After handing over 248 apartments in Ciudad Tiuna, Nicolás -disguised as a glacier- announced yesterday’s show as “the most important of the whole year,” although his performance didn’t support his claim. The people are conscious and wise, and must always be addressed with the truth, he said; sadly, he didn’t consider that the people are also hungry. In any case, his Delia Fiallo version is that the perniles (Christmas pork) didn’t arrive to the country because Portugal sabotaged them: “We bought all the pernil for the people, they went after our bank accounts, they went after the two giant cargo ships that were coming, they sabotaged us for now (…) we’ll settle the score later.”
Portugal has always remained neutral to our circumstances, with a better record in corruption (remember the case of the Canaimitas) and cowardice than in solidarity. It’s irrelevant if he picks a “fight” with then. Nicolás was bold enough to say: “Sabotage or not, nobody’s going to strip our people of their joy.” Because that’s how people feel in the streets, overflowing in joy without food, glad without medicines, buoyant with hyperinflation, delighted without electricity, radiant without gasoline.
One more bond
This Wednesday, the ANC created a mechanism for mining companies to pay income taxes in foreign currency and approved the Law of the Tax Regime in the Sovereign Development of the Orinoco Mining Arc. Nicolás approved a hundred thousand more pensions via the Carnet de la Patria and claimed that in 2018, 100% of pensioners will be covered!
Later, he signed the decree declaring that the cryptocoin Petro will be backed by field #1 of the Ayacucho Block of the Orinoco Oil Strip, which harbors five billion crude barrels, adding that he’ll create a special team of cryptocurrency miners to establish mining farms all over the country. With this, Nicolás confirms that the Petro isn’t a cryptocurrency but a debt certificate, another bond, backed by oil that belongs to the State which can’t be disposed of, according to the current Constitution. But in his imagination, the Petro “is born wealthy and solid, as no other cryptocurrency has been born before.”
Nicolás probably doesn’t know that cryptocurrency mining demands all the electricity we don’t have; but since he’s got his own priorities, it’s also likely that he’ll impose power rationing in all of the country’s cities just to feed BCV’s antminer farm, which he fancies will be managed by young people from the plan Chamba Juvenil.
Freedom of expression
The National Union of Press Workers (SNTP) released its yearly report for 2017, accounting for at least 500 attacks against free speech, a 26.5% increase compared to 2016. 49 media outlets were shut down in Venezuela, along with 20 newspapers that had to close due to the shortage of newsprint, whose distribution and sale are controlled by the State through the Maneiro Corporation. The report says: “the national government’s intention of silencing -at any cost- dissatisfaction for the increasingly critical economic and social situation, made 2017 the year with the greatest obstacles for the journalistic profession and consequently, for the collective exercise of the right to freedom of expression and access to public information.” Additionally, at least 66 press workers were arbitrarily detained in the exercise of their profession, beside all the attacks of State security forces against them during the coverage of anti-government protests. Just yesterday, Unicable TV journalists Naleida León and Gladifer Albornoz were arrested by the National Guard while reporting on protests in Nueva Esparta. They were released after being held for three hours, without their equipment.
The most recent report released by Mexico’s Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice ranks Caracas as the most violent city in the world for the second year in a row: “With a rate of 130.35 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants, Caracas is the most violent city in the world as it was in 2015, a situation that ratifies the severe crime crisis that Venezuela is suffering, along with other tremendously serious issues,” says the report, based on 2016 data with the murder rates of hundreds of cities in the world, not including war-torn nations. Caracas is joined by three more cities: Maturín, Ciudad Guayana and Valencia. In 2016, the official crime rate in Venezuela was 21,752 murders, while the unofficial rate was significantly higher. Today, the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence will reveal the results of their Annual Report on Violence for 2017.
Until courts reopen
The 44 recently “released” political prisoners will know the conditions of their release on January 8, because despite what Maikel Moreno said, the courts are on holiday, so there’s no service, access fo the case files or any chance of fulfilling their reporting regime as they were instructed to do soupon their release. Yesterday, they released the head of Carabobo’s Federation of Workers (Fetracarabobo), Omar Escalante, with precautionary measures. He was arrested in his home last August 8 by SEBIN agents. Ah, but following the revolving door principle that the government applies on their count of political prisoners, this Tuesday, a CONAS commission arbitrarily arrested photojournalist Héctor Pedroza Carrizo at his home without a judicial warrant. He’s being held in CONAS offices in Santa Cruz.
Former CICPC officer Óscar Pérez uploaded a video on YouTube calling for rebellion, urging Venezuelans to take “to the streets until we conquer our freedom” starting this December 27, a call which according to them, is based on articles 333 and 350 of the Constitution. With a script read in turns by his colleagues, they addressed security forces, asking them to set aside fear and come out in defense of their loved ones, calling to “avoid confrontation and further bloodshed” and cautioning that “if they suppress the Venezuelan people and their legitimate protest, we’re going to be there as well to defend Venezuela.”
In Peru, group of Frente Amplio parliamentarians, which promoted the impeachment of president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski for alleged connections with the company Odebrecht, is studying the possibility of either presenting a new vacancy motion for the pardon granted to Fujimori, or requesting that the vote made on December 21 be reconsidered. Yesterday, a new voice was added to the severe backlash caused by the pardon: Amerigo Incalcaterra, representative of the Regional Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Acnudh), regretted the decision and said that granting a pardon is a prerogative that demands a rigorous study, considering the gravity of events, and also taking the victims into account, along with their families and all the consequences of promoting impunity.
Four rural communities in San Félix took over the road leading to Upata for eleven hours, demanding food and basic services. However, the democrat Diosdado Cabello just claimed that protesting for food “isn’t fit for the revolution.” I’m not surprised by his alienation, I’m just alarmed by it. The street is heating up more and more. Many feel the despair caused by shortages and impossible prices. Ideology provides no satisfaction and indifference is exhausting.