Electoral Drill-ception

For Monday, May 7, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

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Photo: MINCI

In my brief exploration this Sunday, I visited three electoral stations with more people registering on “puntos rojos” —the spaces used by PSUV to coerce the beneficiaries of social programs— than in lines to participate in the voting drill. Lots of red, lots of brand-new shirts with the mammoth’s capital M, ratifying that this was a dress-up general rehearsal for carnet-holding militants who’ll have to answer for the reach of their circuits’ QR code, tune up their blackmails and tie up CLAP boxes, because the census must have consequences and the turnout, despite what the entire public media system might claim, was neither massive nor diverse.

CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena said that they were satisfied with the event’s development and that participation was excellent. Eugenio Martínez, the journalist specialized in electoral matters, brought up a couple technical questions about the May 20 electoral drill: the operation of the “select all” button and its limitations for foreign voters who can’t vote for the presidential office, and the possibility of voting null by marking and unmarking an option. Eugenio says that it was impossible to do it this time. He also points out that “holding the presidential election with the process to choose the 251 members of regional parliaments violates the law.”

Buzzing lies

While Electrical Energy Minister Luis Motta Domínguez keeps justifying the collapse of the electrical power system with sabotages —this time against Nicolás’s successful campaign— governor Omar Prieto claims that illegal cryptocurrency mining is what’s affecting the electrical system in Zulia.

But shortly after, Nicolás would accuse the old board members of the company Energía Eléctrica de Venezuela (Enelven) of being responsible for the alleged “electric war” that the country’s experiencing, so he ordered their arrest during his campaign event in Cabimas, remarking that they’ve sabotaged the electrical system “because they want to confuse the people; they want to anger the people.” Meanwhile, Remigio Ceballos, head of CEOFANB, reported yesterday that they’ll “maximize security in electrical and technological facilities for May 20” in coordination with Corpoelec, to prevent all the sabotage they’ve allowed thus far. Meaning that there will be electricity for one day.

The only candidate

After his voting drill, Nicolás said that the balance for Banesco’s intervention was “very positive,” repeating the script of this bank’s alleged actions to cause “the collapse of the financial system,” also restating that after winning on May 20, he’ll deploy a campaign to confront financial and commercial mafias, that he’s prepared “a very radical plan” against them, and admitting that yesterday’s drill turnout wasn’t what he expected, but don’t worry, he’s certain that it will easily be surpassed by turnout on May 20; because, according to minister Vladimir Padrino López: “abstentionism is a show of weakness.” He said that after reporting about the meeting that the brass will hold with all the candidates to answer their questions about Plan República. I’ll spare you the rest of his lessons on “sovereignty”.

To vote or not to vote

“During all these years, I always thought that elections were the only solution to the conflict in my country. I still think that. And this is precisely why I think that Venezuelans must abstain on May 20”; these are the opening lines how Alberto Barrera Tyszka’s article, reviewing the unlikelihood of Henri Falcón’s victory and other reasons why not voting isn’t an act of passive resignation. In a similar line, former Spanish President Felipe González says that Venezuela’s destruction committed by Nicolás will soon cause the breakdown among power factions and he believes “that the best the democratic opposition can do is not participating in this farce in any way,” even mentioning the possibility that Falcón might come to an agreement with Nicolás. Georgetown University professor Héctor Schamis also talks about the matter in his article titled “Chavismo’s metamorphosis,” in which he comments on a lunch meeting held between ambassadors of European Union countries and Falcón, where they mentioned a great political agreement prepared by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to “guarantee stability and to launch a plan for economic recovery,” with Falcón as “the leader of an opposition tailored for the regime.” Schamis says that the key question lies on how the countries plan to disregard May 20 results. Former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos resolved the false dichotomy with this: “Faking an electoral process where the vast majority of leaders can’t participate (…) is a farce.”

Abroad

  • Reuters reported that the company ConocoPhillips made progress in its efforts to take over PDVSA’s assets in the Caribbean to enforce the arbitral award for a decade which granted them $2 billion. The facilities they mention are located in Bonaire and Sint Eustatius and they play a critical role for exports, because Venezuela depends on those terminals to process, store and mix the oil. In any case, ConocoPhillips represents less than 3% of the pending lawsuits against PDVSA.
  • In April, we reached a new low: oil production was 1.41 million barrels per day, a drop of 80,000 daily barrels compared to the average in March and 540 less daily barrels compared with the output for April 2017. Many experts believe that Venezuela will stop perceiving net oil revenues by year’s end. By the way, Nicolás ratified Manuel Quevedo as PDVSA chairman and included Economy and Finance minister Simón Zerpa, sanctioned by the U.S., as external director.
  • U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo expressed his concern for Venezuela’s situation and said that citizens who flee the regime need to be supported: “a dictator today in Venezuela cripples his economy and starves his people, we need a strong State Department to help the millions of Venezuelans who flee the corrupt regime,” he said.
  • The UN World Food Programme (WFP) suspended the granting of food bonuses to Venezuelan families in Cúcuta, after Colombian nationals who also demanded the aid caused disarray on Saturday. Several of them arrived there without knowing that in order to access the benefit they must have children below 5 years old and be in a state of vulnerability.
  • The European Union approved the issuance of a visa by the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to 15 Latin American countries. The ETIAS was created to manage a vetting process on each applicant and determine whether they are authorized to enter any country of the Schengen zone. The requirement will come into force starting 2020. The member countries of the Schengen zone are: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Iceland, Italy, Letonia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Sweden and Switzerland.

This weekend, a video showing Jacqueline Faría amidst a protest for labor benefits went viral. Faría asked for the removal of the “right-wing press” because they’ll use the information against the government. The employees sided with the press, for the possibility that they’ll help them show how their rights are being violated. Great message for the official propaganda machine. We go on.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. In April, we reached a new low: oil production was 1.41 million barrels per day, a drop of 80,000 daily barrels compared to the average in March and 540 less daily barrels compared with the output for April 2017.

    Don’t you mean 540,000 less daily barrels?

  2. The press may have been from the right, but at least some images were frontal and underneath Ms Farias, call it the alternate cell phone view

  3. When will Maduro throw himself in jail for his “actions to cause the collapse of the financial system”? After he wins the election?

  4. Starting today, there’s an OAS meeting where VZ will top the agenda. Pence is attending, with a warning to members that any country who doesn’t follow the U.S.’s lead, can say bye bye to certain U.S. aid.

    At the same time, the U.N. is holding an economic summit on Latin American “inter-cooperation.” (My word, not theirs.) With the head of whatever U.N. department it is traveling to Havanah to meet with Cuba’s new Fuhrer.

    Gee, which meetings do you think will be more fruitful in starting to resolve the VZ crisis?

  5. How stupid and uneducated, usually bribed, corrupt and complicit, are our beloved Kleptozuelan pueblo-people? Stay tuned. Half of the 9 million votes for Nicolasno will be true. Gloria al bravo pueblo..

    • Ain’t their fault, by the way, that they are so corrupt and/or cluesless and uneducated, we should blame ourselves, the previous MUDs and sifrinos ruling the place for decades before Chavismo. We failed to educate and incorporate the Venezuelan indians into the economic mix. Ad/Copey stole too much too. And everyone forgets that.

  6. Dont forget the narcotics indictments announced today (but unsealed a while ago). Those three have U.S. arrest warrants limiting their ability to move outside the country. The U.S. is tightening the noose and will eventually target directly Disodado, Cilia and Maduro with narcotics indictments.

    • The USA, DEA/Cia/Marines will briefly intervene, militarily. Only because its in our economic interest, btw. Not just because the massive drug trade through kleptozuela few people talk about has to stop. Pompeo and the other new radical Replubicans know that.

      • No miltary intervention by U.S. and allies. Maduro will leave or he will be deposed by his own people. Leave and live or stay and possibly die.

  7. The U.S. wants the leadership to leave. If they leave now, they get to keep their loot. The problem is where to go as nobody wants them. Cuba is a good bet. The problem with Russia is they will be shaken down by criminal gangs linked to the government…they are not safe w/o having to pay for protection. Same goes for other countries. Cuba can also shake them down!

  8. Humanitarian concerns about another 5th world shithole? We got plenty of those in Africa or Central and South America. We don’t care that much about that. Kleptozuela is just too big too become another Chavista Cuba in out backyard.. Too many drugs.. to many connections with freaking Iran and Russia and China. It would cost the USA more to leave it alone to its own miseries. We really only care about our geopolitical and economic interests. so we’ll have to send a few dozen marines, briefly, to deal with that tropical crap. Count your blessings.

  9. “…a few dozen marines,…”. You really have the slightest of ideas about that which you write. What happens the day after the regime falls, who is responsible then? Will it just all work itself out with the current police, military and gnb?

    • gotta be coordinated, Einstein. Yes, a few dozen choppers and elite Seal team 6 talking to a some mid-level malcontent kleptozuelan military, and some MUD. That’s how its done. Quicky. They be shitting their pants and running away after they see the first Chinook or Apache, anyway. Make that a few dozen and Padrino would never recover from his severe diarrhea case, after Caracas is blocked, only 3 shitty roads to block.

      • Coordinate with who? The same MUD the people have shunned and you claim are corrupt?

        You have the vocabulary of an owl and are almost as comprehensible as an alley cat in heat.

        How about you rethink what happens after the regime falls to US intervention and get back to me with something more than rainbows and lollipops for all.

      • “…a few dozen choppers and elite Seal team 6 talking to a some mid-level malcontent kleptozuelan military, and some MUD. That’s how its done. Quicky. They be shitting their pants and running away after they see the first Chinook or Apache…”

        Seriously, Poeta. You need to stop with the “few choppers and SEAL Team 6” crap. In the entire history of US military interventions, it has NEVER toppled a single government. But, it makes for great fiction.

        Do you know what sort of resources were used by the US military to invade Grenada? FUCKING SHITHOLE GRENADA???

        I spent 20 years in the US military, flying Chinooks by coincidence. The US military doesn’t operate they way you want it to, or think it does.

    • It should be coordinated through Colombia, after Duke wins. Macron and Trump and the UK and Macri all all for it. The choppers will fly outta Colombia or Brazil. They’re sick and tired of the Venezuelan mass immigration, Chavismo and drugs too. It’s just a matter of time. The civilized world is simply waiting for the massive election fraud to go after their ECONOMIC interests in the region.

    • The intervention/reconstruction will necessitate a Marshall-Plan type intervention (MR,dixit), which means a major housecleaning, which means a surgical strike wont cut it, UNLESS the Ven. military caves and does some major lifting to help out (feelers are being attempted). No overt SA neighbor help should be expected. It’s about GEO-POLITICAL, not GEO-MONEY, though the humanitarian/starvation crisis will be so great as to provide ample public justification….

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