Unlawful Oath

For Friday, May 25, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Prensa Presidencial

Something failed in the conclusion of the controversy raised by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice about the interpretation measure requested by Nicolás. Without that link, this Thursday chavismo made up a step that’s not established in any law: Nicolás presented the credential issued by the National Electoral Council declaring him “re-elected” before the ANC, which earned Tibisay Lucena an ovation.

And so, Delcy Rodríguez read a constituent decree summing up the achievement of an early election called by the ANC, violating the Law, a decree that specifies that the he must be sworn into office as president on January 10, 2019, as established in article 231 of the current Constitution. Despite the resounding applause as each point of the decree was read, ANC members approved it without much fanfare. Then Delcy inducted Nicolás: “Do you swear to enforce the laws of the Republic (…) do you swear to be loyal to the mandate (…) promote national unity (…) strengthen the anti-imperialist and anti-oligarchic nature of this bolivarian revolution and enforce the legacy of Bolívar and Chávez.” And Nicolás did swear. The second point in the ANC’s agenda was his monologue from the speaker’s rostrum.

Angry and guiltless

Nicolás repeated the magic word to appear fresh: do everything anew, the new history, a new phase, discovering ourselves anew. While narrating his version on how we reached the May 20 process, he made notable mistakes and the blame distribution helped him make one that was indeleble: “Just like that, dagger in hand, no dagger in hand, Venezuela held constitutional, legitimate elections.” All of that to say that the country isn’t his problem, but everyone’s and to fiercely demand chavismo’s leadership (the bureaucrats he also criticized yesterday) to “quit the lies,” the deceit: “We’re not doing things right!”, he yelled, “There are no excuses, we have this country’s political power, all of it!”, as if it was the first time. That’s why he demanded a profound rectification, a demand that has already surpassed the amount of wage hikes during his government. He ratified Manuel Quevedo as PDVSA chairman and ordered him to increase oil production by negotiating with the OPEC and Russia, not before scolding the working class for their loyalty, once again scrapping researchers, engineers, technicians and managers, because he wants a socialist PDVSA. He mentioned the release of political prisoners who hadn’t committed any murders, calling businessmen to a dialogue, explaining that CLAP is here to stay and putting up a show for the anger he feels against those who resell CLAP box products, without mentioning how he destroyed the economy to make so many citizens dependant on them. He claimed that he’s not intimidated by sanctions but he used them explain how they’re going to affect them, like that, in future tense. He spread the blame without taking responsibility, but closed his speech asking people to trust him.

At will

Later, Nicolás explained the brass what they must’ve seen because his swear-in ceremony was broadcast live in cadena. “The Armed Forces are the greatest moral reserve our country has to confront all dangers. We need steadfast, loyal Armed Forces that turn a united face against abusive imperialism,” he said, adding that the Armed Forces have been loyal to “one of their best soldiers” (el finado), and that’s why it’s defined as chavista, which is the same as being Christian and socialist.

He explained that they’ve dismantled a conspiracy financed by Colombia and led by the U.S. to destroy the Armed Forces, but thanks “to the moral antibodies,” conspirators “are in prison and confessing,” even though they were paid in dollars. He asked that nobody lowers their guard anyway, because it’s time to fight (although he spent the rest of the day swearing that we’re at peace) repeating that Colombia leads a conspiracy to hurt the Armed Forces. In any case, they’re looking for the main local financier “for betraying the country and serving the Colombian oligarchy,” and with the rhetorical question “will you do the American imperialism’s work for them?”, he decided to congratulate them because they faithfully said no.

An irresponsible father

Rodrigo Cabezas, Chávez’s former Finance minister and co-responsible for the economic disaster we’re living, granted an interview to BBC in which, among other details, he revealed that he still pays a Bs. 1,100 rent for his house, although he says that it’s a tragedy that the government doesn’t acknowledge hyperinflation, as if this state wasn’t a consequence of his own decisions. In clear coherence with his moral solvency, he said that he doesn’t have hopes about any economic change; he criticized his comrades’ “sterile dogmatism” and reduced all of chavismo’s responsibility for the country’s collapse (recession, hyperinflation, default, crumbling oil production) to the gradual decline of the last few years. He recognizes that the monetary mass is disproportionate, but talks about economic blockade all the same; he recognizes the disaster of punitive economic decisions, but without mentioning the controls he himself supported; he doesn’t put corruption on the first line of his explanation, but he does talk about how “interventionist” sanctions affect the most vulnerable. Meanwhile, PDVSA is trying to pay providers and joint venture partners with petros to evade financial fence: “They don’t have money, but they do have this totally inorganic currency that’s backed by oil barrels, which makes it more attractive,” said a source from agency Redd Latam.


  • “I denounce to the world that Juan Manuel Santos is preparing gruesome plans to leave a compromised situation, a war conflict between Venezuela and Colombia at the border,” said Nicolás against Colombia’s president. “We know more than we let on and we know more than they think we do,” he added as a warning.
  • A panel of independent international experts will present next Tuesday before the OAS, their final report about possible crimes against humanity that could’ve been committed in Venezuela.
  • U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said yesterday: “we’re deeply concerned about what’s taking place as a result of a sham election on Sunday,” adding that they’re disappointed because Nicolás expelled their diplomats “but, frankly, we’re not surprised.”
  • Donald Trump send a letter to dictator Kim Jong Un informing him of the cancellation of the summit between them, set for June 12 in Singapore: “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement,” the text says.
  • Human Rights Watch’s director José Miguel VIvanco said that the Venezuelan regime must be isolated: “It must be isolated because it’s a pariah regime,” proposing more sanctions.
  • Enrique Peñalosa, mayor of Bogota, Colombia, proposed giving automatic nationality to Venezuelans arriving to the country, calling the initiative a humanitarian decision for a population whose human rights are being abused.

20 political prisoners in Zulia State were issued release warrants. At 10:00 p.m. yesterday, they hadn’t been released.

Joseph Poliszuk, co-founder and editor of Armando.info, is one of the winners of the Knight International Journalism Awards 2018, as announced by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). The other winner was Filipino journalist María Ressa. This is the first time that an award is granted to the founders of a digital news site. Congratulations, Joseph, despite your exile!

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


  1. As always, thanks to Naky and Javier for the daily breakdown. I can just imagine everyone getting in line to accept the Petro as payment.

  2. Nicolas compared being chavista to being Christian? He lost Bernie, Hollywood, and the entire U.S. campus crowd with that statement.

  3. Prediction time:

    Snap elections for a “new and improved” National Assembly withing the next few months.

    Why not? Lets make the fraud complete!

    Any wagers on who will decide to run in such a fraud election? The over under on self-important opposition types who think that “Hey… maybe THIS time, Chavismo will be fair….”

    ANC… fraud.
    local and governorships… fraud
    El Presidente…. fraud.

    Venezuela got the trifecta… lets go for the Superfecta!

  4. “Unlawful…”?

    What does that even mean? When you wander this far off of the constitucional map, even the language of democracy ceases to have meaning.

  5. What Roy just said.

    None of Maduro’s bluster “means” anything because it is totally devoid of the conditions that carry meaning – like being true. The only thing that’s true about the Chavistas is that they have total political control of a failed state and the fealty, for the moment, of a judiciary and military who will enforce that control.

    Everything else is the theater of the absurd.

    The new twist is that the situation is so dire that even the Chavistas can no longer deny it. But since none can or will take any responsibility, that leaves only imperialists and each other to blame, since blaming is their national anthem. I expect inter party blaming to increase exponentially over the near term since things are tanking so fast. Efforts to “pay” foreign companies with petros will get nowhere. Soon there will be nowhere else to run, except into each other.

  6. The more conspicuosly illegitimate their behaviour and status the more store they set on elaborately staged appearances , on the ennactment of pompous rituals , swearing ins , grandiose promises and speeches,to disguise their illegitimacy like a foul smelling person pouring floods of cheap perfume on himself to cover up their bad smell…….. !! Of course it doenst work , everyone knows they are gangsters and fiends and fraudsters whatever their frantic attempts at farsically covering up their crimes and excesses …….!!

    Whats the purpose of swearing Maduro in as president when he still has more than 6 months to go before his current terms as president expires ……….., the only possible answer is that they know how fragile and dishonest their ‘election’ appears to most venezuelans and the world and want to make ‘ appearances’ grant them a faux legitimacy that they cannot claim fair and square…!!

    They think that they can make fools of a whole world by magicians tricks , by the use of smoke and mirrors !! They so desperately want the worlds recognition that they have lost any sense of reality as to the raw realiy of their situation

    • What importance does this have to a regime that can’t even take advantage of it? Cut another 50k barrel a day production next month? Slow death…

  7. Trump said Josh Holt has been released. No further details. I hate to think what they negotiated away for that… Plus, now that they know America will negotiate for American hostages, no American in Venezuela will be safe.

    • Not negotiated. A fig leaf offering from a scared Regime, plus the fear that operatives might hurt/off JH , just giving one more reason for Adviser Cruz’s statement of “no limits” to be stretched to its logical conclusion….

        • If Holt was hurt or killed then the Chavistas would have seriously screwed up. It served a purpose to release him without exposing themselves to more pressure from Trump.
          It also shows what lack of control they have, to keep a prisoner safe!

      • Crusader, that is yet to be seen. My thoughts center on the narco nephews. Holt was kidnapped on Cilias orders to exchange for nephews. More realistic scenario.has a deal over the terms and conditions of the nephews.

    • Maybe there was a small token of appreciation, otherwise known as a bribe? What has been the going rate to get US hostages out of NORK? I think is more likely what NET said – prevent underlings from taking the HAIR’s statements about JH being major US spy and shooting him or allowing other prisoners to kill him, thus giving the Orange ball of hate more reason to unleash the hounds. But, who knows ….

    • Tom in Oaklahoma, you keep on having throwbacks to Obamas presidency.
      In my opinion Trump gave them nothing ergo North Korea.

      • @ Crusader….you are right…I guess I am still traumatized by the cargo plane full of pallets of CASH that Obama sent to Iran …a gift for his brothers

  8. At one point the regular inmates (perhaps at the prompting of the guards) assaulted him and other of the political prisioners , thats pretty clear , thats why they transferred those inmates outside the Helicoide , thats why there is a phone message to his family saying that they are about to kill him , that he is blockading the door to his cell as the criminal inmates assault him and the others …….it smacks of sadistic guards and lack of control on the part of the bosses , if something had happened to him that could have prompted a really ugly response from the US govt with the full backing of the US public ………they have nothing to gain and much to lose if they let something happen to the political inmates , they realize that now and thats why there is talk of releasing some of them , perhaps in an attempt to slow down the onslaught on the regime which is coming to them from all sides !! there are reports that his fellow inmates still at the helicoide prison are being denied food and water brought by their families , mistreating THIS prisioner would have brought the angry attention of President Trump and the whole world upon them , and they are already in enough problems as it is ……..

    Ot: Hyperiflation is hitting venezuelans very hard , I am a daily witness to that , the tempo of inflation is climbing so much that you cant even imagine where it will all end , example of this a medicine my wife brought last week and which price today is double what it was … like that dozens of examples ……, suddenly all other concerns appear frivolous , we are talking about physical survival here . dont people writing for this blog get it !! When you talk to ordinary people the complaint is simple enough , they dont have enought to eat because they cant buy food with the prices climbing crazily as they are …..!!

    • Bill, this pueblo is down to sardines, yuca, and auyama, none of which is a certainty right now. I see prices doubling every two weeks.

  9. @ Bill Bass….as of today Dollar Today is reporting 931,821 B’s to the dollar. I am sure that for all pratical purposes it is really at least a million. Getting more insane by the day…..

  10. Regarding Holt, it was a performance. Tom Shannon got his swang song, the Reds hijacked the news cycle and the narco nephews may get to stay together in a minimum security facility a.k.a. the country club. We will see.

  11. Holt was not safe/secure in the H prison, NM/Co. could NOT guarantee his safety due to typical Tropical Mierda inefficiency (nth degree in Venezuela), and anything happening to his physical integrity would be pushing up the clock on the already-ticking time bomb….


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