Retrieving the Prize

For Thursday, December 14, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

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This Wednesday, National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges received the Sakharov Prize for Thought Freedom. He asked the European Union to send an official mission for presidential elections in 2018, in order to guarantee their fairness, and said that the opposition receives the prize on behalf of those who suffer and deserve a future of opportunities, and that the award honors the memory of Venezuelans murdered by the brutal repression against peaceful protests in 2017. Borges said that the fight to recover democracy will go on and that “sooner rather than later, the long fight for dignity, referred to by Sakharov, will yield its fruits and allow us to reconquer our freedom.”

European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani expressed his desire that Venezuela returns to democracy, and said that the award is for all Venezuelans in the world and that the National Assembly like all Parliaments in the world is a symbol of democracy and diversity of opinion and that by granting them this prize, they’re defending their respective Constitutions, their institutions and their branch autonomy, essential elements of democracy together with freedom of expression.

Despite the prize

  • The Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) approved a protective measure for professor Santiago Guevara, arrested by the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence in February, accused of treason and instigation to rebellion.
  • Amnesty International requested specialized medical attention for student leader Villca Fernández, in prison since January 2016, because she’s suffered from hypertension, bronchitis, back pains and gastrointestinal problems. The Prosecutor’s Office issued an order to transfer him to a hospital, but the transfer has been postponed five times.
  • Lawmaker Edgar Zambrano spoke for the rights of the Metropolitan Police officers and of former Security Director Iván Simonovis, prosecuted for the events in April 2002, in a letter to imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab demanding the granting of their respective judicial benefits.
  • After a year and a half of detention in SEBIN, the preliminary hearing of American Joshua Holt and his girlfriend Thamara Caleño, arrested during an OLP in Ciudad Caribia, was held this Wednesday. The judge sent them to trial.
  • Former mayor Delson Guárate escaped Venezuela through the Colombian border. He said that they wanted to take him back to SEBIN El Helicoide, where he was imprisoned for a year.

Silence isn’t peace

The IACHR’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Edison Lanza, spoke yesterday in a forum of NGO Espacio Público which studied the hate “law” imposed by the ANC, explaining its implications on human rights and confirming assessments regarding the leeway this represents for the discretional administration of a justice without independence. Created as one more instrument of political persecution and not as a law to prevent hate crimes, Lanza explained that there are “less restrictive ways to regulate this (hate crimes), but they’re using criminal law with severe punishments” and that no law in the hemisphere imposes such severe punishments to regulate expression, which means its purpose is censoring and inhibiting the dissemination of information, giving the government “an arsenal of tools to intervene contents, censor the media and establish sanctions for the media.” Lanza mentioned that the IACHR is preparing a report on Venezuela.

Bankrupt

In OPEC’s most recent report, Venezuela reported that its current oil output is 1.83 million barrels per day, which was the minimum output back in the 80’s and represents a 6% drop compared to last month, proving that the collapse of oil production continues at an alarming rate. The report also shows the decline in the amount of active drills, which were about 70 up to 2016 and has now dropped to 40 in 2017. Another drop in production would collapse the necessary cash flow to sustain production and to pay debts, while the financial sanctions and the technical default make it much harder for partners to invest in joint ventures. PDVSA doesn’t have the capacity or the willingness to take the necessary measures to accomplish the changes it requires, even less in the hands of a general with no experience in energy matters. Ah! The GDP per capita is in 1955 levels. When you can, check the work of professor Francisco Monaldi in Prodavinci: PDVSA’s death spiral.

The misaligned

Nicolás ratified that Venezuela and the members of the Movement of Unaligned Countries pledge their full solidarity and support of Palestine’s cause, and condemn Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He had the nerve to call for “compliance with the resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations, due to their binding nature,” as well as justifying Palestine’s fight with the “unalienable right to be free and their right to self-determination,” so he obviously condemns violations of international law (like every sentence ignored by the government) and actions without judicial validity (like the imposed “election” of the ANC), which are null and void (like the “laws” issued by the ANC). Isn’t he cute?

Brief and serious

  • The public transport fee in Caracas will rise to Bs. 1,000 starting on December 15.
  • They’re up again: Bs. 102,277 per dollar and Bs. 120,285 per euro!
  • The 60,000 tons of wheat that arrived to the country yesterday will only be enough to cover the national demand for 15 days.
  • Decrees N° 3.196, authorizing the creation of the Bureau on Cryptocurrencies and Related Activities, and N° 3.197, appointing Carlos Vargas Urbina as Cryptocurrency Supervisor, were published in Official Gazette N° 41.296.
  • This Wednesday, Zulia’s new governor Omar Prieto took his oath of office before the ANC. I don’t know what was prettier: whether it was him yelling “Chávez vive” after the induction, or Prieto explaining that he won thanks to his “socialist, humanist and deeply Christian” government plan.

María Gracia Sosa, a 29-year old surgeon who left the country for Uruguay, won this country’s Master Chef and was granted a vehicle, $200,000, a course in the Crandon Institute and a trip to Spain to receive training in the restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. The Venezuelan won by cooking rice with mussels, shrimp with plantain chips; shrimp with avocado cream and mango chutney, and passion fruit mousse with crispy chocolate!

13 COMMENTS

  1. “passion fruit mousse with crispy chocolate!” I don’t know how a person would make chocolate crispy, but I’m willing to try.

  2. “The Venezuelan won by cooking rice with mussels, shrimp with plantain chips; shrimp with avocado cream and mango chutney, and passion fruit mousse with crispy chocolate!”

    Oh my. The aunties like to think that they are on top of all things culinary in Venezeula, but this sounds like a challenge has been set!

  3. Does anyone know if the MUD still plan to show up for the “dialogue” tomorrow after Maduro banned some of the coalition from participating in the up incoming Pres. elections.

    Also, why is United Nations Special Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas report not coming out until September?
    Yes, I know UN red tape and all but by then it is possible that PDVSA, thus Maduro, do not even have dollars to import any food or medicine.

    • I suggest that everyone look up who exactly this Special Rapporteur de Zayas really is. He certainly is a friend to all things Marx, and is very well known for his “Hitler apologist worldviews”. He is a darling for the holocaust deniers. A Google search ought to clear up any misgivings as to what is important to this guy.

      I certainly wouldn’t bet that this guy is a friend to democracy. He has already made the claim that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

      “I agree with the FAO [UN Food and Agriculture Organization] and CEPAL [Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean] that the so-called humanitarian crisis does not exist in Venezuela, although there are shortages, scarcity, and distribution delays, etc….What is important is to get to know the causes and take measures against contraband, monopolies, hoarding, corruption, manipulation of the currency and the distortions in the economy caused by an economic and financial war which includes [the effects of international] sanctions and pressure,” — Alfred De Zayas

  4. And here it comes…

    Darío Vivas: “I do not rule out an advance of the presidential elections”

    http://www.noticierodigital.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=89308

    As I thought, the Chavistas are running out of money, ergo they are short on time. What better way to solidify your hold on power when the well-oiled voter fraud machine is warm? Certainly the CNE and TSJ can see to it that the ANC’s will be done.

    I expect 15 million voters, with 103% voting for Maduro!

    • They have nothing to offer. Income doesn’t cover current expenses let alone debt payment.
      The only option the regime has is transferring ownership of assets.

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