Nationalizing the Regions

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Ahead of their meeting with Nicolás last night, the country’s 23 governors and 335 mayors participated in a planning workshop of the Territorial Government System taught by vice-president Tareck El Aissami an authority on the matter ; at least that’s what official outlets reported. The key message was the need to accelerate the process to solve the problems they have created by themselves, and which continue to deteriorate. So the magic formula will be national plans for garbage collection, water treatment, public transport, electrical power and security. It was genius of them to talk about nationwide plans even though they’re working with authorities created to decentralize public administration.

Above the law

Nicolás said that a new emergency decree will be imposed in order to optimize public contracts in mayor’s and governor’s offices, “going above the limitations of the Law on Public Contracts (…) the law isn’t adjusted to Venezuela’s inflation levels caused by the economic war.” He asked the Federal Government Council to issue a decree handing over all of the resources of the Inter-territorial Compensation Fund so that state and municipal authorities can start working on contracts “and we can avoid a late, bureaucratic and outdated methodology.” This comes at the same time as the report on PDVSA presented by the nepotic comptroller Manuel Galindo, which he hopes will “strengthen the State’s capacity to promote transparency and efficiency in the handling of resources in the public sector.” Hahahaha!

Clear priorities

According to Nicolás, there are always problems in life, but we can solve one at a time: “first transport, then inflation; we’ll fix the country little by little,” as if hunger and epidemics could be solved with spare parts, as if transporting bodies was more important than food and health care. He approved thousands of millions of bolivars and euros to improve the transport system, the garbage collection system, the water program and to finish the works of the Yutong bus assembling plant. He had few memorable quotes, but this one stands out: “I’ve thought of closing all form of sea and air communication with Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, because the amount of trafficking towards those islands is terrible,” promising a surprise he’s still unable to reveal. The tired excuse of trafficking to explain shortages found a more attractive route at sea.

The hunger games

The food basket’s November price was Bs. 3,822,128, a 40.1% (Bs. 1,094,522) inter-monthly variation, higher than the one reported in October (Bs. 882,769). The purchasing power of Venezuelans is the lowest in 19 years, since the new minimum wage can barely pay for 4.6% of the basket. This explains food protests and riots reported in several of the country’s states and which included demonstrations dispersed with tear gas and pellets, and the looting of a deli truck in Azoátegui. Last night, Nicolás claimed that they’ll start distributing toys and perniles via CLAP today, although according to Freddy Bernal, they’d already started.

Drug trafficking without nephews

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab reported the dismantling of a drug trafficking network managed by Yoel Palmar, whom he called “the biggest kingpin in drug trafficking from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic,” adding that he owns the casino Malecón Palace and that he was identified for the confiscation of 140 packs of drugs in the Santo Domingo airport, which led to the arrest of 13 members of Palmar’s criminal organization, including five National Guards and five authorities of Maiquetía Airport. Palmar was arrested a few days ago in the Dominican Republic and the Prosecutor’s Office is processing his extradition. Of course, Saab accused Luisa Ortega Díaz of protecting Palmar and other drug traffickers. He presented a balance of the PO’s actions against drug trafficking without a single mention of the narcosobrinos. 🙁

The choro dance

Franklin Paúl Hernández was murdered during a riot in Uribana prison, Lara state. His alias preceded him: Franklin Masacre, former pran of the Penitenciaría General de Venezuela. He became famous in 2016 for a long conflict with the prison’s leadership, which revealed even mass graves with the bodies of inmates whose families were ignored by the State. Something similar happened in April of that year with the previous pran of Vista Hermosa prison, “Wilmito”, who was transferred to Tocorón and later murdered by pran El Niño Guerrero, who’s still alive. Franklin Masacre’s murder is the second most important case in the last few days, because the decomposing body of Juvenal Antonio Braco, leader of the Mega Gang “El Juvenal”, and scourge of Guárico and parts of Aragua, was found last Saturday.


While Samuel Moncada presented his credentials before the UN Secretary General as ambassador in charge of Venezuela and the criticized Honduran president called the opposition to a “dialogue to reach a national accord,” U.S. State secretary Rex Tillerson arrived in Canada to meet with prime minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, to discuss the Venezuelan situation and the Lima Group’s activities.

Additionally, in an official visit to Spain, Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno regretted that there are “too many political prisoners” in Venezuela as well as the “evidence of so many dead” in 2017 protests, adding that “Nations always find their way; we should stop thinking that we’re entitled to intervene in the solution of other country’s problems.”

Yesterday, Florida governor Rick Scott spoke of creating a law strictly barring the State and all its agencies from doing business with companies linked with the Venezuelan government.

Yesterday, minister Motta Domínguez said: “Monday’s blackout was caused by sabotage, an explosion caused by human hands, we found a tool like a bamboo with a hook near the area.” Now we know that a bamboo with a hook is all that’s necessary to leave three states in the dark for several hours.

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.