Known Overcrowding

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab claimed yesterday that, as soon as the riot that took the lives of 68 people broke out in Policarabobo headquarters, the Prosecutor’s Office determined that the police’s assistant director had been negligent, although he didn’t mention him in his tweets about the case, and even though he posted these tweets 13 hours after the fire.

Saab doesn’t rule out new arrests and denounced the overcrowding in police dungeons in the country, with information he must’ve had when he was Ombudsman but chooses to use now. He promised to start “a whole serious and articulated campaign” with the Supreme Tribunal, the Prisons Ministry and the Interior Ministry to solve this issue, although he’s barely diagnosing the situation.

Prisons Minister Iris Varela used the day to point out that her office bears no responsibility for this incident and to claim that the judicial and penitentiary systems in Venezuela are the best in the world.

Lawmaker Juan Miguel Matheus announced that the National Assembly will ask the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to visit the country to evaluate the prisons system, that they’ll request direct assistance for the victims’ families, and ratified the creation of an Investigation Committee, as well as the vote of no confidence to remove Minister Varela from office.

Another attack on Falcón

Henri Falcón called for a walk yesterday through Catia’s boulevard which ended with people robbed, wounded and even hospitalized. Last night, he explained that he carried on with the activity despite having been threatened and that during the attack, there were knives, firearms and considerable violence. Lawmaker Teodoro Campos, a member of his campaign team, was hit in the head (presumably with a steel gauntlet) and is currently in the Military Hospital “under observation after being diagnosed with a severe cranioencephalic trauma.” Photographer Rayner Peña and even some PNB officers were also assaulted. This is the second attack against Falcón’s team in less that ten days. He could’ve spared us the epic of how an attack strengthens him and instead demanded the Prosecutor’s Office to start an investigation to establish responsibilities, especially if the aggressors belong to paramilitary groups. Saying that Nicolás is responsible for “the peace or the violence” in the campaign and asking him to “control his armed groups” is practically dancing to his tune.

Teaching isn’t a crime

Young lawyers Geraldine Chacón and Gregory Hinds are members of the Community Ambassadors Foundation, dedicated to educational training and the promotion of leadership for teenagers in Caracas’ low-income neighborhoods. As of yesterday, they’ve been arbitrarily detained for two months in El Helicoide, without committing any crimes.

Both were deceitfully taken to Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) headquarters and arrested without a warrant. The Venezuelan State has violated their right to freedom of association, to personal freedom, to legal defense and to due process. Gregory Hinds has also been subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and he’s been denied the medical attention he needs. On February 5, the Prosecutor’s Office indicted them with the crimes of public instigation and criminal association. The judge agreed to grant them a measure in substitution of freedom with the presence of guarantors, even though the arbitrariness of their arrest was acknowledged by the prosecutor and the court. On February 7, the required guarantors were presented, but both lawyers remain detained: they deserve their immediate release!

The self-determination of accounts

Tarek William Saab claimed that the sanctions imposed against chavista officials by Switzerland and Panama are “fake news,” showing how well he knows the concept; challenging nations to show whether he had any bank account other than the payroll account he keeps in Banco de Venezuela. A genius, eh?

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza handed a note of protest to Swiss diplomatic mission chief Didier Chassot, condemning the sanctions. The action was, of course, called interventionist and it “shows that European Union countries are subordinated to the United States government.”

Lastly, the TSJ called Swiss and Panamanian sanctions unworthy and deplorable, expressing their rejection for “the illegal coercitive measures” that, according to the statement, violate the extremes of the international context and the honor of the nations to “threaten national sovereignty and people’s right to self-determination.” The TSJ is yet to mention the deaths of 68 people in Policarabobo headquarters.


  • 81-year-old South African activist and politician Winnie Madizikela Mandela has passed away. She was one of the symbols of the fight against the Apartheid, which in time caused severe personal and political rifts with her ex-husband, Nelson Mandela.
  • Russian Industry and Commerce Vice-Minister Oleg Nikolaevich met with Agriculture Minister Castro Soteldo, to discuss the proposal to produce “food transformation equipment in Anaco.”
  • Two ELN leaders died: “Breimar,” who led actions in Tibú municipality and was killed in a police raid while returning to Venezuela, and “Fidel”, responsible for recruiting teenagers, selective homicides and illegal exploitation of mining deposits, according to the Colombian government.
  • OAS chief Luis Almagro discussed with Luis Florido about the deepening of the Venezuelan migration crisis and the need to re-democratize Venezuela.
  • Ecuador recorded the first measles case imported with a child coming from Venezuela, as confirmed this Monday by Health Minister Verónica Espinosa, who pointed out that the 5-year-old child was ill when he entered Ecuador on March 27. An epidemiological alert was immediately activated and the case was isolated. The last homegrown measles case in Ecuador was recorded in 1996.
  • The TSJ in exile will hold session today in Bogotá, in Colombian Senate headquarters.
  • This week, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok will tour his country’s federal dependencies in the Caribbean (Aruba, Curazao and Saint Martin) to deal with the Venezuelan crisis and the increasing migration.

The Hubble space telescope caught an image of the most distant star ever seen: Icarus. This star first shone 4.4 billion years ago. Since then, its light has crossed the universe for 9 billion years until it was caught by the telescope thanks to the gravitational lens, which allows Hubble to use distant galaxies as a sort of cosmic magnifying lens in order to spot what lies beyond. The farthest star discovered until this point had been at 55 million light years, Icarus is 260 times farther!

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.