Nobody’s Candidates

For Tuesday, February 27, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Infobae

Yesterday was the first day to verify candidacies before the National Electoral Council (CNE). In the morning, a man called Reinaldo Quijada came up, saying that he’s running with the conviction that “Chávez has been betrayed,” that’s why he sees himself as opposition to Nicolás but a protector of the revolutionary process. Quijada, 58, an engineer, member of the party Unidad Política Popular 89 (allegedly a member of the late Great Patriotic Pole, if it existed at all), presented a government plan titled “The Path to Solve the Crisis,” assuming that he represents a different leadership that will recover “the revolutionary process, which has been perverted and twisted.”

In the afternoon, Lara Governor Henri Falcón submitted his candidacy as well, supported by Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) and Avanzada Progresista (AP) and he’s supposed to go tomorrow to present his own government plan. So, Falcón’s so called constant assessment of his candidacy doesn’t match the expectations of those who want change, but it does match his selfish aspirations that will legitimate the show set up by Nicolás, who will also formalize his candidacy today; this time supported by the Communist Party, the most cowardly (and beaten) party in the national spectrum.

CNE’s other announcements

Rectora Tania D’Amelio presented on Twitter the certificate proving the inspection of the Electoral Registry, carried out in the presence of witnesses from political parties Avanzada Progresista, PSUV, Acción Democrática, Copei, PCV and Somos Venezuela, among others; emphasizing that CNE’s technicians “offered satisfactory answers to the questions made by present organizations, and that there were no objections (sic) to the Registry, which ratified the transparency of the event.”

Amelia Alter, head of the National Electoral Registry Office, reported that the Electoral Registry the CNE will use for presidential elections reached 20,482,113 voters, an increase of scarcely 677,114 citizens compared with the one used in regional and municipal elections; and out of those, only 107,284 will vote abroad. Sadly, she forgot to mention that almost two million young potential voters were unable to register due to lack of time and insufficient stations to do it. The final ballot will be revealed on March 5.

Shamelessness as a norm

Yesterday morning, Transport Minister Carlos Osorio denounced an alleged attempt to derail one of the trains of the Valles del Tuy railway system, blaming the opposition for the incident.

Later, the stairs of El Calvario in Caracas were occupied by members of colectivos (paramilitary armed groups) who denounced that the U.S. creates shortages of food and medicines and the exodus of Venezuelans, while pledging their support for Nicolás’ candidacy and wielding rifles and shotguns.

Inspiring!

After that, Diosdado Cabello ratified that the CNE and the ANC will announce the date for parliamentary elections. Upset by the results of the #Encovi2017 survey, he not only criticized the universities that made it, he also claimed: “We don’t deny the problems in the street, but we’re here in this situation due to a blockade and because of the economic war,” a great lie.

Only 1,169,357 citizens got their PSUV ID, interesting.

Over 24 million

The price of the Food Basket for January 2018 was Bs. 24,402,767, an increase of nearly eight million (47.9%) compared to December and 3,828.9% between January 2017 and January 2018. 98.2 minimum wages (Bs. 248,510.41) are required to purchase the basket (for a family of five) in other words, Bs. 813,425.57 per day, more than three minimum wages! All items are more expensive and the gap between controlled and market prices is 179,174.5%.

Ay, PDVSA

While a group of PDVSA retirees protested near El Palito Refinery demanding information on the pensions fund, Reuters revealed that a group of American investors are seeking approval from Washington to acquire a guarantee on the 49.9% of Citgo shares currently owned by Russian State-run oil company Rosneft and thus prevent Moscow from confiscating a large part of the refinery in case PDVSA fails to pay its debt. Remember that Venezuela handed over to Rosneft that 49.9% of Citgo as guarantee in exchange for a $1,5 billion loan two years ago and although Rosneft and PDVSA have been negotiating an exchange of that collateral to avoid complications caused by the sanctions, the talks haven’t prospered because PDVSA has nothing attractive to offer them.

Confronted

Chief European diplomat Federica Mogherini asked Venezuela to guarantee credible elections, restating that the European Union is ready to react otherwise.

When they say “credible”, they mean free and fair, with the participation of all political parties and a balanced composition in the CNE. Mogherini added that even though Venezuela is living critical moments, “there’s still time to make formal decisions” to ensure fair elections.

In Geneva, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced before the UN Human Rights Council that Venezuela is a victim of American interference, which includes: the threat of a military intervention, an economic blockade and the call to Venezuelan soldiers to rise in arms and topple Nicolás. The Foreign Ministry emphasized the solidarity of the Group of Like-minded States after Arreaza’s speech, but they forgot to explain that those countries are precisely the ones that despise democracy, destroy the rule of law and violate human rights. Arreaza claimed that there’s no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

He quoted Francisco Valencia, head of Codevida:

“If there’s no humanitarian crisis, then there’s a deliberate and silent genocide of millions of Venezuelans.”

Abroad

  • Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa said: “there are no conditions for democratic elections in Venezuela on April 22 (…) Would Uruguay go to elections with political leaders behind bars? Would we hold elections with outlawed parties? I think not. And what we don’t want for ourselves, we must not wish for others either.”
  • Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuzcynski said that he’ll meet with his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, to discuss several matters, including Venezuela’s situation as the most important issue.
  • Ecuador’s Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa said that her country doesn’t dismiss the possibility of being a friendly interlocutor in the Venezuelan crisis, pointing out that: “Latin American countries have different ways of seeing and facing the Venezuelan crisis. Non-interference doesn’t mean indifference.”
  • The group of Independent Venezuelan American Citizens (IVAC) will ask the U.S. Congress today in Washington to coordinate humanitarian aid for Venezuela as well as the “intervention of a military force of peace” able to oust the government (?).

Amnesty International will participate in two hearings convened by the IACHR for today: one about the right to food and health in Venezuela, the other about citizen security and institutionality, where they’ll explain the measures of the Venezuelan State to perform raids, arrests, the excessive use of force and the inappropriate use of the justice system. Families, representatives of victims and NGOs will also share their testimonies.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.