Nicolás Jekyll, Nicolás Hyde

For Wednesday, March 21, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Prensa Presidencial

Overjoyed by the certification of the world’s fourth largest gold mine here in Venezuela, but upset with the measures taken by Donald Trump against the petro. Buoyant with the handover, like the two millionth housing unit, but irritated by the sanctions against four officials of his administration. Claiming that housing construction is only possible in socialism, but denouncing that the anti-petro campaign started in the National Assembly. Saying that “the petro is unstoppable,” but condemning the persecution against his government, Nicolás morphed from one role to another, ignoring the contradictions in his messages, because it’s hard to be the prosperous candidate when you’re also the infamous president. Nicolás promised that the coming housing units will be financed with petros and cautioned the U.S. that the people will make them pay dearly for their evil. He also remarked that the carnet de la patria will be a requirement to obtain one of those houses. He memorably explained that Trump’s obsession with his regime is “induced by people who write to him on WhatsApp.” Brilliant.

Cards vs. carnets

Ignoring the World Electoral Freedom Index (WEFI) where Venezuela ranks 102th among the 198 countries in the study, describing us as a nation with an insufficient degree of electoral freedom, Henri Falcón presented his campaign team, announcing Claudio Fermín as its chief. His political manager, economist Francisco Rodríguez, restated the proposal of dollarizing the economy, adding the issuance of a solidarity debit card with a monthly $25 bonus for adults and $10 for children, which will be funded from the national budget. Falcón claimed that he fully agrees with the proposals of the Broad Front for a Free Venezuela and that he’s been talking daily with various leaders, so he celebrated diversity and difference as examples of democracy. He needs lots of training in spokesmanship and rhetoric in his main messages: after being re-elected as mayor and losing his third term straight as a governor, he incoherently claimed that he doesn’t want to rule for life. He should also set up a casting to choose more inspired talents if he wants to repeat the formula of using people as a background. Those he had yesterday always applauded after the audience and it’s a miracle they didn’t yawn.

And the National Assembly

Yesterday, Parliament condemned May 20 elections, approving an agreement to Ratify the Demand for Free and Transparent Elections in Venezuela, urging OAS countries not to recognize them, among other reasons because the change from April 22 to May 20 is evidence of the alliance between the Electoral Branch and the ANC. For the AN, this election constitutes a simulacrum “that seeks to provide the regime with an appearance of legality,” so OAS member states should join the demand for free, universal, direct and secret elections “that allow a democratic change in the country.”

No to the petro

Aside from the assertions in the article published by the Time magazine about the backing and help that Russian authorities provided to the petro as a way to sidestep American sanctions, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in Exile voided the cryptoasset, admitting a nullification request filed on January 8, with the argument that Nicolás is not currently the legitimate president of Venezuela (?) “thus he has no authority to issue decrees.” And so, the jurists based their decision on article 318 of the Constitution, establishing the bolivar as the only legal tender in Venezuela, which makes it “legally impossible to establish another national monetary unit, virtual or otherwise.” It would’ve been easier for them to say that the government can’t issue new debt supported by the country’s assets without the National Assembly’s approval. They also ordered the Armed Forces, judges, prosecutors and police officers to disregard the regime and to restore constitutional order and the rule of law, with actions that put an end to “injustice, arbitrariness, abuse and the violation of rights.”

If that were possible, they wouldn’t be in exile.

Meanwhile, the TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber notified the end of former mayor Enzo Scarano’s political disqualification.

Abroad

  • While Donald Trump revealed his intentions to meet with Vladimir Putin soon, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the U.S. will continue to assess the Venezuelan crisis and that they’re considering additional sanctions.
  • Mark Green, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), reported that they’ll immediately hand over $2.5 million to help Venezuelan citizens migrating to Colombia, to provide them with food and medicines. Colombia estimates that the daily attention for Venezuelans arriving to the country is $5. Nikki Haley, American ambassador before the UN, said that this humanitarian financing is based on the fact that our crisis is a threat for the stability of the entire region, explaining that the regime’s refusal to receive humanitarian aid “is only fueling the mass exodus.”
  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that he’ll keep working with the government of Brazil to recover democracy in Venezuela: “Once again, we urge president Nicolás Maduro to accept the humanitarian aid we’ve offered.” Michel Temer said that our situation affects all of Latin America: “What we want is political peace in Venezuela, full democracy during elections and the end of attacks against dissenters of the currently constituted regime,” Temer remarked.
  • Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said that The Hague will pay special attention to the defense of its Caribbean islands due to the regional instability prompted by Venezuela’s situation and immigration waves.
  • Tensions caused by the mass exodus already had a serious demonstration in Roraima (Brazil) after a Brazilian citizen, Eulis Marinho de Souza, was murdered in a bar fight between two Venezuelans (one of them also died) causing a group of people to assault a Venezuelan shelter, expelling them and burning their belongings. It was tough to hear them talk so soon about how fed up they are with “the Venezuelan invasion.”
  • The National Health Institute of Colombia also expressed its concern for the possible increase in Venezuelan-imported diseases. Although they trust the coverage of their vaccination campaigns, they’re hardly free from risk. Read the statement of UCAB’s Human Rights Center urging host countries to establish protective measures for Venezuelan migrants.
  • Lawmaker Julio Borges and Carlos Vecchio asked OAS chief Luis Almagro to take measures to help Venezuelans solve the political crisis, restating the need to create a humanitarian channel. During their stay in the U.S., Vecchio and Borges will meet with vice-president Mike pence.

In the first day that pensions are paid by ID card number, lines increased significantly. Ignoring the schedules for the new “programmed” power cuts, the government announced water rationing, as if it had ever ended. Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab should change his “anti-corruption avenger” performance. The administration should issue an apology for so many years harboring so much corruption, it would be more sensible than announcing arrests in batches each week.

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