Ramírez Isn’t Done

Your daily briefing for Thursday, November 30, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Yesterday, Reuters reported what everyone was already expecting since the circus of the fight against corruption in PDVSA started: Rafael Ramírez, former Oil minister and former chairman of PDVSA, has been removed from his post as Venezuela’s ambassador to the UN. One of the sources told the news agency that the removal took place on Tuesday night. Later, journalist Anatoly Kurmanaev (Wall Street Journal) denied the removal.

But drama unleashed and led to messages straight out of a script from a Mexican soap opera:

I was one of the four people who was with Chávez when he died!
But he named me as the President!
But you bankrupted the nation!
The right did it!

(End of script)

Technically, Ramírez denounced that finding “cheap dollars” became more profitable than producing, thus summing up the origin of our crisis; while Nicolás promised that he wouldn’t doubt to condemn the corrupt, regardless of their position.

Later on, Ramírez denied his removal and imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab said that today he’ll have more details about corruption investigations, adding the oil sphere, Corpolec, the “sabotage cases” and suitcase companies that requested dollars to the Currency Administration Commission (Cadivi) to the list.

About protests

Human Rights Watch and Foro Penal released a joint report about protests in 2017 with documented cases that show that the Venezuelan government systematically abused protesters, adding not only the 120 deaths, but also the 5,400 detainees and, among them, 757 who were prosecuted by military courts. “The generalized vicious abuses against government opposers in Venezuela, including the horrendous cases of torture and the absolute impunity of attackers suggest the government’s responsibility at the highest ranks,” said HRW’s director for the Americas, José MIguel Vivanco.

The report contains testimonies from detainees who were tortured, beaten, who had to endure the use of tear gas in closed areas, who were forced to eat food mixed with feces and even suffered sexual assaults.

Yesterday, the National Assembly’s Interior Policy Committee presented its report on the 47 victims of human rights violations in Aragua state who are still under custody after the protests and who have endured a series of abuses such as the ones reported by HRW.

The human rights of policemen

Interior Minister Néstor Reverol tweeted agreements reached with the chiefs of state and municipal police departments, including that 18 police institutions have been suspended for failing to comply with the standards, but cautioning that officers won’t be left unemployed but instead will take new tests to become members of the PNB, such a prospect!

Additionally, lawmaker Edgar Zambrano, member of the Defense and Security Committee, sent Nicolás the 136th letter demanding the release of the Metropolitan Police officers imprisoned for the incidents of April 11, 2002, who haven’t been granted any legal benefits, despite serving so many years of an unfair sentence and having shown impeccable behaviour during their detention. He also mentioned the case of the Polichacao officers who were issued release warrants fifteen months ago, which SEBIN has ignored.

Reelection, corruption

Vice President Tareck El Aissami said that Nicolás will seek reelection in 2018, with the support of an unprecedented economic crisis, as well as the humanitarian emergency and the general levels of violence. With undisputed audacity, the VP thinks that chavismo will win big in municipal elections where it has no competition, and announced the victory in 2018 as “a counter offensive against golpismo, the economic war, financial persecution.”

Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic, Eudo Carruyo, son of Eudomario Carruyo former Finance vice president of PDVSA was assaulted in his home and the cruel malandros forced him to open his safe, taking $400,000, among other belongings. Old Carruyo was investigated by the Comptroller’s Office in 2006 and in 2011 he was part of a corruption scheme which allegedly bankrupted PDVSA’s Pensions and Precaution Fund. Young Carruyo had an accident while driving his Lamborghini in 2005, where his passenger died; since he didn’t cooperate with the investigations, he’s wanted by U.S. authorities.


  • Ecuador president Lenín Moreno convened a popular consultation by decree to suppress the indefinite reelection approved by his predecessor Rafael Correa. The referendum will also propose barring politicians condemned for corruption from running for public office for life and terminate the members of the Citizen Participation Council, an institution created by Correa to name oversight and electoral authorities.
  • After claiming that he was innocent, former Bosnian Croat military leader Slobodan Praljak (72) committed suicide by drinking poison during the hearing of the Criminal Court for Old Yugoslavia. The court confirmed Praljak´s prison sentence, 20 years for crimes against humanity during the Bosnian War. While he was being taken to the hospital, the judge confirmed the sentences of between 10 and 25 years in prison for other five former leaders and politicians responsible for “ethnic cleansing” against Bosnian Muslims and other non-Croats in Herzeg-Bosnia.
  • A group of Venezuelans in Bogotá called for a demonstration in support of Venezuela for human rights violations. It’ll take place today, Thursday, November 30, at noon.

Demonstrators will use the hashtag #libertadparavenezuela on social networks.

The risk rating agency Moddy’s cautioned that Venezuela’s foreign debt is among the most difficult to restructure and that it likely surpasses $65.2 billion, becoming the fourth biggest default ever recorded by the agency. Which is why it was so invigorating to read that the BCV chairman met with North Korea’s Ambassador, Ri Sung Gil, to discuss the experience of building socialism despite the U.S. blockade.

The black market dollar closed at Bs. 96,794.46, an increase of nearly Bs. 10,000 since Monday. The euro closed at Bs. 114,217.57, almost Bs. 15,000 more! Todo bello.

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.