Nothing is agreed

Your daily briefing for Sunday, January 14, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

21


This Saturday, the government and the opposition concluded the third day of the third round of negotiations in the Dominican Republic. After 10 hours behind closed doors, president Danilo Medina said: “My words will be brief. Nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed.”

So the only agreement was meeting again next Thursday, January 18 at 9:00 a.m.

The government’s version

After pointing out that chavistas are characterized for refusing imperial pressure, minister Jorge Rodríguez repeated his favorite mantra: “We’ve found consensus in the vast majority of points,” smiling because that’s good news for everyone. He claimed that he knows there was intense pressure to finish off negotiations, adding that his right to denounce “the sanctions and attacks committed by Donald Trump” must be respected.

For some reason, he said that Venezuela’s giving the world an example of dignity (because of looting?, prison inmates armed for war?, hyperinflation?,) and he hopes that the agreement will be signed next January 18.

MUD’s version

Lawmaker Julio Borges said that they’re negotiating “to build a solution to overcome Venezuela’s colossal crisis,” and that they must make an effort to build it. He claimed that, far from helping, easy solutions would only intensify the crisis. Aware of the hopelessness of waiting for a new meeting, he explained that they can’t improvise, that they must persist and that there have been important progress regarding sensitive issues such as food and medicines, although he didn’t mention the humanitarian channel. He emphasized that they’ve kept the meetings going due to their solid stances, saying that: “We could never agree on something that won’t benefit the country.” For January 18, both parties must offer proposals for unresolved points.

Bile on social media

These three days went by among thousands of predictions regarding the resounding failure of negotiations, with rumors and rushed claims that didn’t coincide with closing messages. The process’ opaqueness didn’t help. MUD advisor team members tweeted their opinions; so, Colette Capriles wrote: “All negotiation processes are difficult but this one, which involves the defense of essential rights, of Venezuelan lives, is even more difficult”; while lawyer Juan Manuel Raffalli said: “The opposition remains firm in its stance. We’ve made progress to find solution. The crisis demands it and the country deserves it.”

Jorge Roig expressed his solidarity with the negotiation team for the strength they showed during process. Lastly, as a reply to a tweet from a guy with 54 followers who said “This is definitely a damn mockery,” economist Asdrúbal Oliveros wrote: “What’s the mockery? That the opposition remains strong in the demands they brought to the Dominican Republic and won’t accept just any agreement?”

Crisis in Guárico

This Saturday, several shops were looted in Calabozo, and their owners demanded the intervention of security forces and even the use of Army helicopters. Riots also broke out in Zaraza and San Juan de Los Morros, and in southern Valencia (Carabobo), the food stored in the “Casa del Buen Vivir” were also taken.

In the afternoon, Calabozo’s streets were militarized; Cumaná (Sucre) also remains militarized to prevent lootings. In addition to food riots, San Juan de Los Morros stood out because of the riot in the “26 de julio” prison, with prisoners threatening to blow up the building with grenades. They were demanding the transfer of 25 fellow inmates to Tocorón prison, according to lawmaker Adriana Pichardo, who denounced that 15 political prisoners were held in this prison, but they were transferred later.

Abroad

Thomas Shannon, U.S. State Undersecretary for Political Affairs, spoke of the coordination of new diplomatic actions to create a web of sanctions against the Venezuelan government, specifically against authorities who have engaged in violence against the people or against the democratic process; understanding sanctions as part of the pressure to persuade the government that the solution to the crisis hangs on a successful negotiation. Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza reacted saying that Shannon travelled to Spain to “convey direct orders for the European Union to keep attacking Venezuela” and that it would be sad for the EU to continue submitting to Donald Trump’s orders.

In Colombia, after the meeting held to discuss the peace process, UN secretary general António Guterres and president Juan Manuel Santos offered a press conference to talk about the consequences of the serious crisis that’s hitting Venezuela, with Guterres expressing his concern and restating his willingness to mobilize international support for the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from Venezuela.

Lastly, the Spanish Council of Ministers agreed extraditing former manager of PDVSA subsidiary Bariven César Rincón Godoy to the United States. The Spanish government still has former Energy vice-minister Nervis Villalobos in custody, along with former PDVSA security director Rafael Reiter and former Electricidad de Caracas finance director Luis Carlos León.

Sad news

Filmmaker Diego Rísquez died yesterday due to a brain tumor. He was 68 years old and he managed to create a style, a way of making movies, since his first film, “Bolívar, sinfonía tropikal,“ going through “Orinoko, nuevo mundo”; “Amérika, tierra incógnita”; “Manuela Sáenz”; “Francisco de Miranda”; “Reverón” and “El Malquerido”.

Julio Borges was clear, brief and informative. Not agreeing on anything until everything is agreed, means respecting the importance of each demand in the agenda while facing an contender like chavismo. I reserve my fury for them. They’re the only ones responsible for this crisis measured in deaths caused by malnutrition, treatable diseases, unpunished crimes, the shortage of certainties and despair. Chavismo is responsible for the lack of agreement.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Lastly, the Spanish Council of Ministers agreed extraditing former manager of PDVSA subsidiary Bariven César Rincón Godoy to the United States. The Spanish government still has former Energy vice-minister Nervis Villalobos in custody, along with former PDVSA security director Rafael Reiter and former Electricidad de Caracas finance director Luis Carlos León.

    That is good news.

  2. “Spanish Council of Ministers agreed extraditing former manager of PDVSA subsidiary Bariven César Rincón Godoy to the United States”

    Sure would like a link to that story. Typed in those words above and it took me straight to here!

  3. MUD needs to negotiate from the position of strength.

    Humanitarian aid is needed immediately. Either Chavismo acknowledges this and allows immediate aid without conditions, or it doesn’t. The MUD needs to say nothing more, and no further engagement is required until those conditions are met. Maduro et alli are the ones holding power over who does/doesn’t eat. It is up to them, not MUD to offer concessions.

    The negotiations start after Chavismo has their nose rubbed in it.

  4. What’s the point of any of this?

    If MUD capitulates and requests the lifting of financial sanctions, why should the U.S. comply anyway? If it does, nothing is accomplished towards helping VZ, and if it doesn’t, what then?

    MUD ALSO portrays the U.S. as the bad guy?

    This can’t end well. A positive end scenario doesn’t exist.

    • Agree 100%

      The problem is life long ass-kissing sycophants are negotiating across the table with life long ass-kissing sycophants…. neither has any skin in the game, and the only thing they know is kissing ass.

      Here is how you negotiate with Delcy

      Delcy, In order for any agreement to be made, the MUD must…

      MUD: No. No talking. Just doing. You allow humanitarian aid in without conditions. No discussions. People are dying under your watch.

      Delcy, If you want food and drugs delivered, then you must concede…

      MUD: No. Humanitarian aid without conditions. Yes or no.

      Delcy: But we must negotiate…

      MUD: No, you need to shut your yap and quit talking and start doing. Humanitarian aid now, or goodbye. No further talks until aid is allowed in without conditions.

      Delcy: But negotiating…

      MUD: Goodbye.

  5. At this point, there is NO advantage to either the MUD politicians themselves or to the Country to reach any agreement where the current government stays in power. The sanctions are all well and good. But even without the sanctions, there’s no way to refinance the debt while Maduro and Company (that includes the ANC of course) remain in charge. If their natural allies (China and Russia, of course, the rest of them are broke) won’t lend the country a cent. Why would any international financial institution do so? They’ll demand the IMF to step in. And, of course the IMF is going to demand major changes in economic policy. Changes Maduro and his cronies will not accept nor implement. So, Chavistas are simply fighting for a meatless carcass, and they’re running out of time. As callous as this may sound, there is no advantage of any kind, to ANYONE except probably Chavistas involved in Drug Trafficking, in reaching an agreement of any kind where the current government remains in charge. They have to go, period.

    • What do you mean?

      The sanctions don’t allow VZ to issue new bonds, which is their way of refinancing the debt.

      It’s like applying for a credit card with a $5,000 limit to pay off the debt of a maxed out $2,500 credit card whose interest has bloomed its debt to $5,000.

      • Let’s say there are no sanctions. Let’s say that Maduro & Co issue new bonds, Who’s going to buy them? other than those that expect to buy them 20 cents on the Dollar and then get paid full price when they mature? That worked till November. After Maduro’s little refinancing stunt, I doubt anyone would bother buying bonds. Because they know that sure, he’ll bankrupt the country to pay the bonds. But the country is already bankrupt. Everyone knows that the only income we have comes from Oil exports (after the Chinese get their cut), Everyone knows that Oil production is going down fast and will continue to go down because he can’t pay for the international assistance needed to make those fields produce. Everyone knows we’re on a death spiral and it’s a matter of weeks (or at best, two months) before we collapse. No way anybody is going to buy 10 year bonds, sanctions or no sanctions,

          • Let’s say there are enough enchufados chavistas willing (and that’s the sticky part, WILLING) to buy the bonds with the US$ 300 billion they stole, furthermore they buy them at 20 cents to the dollar. That means a lot of bonds, just to break even. Remember the government issues those bonds to raise cash. The last bond sale was a disaster, they had be sold at an 80% discount. And they’re going to wait 5, 10 years for the bonds to mature? Let’s say they don’t wait because they’re enchufados, with what money are they going to be paid? they can do that ONCE, but that’s all the chance they get. As it is, we’re hanging by a thread. We’re already in default. International investors are probably deciding if they’ll trigger acceleration, depending on the bond payments on March. So, I find it hard to believe. Besides, if Chavista Enchufados are going to buy the bonds, the sanctions don’t pose an insurmountable problem, they can use Russian or Chinese banks instead of US financial institutions

  6. ‘…mientras que el abogado Juan Manuel Raffalli expresó‏: “La oposición firme en sus posiciones. Se ha avanzado para buscar soluciones.” ‘

    This really does highlight the absurdity of the negotations. The opposition wants changes to the CNE, restoration of parliamentary power, release of political prisoners and a humanitarian aid channel without partisan control. The government wants recognition of the ANC and for the AN to help them lift economic sanctions.

    What exactly is there to talk about? And why do I feel a chill when the opposition spokesperson talks about making progress while standing firm? From other comments about progress on food and medecines, it would not surprise me to learn shortly that the opposition has agreed that a humanitarian aid channel will be opened up with all distribution under the control of the government.

  7. It’s like both sides want to claim success with the talks, which really means, taking personal credit.

    But in reality, each side wants to claim VICTORY in the talks, which of course, can’t happen. You can’t have two winners.

    They can both CLAIM victory, but any ending which gives both sides an out to do so means a hollow victory:

    Nothing substantial can possibly be accomplished. It’s just impossible.

    We all know the story and what needs to be done.

  8. And here on the ground where there’s no cash, no food, and ZERO employment, you think I could find two swinging dicks this morning to help me move 4,000 kilos of maiz? Nope, no way.

    I walked over to the local market where 20 young men were standing around with their hands in their empty pockets and not one of them wanted the work. Not one! “The money doesn’t buy anything so it’s not worth it”, said one of them. For those of you who don’t understand the intricacies of the local dialect, that actually translates to, “we don’t need to work because tonight we’re going to steal something that’s worth ten times what you’re offering”.

    Fuckers. I hope they starve to death or get killed in the act of robbing some poor bastard tonight.

      • We have a name for people who cherry pick which parts of our Constitution and Bill of Rights they like in the United States.

        They are called Sheeple. They are the first ones that despots would go after when the shit starts coming down. Easily led. Easily slaughtered.

  9. From Aporrea (Google translation):

    January 15, 2017.- The President of the Republic Nicolás Maduro, announced during his annual presentation of Memory and Account to the ANC, a bond table that will protect more than 4 million Venezuelan families.

    This table will go for 2 members: Bs. 320 thousand monthly, 3 members: Bs. 490 thousand, 4: Bs 660 thousand, 5: Bs 830 thousand, 6: Bs 1 million, 7: Bs 1,170,000, 8: Bs 1,340 .000, 9: Bs 1,510,000 and 10: Bs 1,680,000.

    On the other hand, informed the country the holding of presidential elections for this year 2018.

    https://www.aporrea.org/economia/n319709.html

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