In Foreign Land

Your daily briefing for Monday, April 2, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Vatican News

This Sunday in his Easter message, Pope Francis called for an end to carnage in Syria; he advocated for reconciliation in the Holy Land and expressed his confidence that dialogue can bring harmony to the Korean peninsula; condemning hunger, conflicts and terrorism in Africa, as well as the troubles of refugees, drug and human trafficking victims. The Pope said: “We also invoke fruits of consolation for the Venezuelan people, who, as their bishops have written, are living in a kind of ‘foreign land’ within their own country. May that nation, by the power of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, find a just, peaceful and humane way to surmount quickly the political and humanitarian crises that grip it.” Back in January this year, Pope Francis mentioned the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis, the same the government insists on denying.

Everything on Twitter

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab announced that the Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants against five Policarabobo officers “accused of being responsible” for causing the fire that left 68 people dead and 98 wounded. Saab mentioned that Policarabobo’s assistant director is among those arrested, as if that was an achievement, perhaps ignoring that the governor of Kemerovo (Russia), Aman Tuleyev, resigned after a fire that killed 64 people in his state.

Interior minister Reverol hasn’t said a word and Prisons Minister Iris Varela tweeted about the Panama list, but not about this incident. The Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons called for new autopsies on the 68 victims. Four days after the fire, there’s still no official version about these events, no explanation about the origin of the riot or the fire and the complaints of relatives about the use of gasoline haven’t been answered. Journalist Adriana Fernández shared her testimony after accompanying and photographing the burials of 24 victims in Valencia, explaining among other details, the corpses’ severe state of decay, the burial in mass graves, the absence of priests and each burial being 15-minute long.

Brief and serious

  • A large fire reached at least three warehouses in the administrative area of the company Alimentos Munchy, in Aragua state. In addition to massive losses, the incident might leave 500 employees without a job.
  • On Saturday, Hidrocapital employee Luis Sánchez died while welding a crack in a pipeline of the Tuy II Water System. Sánchez was inside the pipe when the water course was opened, drowning him. On Twitter, Hidrocapital acknowledged his death and apologized “for any inconveniences caused.” Amazing.
  • National Guard sergeant Carlos Graterol was killed by CICPC officers when he tried to commit a mass robbery in an inn in Tucacas, Falcón, along with other three criminals who also died. The weapons were confiscated on site.
  • Guitar teacher José Luis Lara was murdered in Ciudad Bolívar. He was the founder and chairman of the Angostura Guitar Festival, which had been held 16 times. He was a performer, a teacher and a composer, focusing his career in performing Venezuelan and Latin American repertoires. When you can, listen to the beautiful pieces he recorded with the Ensamble Orinoco, among other works. His murder is an extremely sad event.


  • Former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, who ruled Guatemala between 1982 and 1983, died without punishment, after executing some 10,000 Guatemalans, most of them native. Ríos Montt was one of the bloodiest military dictators in Latin America and he died at 91 years without paying for his crimes.
  • The Venezuelan government formally requested Azerbaijan the opening of an embassy in Baku, and it’s now evident how clear Nicolás’ priorities are. Likewise, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López will travel to Moscow this week to participate in a Security Conference and also study the project of building in Venezuela a factory of Kalashnikov assault rifles.
  • Guyanese Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge cautioned that his government and the government of Venezuela will have to accept the verdict issued by the Hague’s International Justice Court (ICJ) or face UN sanctions if they violate the decision about the territorial dispute over the Esequibo. Greenidge said that once the court had made a decision, the States cannot dismiss it, saying that UN Secretary General António Guterres may turn to the General Assembly and the Security Council to take action if the ruling is disregarded.
  • Southern Florida’s federal authorities are working on a money-laundering case against former Venezuelan high-ranking officers, including Alejandro Andrade, a bodyguard whose eye Chávez hurt while playing “chapita”, who became the National Treasurer between 2007 and 2010 in compensation. He’s being investigated for laundering millions of dollars embezzled from the Venezuelan State. Claudia Díaz Guillén, who replaced Andrade as Treasurer, is also being investigated for alleged money laundering.
  • The Mexican electoral campaign officially kicked off yesterday. The three main candidates held mass rallies this Sunday, ahead of the electoral race that will be held on July 1st.
  • With 90% of votes counted and 60.6% in favor, journalist and political scientist Carlos Alvarado won the presidential elections in Costa Rica, surpassing Evangelical singer Fabricio Alvarado. A triumph of democracy and the secular State.

After fears about a potential crash landing in some populated area, the Chinese space lab Tiangong 1 fell on an area of the south Pacific, further polluting the ocean. Just that.

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.