Failed in Human Rights

For Saturday, April 21, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: T13 Chile

While the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Latin America, Alexander Schetinin, parroted chavismo’s argument that this humanitarian crisis is caused by U.S. sanctions and not by the haywire corruption of Nicolás and his cabinet, the United States accused Venezuelan security forces of carrying out a campaign of torture and extrajudicial executions during 2017. The State Department’s annual human rights report includes details about the government’s sponsorship of paramilitary groups known as “colectivos”; it also refers to the serious situation of Venezuelan prisons, as well as the increase in arbitrary detentions and the existence of political prisoner. The report also denounces the Judiciary’s lack of autonomy, the use of military tribunals against civilians, the arbitrary sentences against opposition mayors and the fierce censorship against the media. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch director José Miguel Vivanco asked the OAS Permanent Council to request the immediate release of the minors who were arrested in last year’s protests and remain in prison. Lastly, OAS secretary general Luis Almagro released a video cautioning that the OAS is implementing new mechanisms to aid Venezuelan migrants, referring to our situation as a “humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions in the Americas.”

Not yet

In its tenth auction carried out this Friday, the DICOM exchange rate reached Bs. 82,000 per euro and Bs. 66,900 per dollar, which is a 10.82% depreciation expressed in the $317,000 that were paid, un realero! Aside from this information, Alejandro Werner, head of the International Monetary Fund’s Department for the Western Hemisphere, said that the Venezuelan crisis was one of the 15 worst in modern history and explained that it’s “too early” to talk about plans or economic recovery figures for Venezuela, an answer to the statement issued this Thursday by Colombian Finance Minister Mauricio Cárdenas. “As we’ve said before, we’re working towards a moment when there are authorities willing to correct the macroeconomic situation and the humanitarian situation, but given the uncertainty, the hyperinflation process and the lack of information, it’s too early to make calculations,” said Werner, adding that he supports the measures being adopted by various countries against Venezuelan officials, because the IMF backs “the efforts to prevent the financial system from being used as a vehicle for the proceeds of illegal activities.”

Leaving for Havana

Nicolás claimed that the May 20 election will be held regardless of what others say: “Whatever foreign governments say doesn’t matter at all in Venezuela (…) Venezuela’s legality is what matters,” he said before leaving for Cuba to meet with president Miguel Díaz-Canel, to discuss “new proposals to strengthen the alliance.” He restated his willingness to solve the conflict with Panama: “I’m willing to backtrack on the hard decisiones they forced me to make”; and he also repeated the tale of Operation Paper Hands because it’s been effective to capture “those who sought to inflate the price of the dollar to paranormal  [sic] levels.” Later, Freddy Bernal, in his role of Protector of Táchira State, offered statements about the Operation Drone: “We’ve raided 13 car dealers and 200 vehicles were confiscated (…) 11 people have been arrested, four guns and a gas station, during a the dismantling of a gang linked to fuel trafficking to Colombia.” Bernal estimates that 100 people linked to the fuel smuggling gang will be arrested, but he didn’t explain the basis for this estimate. Yesterday, it was also revealed that Miranda State comptroller Yahir Muñoz requested a court to bar former governor Henrique Capriles from leaving the country, due to alleged irregularities during his tender.

Only ALBA’s left

The same day that Supreme Tribunal chief Maikel Moreno tweeted pictures from the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR); Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Peru announced the indefinite suspension of their membership in this bloc. The letter these nations sent to Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni says that UNASUR has been adrift under Bolivia’s current temporary presidency. A source revealed the important detail: UNASUR works by consensus and there are currently such discrepancies among its members that it’s become inoperational. The Bolivian Foreign minister said that he had no official information and that a meeting is supposed to be called for May, adding —the show first, you know—: “UNASUR is a geographic and historic reality.” It’s likely that this bloc created a decade ago in one of el finado’s whims to counter the United States’ influence in the region, will perish with this decision. On ALBA’s left, and that body drains far more resources and is much more useless.


  • In Nicaragua, the biggest protests that dictator Daniel Ortega has ever faced in his 11 years of government. So far, the brutal repression has left five dead, dozens wounded and journalists assaulted while doing their job. Vice President and spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said: “they’re like vampires demanding blood to nourish their political agenda.” Only Ortega’s wife could sum up like that the fight of a society that’s suffering the end of Venezuelan cooperation in their pockets.
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un announced that his country will suspend its nuclear and missiles tests, as well as the shutdown of the nuclear test center he has at the northeast of his territory. Donald Trump said this announcement was “very good news.”
  • The separatist organization ETA issued a historic statement, for the first time apologizing for the victims caused during the years of their armed fight for the independence of the Basque Country and Navarre: “ETA (…) wants to acknowledge in this statement the demand we have caused in the court of our armed history, as well as showing our commitment to definitely overcome the consequences of the conflict and to non-repetition.” The general reactions to their statement weren’t favorable.
  • In Peru, former President Alberto Fujimori appeared before a court after his release from prison four months ago, thanks to a controversial pardon issued by former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. After the hearing, the court has 15 days to issue a ruling about the prosecutor’s request to ban Fujimori from leaving the country. Also in Peru yesterday, former number two man of the organization Sendero Luminoso, Osmán Morote, imprisoned 30 years ago for terrorism, was released to continue his sentence under house arrest; the decision caused disgust and rejection from politicians, including President Martín Vizcarra.
  • “What is this humanitarian crisis they’re talking about? There are economic issues, shortages, but we can’t call that a humanitarian crisis,” said former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa about Venezuela yesterday, in an interview in Havana.
  • After closing off an 800-meter radius, evacuating 10,000 citizens and interrupting railway traffic, Berlin police diffused a Second World War bomb found in the Mitte neighborhood.

Roberto Patiño, member of the Broad Front for a Free Venezuela, called people to attend the citizen assemblies that will take place this Saturday starting 10:00 a.m. to debate how to overcome the country’s crisis and how to face the “fraud” of May 20 elections. In Caracas, the assemblies will be held in the San Martín square and Chacao’s Bolívar square.

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  1. The brazen lies of the Russian Foreign Ministry are yet another confirmation that Russia is seeking a neo-colonial role in Venezuela. Russia’s economic power is not enough to support Chavismo; the Russians will concentrate on taking over most of the oil industry. The financial heft would have to come from China, which can afford continued financing of the regime in return for picking up opportunities in the rest of Venezuela’s economy at knock-down prices, including importation of the crude oil that Russia will be able to provide from Venezuelan oil terminals.

  2. The chinese are not coming , theyve had it with this regime , to them the regime is so inept and corrupt that nothing can be done to shore it up , a waste of money , they will try and salvage the investments theyve already made and thats it !! they may not say so publicly but privately they are as outspoken as any dissapointed western businessman .

    The ruskies dont care about Venezuelan oil riches , they ve got enough of their own and their own problems with the US , they love needling the US and will try to continue doing so on the cheap, one way Putin maintains his popularity …but the total amount of their loans to Venezuela represent less than 7% of the total borrowings of the govt and Pdvsa…. , also they (mostly Rosnef) have their own western creditors and if they make unwise investments in basket case countries like venezuela their creditors are going to cut their credit lines so they cant go too far in their transactions with Venezuela …….

    Talk is cheap and thats the kind of support the govt may get from some gangster regimess , but dont expect anything in the way of money …….

    • Bill, your first sentence is exactly right and jibes with the “new Chinese” in the U.S., both business people “doing deals” with American counterparts, and immigrants moving here permanently. These are a new breed that will have little patience (putting it politely!) with a failed, collectivist Venezuela, which reminds them so much of their Grandfather’s (Maoist) China.

      Would you believe the new (post 1980) Chinese-American is a Trumpista? Quoting from the Huffington Post:

      “Recent (Chinese) immigrants are drawn to Republican Party rhetoric of individual responsibility and commitment to hard work. Like many minorities in the U.S., they have experienced racial discrimination but have not permitted it to cripple their determination to succeed and excel in a new society. Coming from a socialist country, they are ironically unaccustomed to social welfare and have little sympathy for those who depend on government “handouts.”…… THE NEW ARRIVALS VOTED FOR TRUMP AND WILL CONTINUE TO VOTE FOR TRUMP EQUIVALENTS, as long as such candidates espouse fiscally conservative platforms.” (My uppercase). []

      Imho, like it or not, China and America are increasingly finding common-ground, driven by compatible cultures and common business interests, more than by politics. The world’s two largest economies and cultures becoming integrated. Anyone want to predict what the world will look like in 20 years?

      • China will surpass the US in a couple of years and will become the worlds largest economy. My son asked me which language he should take up when he goes to high school in little over one year, mandarin I told him. And I’ll go and study it with him, going to be language number 7 for me.

        • China may surpass the US, but it has some very serious challenges going forward. Some that come to mind:

          1)-China is now a monarchy. Transitions between kings are fraught with danger.

          2)-All wealthy Chinese I know have an escape plan from China with their house, money and legal papers somewhere in the west coast of the US or Canada. Moreover, they pay for their children to get educated in the US, a sure symptom that the mercantile elite does not trust its own country (it makes me think of Venezuelans and their dream of Miami).

          3)-There are not many releases for social pressures brewing in the momentous urbanization the country is enduring.

          • China has a long history of very bloody peasant revolts. They have no history of peaceful regime change. So, I would not be making very long term investments there. Short and medium term, yes. They just don’t have enough of a record of long term stability to trust them to be a world economic and cultural leader.

        • China will surpass the U. S. in total GDP, but probably will always be way behind in GDP/capita–hold on to your English language. US.-China is a symbiotic commercial relationship–we buy most of their Chinese goods/knick-knacks, they finance our ballooning fiscal deficit buying U.S. Govt. bonds. Trump is not so dumb as some think–he pressures China on trade, China pressures satellite N.Korea on nuclear disarmament….

  3. “We’ve raided 13 car dealers and 200 vehicles were confiscated (…) 11 people have been arrested, four guns and a gas station, during a the dismantling of a gang linked to fuel trafficking to Colombia.”

    How many hundreds -or thousands- of people are involved in smuggling gasoline? They got 11.
    They probably gave previous notice of the raid to higher-up bachaqueros, who inserted 11 stooges into the group that would be arrested.


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