From Soup to Stew

Your daily briefing for Thursday, May 24, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Aporrea

This Wednesday, Javier Bertucci had an insight: The country’s no longer too big for Nicolás (even though he’s responsible for our humanitarian crisis) because elections are the past and now he’s a responsible social leader who went to Miraflores to demand the release of political prisoners, to talk about the need to open a humanitarian channel and to demand answers to the beneficiary of that sole element he deemed a disturbance during the May 20 process: official opportunism. Bertucci believes that if he gets answers for the coercion in red stations against carnet holders, he could rebuild trust in the electoral system. According to him, Nicolás told him that he’d study the humanitarian channel issue in the next few days and that he’d promised to announce the release of some political prisoners this Thursday, although he’ll allegedly visit the Supreme Tribunal of Justice and the ANC. Minister Jorge Rodríguez said that Bertucci is “an emergent social leader from the opposition” that responded to the national dialogue process. He added: “The country must get used to scenes of profound dialogue.” If we talked about all the scenes we’ve never gotten used to; for instance, I wrote this text on the phone because there’s been no electricity in my house for about an hour.

More cynicism?

National Electoral Council chairwoman Tibisay Lucena barred Nicolás from paying the Bs. 10 million bonus throughout his campaign for voters who registered with the carnet de la patria. Forbidding it is sufficient proof of corruption and fraud, which could help the TSJ, given that it’s spent two years searching for evidence to support PSUV’s complaint about vote buying, its reason to unseat Amazonas lawmakers and the cause of the “contempt” that the National Assembly has never overcome. Just like the news of the $440 million that Nicolás has spent to pay for foreign oil for Cuba, this corruption milestone will be buried along the “re-elected’s” other mockeries, such as the perniles that never arrived in December, while Henri Falcón’s team insists on keeping him in the public spotlight, with complaints about everyone —except themselves— reproducing the show of their shock before the abuses that PSUV and the CNE have been committing throughout several elections. Yesterday, they announced that they would challenge the elections, but without supporting the National Assembly’s decision to disregard them. Pure coherence!

Session at El Helicoide

Lawmakers from the National Assembly’s Interior Policy and Penitentiary Regime Committees held session outside El Helicoide, to divulge and denounce the status of political prisoners at SEBIN HQ; an activity which also involved the prisoners’ families and human rights NGOs. Lawmaker Delsa Solórzano explained that the inmate uprising allowed them to show the situation within El Helicoide, emphasizing that 11 cases of people with release warrants that SEBIN has decided to ignore while all authorities omit their disregard for the Law. Solórzano explained that there are also common prisoners in a similar situation and spoke of the status of the women (there are 30, most of them political prisoners) who lifted their hunger strike, after the promise that some of their demands would be attended. All the relatives spoke about the decline in the prisoners’ health, the prohibition for lawyers to access the prison and the violations against due process and human rights. Lawmaker Carlos Lozano announced that they’ll make a report to present it before the Parliament’s plenary and discuss it. There are still 132 common prisoners and 52 political prisoners held in El Helicoide whose situation hasn’t improved after the protest.

The revolving door

After Alonso Medina Roa’s complaint about the arrest of at least 30 soldiers in recent months, imposed Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab announced yesterday that seven Banesco executives who were detained in May 3 were released with restrictive measures, four days after the release of four other executives. Banesco thanked the bona fides of former Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in the operation to release them; hopefully, the star mediator won’t forget the pictures where these people appear with their heads shaved. In Margarita, a group of university students protested against the country’s situation and rejected last Sunday’s electoral results. The National Guard repressed them, leaving several students wounded and asphyxiated with the effect of tear gas.


  • The Court of First Instance in Aruba reverted the embargo granted to ConocoPhillips over two Citgo shipments. Rumor has it that Manuel Quevedo was fired and he’ll be replaced with Alí Rodríguez Araque.
  • The Venezuelan government condemned the statement issued by the European Union, claiming that since they didn’t accept the invitation as electoral observers, they decided to fall for “induced prejudices and make baseless accusations.” But yesterday the G7 leaders joined in the EU’s disregard for the electoral result and denounced its development because it didn’t comply with international standards and lacked guarantees. The Union of Latin American Parties did the same.
  • After the warnings of State Secretary Mike Pompeo and Vice-President Mike Pence, last night the United States applied a measure of reciprocity against Venezuelan diplomats in their territory. Hopefully, they won’t forget to bring candles and matches.
  • The controversial anti-Castro activist Luis Posada Carriles, former CIA agent and terrorist, died yesterday in southeastern Florida at 90 years old from a long throat cancer.
  • Just like Chile won’t send a new ambassador to Venezuela, the Ecuadorian government showed the meaning of guabineo with their statement, equally defending: the respect for free determination and non-intervention; their concern for the crisis (without naming it) an calling for another dialogue. Yesterday, Colombia’s Immigration Department reported that over 286,000 Venezuelans have crossed to Ecuador by land in 2018, a figure seven times higher than the one registered in the same period back in 2017.
  • Russia called on the international community to respect May 20 results, saying that U.S. sanctions are a decision to minimize diplomatic relations. They promised to analyze “the extent to which new sanctions can influence the concretion of economic projects.”
  • Mexico’s Treasury and Public Credit Secretariat cautioned financial entities about the risks of carrying out operations with the Venezuelan government and individuals close to it, since it could be a violation of the current regulations.
  • Spokespeople of Nicaragua’s Catholic Church announced the suspension of the dialogue in view of the lack of consensus between the government and civil society representatives.
  • Next Sunday, the European Union’s Foreign Ministers will discuss Venezuela’s situation after Sunday’s process.

Empresas Polar bought broadcasting rights for the Soccer World Cup Russia 2018 and gave them freely to several open-signal TV stations (including TVES) and radio stations Unión Radio Deportes and La Mega, so that all Venezuelans can watch and listen to the World Cup. In exchange, Polar will get advertising for some of their products and institutional campaigns throughout all 64 games. A brilliant marketing strategy. Huge scores  for Polar!

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.