Photo: El Nacional

“That’s why I decided to hold an audition (…) I’ve appointed comrade Nelson Martínez as new chairman of PDVSA and comrade Eulogio Del Pino, new Oil and Energy minister, two veterans, then; two veterans for battle.”

Those were Nicolás´ words scarcely three months ago. But yesterday, journalist Sebastiana Barráez reported that both had been arrested early in the morning.

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab confirmed that they were in custody for cases of corruption: “The Prosecutor’s Office, together with the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, carried out a series of arrests to dismantle the cartel within PDVSA’s structure (…) we have arrested Eulogio Del Pino and Nelson Martínez, former chairmans of PDVSA and Oil ministers.”

Tarek added

“We arrested Nelson Martínez for his alleged involvement in refinancing Citgo’s debt, which was done without the executive’s authorization. We have arrested Martínez because the Citgo board members we arrested last week mentioned him by name, he was aware of Citgo’s contract without informing the authorities of the Venezuelan State.”

About Del Pino, he said that in addition to the request of the 10th prosecutor of control of the Metropolitan Area, for cases of corruption in Petrozamora, “he’s also indicted for tampering with output figures between 2013-2014.”

Oddly, Saab said that actor Manuel “Coco” Sosa has ratted on politicians, managers and businessmen regarding corruption in PDVSA; that he spoke of 65 detainees, 15 high-ranks, as if it really was an accomplishment, and not a disgrace.

And Eulogio said

After Del Pino’s arrest was announced, a couple of videos were uploaded to his Twitter account where he pleads for his right to a legitimate defense:

“If you’re listening to this recording, it’s because a series of rumors I’ve been hearing have come true…,” he starts the first video, speaking in undertones, with his eyes darting around, as if his potential captors were gorillas who could drop down from one of the trees of the garden where he was recording the message.

Nicolás told him not to fall “for the psychological war” when Del Pino talked to him about the charges against him and compares the accusations with the sanctions imposed by Canada, calling them unjustified and illegal.

Without economic war

Del Pino claims he feels proud for accompanying Nicolás in the list of authorities sanctioned by Canada, but that doesn’t count, because he’s in another list now, the black list of the absolutely treacherous purge that the ruling clique has designed to hold onto power.

It was tough to hear him admitting that the right to a defense isn’t guaranteed in Venezuela; admitting that, “instead of prioritizing the maintenance of equipment, we prioritized the imports of food and medicine for our people,” which means that the little food that has arrived in the country, was brought in detriment of oil production.

Additionally, Rafael Ramírez criticized Nicolás’ economic policies and this weird guy Eduardo Samán was outraged, because electoral regulations are being violated, and he has a long history of consequences of supporting a dictatorial regime.

And now, Tareck

The National Constituent Assembly (ANC) approved yesterday, via decree, the national budget for 2018, for Bs. 36,102,059,000,000. Vice President El Aissami claimed that the budget 2018 “is meant to sustain and guarantee the nation’s economic and social equilibrium,” which is so obvious these days. He explained that SENIAT’s tax collection will have a greater involvement in the budget’s financing, that this colossal amount includes operational expenses, servicing the public debt, financing projects by acquiring more debt, allocating the State’s constitutional share and contributing to the Inter Territorial Compensation Fund and the justice system. Also, 72.5% of the budget will go to social and productive investment.

Quevedo’s conspiracy

While OPEC’s oil ministers and a group of external partners agreed to extend output cuts (until year’s end) to reduce the demand and increase prices, reports revealed that Amuay, the largest refinery in Venezuela, is producing at 27% capacity, although the brand-new minister Manuel Quevedo claimed that PDVSA has the resources to fulfill the coming debt payments and remarked that the delays are caused by banking transactions: “We have the resources available, the sufficient cash flow and the output to pay,” said Quevedo in Vienna, blaming banks for establishing an U.S.-mandated blockade.

Quevedo should read about the meeting organized by MacroSynergy Partners which will analyze the roadmap for the debts held by the government and PDVSA, and the possibility of creating a informal committee of creditors.

One in, others out

Lawmaker Adriana Pichardo, from Voluntad Popular, denounced the arbitrary detention of Luis Daniel Cabezas, mayor of Marigüitar municipality, carried out by SEBIN agents when the mayor went to testify about a vehicle bidding process. This is allegedly a preventive detention, but it’s still arbitrary.

Yesterday afternoon, nine national guards imprisoned in Ramo Verde military prison (indicted for the alleged crime of conspiracy) escaped after reducing their custodians and taking two firearms, an assault rifle and a pistol. They fled through La Mariposa road. Authorities managed to capture four of the nine runaways.


  • Venezuelan Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza met with the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries.
  • Argentine authorities confirmed proceedings against former president Cristina Fernández and her two sons as alleged leaders of an illegal association dedicated to money laundering.
  • Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski also faced accusations for the case of construction company Odebrecht.
  • The Chilean government agreed to participate as a mediator in the negotiation in the Dominican Republic, said Foreign minister Heraldo Muñoz, stating that his country doesn’t want “a simulacrum of negotiation.”
  • Ah! Avior didn’t approve the assessment to get the certification of Third Country Operators required to be able to travel to European cities from countries outside the bloc.

We go on, my friends.

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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.


  1. “we have arrested Eulogio Del Pino and Nelson Martínez, former chairmans of PDVSA and Oil ministers”

    Javier, I believe “chairmen” would be the preferred usage, though you may want to confirm if “chairmans” is acceptable, though I doubt it.

  2. Regarding nitpicking over the occasional English grammatical error: The US fake news industry is filled with such errors on a daily basis. Whoever does the translations here do an excellent job.

    • For the record, I wasn’t nitpicking. Javier does an excellent job with the translations (his English being light years ahead of my Spanish) and if he’s the professional I suspect him to be, he appreciates the corrections in order to improve his product.

      Of course, I could be an asshole about it and say things like………hey dumbass, it’s not: whoever does the translations here DO an excellent job, it’s: whoever does the translations here DOES an excellent job…….but I would never say such a thing. Wink.

    • Speaking of translation / spelling problems, yesterday AOL had a headline “…Vanelzula…” as the lead-in for one of their articles. Is it a sign?

  3. “instead of prioritizing the maintenance of equipment, we prioritized the imports of food and medicine for our people,”

    Which of course means 2 things:

    1) Food today, hunger tomorrow
    2) Go now to Russia and China and ask for some more money. See what they ask you for in exchange. Guess what? They dont care about “our people” and their hunger; they care that you have shown that their investment is at risk of collapsing.

  4. Let’s do some math
    36,102,059,000,000 Bolivars proposed Budget for 2018 (that’s 36 trillion bolivars)
    divided by 103,000 Dolartoday Bolivars to the dollar
    equals a Vzla budget of $350,505,427.

    To put this in perspective, Hugo Chavez paid himself an average of $183,000,000 per year* for his time in office. If Maduro does the same, this leaves $167,000,000 to run the government, military (including General’s salaries), police, food programs, medicine, infrastructure such as roads, and foreign bribes. The National Debt will grow and Venezuela will set new World standards on mismanagement and poverty.

    *Take Gabriela’s $4.4 billion divided by Chavez 16 years in office.

  5. Winner winner, chicken dinner…

    The Bolivar Fuerte is now selling at 103,024 to the US dollar.

    Devalued over 18 million percent in 18 years.

    Wasn’t it just at 9 million percent two months ago?

    • At what point is this officially considered “hyper-inflation”? If the acceleration of the devaluation continues unabated, should be 200000 to 1 before year end.

      • I think I just read that the Bolivar devalued 6% in one day. I would hazard a guess that you might be understating just 200,000 :1.

        Things are really bad, because the Communist branch of my wife’s Venezuelan family tree (previously smug and accusing) are now calling, hat-in-hand, asking for financial assistance to flee (Spain), because none of our CARE packages ever get through. And as much as I am feelin’ the schadenfreude for these unrepentant, long time Chavistas, the thought of what comes next for them if they don’t get help from us is revolting.

  6. ““instead of prioritizing the maintenance of equipment, we prioritized the imports of food and medicine for our people,””

    This is, of course, pure bullshit. I worked the oilfields here in the late 90’s. IIRC, oil traded in the $20 per barrel range and yet there was plenty of money for the importation of food, medicines, and the equipment and spare parts necessary to maintain PDVSA’s equipment.

  7. About Del Pino, he said that in addition to the request of the 10th prosecutor of control of the Metropolitan Area, for cases of corruption in Petrozamora, “he’s also indicted for tampering with output figures between 2013-2014.”

    Chavista officials walk a fine line when it comes to statistics. Fudging stats got this guy indicted. Releasing correct health stats got the health minister fired fired, who, as far as I know, wasn’t also indicted.

    I wonder how much Tarek Saab has stolen.

    • “I wonder how much Tarek Saab has stolen.”

      At a minimum, he’s stolen their futures, unless the plan to live outside the country.


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