Compulsive Liar

For Thursday, February 1, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.


Dominican President Danilo Medina said that government and opposition representatives will carry out surveys in Caracas about the progress of negotiations and reported that both parties signed a document “of which only one copy exists,” where that progress was recorded, adding that after three days of discussions both delegations will meet again in Santo Domingo.

But minister Jorge Rodríguez showed up with a different version.

He claimed that they signed a pre-agreement of peace, that “meddlers were defeated” and that the opposition didn’t bow “to the pressure of international factors”. He even attacked the Mexican foreign minister “who was in crucial talks, although he got a bit tired” and smiled because “peace triumphed”.

The opposition’s version

“We haven’t managed to build an agreement today. We’ve made progress in certain areas, but there are important areas in which we’ve made little progress (…) the document kept by president Medina lists the points in which we’ve made good progress,” said Julio Borges, ratifying the Dominican president’s statement, who emphasized the principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is discussed,” and that’s why they couldn’t offer more details. Borges explained that they’ll return to Venezuela to carry out the surveys to build a united agreement with political leaders in the country, restating that: “Either we reach an integral agreement where everyone is satisfied, or we won’t have an agreement and we’ll have to close the chapter for this stage”.

Nicolás’ version

“If there’s no pre-agreement, why are we going to meet again in 72 hours? I have the profound hope that we’ll be celebrating an agreement of peace, harmony and cohabitation within the next 72 hours between the right and the great majorities,” said Nicolás during a graduation ceremony for community physicians, saying that he has a copy of the signed document, whose only copy is actually held by President Medina. He criticized Julio Borges for denying the document’s existence, which he didn’t because he explicitly mentioned the document; and because he denied that the delegations signed an agreement, which the Dominican president denied, since a mere document is no more an agreement than Cestatickets are a salary.

With wings or without them?

Urban Agriculture Minister and CLAP secretary Freddy Bernal was appointed as “protector” of Táchira state yesterday, according to Interior Minister Néstor Reverol, who used these kind words: “Understand that Bernal will be the national government’s representation in all aspects of the state, meaning he’s president Nicolás Maduro’s governor in the state.”

With an emoji of the national flag, governor Laidy Gómez, who was sworn in by the ANC, tweeted:

“I won’t slash my veins, nor will I cry for “protectors” in Táchira, I keep working for my state, that tale of abandoning governorships is not for me. My authority was given to me by the people and through votes”; for some reason, she inspired few supportive comments.

Reverol added that the installation of Táchira’s Military Committee includes: policemen for migratory control; diagnostics of peace quadrants and the design of a plan of rural security, with an agricultural and cattle-farming census “to guarantee the security of producers.”

Nothing on Óscar Pérez, still with PDVSA

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab said that the Prosecutor’s Office carried out an operation that ended with the arrest of several Petropiar and Petrocedeño managers, as part of the corruption investigation in PDVSA, and that in this case, they discovered an attempt to create false emergencies to acquire equipment and direct currency allocation services for specific companies. They arrested Petropiar chairman Pedro Coronill Trejo, and managers Yecenia Del Carmen Alemán and Evelin Quijada, as well as beneficiaries Patrizia Amundarain and Javier Rangel Moros. Saab requested search warrants against 10 companies linked to the case. In the case of PetroCedeño, its chairman, Jesús Figueroa, involved in other investigations, also came up in recent ones. Figueroa is considered a fugitive. With the new arrests, the Prosecutor’s Office is now investigating 80 managers for crimes of corruption in PDVSA, even though none of the authorities responsible for their actions has presented at least one apology, only dramas and claims about this treason being unforgivable.

The worst ranking

Transparencia Venezuela, together with the International Budget Partnership (IBP), released the Biannual Open Budget Index, where Venezuela got 0 out of 100 points for the first time ever. Professor Christi Rangel explained that the research, carried out between August 2016 and January 2018, was done by 300 experts from 115 countries, and that the opacity in the handling of public funds, ranks the government at 110 out of the 115 studied countries. Regarding 2015, Venezuela dropped by 30 points: “Opacity helps increase control and discretionality of procedures, it’s a State policy,” said Rangel. Venezuela was also down in the Public Participation Index which studies the extent to which the government offers opportunities for participating in the budget process and out of 100 points, it scored 7. January ended yesterday and we’re still in dark about the national budget for 2018.


  • The Chilean foreign ministry issued a statement saying: “Chile will indefinitely suspend its involvement as mediator in the dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition (…) if there are no concrete conditions between the parties to hold democratic, transparent presidential elections in compliance with international standards.”
  • The American embassy asked Nicolás to have “courage” to reform the CNE and allow MUD to participate in presidential elections, adding that they believe “in a genuine dialogue.”
  • Colombian Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín said that Venezuela’s migratory situation was discussed in a Minister Council, and they also created a joint plan with the Institute of Family Welfare to establish improvement policies at the border. Colombia extended the temporary stay permit from three months to two years for Venezuelan immigrants “so they can work legally and become eligible for a health care insurance (…) whoever doesn’t have documents will have to return to Venezuela, with these measures, citizens will be safer,” Holguín explained. She remarked that the UN will open an attention center for immigrants “who have nowhere to go,” emphasizing that the matter of Venezuela is a challenge and that they have to be generous “but in an organized fashion.”
  • Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said he keeps the Geneva agreement (1966) as the main tool to resolve the territorial problems with the Esequibo that he’s never done anything about.
  • Cuba confirmed that they signed an agreement with Argelia to import oil for the next three years, to compensate for the steep drop in Venezuelan shipments.

Several statements after the end of the fifth round of negotiations in the Dominican Republic were shameful. You can criticize dialogue and even the opposition’s representatives, but supporting your attacks on Jorge Rodríguez’s statement is absurd.

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  1. “Either we reach an integral agreement where everyone is satisfied, or we won’t have an agreement and we’ll have to close the chapter for this stage”.

    No shit.

  2. Touché Milaidy….ohh I am afraid Maduro only agreed with the rat to have you as governor (as long as you spit over the elected, legal and legitimate AN) but he did not say anything about letting you govern.

    Now you have to share the power with Freddy Bestial (commercial: brought to you by Claps, all imported food for the lucky ones!). Not to worry, next is the will see how they will choke your funds and render your governorship an illusion. But you will still get to keep your security detail!.

  3. Thanks as always, but, and this is not specifically aimed at Naky, I’m waiting for an article or update explaining the end of Dipro 🙂

  4. I have this theory about rodents that perhaps is a tad extreme but who know perhaps…

    My theory is that the rat, (yes derogatory as it might be, the rat is an expert on survival and willing to eat its own species to live, anyway I am digressing), negotiated with the Chiguire (big fat rat) the acceleration of the election fully knowing that it won’t get elected in exchange to an unnamed amount of money.

    The rat is 76 years old (human equivalent years mind you), it burnt itself with the Governors elections hence it won’t get any close to become rat-president. It knows this, but the Chiguire is willing to pay anything to stay in power (or at least 6 more years) within a hint of legitimacy. The rat’s family has an expensive life style, they have businesses and exposures, they are in one way or other plugged, and the rat is at the very end of its political career with not a lot to show for legacy. Perhaps is good to remember the rat’s maneuvers during CAP II (when the rat ate its own mentor to survive and then showed up at the right of RJ Velasquez) and his famous and well documented fondness for Blanca Ibanez & Co. So.. why not cash out?. Now, this is just the same old stuff that all politicians (ejem) rats are corrupt, I get it but if your read the next stuff..

    The corollary of my theory is that the rat may not have taken cash bribes from the Chiguire but rather negotiated the survival of the rat’s party (and other things) in exchange for the “granted” governorships, killing or disarraying the MUD and thus becoming the de-facto leader of the opposition. This could be all right, perhaps considered a big return for the investment, but then the rat could have made a big miscalculation because without the MUD coalition there is no chance of becoming rat-presidential. By fighting an already lost battle the rat sets itself to be rat-presidential candidate in 2024!, it will have 82 years old by then and rats don’t live that long (in human years). That’s of course assuming the other rats will actually hold another election. I do not think the king of rat-schemers would fall for this without something of substance in return.

    My hypothesis is that either the rat took money (or money equivalent stuff does not need to be cash – remember the time England kings would trade land for favors) from the Chiguire to legitimize the election (knowingly that the rat will lose) or is actually and actively selling his candidature to Mendoza and the US assuming that they are really serious on challenging the Chiguire (with some chance of winning). In either case, the logic says that anyone with legitimate desires to do good for Venezuela will not do such a selfish and catastrophic actions as the rat has done and continue doing without a real and tangible drive. In the rat’s case, I ran out of altruistic reasons hence a rat will do what a rat does and money is the only thing that makes sense.

    Oh ah..almost forgot. Perhaps the rat is not for the money, how basic I am!, but perhaps is the “thrill of the schemer” that drives the rat’s actions. I hope that is not the case because it is extremely sad that these animals play with the hope, well being and future of millions of people… and a country for some misguided personal satisfaction. Of course it is just a theory and anything similar to reality is just a coincidence.

  5. Negotiations will accomplish nothing.
    In fact even having them is a WIN for the chavistas.
    Someone in the opposition needs to stand up and say this.

  6. Ever since the November “quasi default” the Chavistas insist that they’re close to an agreement and the MUD stays tight lipped. As I have said before. I think that there’s no incentive for anyone from the MUD (including Ramos Allup) to reach an agreement where Maduro or any of his boys stay in power. Even if Ramos Allup, Borges or whomever go and sell everyone down the river, all they’re doing is buying time til April, tops. According to what I’ve read, we’ve got US$ 9 billion in reserves, according to the WSJ that’s how much we have to put up in bond payments this year, and Oil production continues to decrease. Again, even without the sanctions, under the current Venezuelan administration, there’s no way that anyone with a working brain cell will agree to help us refinance our Non Russian/Chinese Debt. I am of the opinion that bond holders are staying put , waiting to see if the government will be able to even try to make the April Bond Payments. And that if it doesn’t happen (which seems to be quite probable at this time), they will trigger the “Acceleration” clauses, which of course will push us to a hard default (with all its consequences). Furthermore, I think that the government is simply stalling for time, with the very slim hope that their crappy Petro ICO on February 20 allows them to tap some cash. And, if things go the way they’re going, the real negotiations (as in how they’re going to relinquish power) will begin on Feb. 21. Wishful Thinking? Expecting the players to behave rationally when they never have? Quite probably, my experience with people who are in positions of power here in Venezuela (and usually deal with the PRIVATE sector) is that they only react, and usually after the bullet that’s going to their heads has been fired. So, 9 out 10 times they actually try to do what they have to do way too late. All I got is the vain hope we get very lucky and THIS is the 1 out of 10 times they actually do what they have to do before everything collapses.


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