Your daily briefing for Monday, February 5, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: El Periódico de Monagas

World Cancer Day is observed the same day Hugo Chávez led a failed coup d’état 26 years ago. Adopted by chavistas as a foundational date — sums up their understanding of power— they’ve tried to institutionalize February 4 as the day of national dignity, forgetting the people murdered, the soldiers who were deceived into participating in the coup, parroting like fools that el finado changed the course of history, without explaining that he did it only to make it all worse.

There’s no dignity in multiplying poverty, hunger or malnutrition deaths. There’s no honor in depending on the State nor in the checkpoint of a membership carnet to have access to social benefits; there’s no pride without public services, as we’re unable to buy the medicines we need. Chavismo is a malign tumor that has destroyed the tissues of all Venezuelans, that has metastasized in our institutionality, spreading corruption, inefficacy and its huge disdain for life.

Right away!

For Nicolás, the conditions are set in Venezuela for presidential elections, so he requested the ANC and the CNE to establish the date, emphasizing that it should be today, Monday, February 5.

The bold Delcy Rodríguez replied that he has the ANC’s support, while Nicolás announced that minister Jorge Rodríguez will be his campaign chief once more.

The anxious candidate wants to run against Henry Ramos Allup “because he’s the past.”

Meanwhile, minister Iris Varela wants Nicolás as president because “he plays the guitar, the bongo, the drums, cuatro and piano, because he likes salsa and gaitas” and he also loves llanero music; mandatory skills to rule a country.

Without arguments, she repeated that he’s the future and he’s the only one who can guarantee economic prosperity.

Journalist Eugenio Martínez said:

“If CNE calls for elections tomorrow (…) it wouldn’t be strange for them to also order candidates to ‘pre-register’ this same week; the ‘campaign’ would take approximately thirty days.”

Doing Tarek’s work for him

Newspaper El País continues its investigations on the accounts that officials and people close to PDVSA opened in Banca D’Andorra for money-laundering purposes, and now they reveal the names of Luis Carlos de León (head of the Finance and Electricity department in Caracas,) Eudomario Carruyo (member of Deltaveny’s board of directors) and Francisco Jiménez (former Bariven chairman.)

Between 2008 and 2014, these chavista officials moved $60 million.

De León deposited $22 million in Andorra and was handed money by former vice-minister Nervis Villalobos; both were arrested in Madrid last year for money-laundering. Carruyo was also part of Villalobos’ connections, and moved over $30 million; while Francisco Jiménez handled three accounts in Andorra through which he moved over $9 million and received $8.2 million from Diego Salazar, Rafael Ramírez’ cousin.

Read El País’ investigation, they have lots of details about the payments made by Diego Salazar.

Chavismo’s end

Despite this information, Rafael Ramírez claimed in his most recent opinion piece that presidential elections are already decided, that they have an agreement made “with backs turned on most of the country’s chavistas,” and based on the incompetence of Nicolás and his team to handle the economic crisis. Ramírez foresees “the end of chavismo,” as he criticizes the imposition of “a wildly neoliberal pack, in a mix of incapacity, improvisation and lack of ethics to exercise politics and power,” taking the chance to deem government members as hypocrites, cowards and plain irresponsible. It was genius of him to ask why the corruption accusations in PDVSA weren’t made before — when Chávez was alive, he remarked — and mentioned several more examples of chavista embezzlement; describing the spiral that destroyed productivity, as if the Chávez he’s trying to channel to give weight to his words, wasn’t responsible for destroying it himself.

Community ambassadors

Once the arbitrary detention of lawyer and historian Enrique Aristeguieta Gramcko was in the past, SEBIN makes a couple more arrests: Gregory Hinds and Geraldine Chacón, heads of the Community Ambassadors Foundation (FEC), an NGO dedicated to training young people in poor communities for Models of United Nations. The foundation’s statement explains that Hinds and Chacón were arrested on January 31, that Hinds voluntarily accepted an interview in SEBIN headquarters and was isolated all the same; while Chacón was arrested early in the morning, without an arrest warrant. Court 22 of control declined its authority in favor of court 31 of control, by request of the prosecutor sent by the Prosecutor’s Office. Technically, Hinds and Chacón should be taken before court today.

As SEBIN arrests innocents, there was a shootout between rival gangs yesterday (“El viejo Frank” vs. “Los Monchis”) over the control of the Mata de Coco sector of Los Valles del Tuy, in Miranda state. CICPC confirms 11 fatalities.


  • The U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson and Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie announced that they’re studying the implementation of oil sanctions against Venezuela to pressure Nicolás and so guarantee the return to a constitutional regime: “One of the matters of considering sanctioning oil is the effect it would have on the Venezuelan people. Because not doing anything to bring this to an end is also asking the Venezuelan people suffer for a much longer time,” said Tillerson, who addied: “Our disagreement is not with the Venezuelan people, but with Maduro’s regime.” Nicolás reacted last night on Facebook Live: “Imperialism is threatening us, we’re prepared to be free and nothing and no one will stop us.”
  • With a 74.80% turnout, Ecuatorians voted “Yes” in the referendum that modifies the 2008 Constitution, putting an end to indefinite presidential election in favor of the democratic principle of alternability, according to a quick recount of Ecuador’s CNE. President Lenín Moreno also expects “Yes” for the reforms that will allow punishments for corrupt officials; restructuring the Citizen Participation and Accountability Council; limiting metal mining and the area of oil exploitation in protected areas, and to derogate the “Capital Law.” Right in the ego, Rafael Correa!
  • Costa Ricans also voted yesterday to replace president Luis Guillermo Solís and renew Parliament. There are still no official results, but several polls put evangelical activist Fabricio Alvarado on the lead, in a country moved to action by corruption scandals, the drug-trafficking boon, a considerable fiscal deficit and discussions regarding equal marriage rights. Waiting is all that’s left.
  • Ah, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza is in Nicaragua at the moment.

Four kidney patients died this weekend due to lack of supplies for their dialysis: Arlenis Chaurant, Nermis Bolaños, Aura Fernández and Reina García.

Indifference as a State policy, another aspect of this severe metastasis.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.