The Noise of Silence

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: La Patilla

Bus drivers started charging Bs. 2,000 yesterday, so the subway, already quite collapsed, was about to blow. To complicate the scene further, a pack was left in Plaza Venezuela station just like in TV shows which was detected by the strict Metro employees (the same ones who never see robberies, attacks or hawkers,) and for which they activated a security protocol which meant the interruption of the service. Later, the service was interrupted again, this time without the pack.

Meanwhile, kidney patients in Mérida protested before the offices of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security to demand medicines and dialysis treatments.

In Valera, Trujillo state, healthcare personnel protested for the shortage of medical supplies and medicines.

Teachers, students and employees of the Simón Bolívar University protested to demand the payment of their salaries and better employment and study conditions.

And the government? Deaf.

100 million in bribes

Ricardo Salgado, former chairman of the Banco Espírito Santo, was accused of having paid nearly 100 million euros in bribes to chavistas to guarantee that large public companies did business with the bank. The accusation comes from a measure filed by João Alexandre Silva – a former manager of the bank, who’s currently under house arrest for corruption and money laundering – before the Appeals Court of Lisbon. The bribes were paid with funds coming from ES Enterprises by Salgado’s decision, says the sentence, and were transferred to more than 30 offshore societies, while most of the funds’ recipients were politicians linked to Hugo Chávez.

Odebrecht’s payments

Exiled prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz requested the Supreme Tribunal justices appointed by the National Assembly (who are exiled themselves) to issue an international arrest warrant against Nicolás:

“I’m coming before the TSJ, before the Plenary Chamber, to request a preliminary hearing on merits and we’re requesting it for two crimes: corruption and money laundering,” said Ortega from Bogotá, adding that in an investigation carried out by her office, it was determined that Chávez’s 2012 presidential campaign was paid for by Odebrecht, same as Nicolás’ 2013 campaign. Once more, Ortega Díaz is overcome by the abysmal – and unjustified – delay to reveal data that would’ve been trascendental in its time.

No water

Minister Ramón Velásquez reported that they’ll soon start the replacement of hydraulic pumps and engines in the systems Tuy I, Tuy II and Tuy III, in order to optimize (the appropriate verb would be “improve”) water distribution in Caracas, except we’ll have to wait over ten months to enjoy such changes. Ignoring the infamous rationing plans we’ve experienced for years, Velásquez accused Venezuelans of wasting water and, although he accepts that water infrastructure has to be renewed countrywide, we’re supposed to celebrate the arrival of Chinese pumps and engines to replace the broken-down equipments. If the system isn’t optimal, the “economic war” is to blame (he did say that). Know that they’re using solely aluminum sulphate to clear the water of impurities, but relax, in the future they’ll characterize the water to employ other chemicals appropriate for its use; stay calm, huh?

General aphasia

The first day of PSUV’s ID issuance took place without Nicolás’ presence, as he’s too busy promoting a message that didn’t help with hyperinflation, hunger or the genocide caused by the lack of medicines for treatable diseases. It was yet another sign of their evil that filled social media with noise. Noise for their deafness in view of all the consequences of this humanitarian crisis.

The Democratic Unity Roundtable also remains collectively silent, while some of its members have established unilateral stances.

It would seem that Henri Falcón, along with the evangelical pastor with a history in the Panama Papers and the support of a prostitute, are the only ones willing to fulfill the role as challengers to legitimate the fake voting exercise – not an election – imposed by the ANC.

Meanwhile, silence.


  • UN chief António Guterres said in Lisbon that the Venezuelan situation is an element of great concern, regretting that it seems impossible to reach a solution in the short term.
  • Argentine Interior minister Rogelio Frigerio said that the arrival of Venezuelans has increased exponentially in the last two years – either thousands of Venezuelans entered the country in January alone –, remarking: “They’re professionals, people who want to come to work and given our history and the Constitution, we help them with everything so they can start a new life.”
  • On Sunday, president Juan Manuel Santos said the accusations that Colombia is preparing an invasion against Venezuela were mad. Yesterday, he pointed out that the arrival of Venezuelans is perhaps the most serious issue that the Andean country’s currently facing, and restated his willingness to get international humanitarian aid to deal with the situation, because more Venezuelans arrive every day and there’s more financial pressure, while the State’s capacity to absorb so many people is dwindling.
  • “Latin American and the Caribbean must keep their doors open for refugees, to process the increase in asylum requests in the region,” said UN High Commission for Refugees (Acnur) Filippo Grandi in Brasilia yesterday, urging the delegates of 36 countries not to soften efforts at a time when thousands of Venezuelans are forced to leave their country. Helping displaced citizens contributes to regional and global stability, Grandi emphasized.
  • Guyana announced the gradual increase of military presence at the border with Venezuela, as well as the installation of a transitory patrol base, to help stave off the trafficking of weapons in exchange for food and reduce gang violence in the area.
  • Nicolás asked Donald Trump for a meeting to discuss about “the no-interference in the internal issues of other countries,” and asked him whether he’d like to talk in Caracas or in Washington; he asked him to set the time and the place: “I’ll be there,” he wrote.

The joke tells itself.

  • Peru’s National Criminal Chamber ruled that the grace granted to former president Alberto Fujimori is invalid, and he’ll be prosecuted for the crimes that took place in Pativilca. The National Criminal Chamber also formally extradited former president Alejandro Toledo to the United States, for the crimes of influence peddling, collusion and money laundering.

Crimes against humanity never prescribe.

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.