Photo: Gabriela González
The meeting scheduled for yesterday in the Dominican Republic didn’t take place. The parties didn’t speak about it and the press spokesman for the Dominican Foreign Ministry merely thanked the media outlets present, and emphasized that the parties never confirmed their attendance.
Declaración de vocero de prensa de la cancillería de República Dominicana v https://t.co/u9zW6cWH8s
— Osmary Hernandez (@osmarycnn) February 5, 2018
In the morning, minister Jorge Rodríguez claimed that the “cohabitation agreement” is ready to be signed; later, he repeated his performances “the insidious cynic,” against the opposition; and “deceitful offers,” against the country in general, promising among other things, a broad electoral mission, which isn’t the same as observation, but he wants to make us think it is.
Rectora Tania D’Amelio said yesterday afternoon that CNE authorities are in permanent sessions assessing all possible scenarios for the call to presidential elections.
#EnVideo📹| Consejo Nacional Electoral seguirá en sesión permanente hasta establecer el cronograma de los próximos comicios presidenciales, informó rectora del CNE @taniadamelio pic.twitter.com/ZFR822QIDy
— VTV CANAL 8 (@VTVcanal8) February 5, 2018
In other words, CNE is waiting for the result in the Dominican Republic to set the date demanded by Nicolás, which will impact the quality of the electoral process, already questionable considering who called it and the rush, but without system audits, machine maintenance, randomly picked electoral table members or the update of the Electoral Registry, among other elements, the process is even more opaque.
While the 6th court of control sentenced three CICPC officers in San Cristóbal to prison for allegedly investigating the police records of Nicolás and Diosdado Cabello without authorization, OPEC’s secretary general Mohammed Barkindo, enjoyed the attentions of PDVSA chairman Manuel Quevedo, including a free interpretation of the song Venezuela. For some reason, the agenda for the meeting between Barkindo and Nicolás was never made public, and the host took the opportunity to say that should the U.S. approve new sanctions against Venezuela, the country will sell its production in other markets, also proposing a five-year extension for the agreements of the committee monitoring crude output, as if the dramatic drop in Venezuelan production was a consequence of maintaining quotas and not of PDVSA’s collapse.
Nicolás claimed that Rex Tillerson’s tour has been a profound failure, pointing out that: “He speaks as an Exxon Mobil representative and not as U.S. the Secretary of State. If he wants to declare an embargo, we’ll overcome it,” adding that nobody blockades Venezuela.
Weird, after so many years justifying distortions with an “economic war” and the current cash flow issues with recent sanctions, eh?
The world is talking about how Dow Jones closed with a 4.62% drop and suffered the biggest point drop in its history, but in Venezuela, we commemorate 15 years of the creation of FX controls, regulated back then by the Commission of Currency Administration (CADIVI), remembered for all its (uninvestigated) corruption scandals, with embezzlement estimated in hundreds of millions of dollars.
The waltz of this measure was performed by BCV’s DICOM, publishing the exchange rate resulting from the auction made on January 30: Bs. 30,987.50 per euro, a 747% increase compared with the latest recorded rate of Bs. 4,146.13.
— DICOM Venezuela (@dicomve) February 5, 2018
DICOM admitted having difficulties in transferring foreign currency and blamed U.S. financial sanctions for them. But relax, they also claim that they’re working to “make the adjustments that favor the harmonious interaction of the private company.” So, DICOM depreciated, admitted that there was no private offer, but the empire is to blame for this failure, not the huge gap between the official exchange rate and the black market, nor the lack of incentives in its model.
For investigating CLAP
The editorial team of news outlet Armando.info, Alfredo Meza, Ewald Scharfenberg and Joseph Poliszuk, along with journalist Roberto Deniz have been sued by Colombian businessman Alex Nain Saab Moran for continued aggravated libel and aggravated slander, for releasing a couple of investigations about the business behind CLAP. Armando.info is specialized in investigative journalism. In 2017,after prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz denounced the link between Saab, Group Grand Limited and Nicolás, they documented Saab’s links with Group Grand Limited and the sale of food products for CLAP to the Venezuelan government, with the reports “Businessmen questioned in Ecuador and the U.S. sell food to the Venezuelan government” and “From Veracruz to La Guaira: a trip that ties Nicolás Maduro with Piedad Córdoba.” The four journalists have been threatened and have had their personal data exposed. In order to safeguard their freedom, they chose exile as a measure of protection. NGOs IPYS Venezuela and Espacio Público have documented this and other similar cases where investigative journalism is condemned while impunity is fostered.
Lies and truths
The civil association Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz once again served chavismo’s interests and made a report on the protests between April and July 2017, which supports the distorted official version, aiding the ANC’s Truth Commission to criminalize them, to justify political prisoners, arbitrary detentions and other human rights violations.
Delcy Rodríguez had the nerve to talk about “the instrumentalization of violence for political ends.”
Ombudsman Alfredo Ruiz never does anything; but Soraya El Achkar’s statements were shameful.
Aside from this, today Linda Loaiza, who was kidnapped for over three months when she was 18 years old and suffered tortures, sexual assault and death threats, will attend the Inter-American Court on Human Rights to present the first case of gender violence recorded in Venezuela. Red Naranja will carry out a street action in the Juan Pablo II square (Chacao) in the Francisco de Miranda avenue, starting at midday and ending at 2 p.m., for Linda and for justice.
- State Secretary Rex Tillerson spoke of the serious concerns that the U.S. and Peru share regarding Venezuela’s political situation and thanked Peru for its leadership in the Lima Group. Peruvian Foreign Minister Cayetana Aljovín said: “Venezuela’s situation is no longer a situation that affects only Venezuelans. It’s a situation that has created a regional crisis.”
- The Lima Group will assess whether Nicolás will be invited to the Summit of the Americas. Minister Aljovín said that “it’s a subject we have to study in depth.”
- According to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s yearly Democracy Index, Ecuador overcame the condition for “hybrid regime,” while Venezuela fell to “authoritarian regime” in 2017, joining Cuba in that category, explaining the transit toward a dictatorship with the stripping of the National Assembly’s authority, the imprisonment of dissidents and repression against protests.
- China’s support for Venezuela has benefited the common people and have been well received, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, claiming that: “What the U.S. said is unfounded and extremely irresponsible,” adding that Chinese cooperation “has promoted Venezuela’s social-economic development.” Strangely, he talked about “a stable Venezuela,” but after lending over $50 billion to chavismo, anyone would think we’re alright.
- The National Assembly asked president Juan Manuel Santos to meet with a Parliament delegation this Thursday, February 8, during his visit to Cucuta, to talk about a humanitarian corridor.
We go on.