Keep Calm?

Your daily briefing for Saturday, May 5, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

This Friday, Antonio Morales, representative of the Bureau of Banking Sector Institutions (SUDEBAN), confirmed Banesco’s takeover of 90 days (extendable) and, although he remarked that “the entire financial sector is under preventive investigations,” mentioning exchange house Italcambio as an example, he asked citizens to keep calm, because “there are many rumors of financial runs and other things.” Morales claimed that the intervention is an action that “the people demanded” and explained that Banesco executives “were developing illegal foreign exchange transactions activating a speculative and fraudulent market, which is the origin of this induced economic war.” If this is what the Superintendent thinks, we shouldn’t be surprised that later, the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) sent agents outfitted as OLP operatives to Banco Occidental de Descuento (BOD) headquarters in La Castellana, who swept through all their offices. However, Nicolás claimed: “If you vote, I swear to you that I’ll bring the prosperity and economic development that this country needs,” right in the middle of a raid against one bank and with another one intervened. Surely, investors are eager to bathe the country with their resources.

The aftermath

Last night, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice announced through its Twitter account that the “3rd Court of Control of Caracas sentenced Banesco’s board members for the alleged commission of collection, money laundering and criminal association,” listing the names of the accused among other messages. This takes place after Banesco’s mean headquarters was visited by the units of the Scientific Police’s Special Actions Brigade (BAE), and Banesco Grupo Financiero’s chairman Juan Carlos Escotet warned his employees on a letter about the approach of the country’s financial collapse; the improbability of applying the monetary reconversion in the time period imposed by the government and the lie used by the State to arrest Banesco’s executives. In a video, Escotet says: “This is a political decision taken with the aim of diverting public opinion from the serious problems that Venezuelans experience (…) If this is a political decision, I hope it contributes to guarantee employment sources and the stability of our clients.” By the way, the first statement issued by Banesco’s newly installed Administrative Board is a gem, a sublime piece that evidences the talents of those who will carry out this mission.

On electoral advantages

Nicolás decided to wipe his mustache with the agreement of electoral guarantees and appear yesterday all day long, even using a mandatory broadcast on radio and television, showing that he can cross the roles of president and candidate whenever he wants, because that’s why chavismo destroyed the Rule of Law. Then, in the morning he headed the reopening of Hotel Humboldt (“Humbol” in his argot,) which will be managed by the chain of hotels JW Marriott, announcing that the services will be charged in petros, that it will have a exchange house for which he asked for many tourists with lots of dollars. Later, his bots disseminated pictures of his meeting with the representatives of Public Powers, in which he says that they’ve established a plan to fight corruption and another to guarantee peace. This joke surpassed the effect of Timoteo Zambrano claiming that former Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will recognize May 20 results. Delcy Rodríguez said that they’re ready to decree changes in the country’s judicial order. Nicolás didn’t fare well in Propatria, he had more audience in the Hotel Humboldt. He danced a terrible joropo predicting his victory and asked his micro-crowd of followers to give him 10 million votes and in return, he’d imprison all the economy’s mafias. “We’ve imprisoned 250 oligarchs for extracting Venezuela’s money and more are coming. We had to intervene Banesco (…) the bank that was taking Venezuela’s money,” said Nicolás, establishing the sentence of a trial that hasn’t even begun, showing the depths of his politicization.

The others

While CNE vice-president Sandra Oblitas claimed that the May 20 process will take place despite the calls for abstention and ignored, as usual, each reward Nicolás has promised to his supporters for voting, candidate Javier Bertucci claimed that he won’t drop out of the campaign, adding that Henri Falcón’s voters don’t truly support him. Bertucci says that he has 80% of his team of electoral witnesses ready to defend the vote, so “the wisest decision is for other candidates to support me,” and that intervening a bank is a serious mistake. Meanwhile, Falcón said he got the support of independents from the National Community and Cuasa R’s leadership, also welcoming the grassroots of Acción Democrática, Voluntad Popular and Primero Justicia and claiming that he’ll revert Banesco’s expropriation. Causa R representative Andrés Velásquez denied that this party had expressed its support for Falcón. Additionally, the opposition called for a protest on May 16 “to establish what May 20 presidential elections truly mean, that they’re a fraudulent process,” said lawmaker Juan Andrés Mejía on behalf of the Broad Front.

We, migrants

The International Organization of Migration (IOM) revealed that number of Venezuelan immigrants in Latin America increased by 900% between 2015 and 2017, when the figure went from 89,000 to 900,000 people, which is why they deem this as “one of the most important migration crises that we’ve lived in recent years.” The IOM has managed the second batch of relocations from Roraima state (where the intense levels of vulnerability of thousands of Venezuelans have been denounced) to other Brazilian states in order to clear the border. The Vatican’s division in charge of migrants will reveal this Monday, May 7, a plan to host, protect and integrate migrating Venezuelans. The program’s called “Bridges of Solidarity” and it was created at the behest of Pope Francis and Episcopal Conferences of the eight countries involved in the initiative, as an attempt to handle of the phases of the displacement. Yesterday, Colombia confirmed seven measles cases in Venezuelans.

The Swedish Academy announced that the Nobel Literature Prize 2018 won’t be granted this year, due to the scandal of rapes and sexual harassments involving the husband of one of its members, Jean-Claude Arnault. The Academy’s statement point out that “On five (…) occasions, the prize was delayed then awarded at the same time as the following year’s prize.”

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.