Villca’s Exile

For Friday, June 15, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: @LuzMelyReyes

Nicolás exiled student leader Villca Fernández, establishing this condition as non-negotiable to materialize his release. That’s why he was taken from El Helicoide to the Maiquetía Airport only when they confirmed his ticket to Peru, where his dad Jorge Fernández was born. Exile isn’t a punishment established in Venezuelan Law, but chavismo violates the Constitution at leisure. Villca was imprisoned for over two years for telling Diosdado Cabello in a tweet that he wasn’t afraid of him. From the plane, Villca sent an audio saying that he’s leaving with “an aching heart” because he was expelled from his country.

That’s not freedom, but it’s better than all the tortures and cruel treatment he had to endure during his imprisonment. Meanwhile, the families of the group of civilians allegedly linked to murdered former police officer Óscar Pérez, explained that these prisoners refused to be released under precautionary measures: “Because they weren’t going to sign a lie,” said Ana María Da Costa, sister of Vasco Da Costa who, along with José Luis Santamaría, Fravier Bello, Alonso Mora and Stefanie Chávez, were accused of the military crimes of instigating rebellion, treason and instigating riots. Their relatives denounced the terrible detention conditions they’ve had to endure.

The same people

Last night in Miraflores, Nicolás held the swearing-in ceremony for the cabinet that he’d appointed through Twitter earlier. Following the script of the endless beginning, he repeated epic phrases used every year of his administration, including the total restructuring of the State’s companies; finding (for real now) the path to the economic revolution and that they mustn’t fail the people. He was bold enough to complain about “the graveyard of unfinished works left by Odebrecht in the country,” as if those overseeing the company’s performance had been aliens, but of course, Nicolás is convinced of being “close to the magic leap.” So:

  • Delcy Rodríguez goes from chairing the ANC to executive vice-president.

  • Tareck El Aissami is the new Economy vice-president and Industry and National Production Minister.
  • Dante Rivas goes from protector of Nueva Esparta state to Fishing and Aquaculture Minister.
  • Yomana Koteich goes from chairing Banesco’s administrative board to Foreign Trade Minister.
  • Mayerlin Arias goes from coordinating the Youth of the Country Mission to Urban Agriculture Minister.
  • Stella Lugo goes from Miranda Insular Territory Chief to Tourism Minister.
  • Marleny Contreras goes from Tourism Minister to Public Works Minister.
  • Tupamaro Hipólito Abreu goes from the State’s Railways Institute to the Transportation Ministry.
  • Eduardo Piñate, from ANC member to Labor Minister.
  • Caryl Bertho, from Aragua’s substitute governor to Women Minister.
  • Heryck Rangel, from chairing the Misión Arbol Foundation to Ecosocialism Minister.
  • Evelyn Vásquez, from chairing Hidrocapital (in 2016) to the newly-created Water Attention Ministry.

More from unbelievable chavismo

The ANC held an extraordinary and brief session to grant a temporary authorization for Delcy Rodríguez and Eduardo Piñate so that they can fulfill the roles Nicolás has given them. They’ll hold another session next Tuesday to choose their new board. Shortly before Nicolás tweeted the changes, El Aissami headed the presidential commision for economic advisory to gather proposals on foreign exchange, taxes and finance from national and international experts: “It’s time for management and efficiency,” he said as an inspiring phrase, adding that they have to “set everything in order” but without forsaking the revolution, and then saying that “it’s time for a debate without dogmas.” Imposed Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab announced the arrest of five managers of the company Fertilizantes Nitrogenados de Venezuela (Fertinitro, 65% of which is owned by Pequiven) for alleged corruption, including a new year party that costed $1,470,000. Saab took the opportunity to present a balance for his administration: “Since August 2017, 1,232 people have been arrested for corruption, 1,400 indicted and 837 sentenced,” as if the corrupt weren’t chavistas too. Health Minister Luis López reported the agreement with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to guarantee the supply of medicines and medical material to face the humanitarian crisis that he denies, adding that they’ll strengthen “the epidemiological monitoring” without giving any further details on how they’ll do it.

Protest and promise

Dozens of Venezuelans who live with HIV, Parkinson’s and other pathologies gathered before PAHO headquarters in Caracas to denounce the health crisis ravaging the country, due to the visit of director Carissa F. Etienne.

Eduardo Franco, representative of the Venezuelan Network of Positive People, explained that the world needs to hear the testimonies of affected citizens, “they’re people who are trying to survive in Venezuela, they’re people who are trying to live and neither the Health Ministry nor any other authority is willing to help them.” Although initially PAHO representatives didn’t support the protest, hours later Carissa Etienne announced that in the next few days a commission of experts and specialists from the institution and the United Nations AIDS will visit Venezuela to try and develop a financing program for the acquisition of medicines; adding that PAHO is working so that the Global Fund makes an investment to acquire treatments for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other pathologies, emphasizing that they’ve had to purchase medicines for Venezuela in several occasions with their own money.

Abroad

  • Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies approved the legalization of abortion this Thursday and it will now be studied by the Senate, probably in September or October. In Latin America, abortion is legal only in Uruguay and Cuba.
  • Ecuador’s National Assembly plenary disregarded the request of the judge that sought authorization to criminally prosecute former president Rafael Correa for the case of the alleged kidnapping of politician Fernando Blada. The AN decided that Parliament doesn’t need to authorize the trial, and they expect the investigations against Correa to be performed by ordinary justice.
  • Silvio José Báez, auxiliary bishop of the Managua Archdiocese, wrote last night: “Mr. Daniel Ortega, I repeat the words I said in person to your face last Thursday: ‘Nicaragua has already changed. Repression and murder are only intensifying the crisis. What people shout in the street is “he must go!”. You must help find a solution.’” Repression hasn’t stopped and it’s left new casualties. Ortega sent a protest note to the IACHR for the statement they issued demanding an end to the violence.

Journalist Luz Mely Reyes from Efecto Cocuyo is one of the four honorees of the Committee to Protect Journalist’s International Press Freedom Award: congratulations!

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