Deliberate Isolation

For Friday, April 6, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Panorama

Yesterday, the government of Venezuela suspended economic, commercial and financial ties with 22 natural persons and 46 judicial persons in Panama for 90 days, as a measure to “protect the Venezuelan financial system,” bringing down all their arguments against the sanctions imposed against them and confirming their legality.

The joint resolution of the ministries of Economy and Finance, Interior and Foreign Commerce (they must’ve assigned a junior employee to write it, judging by the arguments and the structure) includes sanctions for President Juan Carlos Varela and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo, and among the companies, Copa Airlines, nearly the only remaining connection with the rest of the continent.

Last night, the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics announced the suspension of all Copa Airlines flights.

The government’s justification for this measure is “the opacity of Panama’s financial system,” although Panamanians have a lot more to say about Venezuelan opacity. Panama takes this decision as “a political reaction devoid of substance,” a retaliation for their recent actions, so they decided to remove their ambassador in Venezuela, Miguel Mejía, and requested the removal of Venezuelan ambassador Jorge Durán Centeno. Nicolás is condemning us to a perverse, deliberate isolation, indifferent to its consequences, as he is with all the rest of our problems.

Minimalistic

Although he’s responsible for the unprecedented humanitarian crisis which now adds the certainty of isolation, Nicolás said: “By electing me, you’re giving me great power, you’re giving me power to fight against the minimalism, bureaucracy and corruption of so-called chavistas.”

I admit I ignored that an artistic movement such as minimalism justified his administration’s ineptitude and wickedness.

It was sinister that he held the swear-in ceremony for his campaign team at the National Pantheon; terrible that he backed off from attending the Summit of the Americas and even worse that he insulted French President Emmanuel Macron, describing him as “a henchman of the interests of the financial oligarchy.” But of course, he expressed his support for Lula da Silva, condemning the indignity of using “the judiciary to intimidate” — a practice in which he’s become a true expert — because you know, it’s nice to celebrate that former President Kuczynski will be tried for the Odebrecht case, but it’s terrible that Lula himself has to go through that.

In Spain

Yesterday, it was revealed that the vice-president of Bolivariana de Puertos, Elisaúl Yépez, opened in 2011 an account in Banca Privada d’Andorra (BPA), depositing at least $600,000 — impossible to amass with his wages in that office — but which allegedly opened to collect ”debts for services rendered in the customs area,” with the support of former DISIP director Carlos Luis Aguilera, who’s also being investigated for money laundering.

Additionally, former president Felipe González asked the Lima Group to analyze the Venezuelan crisis seriously —because it’s already a regional crisis— and to coordinate with the European Union the sanctions against individual officials; he asked the international community to disregard the May 20 election and urged Henri Falcón not to be “Maduro’s loincloth.”

Also, Julio Borges, Antonio Ledezma and Carlos Vecchio met with President Mariano Rajoy and Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis. Rajoy said that Spain continues to support Venezuelans in recovering democracy. The opposition trio also met with Albert Rivera, head of the party Ciudadanos. Borges granted an interview to newspaper El País where he sums up the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis and the opposition’s stance on several key points.

Lying, the chavista method

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said in Moscow that Venezuela “is the target of a broad hybrid offensive (…) advanced by imperial agents with the goal of imposing their dominion.” The minister didn’t spare any of the fallacies created by the propaganda machine to explain this concept: economic warfare, financial blockade and persecution; obstacles for the purchase of food and medicines; media warfare with post-truth and manipulation of social networks to sell a distorted reality of this marvellous country. Electric Power Minister Luis Motta Domínguez didn’t stay behind, claiming that in 10 days at most, they’ll solve the power crisis lashing the western part of the country. Lastly, TSJ chief Maikel Moreno said that Luisa Ortega Díaz invited him in 2017 to support a coup d’état, claiming that the prosecutor general persecuted “businessmen and bankers in an unprecedented crusade of extortion, and she now seeks to legitimate her conduct before the world.” He had the nerve to ask imposed prosecutor general Saab to prosecute exiled justices, calling them “a world-trekking circus of criminals.”

Abroad

  • Federal judge Sérgio Moro determined the arrest of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has until 5:00 p.m. of this Friday to turn himself in willingly to the Federal Police in Curitiba. In respect for the office he once held, the judge granted him the right to turn himself in willingly and barred the use of handcuffs. Journalist Kennedy Alencar spoke with Lula who called the arrest warrant “absurd.” The Workers Party called for a march in favor of Lula.
  • The White House dismissed any chance that Donald Trump could meet with Nicolás or with Raúl Castro during the Summit of the Americas. Trump will argue that it’s the United States and not China who should be Latin America’s preferred commercial partner, as part of a escalating rhetoric.
  • In view of complaints of mistreatment and deportation of Venezuelans who arrive to Mexico, Senator Andrea García García proposed the Senate an agreement to urge the National Immigration Institute to treat immigrants fairly, respecting human rights. The motion was transferred to the Immigration Affairs Committee.
  • The official celebration for the arrival of 8.5 tons of medicines and medical supplies —a donation articulated between Russia, the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization-— should vanish with the protest of the mothers JM de los Ríos Children’s Hospital patients, deploring the failures of oncological treatments. For a context in the use of this donation, read @Codevida.
  • German justice released Carles Puigdemont and dismissed the crime of rebellion. Puigdemont’s last tweet from prison says: “See you tomorrow. Thank you all.” The former advisors of the Generalitat de Catalunya who fled to Belgium were also released by decision of the Belgian justice.

In the video #NoLoLlamesElección, a group of young politicians, who are known for being the generation that organized protests back in 2007 and are currently lawmakers, council members or exiled mayors, provide arguments not to take the CNE’s call for May 20 elections seriously. These arguments include the lack of electoral guarantees and the focus on people’s concrete problems that won’t be solved that day. Their message? “Keep the fight on.”

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