Materializing rejection

For Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

Many governments ratified this Monday their disregard for the process with which Nicolás “re-elected” himself, despite high abstention and an even higher rejection against his administration. The Lima Group agreed to reduce the level of their diplomatic relations with Venezuela, so they called their ambassadors in Caracas —the few that were left — to consultation; they also agreed to exchange guidelines, tackle migration and consider financial contributions for institutions that are aiding countries bordering with Venezuela to attend the massive exodus of Venezuelan citizens. Australia supported dialogue, to the absolute satisfaction of the infamous José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero; while notable examples of solid democracies such as Russia, China, Iran, Cuba and Bolivia called for recognizing results. Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN general secretariat, explained António Guterres’ concern for the situation in Venezuela and regarding the non-election, he said that Guterres took note of the results. OAS secretary general Luis Almagro asked for tougher sanctions, emphasizing that: “the political system, its authorities and its president are a fraud.” Although several countries threatened to impose sanctions, only the United States came through.

Restricting sales

President Donald Trump signed an order limiting the Venezuelan government’s capacity to liquidate public assets, including public debt and PDVSA bonds, in an attempt to further restrict the regime’s capacity to get financing “at the expense of the Venezuelan people,” forbidding American citizens and companies the purchase of any kind of debt issued by the Venezuelan government, financial assets or accounts receivable.

The order also forbids the sale, transfer, allocation or adjudication of any shareholding participation in entities where the Venezuelan government owns 50% or more shares. Economist Asdrúbal Oliveros cautioned: “The sanctions obviously have a moral backdrop for crossing certain limits, such as holding fraudulent elections (…) this universe of economic sanctions complicates the government’s cash flow and given that the State is the main importer for the economy, they will also end up affecting all citizens with more inflation and shortages.”

The next day

While María Corina Machado said that “the electoral path is closed” and the only route is total disobedience; National Assembly Speaker Omar Barboza called for rebuilding the united opposition to confront Nicolás: “All Venezuelans have the duty to cooperate with the construction of the necessary ways to accomplish the change we so urgently need. And that task is the reconstruction of the National Unity al all of us who want a change, without excluding anyone.” Barboza added that the Broad Front and MUD will continue working to establish the necessary conditions for the holding of free elections. On Saturday, June 2, they’ll announce the coming actions. With tweets, Henri Falcón remarked that time will prove those who voted right and that the fight doesn’t end but transforms instead, “consolidating a true and objective alternative before the country’s great issues.”

Javier Bertucci accepted the figures announced by the National Electoral Council (CNE) and said he’s willing to participate in a dialogue process with Nicolás “as long as a humanitarian channel is opened.” He added that the elections could’ve been won if there had been unity in the opposition, so as not to miss anything from the official script.

Without euphoria

PSUV campaign chief Jorge Rodríguez offered an earlier report of the figures that would later be announced by CNE rectora Sandra Oblitas: with 98.7% transferred vote tallies, turnout reached 9,261,839 votes (45.99% of the electoral registry,) giving Nicolás 6,190,612 votes, 1,917,036 to Falcón, 988,761 to Bertucci and 36,246 to Reinaldo Quijada.

Rodríguez took pleasure in the gap of Nicolás’s advantage; he claimed that the complaints about red stations and assisted votes were resolved and ratified that Nicolás doesn’t care about international rejection. His sister Delcy Rodríguez didn’t talk about the poor amount of votes raised by the movement she leads (Somos Venezuela), despite all the funds they wasted in promoting it, but she did ask the nations that have rejected the elections and their results to “quit the tantrum against Venezuela,” claiming that “the CIA failed in Venezuela because they couldn’t intervene.”

In spite of this, she was bold enough to add that they’re willing to resume negotiations. The fact that she spoke of massive turnout was another excess. It’s worth noting that, contrary to other “triumphs”, State-run channels didn’t broadcast anything that could translate into satisfaction, joy or euphoria. Nothing.

Briefs and serious

  • It’s been three months since the IACHR granted protective measures for the children of the nephrology service of the J.M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital, and the State has refused to implement the necessary measures to comply, while infrastructural conditions have grown worse and more children have died because of their negligence.
  • SEBIN officers at El Helicoide prevented the access of the lawyers of political prisoners. The 18 political prisoners who started a hunger strike on Saturday and were thus isolated, hold onto their cause. There was an important movement in social media demanding the release of those who remain detained even with release warrants.
  • While the OPEC expressed its concern for the our dwindling oil output, the government extended the validity of the Bs. 100 banknote until the new monetary cone starts circulating.
  • There were modest protests against Nicolás’s “re-election” in Caracas, Bolívar, Aragua, Monagas, Yaracuy, Lara and Mérida. Some of them were repressed by the National Guard despite being small.
  • According to The Spectator Index, Venezuela leads the list of nations with more firearm deaths, with a rate of 59 deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants, far surpassing Brazil, the second place.

If a part of the opposition seeks to reunite, the call for a meeting to concrete that possibility should’ve been among the key messages. Likewise, the intention to achieve fair elections requires a detailed description of what’s necessary to get them and all the obstacles faced by such a mission in the face of an authoritarian government. The strategy that so many expected to know was never explained. There was more effort in showing who was right, in placing blames —without acknowledging the mistakes— without bringing together all the aspects that fueled abstention. Our social and political tissue is so damaged, that it would seem better to keep ripping it apart than weaving it from different perspectives.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.