No Agreement

Your Daily Briefing for Sunday, December 3, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The government and the opposition will resume talks in two weeks after concluding the two days of dialogue in the Dominican Republic without concrete agreements, according to Chilean Foreign minister Heraldo Muñoz. He explained that the statement issued by the foreign ministers that participated in the process will be reviewed by the parties.

Afterwards, president Danilo Medina reported that the next meeting will take place on December 15th, also in his country, with the purpose of coming to a definitive agreement. Muñoz and Medina asked parties to remain optimistic on the possibility of a political solution, saying that “it’s best to go slowly to do things the right way.” In truth, sources revealed that both parties refused to accept key demands in the negotiation.

The opposition’s version

National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges restated that they attended the meeting with the goal of guaranteeing the rights of Venezuelans, describing the exercise as a difficult, tough process of debate and confrontation, but he said it was necessary to open a path for the future for Venezuelans. He emphasized that the dialogue doesn’t preclude other efforts to recover the country’s democracy and that they discussed elections, human rights and political prisoners, remarking that the fight for food and medicines was the opposition’s main demand: “We offered solutions (…) it was one of the most heatedly debated subjects,” said Borges. The method for this two-day exercise involved opening the discussion about a point, establishing the essential conditions required to solve it and making the proposals. Later, Collete Capriles tweeted: “A framework of internationally backed proposals was established, which each party must discuss internally. Some people expected us to acquiesce, but what I saw was firmness.”

The government’s version

“We don’t need to negotiate with the opposition for 18 hours to maintain our hold on power,” said minister Jorge Rodríguez, admitting that the discussion was hard, that many left satisfied and that now they’re in a structural phase of consulting the people, while the opposition does its thing with “the opposition factors.” Jorge says that they presented their truths, that they showed evidence of attacks against the government and surmised that the true aid will come with the end of sanctions against the economy that chavismo destroyed; as if the sanctions imposed by the U.S., Canada and the EU against tens of government officials had bankrupted PDVSA or ruined the nation. He admitted that there were problems “with the distribution of medicines,” and arrogantly added that they’ll solve them, denying the existence of a humanitarian emergency.

Concerted denial

This Saturday, Health minister and IVSS chief Luis López discarded the possibility that the government would accept humanitarian aid to abate the shortages of food and medicine: “Nobody bows before an empire here and we won’t allow the right-wingers to impose some humanitarian aid on us,” he said during the presentation of the report on medicine delivered through 0800-SaludYa, a mechanism that lacks the structural capacity and the budget to cover the demand of medicines in Venezuela. López’s response is unacceptable and cruel, a death sentence for so many people; I hope it will be documented for the crime it is. Using ideology to justify the disdain for life in the face of hunger and death only intensifies the misery that the most vulnerable already suffer.

Paz Activa is right

Remember Paz Activa’s report mentioning how many policemen and military agents have been involved in organized crime? In Zulia, two vehicles belonging to the State Secret Police (SEBIN) were transporting 530 packs of cocaine. Chased down by a commission of the National Guard’s anti-drug division, one of the SEBIN vehicles crashed and the second one was abandoned as the occupants fled. Three officers with SEBIN uniforms and equipment were arrested: Ángel Barrios Díaz, Orlando Santeliz Díaz and Daniel Villegas, from SEBIN Caracas. In addition to the drugs, the vehicles contained two pistols, two rifles and a fragmentary grenade. In Caracas, the forensic police (CICPC) arrested two National Bolivarian Police (PNB) officers (Michael Lozada and Daniel Prieto) for the kidnapping of two businessmen for a $5,000 ransom. According to CICPC’s report, thirteen other PNB officers were involved, they were already identified.

Tell Jorge Arreaza

Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer on Twitter,) is a human rights activist, Executive Director of United Nations Watch (UNW). From the moment the clown, “independent U.N. expert” Alfred de Zayas set foot in the country, Neuer denounced the false investigation organized by the Venezuelan government, which included the dissemination of pictures of Caracas markets full of food, another with Delcy and one other with smiling soldiers.

Through UNW’s social networks, the organization has challenged the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to speak out and did the same with Antonio Guterres and other U.N. delegates, denouncing the betrayal against the U.N.’s foundational ideals represented by a propaganda exercise like Zayas’s. Alfred de Zayas deleted all pictures and the text with which he accompanied his “official visit to Venezuela,” but UNW remarks: “he didn’t apologize for this despicable propaganda bent on denying the massive hunger of Venezuelans.” My respect for their tenacity and how they used social networks to expose a fraud with colorful bowties.

I don’t usually write briefings on Saturday, but this was important.

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