Remittances for me!

Your daily briefing for Thursday, May 3, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Tal Cual

This Wednesday, Vice-president Tareck El Aissami announced that, through the operation Paper Hands, the government authorized the opening of exchange houses to control the access to family remittances and other operations that will be specified in the next few hours, in order to counter foreign currency trafficking and prevent them from falling “in the hands of mafias.” The operation of these houses will be reinforced in special economic zones, petro zones and touristic facilities. He also announced that after a meeting with imposed prosecutor general Saab, the Judiciary and Sudeban started  “a new phase of the operation Paper Hands and 28 people have been arrested so far,” and they’ve issued 149 arrest warrants against identified individuals; restating the “raids on suitcase companies” (it’d be interesting to watch a video of the method used) and the confiscation of money and foreign currencies.

Last night, Banesco said that its chairman, Oscar Doval, was making a statement in the headquarters of the Directorate of Military Counterintelligence.

PSUV’s amazing imaginarium

Nicolás, the man who fears nothing and no one, claimed that if a government should seek to give away the country’s wealth (as he’s done) he’d be the one to take up arms in an armed revolutions and to call the people to do the same. In a fit of bravado, he spouted: “What the hell do I care what Europe says! What the hell do I care what Washington says! What the hell do I care about foreign recognition!”, because he ostensibly only cares for the people’s recognition. Nicolás is known to be responsible for this unprecedented humanitarian crisis and perhaps that’s why he reiterated that he’s thinking of “a juicy prize” for those who vote with their carnet de la patria. Fortunately for him, Diosdado Cabello claimed that he’s already got six million votes —with PSUV carnet holders— but cautioned that these elections must be won with time to spare, so he demanded UBCh coordinators to hand over the lists of attendance to their events in order to measure their loyalty with votes because their main goal is to hold on to the Presidency: without it, “there’s no revolution.” Cabello criticized dissident chavistas, saying that in PSUV, people fight against corruption and that the corrupt are not chavistas, and he even had the nerve to say that they don’t persecute anyone: “we’re too nice, nobody disappears because of us.” When he mentioned Simón Bolívar’s “talent without integrity” quote, I turned off the TV. He’s the best example of a scourge.

About May 20

CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena claimed that the agreement of guarantees is being properly fulfilled. With Plan República members by her side, she said that the CNE has been actively monitoring compliance with these agreements, remarking that all the guarantees for the May 20 process are established “and it will develop with credibility, transparency, excellence (…) We’ve made good progress from the logistical standpoint of organization and production,” said Tibisay. Meanwhile, lawmaker Enrique Márquez announced his support for Henri Falcón because in his view: “abstention is a call to do nothing.” The leader of his party, Manuel Rosales, said that Márquez’ position doesn’t reflect that of UNT as a whole. Candidate Luis Alejandro Ratti said that he continues to work for a unified candidacy because that would allow them to win the elections, that opportunism can be defeated with mass attendance to the polls, although shortly after he restated that there are no guarantees for the process. Such a coherent dude.

Brief and serious

  • Labor Minister Néstor Ovalles claimed that the minimum wage hike doesn’t cause inflation, that it’s positive for the “defense of purchasing power,” leaving the possibility of establishing “fair” prices to Sundde and its coercion.
  • Lawmaker José Guerra disagrees and said that the measure won’t solve hyperinflation nor increase purchasing power: “Yes, inflation is politically induced, but by the BCV in order to print money to finance the government,” Guerra explained to Nicolás.
  • For the fourth time in these last few weeks, the National Assembly carried out its session without the presence of journalists because the National Guard restricted their access. “The Federal Legislative Palace is militarized today,” said lawmaker Juan Guaidó, adding that blocking access to the press is “evidence that the Parliament is hijacked.”
  • The mother of Daniel Queliz, the young man murdered by a PoliCarabobo officer during last year’s protests, killed herself. Those close to her said that she couldn’t overcome her son’s murder. It’s a tragedy that revolves around impunity. There’s no calm without justice.
  • Santa Bárbara Airlines will cease operations in Venezuela definitively in two months.


  • Yesterday, Europe’s chief diplomat Federica Mogherini demanded before the Eurochamber an agreed and credible electoral timetable, so she urged its revision, adding that this call “isn’t just about the date, but about the electoral procedure itself.”
  • Eurochamber lawmakers criticized the existence of “political prisoners,” as well as the fact that party leaders weren’t allowed to participate, in addition to a partial electoral branch, calling for the May 20 results to be disregarded.
  • The board of the International Monetary Fund issued a “declaration of censure” against Venezuela because the country hasn’t submitted the necessary economic data to the institution. They gave the government six months to apply corrective measures.
  • The Inter American Press Society (IAPA) issued a message of concern for the growing restrictions to the work of journalists and the persistence of authoritarianism in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. Its chairman, Gustavo Mohme, said: “We won’t cease our demands until Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Cubans have the right to freely choose their representatives, dissidence is respect and they can exercise their rights to assembly, movement and expression.” By the way, the Nicaraguan Center of Human Rights reported yesterday that the death toll during protests in Nicaragua rose to 43.
  • The new U.S. ambassador before OAS, Carlos Trujillo, said that Venezuela shouldn’t be in the institution because it doesn’t respect democracy or human rights: “I don’t know why Venezuela has a seat at the table, from our perspective in the U.S., it’s something that we cannot accept.”
  • Alejandro Betancourt, one of Derwick’s bolichicos, is being investigated by the Spanish Unit of Economic and Fiscal Crime for alleged money laundering after purchasing a estate in El Alamín for over 22 million euros.
  • The Inter American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) will start its 168th sessions period, which includes a discussion set for May 10 about the electoral process in Venezuela and its impact on the human rights situation; and on May 11, they’ll discuss the complaints of harassment against human rights defenders, journalists and the media in Venezuela, and they’ll also analyze the human rights of Venezuelans migrants.
  • “We’re going to process judges and prosecutors who are aiding political persecution in #Venezuela through international justice. They must take responsibility for authorizing arbitrary proceedings violating human rights,” Luisa Ortega Díaz tweeted yesterday. It’s not a joke.

  • It’s shameful that El País published an article from a dictator such as Nicolás. Coherence is serious lacking in this newspaper!

Until July 15, we can donate compact discs, vinyl records and cassettes in good conditions, taking them to any of Librería Lugar Común’s three stores (Plaza Venezuela, Altamira and Las Mercedes) which will serve as collection centers for “Music for medicines,” a project coordinated by NGOs Provea and Redes Ayuda. On Saturday, July 21, in a cultural campaign, the collected material will be exchanged for non-expired medication which will later be distributed by NGOs dedicated to the defense of the right to health.

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.