Turn Around

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, December 6, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Nicolás took Rafael Ramírez to the end of the line, Chávez’ love is like a shadow on him all of the time, and he doesn’t know what to do and he’s always in the dark. The guy who was Venezuela’s Ambassador to the UN announced his resignation on Twitter.

His opinions, apparently unacceptable for Nicolás, produced the result expected days ago. Several institutions were already calling him a traitor on social media, ratifying his prediction that he’d be attacked and vilified, and although he suggested an assessment on how this could hurt “the unity of revolutionary forces.”

He forgot that as long as they can blackmail the people with the carnet de la patria, no unity is required.

Dated December 4, the Official Gazette shows the appointment of Samuel Moncada as the new ambassador in charge. Nobody’s forgotten the sad show  that Moncada gave in the OAS Permanent Council, with his aggressive and scarcely diplomatic speech on the debate on the rupture of constitutional order in Venezuela. Ramús should know that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the enforcement of Trump’s travel ban and it includes restrictions on Venezuela exclusively against some government officials and their immediate family.


Yesterday, the National Assembly issued its first Monthly Economic Activity Index (Iaeman), produced by five roundtables, which will work as a proxy for the GDP, according to lawmaker José Guerra, head of the Finance Committee, who said that economic figures have been concealed since 2015 and the regime acts as if everything was fine. THe GDP dropped by 12% between January and September 2017, and “people have lost nearly 30% of their income, due to hyperinflation,” he added.

On top of this, the country’s largest refinery, Amuay, with the capacity to process up to 645,000 oil barrels per day, produced some 70,000 barrels on Monday, according to union representative Iván Freites, who added: “The country’s refinery system has nearly shut down completely.” Cardón produced up to 50,000 barrels, way below its capacity of 310,000 barrels per day. Amuay has been operating at 27% capacity due to other issues in its units, lack of crude or shortage of spare parts for maintenance, but it’s currently producing at 13%, sadly.

That’s why the show goes on

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab reported that there are 40 people linked to the corruption network of Andorra, among former PDVSA officials and its affiliates. The data he presented had been revealed by journalistic investigations in 2015, but he promised “some surprises” that he’ll uncover in due time. Regarding the arrests of Diego Salazar and José Luongo, he said that there’s an investigation on a former director of Polibaruta and Polichacao; that he’s already proven the existence of at least 40 ghost companies used for money laundering and how the bonuses paid by other companies where Salazar was some kind of intermediary allowed him extraordinary expenses. According to William, one of the most “unfair and corrupt contracts in PDVSA history” is the contract of the ship PetroSaudi Saturn, which was rented in 2010 for exploiting gas and it only took the State seven years to find that the company that owns the ship is a ghost company created in Barbados. For this case, national prosecutor 67 issued arrest warrants before the 10th Court of Control against six PDVSA managers. Tarek’s epic is a disaster: the anti-corruption crusade isn’t unprecedented and corruption is chavismo’s sole responsibility, which he failed to mention. In any case, the guy with the most Twitter accounts blocked urged citizens to give him constructive criticism: he’s lost impact, though. Bots don’t interact!

Information for Tarek

Lawmaker Julio Montoya said that PDVSA “is technically bankrupt” and that the government mortgaged Citgo, handed the Cienfuegos refinery over to Cuba and it won’t be long before it loses the Curazao refinery due to nonpayment. According to Montoya, 22 businessmen are currently being investigated by the FBI and the Treasury Department, all of them linked to the ruling clique and that in 2011, when Nicolás was PDVSA’s external director, was the year with the biggest insurance operations in the company. Regarding Andorra, he stated that they haven’t mentioned former Chávez secretary Carlos Aguilera, and former vice-minister Javier Alvarado, emphasizing that Diego Salazar’s fortune doesn’t come solely from insurance operations but also from operations with the Chinese Fund, the funds of Iran and Belarus and the maintenance of several sections of Metro, with which he bought 110 apartments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to hide more than $3 billion, for a total of $32 billion stolen among operations with Derwick, the Chinese Fund and insurance. Montoya told Nicolás: “Are you an idiot or an accomplice? You can’t walk out unscathed from the corruption that took over $35 billion from the Venezuelan people.”

Concerning Paúl Moreno’s murderer

Let’s go back to the case of the medical student run down by Omar Barrios Rojas, because the official document of sentence N° 050-2017 was released publicly yesterday, signed by judge Yesiré Rincón who did several things in the same document: she dismissed the Prosecutor’s Office’s accusations and evidence, as well as the formal accusations from Paúl Moreno’s family; she changed the date of the murder to August 2, 2009 (it took place on May 18, 2017) ignored the intermediate levels of accusations approved by the TSJ to the murderer’s benefit, and also, the judge claims that the murder was “a traffic accident caused by recklessness” and Paúl’s carelessness for being in a public road, meaning that Paúl is somehow partially guilty for his own murder. This cocktail of barbarities should nullify the entire ruling that released Omar Barrios Rojas. The lawyers of the Moreno family have already appealed. Such a vile thing to do, tampering with the law for the sake of a murderer!

Bravo, Liliana Ortega!

The ambassadors of France and Germany in Venezuela, Romain Nadal and Stefan Herzberg, awarded Liliana Ortega, director and founder of Confavic, with the Franco-German Award for Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

Ortega has worked for decades on the defense of human rights, starting with the relatives of the victims of El Caracazo. Greatly dedicated and conciliatory, Liliana is a respected and valued voice, constantly striving to end impunity, to raise awareness and educate more people on the importance of respecting human rights. Thanks to people like Liliana, we can be one step ahead of corrupt officials like Yesiré Rincón.

Yesterday was the Day of the University Professor, and Venezuelan professors in particular are a kind of civil heroes, considering their complex circumstances and poor salaries. We all should be congratulating them, supporting their cause and vindicating their work; we should be thankful for allowing knowledge to keep expanding, even under a dictatorship.

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.