Among Criminals and Sycophants

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: BCV

The report issued by the group of experts appointed by OAS secretary general Luis Almagro concluded this Tuesday that the Venezuelan government has committed crimes against humanity, and that there’s legal basis to denounce it before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Argentine Santiago Cantón, Canadian Irwin Cotler and Costa Rican Manuel Ventura gathered enough material to denounce: systematic murders against the citizens who opposed the regime; arbitrary arrests; torture; sexual violence against men and women in custody; political persecution; forced disappearances —particularly of political rivals— and inhuman acts, with the deliberate intensification of the humanitarian situation. Cantón denounced a systematic plan carried out by the government to exercise social control and a clear political persecution, a trademark of all crimes against humanity. “The government is responsible for the worst humanitarian crisis in the region. Remember the people behind the statistics for preventable deaths: malaria, diphtheria, measles, diseases that weren’t there before,” added Canadian Irwin Cotler.

The reaction

Canada stated that they were “appalled, though not surprised” by the evidence that the experts found about crimes against humanity committed here.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s permanent mission before the OAS claimed that the document “lacks judicial value because it was issued by an usurped authority,” restating that Almagro “has assumed a capacity that not even the OAS has, which is being a judicial instance,” denouncing that the report is part of a “propaganda campaign” aimed at ousting Nicolás, expressing their profound and emphatic condemnation for the report, because it’s “the result of an illegal procedure, in violation of all regulations and principles” of international law and OAS rules, whose goal was no more than becoming “a grotesque media farce.” The OAS as an institution can’t send a case to the ICC, but any of the 28 member States that have signed the Statute of Rome can. If a State denounces the members of the Venezuelan government, the Office of the Prosecutor must automatically open an investigation; meanwhile, if it’s done by an individual (Luis Almagro, for example) the Office of the Prosecutor must first be authorized by a group of judges. The experts presented this report three months after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the opening of preliminary investigations on crimes committed by Venezuelan police and security forces.

Improvise and move on

Yesterday, Nicolás assumed that our macroeconomic imbalances can be explained with capitalism’s failures and an induced inflation and that they’ll be corrected by taking over municipal markets and giving away more bonuses. Nicolás, who feels upset when people say there’s a dictatorship in Venezuela, waited less than a week —with all the costs and threats accumulated along the way— to call off the useless monetary reconversion, suspending it for at least 60 days, in a televised conversation with representatives of the Venezuelan Banking Association, who contributed to the show with apologies and flattery, without mentioning how much purchasing power the bolivar will lose in the next few days, without mentioning hyperinflation, focused like Nicolás in the monetary cone, as if that was the root of the problem.

They also took the opportunity to ask for an increase in interest rates and proposed the coexistence of both monetary cones as part of an “antistress” plan. Denying this society the necessary economic rectifications should also be considered a crime against humanity.

And in the National Assembly

The opposition caucus approved an agreement condemning the political persecution against members of the National Armed Forces and demanded that Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López be held accountable for the arrests of military officers.

According to figures offered by lawmaker Franco Casella, at least 150 soldiers are being taken to court for the crimes of treason, rebellion, insurrection and stealing military equipment. Lawmaker Edgar Zambrano accused the Cuban G2 of incriminating the officers. Opposition parliamentarians will also investigate Iván Hernández Dala, head of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM), for the alleged use of torture against civilians and soldiers. The agreement demands the immediate release of all civilian and military political prisoners, the respect for due process and the end of human rights violations against detainees.

More of the show

  • In his round of dialogues with everyone, Nicolás met with leaders of one of the versions of political party Copei, after a critical meeting with heads of public and private media outlets, with whom he didn’t discuss Conatel’s role in censorship and self-censorship; not the access to public information, media shutdowns, attacks or threats against journalists.
  • Javier Bertucci said that he expects more releases of political prisoners to reach the number negotiated with Nicolás, a pretty incoherent delusion after admitting that the government’s still replenishing the numbers of political prisoners.
  • But coherence isn’t a trademark of our former candidates, see: Henri Falcón admitted yesterday that “nothing” was a better option that his campaign proposal, however, he later spoke about the creation of a new opposition platform that won’t disregard conversations with the Broad Front and MUD, and while his Copei allies met with Nicolás, Falcón announced that he’ll challenge the elections before the TSJ.
  • Education Minister Elías Jaua wants to discuss the internal differences in the PSUV Congress, saying it would be fair and healthy to allow militants to vote directly, secretly and universally for the party’s new posts.
  • Interior Minister Néstor Reverol announced the relaunch of peace quadrants although few of us ever knew if they actually worked, for what and when they stopped doing so.
  • Lawmaker Tomás Guanipa ratified Ramón Guillermo Aveledo as MUD’s new executive secretary.

Nicolás dared talk about Evio Di Marzo’s murder, but he didn’t mention the children and adults who died in the accident of the truck in Mérida, a consequence of the collapse of public transport. Nicolás claimed that he doesn’t “hide anything from the people, because the people must be well informed,” although it’s been years since we’ve had access to inflation, production, epidemiology or data about crime. And meanwhile, a throng of sycophants keeping up with his show to get the concessions they need to renew, for the rates they want to increase, for the political notoriety that they’ll only get if they dance to Miraflores’ tune. We must go on, my friends, we must go on.

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.