and among other details, he’ll study how national budgets are spent and to what extent the demands of civil society are serviced by investment. I hope he has his linden tea ready when he gets to the issues of access to information, freedom of expression and the Rule of Law.


While Nicolás celebrated the 97th anniversary of the Military Aviation, speaking of peace among missiles, Venezuelans are trying to cope with the fact that the black market dollar rate increased by 71.7% and the bolívar depreciated by 41.7%. Amidst a cash shortage crisis, it was revealed yesterday that the highest denomination banknote can’t pay for an Euro, which reached Bs. 100,504.26 yesterday, while the dollar closed at Bs. 84,457.36.

A tiny little detail: the BCV hasn’t called for a DICOM auction in four months.

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.