Photo: Panorama

Perhaps it was because it was a banking holiday yesterday and there were no school activities, but there was no celebration to prove the regime’s discourse about the victory that wasn’t. Minister Jorge Rodríguez was in charge of making a sort of synthesis, ignoring the abuses committed with the Carnet de la Patria, the Puntos Rojos, their soldiers’ attacks and of course, abstention. It’s funny that they’re so bent on surpassing the electoral achievements of the Comandanteterno. Be it a fixation for Nicolás or for his loyal team, Rodríguez said that Sunday’s triumph was “the greatest victory accomplished by any political force in Venezuela’s republican history,” claiming that elections set Venezuelans “freer every day.” So his assertion that chavismo’s building the future we deserve shouldn’t come as that big of a shock to us. What is shocking, though, is that despite the hate law, he spoke of winning in the cities “where the whities live,” and he also accused Juan Pablo Guanipa of being a white supremacist. According to Rodríguez, political stability has been recovered in Venezuela, and he was proud that “the guarimbero dollar” couldn’t break the people, which means it’s no longer necessary to eradicate it because citizens are surfing the consequences of a ruined economy.

Worse than Jorge

Nicanor Moscoso, head of Ceela, an organization of alleged electoral experts that has been collaborating with the CNE, presented his report on elections, which includes the absolute satisfaction with the opening of electoral stations, the arrival of electoral supplies; the voting machines and the complete effectiveness of verification systems. The second part of Moscoso’s report was even more cynical, underscoring that the locations of voting stations was appropriate (a journalist questioned Moscoso about the unnotified relocation of voting centers and VTV cut her off); that free and secret elections were guaranteed – what about Puntos Rojos and assisted votes?! – that voting stations were closed within the legally mandated period (false); that security audits were successful and there was a 47.3% turnout (and Mark Ruffalo is my boyfriend.)

The best: Plan República didn’t cause damages or problems! In any case, voters protested yesterday before PSUV headquarters in San Juan de los Morros, demanding the tickets they were promised in exchange for their votes. There were also complaints of public employees fired for supporting dissident chavistas.

The opposition

In addition to MUD’s statement, which nobody read, National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges met yesterday morning with The Vatican’s top diplomat Pietro Parolin, to discuss the reach of the negotiation and the humanitarian crisis.

Later, former CNE authority Vicente Díaz said that “there’s no legal precedent to exclude political parties from coming elections.”

Last night, former governor Henrique Capriles said that these elections were a ruse and that the government doubled down on its efforts to show “a non-existent democracy,” revealing its system’s corruption and an abstention that reflects the country’s institutional crisis. Capriles emphasized that after what happened with gubernatorial elections, the opposition suffered a split that unveiled individual interests and even complicity. He spoke at length about the dangers of losing faith in elections, giving in to uncertainty and despair, so he claimed: “We need a solid unity to pull the country out of this hole we’re in.”

Amazonas without lawmakers

The TSJ Electoral Chamber shelved the file opened on December 28, 2015, against parliamentary elections in Amazonas, according to ruling 221 published yesterday by government-run newspaper Últimas Noticias. Before the AN installation, this chamber ordered them not to incorporate the lawmakers elected in Amazonas because of the lawsuits filed for alleged electoral frauds in that state, especially “vote buying,” without tickets for toys or CLAP bags. The AN inducted those lawmakers, which caused the infamous “contempt” they could never shake off. In the ruling written by Malaquías Gil, the full responsibility for this case (cause suspension and failure to hold new elections) falls on plaintiff Pedro Luis Cabello Hermoso, because it didn’t comply with the law, forcing them to shelve the file, while they try to resolve the other seven filed suits. Calmly, of course.

Economy

While chavismo disseminates the entry into circulation of the communal currency El Panal, David Paravisini reported that the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) will discuss a project to increase liquid fuel prices which, according to his proposal, “must be brought to the average prices abroad, which is approximately one dollar [per litre].” Pdvsa was paid more than $ 5,000 million to subsidize gasoline in 2016 alone.

Later, Oil Minister and PDVSA chief Manuel Quevedo, asked the Comptroller General to carry out an audit of all PDVSA units. The nepotic Comptroller, Manuel Galindo, responded that they will draw up a plan of up to 30 days “to start seeing the appropriate results after the prosecution’s proceedings and after investigations.”

Ah! Reuters reported that the accumulation of tanks waiting to be loaded in Venezuelan ports has increased because Pdvsa hasn’t been able to deliver liquid fuel for exports, so the news to review and validate contracts signed by Pdvsa, its subsidiaries and joint ventures, becomes less relevant.

Abroad

Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said that Nicolás’ intention to ban opposition parties from participating in presidential elections is an “extreme measure to close the democratic space in Venezuela,” stating that with this measure, the president only seeks to “consolidate power in his authoritarian dictatorship.” Canada expressed deep concern for the same threat, because it puts “at risk solutions to restore democracy & resolve the humanitarian crisis, urgently needed by all Venezuelans.” By the way, the head of the Venezuelan Airlines Association, Humberto Figuera, said that only 25% of the airplane fleet managed by national companies is operational, due to the low frequency of flights and price-regulated plane tickets, and that the money from ticket sales “isn’t enough to cover expenses.” I quote him here due to our growing inability to travel abroad, while Trump announced his intention to send humans to the Moon and NASA explains its potential. Nicolás travelled to Turkey last night to meet with Erdogan.

Yesterday was National Broadcaster Day, in celebration of the 87th anniversary of Radio Caracas Radio (750 AM), the oldest radio station in the country. In addition to its symbolic value, RCR also has an important political value, as it continues to be a space of radical dissent in most of its daily schedule, despite harassment, threats, lawsuits and fines. Cheers for our broadcasters! Congratulations to all the people in RCR!

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