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.

Abroad

  • 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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