A day of defeats

Your daily briefing for Thursday, April 26, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Tal Cual Digital

Diosdado Cabello lost the lawsuit he filed against newspaper The Wall Street Journal for libel, based on the article: “Venezuelan officials suspected of turning the country into a global cocaine hub.” Judge Katherine Forrest dismissed the lawsuit because Cabello’s lawyers didn’t show that the statements were false nor proved the slander against him. Additionally, ConocoPhillips announced that they won the $2 billion arbitrage against PDVSA in an international arbitrage court for the anticipated dissolution of two crude production projects. Remember that Conoco’s assets in Venezuela were expropriated in 2007 and the company keeps another arbitrage before an instance of the World Bank. To make things worse, American oil company Chevron evacuated several executives from Venezuela after two of its employees were imprisoned due to a contractual dispute with PDVSA. These employees could face treason charges for refusing to sign a contract to supply spare parts for ovens. The drama is that mixed companies are the core that sustains the dwindling local oil production. Without them, the collapse will be worse and faster than we’ve already seen.

The useless reconversion

Central Bank chairman Ramón Lobo announced that starting on May 1, prices must be tagged in sovereign bolívares (without three zeroes, like most of the population already uses them) but early in the morning economist Omar Zambrano explained the futility of a monetary reconversion that has no impact on the greater problem that’s hyperinflation, and also will cost the State between $500 and $600 millions (more than thirty thousand “integral” minimum wages) and as if this wasn’t enough, it’s technically impossible to carry out the process for the date set by the BCV! Besides, lawmaker José Guerra said that the BCV withdrew $500 million from their active position in the International Monetary Fund of Special Drawing Rights, to pay for the gold they had pawned in Citibank.

From the CNE

Nicolás suspended his campaign event in Zulia due to the impossibility to properly handle the approval levels he enjoys amidst the electrical emergency. But don’t worry, a bunch of people issued statements from the National Electoral Council yesterday, starting with Javier Bertucci, who’s willing to support a single candidacy and also denounced a boycott against him committed by two chavista mayors and Nicolás’ foul play.

Henri Falcón restated the complaint about foul play and demanded the CNE, guarantor of such advantage, to “do what they have to do.” He also denounced that private media outlets are getting calls from government officials to order the broadcast of government activities.

Rectora Sandra Oblitas announced that they’ve decided to open administrative investigations against chavista mayors of Linares Alcántara municipality (Aragua) and Guaicaipuro municipality (Miranda), due to Bertucci’s complaint and despite this, she had the nerve of claiming that the campaign is developing satisfactorily.

Titanium on steroids

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab made his contribution to the script of the operation Paper Hands, ratifying information already given by Vice-President Tarek El Aissami and minister Néstor Reverol. The novelty of his statement resided on the dismantling of three remittance houses: Intercash, RapidCambio and AirTM. He said they’ve created a special team to prosecute those who commit crimes with currency exchange operations and claimed that he’s recommended Nicolás to create new reclusion centers for the culprits of these crimes because they’re “true serial killers” responsible for “starving the people to death.”

His successful contribution to the operation started with the capture of the owner of webpage Dolar Pro, who apparently “confessed” his crimes. Sadly, he didn’t explain that the man was forced to return to the country after his dad was kidnapped. Saab said: “The accomplices operating abroad are fully identified. That’s where the Prosecutor’s Office is going, respecting due process.” Saab would profit greatly from exporting the titanium on his face.

Serial killers, Tarek?

On the world day against malaria, healthcare and bioanalysis employees in Venezuela protested to denounce the shortage of reagents for lab tests in public institutions, which stands at 100% already, versus 70% in private labs. And just like Codevida reported the death in Nueva Esparta of Mr. Asdrúbal Lindo, after spending 20 days without a dialysis for lack of a catheter; friends of the famous Venezuelan theater actor and director Levy Rossell announced his passing due to the shortage of antihypertensives and oxygenating treatment he need to recover from a cerebrovascular accident he suffered less than a month ago.

Also yesterday, doctor and lawmaker José Manuel Olivares reported that half of the pediatric hospitalization service at the Domingo Luciani hospital was shut down. Since Venezuela’s the country with the worst global performance against malaria in the world, without a public policy to respond to the magnitude of the epidemic, who are the true serial killers?


  • Claudia Díaz, Chávez’s nurse, appointed National Treasurer in compensation for her admirable work and responsible for the Economic Development Fund, was arrested in Madrid along with her husband Adrián Velásquez (Miraflores’ chief of security) for alleged crimes of money laundering and corruption, detailed in the Panama Papers.
  • OAS chief Luis Almagro proposed that the European Union (EU) should impose stronger sanctions against the Venezuelan government. In his view, there need to be different levels of sanctions that have “a greater impact on the variables of the regime’s financial operation,” that impact their families and figureheads.
  • “We must say outright that Mr. Maduro simply doesn’t fulfill the standards of democracy in the Inter American system, to state it fully and clearly: Maduro is a dictator,” said Colombian presidential candidate Humberto de la Calle.
  • The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights reported that the death toll during the protests reached 34 people, since it includes some missing citizens who were later found by their families at the Managua morgue and people who didn’t survive the wounds suffered in the protests. Most of them were youngsters and students.
  • President Juan Carlos Varela said that Panama isn’t closed to a dialogue to seek a solution to the disputes with Venezuela, but without renouncing their clear stance in defense of democracy and the protection of their financial system. Varela insisted that aerial connectivity is a matter that must be resolved with agile communication because it affects the population and “isolating both countries is a mistake.”
  • The U.S. Embassy urged Nicolás to allow the access of humanitarian aid into Venezuela because it would include medicines to treat preventable diseases such as malaria.
  • Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy discussed about the difficult Venezuelan situation, “a question about which there’s full agreement between both countries,” says the statement issued after the meeting.
  • The Supreme Tribunal in exile announced that they have a physical office in Panama City. Apparently, it will be formally inaugurated this Thursday, April 26.

In the report about the status of Press Freedom, Venezuela dropped six more sports and now ranks 143th out of the 180 studied countries. The drop is explained by all the abuses suffered by press professionals and by the progress of censorship. Congratulations to Conatel and the Maneiro Corporation for their “achievements”. This was a day of defeats for both chavismo and the country. Cynicism and indifference have gained even more traction in their actions; it’s us who always suffer their failures.

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.