Tied Up

For Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: PSUV

“The carnet de la patria is a way to have each vote tied up. Right-wingers say that we’re threatening you with removing the CLAP bag if you don’t vote for us. And who gives those bags away? It’s Maduro! It’s not a threat. There would be no more bags if Henri Falcón wins here,” said Diosdado Cabello yesterday, summing up why PSUV created this instrument, to use the State’s resources to coerce social program beneficiaries, to oppress and cling to power. Cabello expressed his hope that Henri Falcón will carry on with his candidacy “until the end, because even though he’ll lose, a true opposition could come (…) he could stand up and say I lost, but I got this many votes and here I am.”

Meanwhile, Falcón spoke about electoral guarantees, pointing out that even though they’re not better than in 2015, at least they’re the same, repeating that the man who’s winning doesn’t pull out, so the absence of international observation, PSUV’s political grip on the CNE and Nicolás’ embezzlement-fueled campaign are irrelevant. What he lacks in charisma, he makes up for in cynicism.

Send Nicolás to trial?

The TSJ in exile ruled that the are sufficient elements to start a criminal procedure against Nicolás for his alleged liability in acts of corruption, decreeing his preventive imprisonment and ordering the Armed Forces and police bodies to comply with this ruling. They also approved requesting Interpol to include Nicolás in the list of red-alert individuals.

Regarding this possibility, lawyer Mariano de Alba said that the international law prevents Interpol from issuing a red alert against a Head of State unless “the arrest warrant is issued by an international court.”

The TSJ in exile also notified the National Assembly of its decision so that they approve the political trial against Nicolás.

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab said that this ruling is a show and that the exiled justices are “usurpers, criminals and mercenaries (…) who seek to destabilize the country, who put the legal practice to shame by getting involved in conspiracies, political instability and fear.”

No State has recognized the legitimacy of the TSJ in exile so far. The messages supporting this “ruling” are nearly a threat against Parliament, inspired by the epic of fulfilling their historic commitment.

I can’t believe that those who demand this ignore that, by complying with this ruling, the lawmakers would be sealing their one-way ticket to El Helicoide.

When your hand shakes

Parkinson patients marched to United Nations headquarters to request their mediation as they demand authorities to resume the program from which they received their medicines — out of service since August, 2017 — and that benefited 17,000 patients.

Their testimonials were heartbreaking, most of them agreeing on the fear of imminent death for lack of treatment for this disease.

This protest took place a day after Táchira Governor Laidy Gómez reported that five people died from a Chagas disease outbreak and that 40 more people are affected thus far. El Pitazo discovered a crucial detail of this story: the inhabitants of the affected neighborhood have to drill the ground to have water, which makes them vulnerable to this and many other diseases.

Dr. Alejandro Crespo criticized the effectiveness of the National Vaccination Plan 2018, not only because there aren’t enough vaccines to counter the epidemic, but also because of the consequences of incomplete vaccination. Since the government insists on restricting access to vaccines to carnet de la patria holders, an ineffective plan is made even worse.

Sadly, another inmate who had been wounded during the fire in PoliCarabobo dungeons died yesterday: the death toll is now 69.

#TodosConVenezuela

Ricardo Montaner and NGO Human Rights Watch launched a solidarity campaign for Venezuela, asking Latin Americans to denounce the abuses of Nicolás Maduro’s government, to raise their voice in the Summit of the Americas that starts this Friday and to flood Twitter accounts of Latin American leaders to foster awareness about the magnitude of our crisis, advancing key issues such as food and medicine shortages, the resurgence of endemic diseases that had been controlled in the past; the censorship against citizens and the media and even hyperinflation and its consequences. They created high-grade material.

If you’re emigrating to Chile!

Yesterday, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera presented his reform to the Immigration Law. In the case of Venezuela, due to the serious democratic crisis we’re experiencing and arguing that we were a “country that harbored many Chileans who sought refuge in its borders,” he proposed a democratic responsibility visa from April 16 and will last 12 months, extendable once.

This visa must be requested in Venezuela’s consular offices and this is the most important part: it’s impossible to request the change in immigration status (from tourist to resident) once you’re in Chilean territory.

The reform also includes a National Immigration Record, the regularization of those who entered the country before April 8 and the elimination of labor visas starting on April 23, as well as the simplification of the deportation process for those who break the Immigration Law. With this reform, Chile blocks an imminent consequence of Nicolás’ potential “victory”.

By the way, Christian Velasco (@ChrisPrensa) shared a beautiful campaign launched in Bucaramanga: ”Memoria y respeto” with several institutions that support Venezuelans in our diaspora, using phrases of Venezuelans who explain their circumstances.

With a small delay

In April 2016, Univision released a video summing up the adventures of a couple of corrupt chavistas: Adrián Velásquez, former security chief of the presidential palace, and Claudia Díaz, former nurse of el finado and former National Treasurer. Two years later, Saab announced that thanks to the actions of the Prosecutor’s Office — including an arrest warrant and an Interpol red alert request — both have been arrested in Spain. Saab wrote: “On recent raids, it was discovered that they had endless techniques for money laundering and illicit enrichment, which forces them to appear before the corresponding authorities,” adding (in sustained uppercase) that they requested Spain their immediate extradition so that they can be tried here. His tweet about unprecedented actions in the fight against corruption was a thing of beauty.

Abroad

  • Transport Minister Carlos Osorio announced the reactivation of air and sea operations with Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.
  • Panamanian Vice-President Isabel de Saint Malo dismissed any discussions with Venezuela as long as the restrictive measures affecting Panamanian companies remain in place; adding that our crisis will be discussed in the Summit of the Americas, and ratifying the statements of Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio.
  • Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga asked for “free, transparent and democratic elections without political prisoners, with the participation of all parties, without political disqualifications, regardless of their political stance,” a demand currently being prepared by the Lima Group which, according to Loizaga, is working on a joint statement.
  • The Comptroller’s Office of Ecuador said that they have evidence that would open former president Rafael Correa and several former officials related with economy and finance to criminal prosecution for mismanaging the public debt. Correa deemed this action as political persecution.
  • José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero fancies himself as the guarantor of the May 20 electoral process, so he asked the international community for calm and excused the absence of the opposition in elections with the story about Falcón making it “until the end.” It’s not an accident that his statement mirrors Diosdado. Zapatero was bold enough to insist on a dialogue to clear the differences and proposed building a great political agreement “after May 20,” the same condition Nicolás established for the arrival of economic prosperity. He’s so neutral that he blamed Borges for the failure of negotiations in the Dominican Republic.

At the America’s Cup Chile 2018, Venezuela hammered Bolivia with a score of 8-0! Deyna Castellanos scored four goals, Isaura Viso three and Oriana Altuve one. ¡Grandes!

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