Photo: Fundación Reflejos de Venezuela

Late last night, the Supreme Tribunal’s Constitutional Chamber issued a ruling signed by its chairman, Juan José Mendoza, former PSUV lawmaker, who sworn his oath of office in December 2010 before the National Assembly with Cilia Flores as Speaker, violating the Constitution he’s pretending to defend now. The ruling partially voids the CNE’s call for revalidation of political parties imposed by the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), ordering that the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) be excluded from the process, because it’s an umbrella group of parties, which allegedly violates the ban on double membership. And thus, the TSJ surpasses the argument of open trials in severe states for alleged fraud in the signature collection process for the recall referendum in 2016, which had been preventing MUD from re-registering in those states, raising more obstacles for electoral participation, violating voting rights.

The ruling also orders the CNE to reschedule the revalidation calendar, giving it six months to carry out the order, a period that exceeds the time imposed by the ANC to hold presidential elections.

Lastly, rectora Tania D’Amelio believes that, since Voluntad Popular won’t take part in the revalidation process, it won’t be recognized by the Electoral Branch, in her words: “They annulled themselves.”

And speaking of bowing…

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab said that they’ll request the arrest of former minister Rafael Ramírez and the activation of an international red alert to help with his capture.

Ramírez stands accused of embezzlement, money laundering and criminal association.

Saab also said that they’ll open an investigation against lawmaker Tomás Guanipa, for inciting violence during the protests of 2017, which makes him guilty of continued public instigation and criminal association.

He still had the nerve to offer condolences to the families of the victims of the massacre at El Junquito, “because they’re Venezuelan.” He said nothing about whether they’re investigating the events that led to an extrajudicial execution, but he called for a debate on human rights and for condemnation against an armed power grab.

Reactions

Rafael Ramírez tweeted that “the Prosecutor General’s infamous accusations constitute an abuse of power” and a reprisal for his proposal of holding primaries within PSUV, because according to him, they want to impose Nicolás’ candidacy, as well as “silencing and criminalizing dissent.” He later said on CNN (yes, on CNN) that the country’s situation is unsustainable, that there are no essential rights in Venezuela and that the authoritarian process is accelerating.

Lawmaker Tomás Guanipa also condemned Saab’s statements and said that jailing opponents won’t solve the country’s needs, cautioning that anyone who confronts the government’s decisions will be “accused, prosecuted and imprisoned.”

Lastly, lawmaker Delsa Solórzano replied to Saab in a long Twitter thread, where she not only calls his credibility as a human rights defender into question, but also urges him to answer very specific inquiries on human rights violations he hasn’t said a word about.

Medina calls for dialogue

From the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Dominican president Danilo Medina announced yesterday that the next meetings to resume dialogue will take place on January 28 and 29, because he still believes it’s “the best solution for Venezuela and for its people,” so he called for more voices in the international community to join negotiations, “to quell rather than intensify the rise in violence that will inevitably split Venezuela and likely all of Latin America in two, should it continue.”

Lawmaker Luis Florido replied to Medina

The opposition appreciates Medina’s efforts, he said, “but if the government is unwilling to make progress, if they won’t offer any signal that they’ll provide electoral guarantees and, on the contrary, they convene early elections and shut down Voluntad Popular, resuming dialogue will be impossible.”

The negotiating team is yet to issue a joint answer for Medina.

Venezuela, the black spot

Presidential elections in several Latin American countries were one issue the IMF used to explain the uncertainty regarding the sustainability of the current economic recovery. Latin America grew at a 1.3% rate in 2017 and the IMF estimates that it’ll rebound to 1.9% this year and will reach 2.6% in 2019. The only economy that suffered a contraction was Venezuela’s and it’ll happen again in 2018.

Venezuela is the black spot in the region and it has a disproportionate impact on the rest of the countries: our economy will contract by 15%, with huge instability and a greater distortion. IMF estimates 13,000% inflation for Venezuela and most Venezuelan economists on social media argued that this estimate is conservative.

Meanwhile, BCV Auction Committee chief Pedro Maldonado presented the new Dicom scheme and I won’t waste lines on it, once again, the economists agreed that it won’t help solve the economy’s ailments, because the problem resides in FX controls. Period.

Abroad

  • In a statement for La W Radio, president Juan Manuel Santos restated his condemnation for early elections: “Until there aren’t sufficient guarantees for a transparent election, I think nobody is going to recognize electoral results in Venezuela.”
  • The Venezuelan government decided to label Spanish Ambassador in Venezuela Jesús Silva Fernández as persona non grata, “in virtue of the constant attacks and recurrent interference in our country’s internal affairs.” Read the statement, the arguments they use to accuse Spain of being a poor administration, are an astonishing projection exercise.
  • Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis announced that the Council of Ministers “will take proportionate reciprocity measures.” He regretted that the Spanish ambassador was expelled from Venezuela and condemned the accusation that Spain promotes sanctions under U.S. orders, although he admitted that his country’s stance is quite active and that it leads that line of pressure in Europe.
  • Argentine president Mauricio Macri said: “I’m not at all optimistic about the likelihood of change in Venezuela; it’s not a democracy. Sadly, its citizens are suffering greatly and things are getting worse.”
  • Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, said: “Maduro continues to disregard the welfare of the Venezuelan people and rob them of their democracy […] The United States will not stand idle as the people of Venezuela continue to be victimized by the Maduro regime.”
  • Fully coherent with his rejection of foreign meddling, the Venezuelan government expressed its absolute solidarity and support for Luis Inácio Lula Da Silva, “for the anti-judicial procedure that seeks to disqualify him and block his imminent election as President of Brazil.”

Nicolás was bold enough to hold an event with women during which he claimed that he wants to register “at least five million women committed to vote” in the carnet de la patria system. He was profuse in barbarities, but it’s unacceptable that he defines himself as “defender” of women’s rights in a country where we’ve suffered an abysmal setback on reproductive rights, without sexual health services, or family planning methods, or even sanitary pads or tampons! It’s immoral for him to “celebrate with women” when maternal deaths spiked by 65% in just one month under his government. We have the second highest teenage pregnancy rate and cases of violence against women aren’t investigated or processed.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. There seems to be a kink in the armor from the Miami Herald.
    “The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, hated by much of the country’s population and sanctioned by a growing number of countries, is facing problems keeping the police and military happy as food shortages and hyperinflation start to hit their barracks.

    Recent meetings and internal documents of the Venezuelan armed forces point to concern in the Maduro regime as troops grow more demoralized and commanders report an increase in the number of insubordination cases and desertions.

    In addition to the signs of unrest among the Army and National Guard units, the government also faces a tense relationship with the investigative police agency known by its initials in Spanish, CICPC, after the recent public execution of rebel policeman Oscar Perez, who was killed by security forces in an assault broadcast live through social media..

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article196828514.html

  2. The way I figure it, Ramirez has to still be in the U.S.

    How could he fly out of the country without the record of it not being revealed by anyone? I doubt the American government got clandestinely involved in concealing this, let alone sneaking him out.

    Canada and Mexico are also possibilities though, because not only are they also sympathetic to the anti-Maduro cause, they’re viewed as less “Imperialist Gringo.” And one can cross the borders in a car, where crossings aren’t as telegraphed as flying. (I think.)

    However, would the U.S. government WANT him out? Probably yes, to lay the headache somewhere else, but they couldn’t really do anything to stop him from leaving anyway. Until now.

    So I come back to him still in the states, trying to cut a deal, and authorities deciding whether to give him one. And you know what?

    Probably not, because we have a real president now.

    Learn what we can, and let’s drop his ass from a plane over Miraflores.

    With a parachute of course, because we’re not animals.

    • Get as many skeletons from him as possible, hold on to him till chavismo falls, then extradite him. He can spend as long as needed in protective custody. For his own good, of course.

  3. This is the “purge” stage of the revolution. I wonder how many of the former inner circles of Lenin were actually surprised they were about to be shot by Stalin in 1930s? (I’m sure no one was surprised by the 40s-50s.)

    The “ploy and sea” guy does not like being accused. Responds by proclaiming his Communist/Chavista bonafides, and accuses the current inner circle of having stolen loot.

    “Open letter for Tarek, Adan, Alí ​​Rodríguez and Diosdado” (google translation):

    “There, public, is my declaration of assets. As you can see, I have no material fortune that may interest the Comptroller, any accusation of corruption will crash into an austere life, as a classic said: “there is no corruption without material fortune”. To illustrate my situation: it would be to my advantage to change all my “material fortune” for twenty percent of the fortune of any of the high officials of the government, of the governors, of the ministers, of some, perhaps, up to five per cent. hundred. It would not be a bad idea if the declaration of assets of the high officials were made publicly.”

    https://www.aporrea.org/ideologia/a258383.html

    I’d like some of that 5%, too. (but not in bs.)

      • Typo by me. Should be “plow” and sea. That’s what he calls his little corner of Aporrea. I

        f you are not a regular reader of Aporrea, I highly recommend it. I learn somethings about current events in Venezuela on this CC blog, mostly from Naky’s daily updates and comments from folks still in the country, like MRubio.

        But the Aporrea posters (there are LOTS of them) provide viewpoints you can’t get on CC. What can they be thinking? Well, they tell you. And more and more of them who want Maduro out.

        They want Revolution! – but the one with all the nice products, services and lifestyle that a free market provides, not the one that Maduro provides.

  4. Quite surprised at how eloquent the replies are in this post. Clearly educated even if on different sides of the isle. I am an old gringo guy who grew up in Venezuela under Perez Jimenez and later in life watch the people scream ‘imperialist go home’ while they nationalized the gravy train, the oil industry. Why let outsiders share in the profits, when we can take it all for ourselves, was the logic, even though it violated ever tenant of a workable free enterprise. Then the demand for socialism…more and more seeking a government that could provide everyone a la la land of rainbows and unicorns, but discovering that the dream was just that…a dream. A hellish dream. A nightmare. You sold your souls and now cry for rescue. Now you are surprised no one is listening or cares.

    You do the Martin Luther thing and march, all the while Chavez and Madura thumbed their noses and shoot and jailed a few of you for good measure. You cling to the false belief that this can all be resolved by negotiating with the neo-left as if they care a sh-t about you, and answer, by slowly starving you to death bit by bit on your own precious socialism. You remain dreamers. To break your chains you must fight. No, really fight. Guns and bullets that the CIA would gladly supply you if you had an opposition leader with balls to ask. You don’t get or deserve human freedom from begging for someone else to do what is your job alone. You want help? You want headlines? Then be willing to die for it. Cancer can only be eliminated by the knife or poison. But most of all, learn your lesson and never let it happen again.

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