A futile reconversion

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: El Impulso

For the third plenary in a row, the media was blocked from accessing the Federal Legislative Palace by order of the National Guard. The National Assembly (AN) agreed this Tuesday to demand the Executive and the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) “the immediate suspension” of the monetary reconversion that will come into force on June 4, because there are no instruments to implement it, including the capacity to mobilize 10,000 banknotes, which exceeds the operational capacity of banks in these circumstances. Banks haven’t received the notes of the new monetary cone and once they’ve got them, they’ll need months to adapt their accounting systems and their scales, and adjust points of sale, making June 4 “an impossible obligation to comply with.” Parliament also agreed to demand that the BCV recover its autonomy and that the necessary measures are taken to hold hyperinflation in check, in order to apply a “viable” monetary reconversion later. Additionally, the AN urged the members of the Lima Group and the European Union to help Venezuelan migrants with their legal proceedings.

The candidates

While Sandra Oblitas, National Electoral Council (CNE) vice-president, ratified once again that the May 20 process will take place, candidate Luis Alejandro Ratti dropped out of the race to support Henri Falcón. Later, CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena pointed out that his ballot won’t add votes to Falcón because the condition of any alliance between candidates isn’t established in the Framework Law of Electoral Processes. Falcón didn’t fare well in his interview with César Miguel Rondón, despite clarifying that neither MUD nor the Broad Front are his adversaries. Candidate Javier Bertucci announced that he’ll meet Falcón today to evaluate the possibility of uniting their candidates, cautioning that it’d be “selfish and unreal” to suggest that the electorate who supports him would vote for Falcón. Last night, Delphos pollster director Félix Seijas said: “Bertucci is the stone Falcón didn’t expect on the road. The next few days look promising. The story could take a surprising turn.” Nicolás fared quite poorly in Amazonas, where he promised once again to become the protector and hit the mafias, while his audience demanded gasoline supply, interrupted and even booed him. Then he proposed exchanging the fuel supply for votes on May 20, clearly violating the agreement of electoral guarantees, before claiming that he wants “to carry out an economic revolution,” but he needs to win for that. He ordered PDVSA chairman Manuel Quevedo “to travel to Amazonas tomorrow.”


  • AN second vice-president Alfonso Marquina announced that Parliament’s board issued a response last Monday to the justices of the TSJ in exile, telling them that they’re clear to continue prosecuting Nicolás for his criminal liability because the AN, in the exercise of its functions, declared on January 9, 2017, the vacancy of the presidential office; adding that Nicolás could be considered de facto president in practice and with the illegal exercise of power in Venezuela, but not constitutionally.
  • Vice-President Tareck El Aissami signed an agreement with the United Nations Organization for Industrial Development (UNIDO) to “push the country forward for food imports” and “a new horizon is opening for the development of a diverse economy, based on (…) rice, coffee, soy, cocoa, sugar cane, corn and black bean agriculture, in the 2018-2021 period,” said El Aissami.

  • The resolution of the Transport Ministry reactivating the checkpoints in all the freeways in the country was published on Official Gazette, and governors will be charged with managing them.
  • SEBIN agents raided the homes of two nephews of prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz.
  • After 20 days without any answer from the Health Ministry, patients with various afflictions gathered at Los Palos Grandes square to denounce their conditions. The NGOs dedicated to health issues submitted a document before the Vice-presidency of the Republic declaring their “state of national alert” and demanding the Health Ministry to provide answers for the “complex humanitarian emergency.”
  • Scarcely three days after Nicolás’s campaign visit to that city, there was an explosion in an electrical substation in Cabimas that supplied at least 15 communities. For lawmaker Nora Bracho, the explosion isn’t a coincidence, but rather the consequence of lack of preventive and corrective maintenance; lack of investment, corruption and the dwindling presence of professionals in the area.

  • Lawmaker José Manuel Olivares called for the Broad Front’s new actions: this Thursday, May 10, in the Association of Engineers of Caracas, they’ll hold the Broad Front’s National Women Congress, and on May 16, they’ll stage a national protest for the ongoing failure of public services.


  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un held a surprise meeting in Dalian to discuss the latest progress in the region ahead of the historic summing between Kim and Donald Trump, while the latter announced that he’ll pull his country out of the nuclear agreement with Iran and will reinstate the economic sanctions that were lifted with the agreement.
  • President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran will continue its commitment with the nuclear agreement despite Trump’s decision and ordered his Foreign minister to negotiate with other countries.
  • Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador before the UN, demanded Nicolás’s resignation to protect American security. According to Haley, Venezuelans are “unwilling victims of a criminal narco-State.” However, State Deputy Secretary John Sullivan announced that the U.S. will grant an addition $18.5 million to Colombia to support Venezuelans who flee the crisis.
  • The head of the OAS Permanent Council, Andrés González, said that the elections in Venezuela and Nicolás’s legitimacy will be discussed during the General Assembly.
  • Venezuela condemned “the attacks” by American Vice-President Mike Pence in his “interventionist” speech before the OAS, according to the statement issued by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, which also accused the OAS of colonialism and subservience to the U.S. Meanwhile, the Foreign minister was called “Arreaza, murderer,” in Costa Rica, where he travelled to take part in Carlos Alvarado’s presidential inauguration.
  • Panama’s Ambassador in Venezuela will return to the country today.

San Cristóbal’s Municipal Council reported that nearly 4,000 citizens arrive daily to Táchira to cross over to Colombia. UNHCR reported that 180,000 Venezuelans crossed over to Ecuador during the first three months of 2018, compared with 230,000 who crossed during 2017 as a whole. Meanwhile, Brazil’s Chief of Staff reported that a total of 804 Venezuelan women have given birth in Roraima state between January 2017 and March 2018. We, the migrants.

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.