Nicolás’ Purge

Your daily briefing for Friday, December 1, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

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.

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.