We Don’t Want to Die

Your daily briefing for Friday, February 9, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Provea

A declaration that sums up the magnitude of our health crisis, denouncing the circumstances we didn’t choose, the responsibilities that must be established and the conditions that must change. This government is incapable of guaranteeing something other than its own permanence in power, that’s why life is accessory to them, just like the remaining human rights, but it’s quite different to listen to the testimony of someone who knows death is imminent, without finding a single shred of hope around.

#NoQueremosMorir was used this Thursday beyond the protest in the Sadel square, by people who exposed their conditions and fears on social media.

Letting people die for lack of medicine and supplies is a decision of the State and they’re right to demand investigations on those responsible for such a slow and cruel genocide.

Exploring the barbarity

The International Criminal Court announced that they started a preliminary examination for the reiterated allegations of detentions and excessive force by State security forces during protests in Venezuela:

“Following a careful, independent and impartial review of a number of communications and reports documenting alleged crimes potentially falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation,” said prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, remarking that according to the Rome Statute, national jurisdictions are responsible for investigating, identifying and imprisoning those responsible for these alleged crimes. Prosecutor Bensouda pointed out that a preliminary examination isn’t a full investigation, but rather a process by which the available information is reviewed.

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab had the gall to reject the ICC’s decision, remind prosecutor Bensouda of her complementary role and claim that they’re handling biased information. He could’ve spared us the praise for Nicolás and this idea: “We’re not like other countries that have engaged in extremism and State terrorism against their citizens.”

Aside from this, the IACHR announced that their Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Venezuela will be released on February 12.

Expanding sanctions

Too early for our time zone, an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament asked to expand sanctions against Venezuelan government authorities and disregard the call to elections for April 22. The new sanctions would include Nicolás himself, his vice-president, the defense minister, other members of the military high command and the families of everyone mentioned. The plenary condemned the Spanish ambassador’s expulsion from Caracas; cautioned that they will only recognize elections based on a viable electoral timetable with equal, fair and transparent conditions for participation, also remarking their willingness to send an electoral observation mission. The European Parliament restated that all political prisoners must be immediately released and the extrajudicial executions of Óscar Pérez and his comrades must be condemned, as well as the arbitrary detention of Enrique Aristeguieta. Lastly, the Parliament urged the government to allow humanitarian aid access to the country, as well as international assistance organizations to operate in the country.

Imperial messages

During the National Prayer Breakfast, President Donald Trump denounced “repressive governments” in Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and North Korea, saying that the U.S. takes the side of all the people who suffer oppression and religious persecution.

Later, along with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, he agreed to work to restore democracy in Venezuela.

Also yesterday, the U.S. rejected the call for presidential elections, denouncing the conditions imposed by the government “without guarantees to ensure free, fair and internationally-validated elections (…) the Maduro regime continues to dismantle Venezuela’s democracy and reveal his authoritarian rule.”

Sadly, they didn’t hear CNE rectora Socorro Hernández speak about the “merciless blockade” against the country that, according to her, justifies the call for early presidential elections, because: “We can’t continue in this chokehold.” That must be why UN ambassador Nikki Haley said that the agreement proposed by the government wasn’t serious, that the government never had the intention to negotiate in good faith or allow free and fair elections.

And at the Colombian border

President Juan Manuel Santos announced several immigration measures so that the arrival of Venezuelans to the country is “controlled, orderly and done in compliance with the law.” The measures include the installation of a battalion at the border to fight crime and regulate the access of immigrants, as well as stopping the issuance of Border Mobility Cards, demanding the immigration card or the passport from now on. The Special Immigration Group has the mission of guaranteeing respect for public space, prevent disorder, control prostitution, protect minors and impose sanctions on illegal immigrants. They will make a registry of the Venezuelans who are already in Colombia before the appropriate instances. Santos thanks the UN for the support in creating a immigrant attention center. He said to Nicolás: “These are the results of your policies and of your refusal to receive the help that we’ve offered in all possible ways,” once again urging him to accept them.

Other statements

In view of the call for presidential elections in conditions that won’t allow a free, fair and transparent process, the Lima Group convened a meeting for next Tuesday in Peru. It’s worth noting how Chilean parliamentarians rejected their government’s invitation for Nicolás to attend the presidential inauguration of Sebastián Piñera on March 11, clearly establishing that he’s not welcome in their country and that it’s an inconsistency for Chile to provide asylum for Venezuelan opposition leaders while inviting their tormentor. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz restated yesterday that the elections convened in Venezuela don’t comply with minimal democratic guarantees and regretted the failure of dialogue in the Dominican Republic. Spain also expressed doubts about the electoral conditions, and Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said: “We would’ve preferred the date and the conditions in which those elections will be held to be the result of an agreement between the government and the opposition,” adding that invalidated parties and barred leaders aren’t a good signal.

Nicolás called for a signature collection to support his agreement with himself and he deemed it extraordinary. He asked MUD (the organization whose ballot he invalidated) and its parties to also sign, promising that if there are new matters to discuss, they’ll keep discussing: “I’m a man of my word,” he said. None of yesterday’s official statements answers to the political moment they’ve unleashed. This exercise transcends cynicism and the denial of reality, it’s another level of violence and arrogance that’s an assault against themselves, the only “protected” gang in an unprotected land.

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.