Lumps of coal for everyone

Your daily briefing for Sunday, January 7, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.


While lawmaker Omar Barboza starts his period as speaker of the National Assembly tweeting about the need to determine “the root cause” which has turned our country into a poverty factory —where has this guy been all these years?— the government, through Sundde, continues with its controlled lootings in supermarket chains, imposing absurd prices, taking no responsibility for each bankrupt company. They want to take over whatever Fama de América, Lácteos Los Andes or La Gaviota can’t produce anymore -regardless of dwindling inventories or the companies’ resupply capacity-, and they want it without explaining that the State is set to reduce imports by 40%. The epic story behind the “Dakazo” may not work this time.

There’s no food, but also no medicines, cash, electrical power, transport, water or cooking gas. We lack solid guarantees to live with normality, but Nicolás would rather celebrate Guaicaipuro’s campaign, while hundreds of people try to take advantage of the fake low prices.

The order

A memo signed by the supervisor for the protection of socio-economic rights (ha!), establishes the guidelines for the operation “Supermarket Chains“ -which is also called “All against the war” in the same document-, starting with the request for the full list of prices up to December 15, 2017, of the full inventory of products in each branch supermarket, the inspection of all warehouses and in case the chains are storing merchandise without selling, they had to put it for sale. After this, inspectors would verify if the chains had been hoarding products.

The order includes finding out what supermarkets are doing with the cash they receive and review their bank transactions, as well as the coordination with the respective ZODI. It was inspiring that the supervisor specified that the officials who don’t comply with each of the described steps, would face administrative penalties, as well as the ban of stock resupply “until further notice.” The government wants shortages to be far worse so that they can make people more dependant on their resources, while they destroy the whole productive chain and collapses the supply of food as malnutrition is on the rise, with hunger setting the pace.

Ridiculous and stupid

This Saturday, Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López expressed his “great shock” for the new sanctions imposed by the U.S. State Department on four of his comrades in arms, calling them an infamous, vulgar and obscene blackmail against the Armed Forces, calling them ridiculous and stupid; key adjectives in the military language. The minister asked for information on the investigations that justify the accusations for corruption and crimes against humanity weighing on his comrades -because you know, each accusation made by the government is always undeniably backed by an investigation- and remarked that the sanctions are part of “a strategy of hybrid war whose purpose is undermining the government’s pillars” to cause ungovernability and carry out domination plans.

Curaçao speaks

“This decision is regrettable. There was no previous diplomatic approach. We’re assessing the risks and consequences of this measure,” said Curazao prime minister Eugene Rhuggenaath, regarding Nicolás’ decision to shut down communication with Aruba, Curazao and Bonaire and order the takeover of ports and airports. Rhuggenaath emphasized that there’s a relationship of neighbouring countries between the nations that they value greatly and that his government will always be open to cooperated in the fight against illegal trafficking. He added that he’ll meet the general Consul to review the details and the concrete policy of the measure and fulfill the steps to restore communications. The government is yet to explain why a measure against trafficking will only last 72 hours.

Fierce media campaign

While people discuss the consequences of Sundde’s controlled lootings, chavismo flooded social networks with messages regarding the alleged discussions -in the 335 municipalities across the country!- about the next plan de la patria which surely must be printed already with a giant picture of Nicolás’ mustache. Minister Jorge Rodríguez took the opportunity to denounce the dissemination of negative news on Venezuela and cited Reuters as an example, because according to him, 60% of the news this agency reports show negativity, disregarding the joy that defines Venezuelans, starting for defining the carnet de la patria as the “digital government’s most powerful tool,” following with the seven million people who allegedly registered to get their Bono de Reyes and finishing up with the suggestion that the elegant minister Rodríguez made to the opposition delegation that will travel to the Dominican Republic: “We’ll be waiting for you there with a bottle of Hirudoid or with a stronger anti-inflammatory cream.”

Resignation

Lawmaker Timoteo Zambrano resigned to his post in the opposition’s negotiation team after being accused several times of allegedly collaborating with the government. He claims that he’s always defended dialogue as a viable solution to the crisis and as a route to restore the accord of political and social cohabitation, saying that progress is impossible without that accord. Zambrano assumes that various actors within MUD (including his own peers in the dialogue delegation) argued against his candidacy as National Assembly Speaker because he defended these ideas. Therefore, if he was barred from leading the AN, he also feels that he’s barred from negotiations, so he’s resigning out of coherence. Zambrano finishes his letting appealing to the sincerity of the political leadership, wishing them good fortune in talks and the crystallization of the necessary agreement.

Another potential absence

Mexican Foreign minister Luis Videgaray Caso sent a letter to Dominican President Danilo Medina, expressing his concern for the Venezuelan government’s behaviour in recent days, which could put his mediation in doubt and binding it to the possibility of achieving the necessary conditions, because he believes that political negotiation is the only route to ”reach a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis.” Videgaray is one of the five mediators for negotiations between the government and the opposition.

The newspaper La Nación in Táchira stopped circulating for lack of newsprint, a new “accomplishment” of the censorship policy that the Executive developed through the Alfredo Maneiro Corporation and its control on newsprint. As you can read, my friends, the Reyes Magos brought us nothing but coal this year.

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