Lighting Candles

Your daily briefing for Monday, March 12, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

Zulia, Trujillo, Mérida, Táchira, Barinas, Portuguesa, Falcón, Miranda and Bolívar states have been experiencing random and constant failures with their power, water and telecom services for several days. Electrical Power Minister Luis Motta Domínguez waited until late last night to justify this demented pattern of incommunicado, inactive people and damaged home appliances due to the service’s instability. The minister claimed that there was a sabotage in the Caucagua substation that left Guarenas and Guatire without water. He said that they’ve captured 29-year old Andy Jesús Hernández, the alleged culprit for the sabotage, in severe health conditions. Motta Domínguez justified the chaos in the south-western region with low water levels in La Vueltosa, and he said: “We’ll overcome this situation, it’s not the same that happened in Guri,” asking for patience in the Andean states because this crisis could extend for at least fifteen more days.

Healthcare holocaust

Dr. Douglas León Natera, head of the Venezuelan Medical Federation said that the health sector is severely affected by the shortage of medicines and supplies: “We scarcely have perhaps 4% of supplies and medical surgical supplies to work for the wellbeing of patients, that’s why we’ve called it the healthcare holocaust, imposed and milimetrically calculated by this government against the Venezuelan people.” He cautioned that a patient dies every day for lack of supplies and said that the situation in the country’s children’s hospitals is dire. León Natera expressed his concern about the diaspora of doctors caused by their crumbling workplace conditions: “At least 22,000 doctors have left the country and we’re still counting those who are leaving.”

Red cynicism

Once again, Rafael Ramírez wrote a statement to contrast his virtues with the mistakes of those who replaced him in PDVSA, focusing this time on State-run company’s treasury officials who aren’t only unfit for their posts, but also responsible for indebtedness operations without an strategic vision, which he associates with the drop in oil output. Ramírez indulgently justifies PDVSA’s collapse because those who replaced him lack the necessary knowledge to prioritize and fulfill payments, as if he himself hadn’t laid off thousands of broadly experienced employees for mere ideological reasons.

The most recent article of another man responsible for the collapse, Jorge Giordani, is also extraordinary in its cynicism, since the former Planning minister foresees an intensification of the crisis and, consequently, a social explosion. Brilliant!

Grey cynicism

Eduardo Semtei announced during his interview with Carlos Croes a couple of members of Henri Falcón’s potential cabinet: Eduardo Fernández, as foreign minister, and Francisco Rodríguez, as finance minister. His willingness to submit to the Military High Command’s will, to whom he leaves the choice of a new defense minister, was inspiring (of disgust, but inspiring) because “If the military high command decided that the minister must be Vladimir Padrino López, I don’t think we should oppose them,” he claimed. He diminished Henri Falcón’s defeat in Lara to a national phenomenon where the opposition was defeated by abstention, which is probably why he thinks it’s the enemy of the opposition: “Abstaining is keeping Maduro in power.” He explains his certainty about Falcón’s victory with the dissatisfaction of 80% of the population with the chavista administration. The slogan? “There’s no trick against the landslide.” He should review the results of 2013.

Nicolás’ denial

Nicolás didn’t attend the inauguration of Sebastián Piñera and he didn’t start the Asian tour he used to justify his absence with, either. Yesterday, he wrote that oil keeps a stable price and claimed that country is on its way to prosperity, omitting all the data reflecting our collapse and our profound crisis, because “The art of revolutionary politics is keeping balance under any circumstances and know how to advance.” He also claimed that the petro “has gone through the roof,” saying that they’ve received $5 billion in the pre-sale of the debt bond disguised as a cryptocurrency, which the National Assembly declared null because it’s forbidden to use the country’s reserves as guarantees.


  • The plenary of China’s National People’s Assembly approved this Sunday a pack of 21 constitutional amendments, including the life presidency of Xi Jinping, a dictatorship that’s impossible to denounce in their territory.
  • Sebastián Piñera took over as president of Chile until 2022, among 1,300 guests that included lawmaker Julio Borges. Piñera said: “I won’t remain indifferent in view of the suffering and sorrow of the Venezuelan people (…) We must exercise all legal instruments to help Venezuela and the Venezuelan people recover their democracy.” His Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero said: “We’ll seek out or support plans so that Venezuelan and Cuba return to the democratic path. But this isn’t only a task for Chile, it’s a task for the international community.”
  • Julio Borges met with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray; with Argentine President Mauricio Macri and with Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. All of them expressed their support for the demand of free and democratic elections; the opposite of the mock-show they put up in Cuba yesterday.
  • Santiago Aburto, former lawmaker of Nicaragua’s National Assembly and leader of the movement Cambiemos, denounced that in the last 10 years the Venezuelan government has sent $3,7 billion in alleged aids which never went through Nicaragua’s general budget or were audited. Aburto revealed that these resources allegedly reached the hands of President Daniel Ortega and “nobody knows what they’ve done with that money.”
  • Right-wing Iván Duque and left-wing Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s presidential pre-candidates who won the consultation simultaneously held yesterday along with parliamentary elections. Duque and Petro achieved a substantial difference over their contenders. In the distribution of the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives, Petro and his “List of Decency” also made poor gains with merely four seats, one less than those given to FARC as established by peace agreements. The chamber’s composition shows a relevant fragmentation of voting preferences and calls for a wise analysis of possible results in presidential elections to be held on May 27.

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.