Chavista Meekness

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo

Photo: El Nacional

“The people says so and they’re right, Diosdado and the revolution rule here,” ANC members chanted in one of the many flatteries they dedicated this Tuesday to their new chairman. Nicolás should resent their praises and speeches, because they didn’t name him, because in the ANC, the revolution stands between el finado and Diosdado. Although a National Constituent Assembly is convened to change the Constitution, he swore that he’ll do “whatever he must” to defend it, including blurring his office term limits, those uncomfortable two years that shorten the time for the new beginning he proposed yesterday, in the veiled criticism he launched against his predecessor, Delcy Rodríguez, because the ANC shouldn’t be locked up but take to streets to listen to “what the people has to say.” Limiting those words, he was cynic enough to claim that “there are issues in the street” and nobody can doubt it, so he asked his colleagues for suggestions, proposals, questions and complaints, to systematize them and “start working.” He requested help for Nicolás and his ministers, pointing out that the ANC has its own work to do along with those of the “bourgeois” Assembly -the true Parliament; the threatened political prisoners: “Those who cause riots again will return to prison” and proposed imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab as the new chairman for the Truth Committee.

Healthless

Earlier, while they moved the portraits of el finado and Bolívar for Diosdado’s ceremony, the National Assembly (AN) agreed to send a report to the Prosecutor’s Office and the Comptroller’s Office so that they can determine the criminal and administrative liabilities of government officials for deaths caused by the shortage of medicines and medical supplies. Lawmaker José Manuel Olivares spoke of the deaths from kidney diseases, cancer and Parkinson’s, as well as thousands of patients affected by health service failures and medicine shortages. Lawmaker Manuela Bolívar emphasized that this crisis isn’t about lack of budget but about corruption and the government’s own process of control, denouncing budgetary irregularities in choosing contractors, payments and monitoring methods. Bolívar said that the documents will be submitted before national and international instances. Additionally, the AN approved the bill for a special law on the non-contributory pensions scheme for the elderly and rejected that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was charged with resolving the territorial dispute with Guyana, ratifying the Geneva Agreement of 1966 as the way to solve the controversy. Lastly, lawmaker Carlos Valero said that the AN is working with diplomats to secure the release of 164 people arrested as illegal migrants in Trinidad and Tobago, explaining all the case’s complexities.

Driver without brakes

Nicolás announced that Transmiranda will begin operating with 105 transport units, claiming that if they join efforts, they’ll find permanent solutions. He ordered Transport Minister Hipólito Abreu and Communes Minister Aristóbulo Istúriz to activate technical transport tables, which no doubt will make a big different in the crisis. But don’t worry, Nicolás is ready to establish a system of workshops to support drivers. He said he laughs when he’s accused of being a dictator: “I could never be a dictator, and the people would never stand for it,” he said. The entire rosary of simplism concluded with the announcement of resources to acquire 200 new transport units and 10,000 tires which, along with the repeated idea of retaking the graveyard of Odebrecht’s unfinished works, joins the announcement of the creation of a “more thorough economic program” in almost 20 years of chavismo, whose key will reside in the activation of productive forces of people’s power, meaning, creating employment! Amazing!

Briefs and serious

  • The price of the Family Food Basket for May 2018 was Bs. 220,138,620.81, increasing Bs. 119,963,639.83, 119.8% compared with April 2018 and 22,115.6% between May 2017 and May 2018. 220 minimum wages (Bs. 1,000,000.00) are required to buy the basket for a five-member family: Bs. 7,337,954.02 per day, 7.33 minimum wages per day. All items increased in price.
  • Calixto Ortega Sánchez, nephew of justice Calixto Ortega, is the new chairman of the Central Bank. Yet another of Nicolás’s appointments that wasn’t approved by the AN, but what does it matter to keep breaking the law.
  • Magaly Gutiérrez Viña, Cilia Flores’s daughter-in-law, was appointed as the successor of disgraceful Carlos Rotondaro in Official Gazette, as chairwoman of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS). She’d been working since 2014 as chairwoman of the National Institute of Social Services (INASS) and the National Foundation El Niño Simón; she was also head of the Great Mission Amor Mayor Venezuela, substituted her mom, Magaly Viña Castro.

  • Venezuela’s ambassador before the UN, Jorge Valero, condemned the report on human rights presented by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights because it’s based on data collected from abroad, it lacks scientific rigour and he also anticipated that the report that’s about to be issued will be “extremely politicized.”

Abroad

  • While Brazil’s president Michel Temer postponed his visit to the shelters housing Venezuelans, the UNHCR published the Global Trend on Forced Displacement report, which ranks Venezuela as the fourth country with the most asylum requests: the number of Venezuelan requests tripled in 2017. High Commissioner Filippo Grandi said that the numbers will increase in 2018, pointing out the effect of sensible changes in neighboring countries’ migration policies on the growth of the migrant population.
  • UNICEF’s executive director Henrietta Fore criticized the U.S.’s decision to separate immigrant children and parents at the border with Mexico. Fore emphasized that “the detention and separation of families are traumatic experiences.” The U.S. is the only country in the world that hasn’t signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Later, the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council: “because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organisation that makes a mockery of human rights,” said ambassador Nikki Haley. “I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from human rights commitments,” she added.
  • Guyana’s Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge announced that he’ll ask the ICJ to rule in their favor in the case of the border dispute with Venezuela about the Esequibo since the opposing party won’t attend the proceedings. Guyana bases its stance on article 53 of the Statute of the ICJ which says: “Whenever one of the parties does not appear before the Court, or fails to defend its case, the other party may call upon the Court to decide in favor of its claim.”
  • In his third visit to China in just three months and one week after his summit with Donald Trump, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un met with his counterpart Xi Jinping. While Kim celebrated China’s “cordial friendship,” Jinping asked him to give advance the results of the summit in Singapore.
  • Police and paramilitary forces attacked citizens and journalists in a fierce assault ordered by dictator Daniel Ortega, which has left three people dead and 30 injured thus far. The OAS condemned the attack and bishops demand an end to the slaughter.

What does it mean to be an university teacher in this version of the country? Social psychologist Yorelis Acosta tells us in Prodavinci with the graphic talent of Lucas García. The story’s both tough and necessary.

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