Deafness in the Dark

Your daily briefing for Friday, February 23, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Aragua, Carabobo, Barinas, Portuguesa, Lara, Falcón, Zulia, Trujillo, Táchira and Mérida experienced a blackout since yesterday afternoon that lasted several hours. There aren’t enough sabotage accusations to cover up the fact that the lack of investment and maintenance have caused the collapse of the electrical system. Despite all the people who wouldn’t see it because of this and other reasons, Nicolás repeated his exercise on Facebook Live accompanied by Tareck El Aissami.

He promised to create the Broad Front of the Country, taking the name created by the opposition for himself.

He also decrypted the tweets sent by SEBIN chief Gustavo González López, who wrote about the dismantling of a “political group allegedly involved in a new terrorist wave.”

According to Nicolás, they arrested Voluntad Popular militants who were allegedly seeking to assassinate former BCV chairman Nelson Merentes; they’ll need a lot of creativity to explain this one.

In view of the mega-election

The board of the National Assembly (AN) said that it disregards the ANC’s legitimacy to shorten the mandate granted by the Venezuelan people to the lawmakers elected in 2015 and deems the call to early parliamentary elections as an attempted coup against the Rule of Law. For the AN, with this early vote the government wants to guarantee the impunity of “those who have misappropriated public funds” and the legislators understand it as one of the causes of this humanitarian crisis. The AN calls the people to the defense of their constitutional rights and to reject the attempted coup d’état represented by this electoral fraud.

Lawmaker Juan Miguel Matheus said that there’s no legal or constitutional basis to hold mega-elections: “only a free Parliament that embodies people’s sovereignty and exercises its control functions, can truly certify democracy. This measure to destroy Parliament will bring more pressure and isolation against the national government.”

On the table

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Todd Robinson offered an interview saying that he’s been personally attacked even by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, adding that negotiations are tough and they take time, as long as the parties negotiate in good faith, a trait that he doesn’t see in the government. To Robinson who, as a diplomat, doesn’t support coups, the influence of the military sector in Venezuela is evident and that’s why he insisted on calling for respect towards the Constitution, a trait that marks the ANC’s illegitimacy. In his view, his country has already put all its cards on the table, he believes in the effectiveness of sanctions and dismantles the fallacious argument of “more sanctions, more elections,” explaining that “democracy is far more than just elections,” citing institutionality, the Rule of Law, the Constitution and people’s participation. Hours later, Delcy Rodríguez announced that the ANC will review Robinson’s statements and adopt the diplomatic measures they deem necessary.

¡Ay, Pedro Pablo!

Humanitarian emergency

While transplant patients protested before the office of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS) and, after hours of protests, they were given guarantees that “the medicines will be distributed in ten days,” Amnesty International released its report for 2017/18 on the situation of human rights in the world.

Francisco Valencia (Codevida) denounced the existence of a “complex humanitarian crisis” which has taken the lives of those who don’t have access to treatment: “a silent genocide was decreed against the patients,” he said.

Economist Manuel Sutherland explained that the abrupt drop in imports had consequences for the medical sector and the patients. Codevida insisted on the opening of a humanitarian channel to bring medicines to the country, since there are nations willing to cooperate sending medication.

The Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted protective measures for Nephrology patients at the JM de los Ríos Children’s Hospital, trying to guarantee the life of children, once again reminding the Venezuelan State of its obligation of providing quality medical treatment and guaranteeing healthy and secure conditions in compliance with international standards.

CNE and the ghosts of the Caribbean

The National Electoral Council announced that they invited the Caribbean Community (Caricom) to establish a monitoring and observation mission in early presidential elections: “complying with the points set out in the Democratic Cohabitation Agreement for Venezuela,” wrote rectora Tania D’Amelio.

Hard to comply with a non-existent agreement, as hard as to get Caricom’s support, since its decisions are made by a qualified majority and the Caribbean has its own conflicts, and the lack of oil complicates everything.

In fact, Santa Lucía along with Argentina, Brazil, the U.S., Mexico and Panama, are convening an extraordinary session to be held today in the OAS Permanent Council, to discuss a resolution about recent developments in Venezuela, with which they urge the Venezuelan government to reconsider the call to elections and request implementing measures to prevent the worsening of the humanitarian crisis.

Just do not forget that in order to approve a resolution in the Permanent Council, the votes of 18 countries are required.


  • Yesterday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to focus its efforts on the massive Venezuelan immigration to the Andean country. Also yesterday, Colombia announced that they’ve disabled 17 illegal crossing points called trochas at the Colombian-Venezuelan border, to prevent irregular entries.
  • Eliceo Padilha, minister of Brazil’s Civil House, announced that the federal government will transfer 530 Venezuelans from Roraima state to Sao Paulo and Amazonas, areas with vacant jobs and shelters.
  • The government appointed Carlos Mata Figueroa as General Consul in Aruba. He had been the “protector” of Nueva Esparta, a figure used by chavismo to avoid handing over the resources corresponding to the democratically elected governor. He’s been replaced by Dante Rivas in that role.
  • Economy Minister Simón Zerpa met in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Anton Siluanov to strengthen binational cooperation. Also yesterday, Russian Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Sergei Riabkov said that American diplomats and officials won’t be allowed to act as observers in presidential elections to be held on March 18.

Twitter declared war on manipulation through mass messages sent by bots and will suppress from their platform identical or fairly similar content shared from multiple accounts simultaneously, as well as the automated use of several profiles to disseminate the same content. The fight against spam has become a priority for Twitter, so you’ll have to think of other strategies to stand out, Nicolás.

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.