Fragmented and Lost

Your daily briefing for Friday, June 22, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

While Causa R leader Andrés Velásquez proposed a national strike to protest the crisis, Henri Falcón launched “Commitment for Change” (without Copei, the party that gave him the most votes,) another opposition coalition that ratifies his split from the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), which he hasn’t stop criticizing for their refusal to go to elections. His indignation towards the chavista opportunism, his challenge against the results and his accusations on Twitter against Supreme Tribunal justices are all history; he’s returned to the pointless exercise of holding abstention as the true reason for Nicolás’s “re-election” and announced, just like Nicolás, that a dialogue is the solution and therefore, he’s willing to talk “with whoever necessary.”

Meanwhile, lawmaker Timoteo Zambrano said that he met with former president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to discuss about the political prisoner release process: “I’d say Zapatero is the one insisting on the matter of releases. There’s going to be more releases in the next few hours, that’s going to be good for the country,” said Zambrano at the event for the launch of “Commitment for Change,” emphasizing that he thinks it’s foolish for MUD to bar Rodríguez Zapatero from visiting the country.

He should read what Diosdado Cabello has to say about the releases: “The release of those Venezuelans has nothing to do with the bourgeois National Assembly or with any NGO,” giving Nicolás all the credit.

Dialogue, protests and arrests

Vice-president Delcy Rodríguez met with the governors of Mérida, Anzoátegui and Nueva Esparta, glad for receiving projects from these authorities “talking in an institutional, convenient language (…) for the good of each region’s citizens and the rest of the country.” After four days of labor strike, doctors form the government’s Communal Healthcare program (Venezuelans and Cubans) rallied in Plaza Caracas to protest against their meagre salaries and the lack of supplies to care for patients.

They wanted to go to Miraflores to explain their demands to the Executive. The National Guard stopped them three blocks from the Palace, but they made it a bit further and then it was paramilitaries (colectivos) who blocked their march, a fact that wasn’t reported by official media outlets and much less by imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab who, after days of silence that include the tragedy at El Paraíso, came up to announce the arrest of 16 farmers for failing to comply with economic agreements with the Agricultural Development Corporation, who will be indicted for boycott, destabilization, smuggling and criminal association. Saab also spoke of the “Metal Hands” operation and the arrest of Minerven vice-president Doarwin Evans, who allegedly cooperated with the smuggling of 2.5 tons of gold. Sadly, he forgot to mention that Evans is a PSUV militant and he toured through five offices within Minerven. It’s still chilling that he mentions the number of arrests, arrest warrants and red alerts requested to Interpol as achievements.

Bound for bankruptcy

Japanese investment bank Nomura says in a report that the drastic drop of oil production that Venezuela’s experiencing is increasingly affecting the country’s cash flow and has began a countdown towards bankruptcy: “It’s been years of poor management and lack of investment; however, the recent acceleration towards output collapse shows the acute phase of lack of maintenance, lack of parts, refining capacity and technical staff, among other reasons, with a multiplier effect on future production,” adding that the cash flow is even more limited due to increasing liabilities with a priority to oil exports for strategic partners such as Russia and China to pay for loans in kind.

Working hard?

Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo denounced in Vienna how the sanctions imposed by the United States are an “attack on the oil market’s stability.” Quevedo also explained that the Venezuelan government condemns “any interference from any power in the world to try and influence the oil market,” because going against the oil industry is going “against the peoples of the world, because oil is an instrument for development and peace, not for political attacks.” Sadly, he didn’t explain how chavismo’s incompetence destroyed PDVSA’s productive capacity and consequently undermined the oil market’s stability, but he did speak about non-conventional warfare, restating that Venezuela will always defend the OPEC as a space for integration and, regarding PDVSA’s declining output, he merely said that they’re “working hard” to recover it. Today, OPEC will hold its 174th ordinary meeting, where producers will review their offer levels. By the way, ExxonMobil announced that they’ve found oil in a deposit in the Guyanese coast, located in the exploration well called Longtail-1.


  • Brazilian president Michel Temer travelled to her country’s border with Venezuela to get a report on the Operation Shelter. From there he restated that he’ll “continue to support the families of immigrants” and announced that he talked “with local authorities to tackle the demands and improve the living conditions of Roraima’s inhabitants,” whose basic services have been overstretched.
  • Lawmaker Adriana Pichardo denounced that a group of Venezuelan immigrants detained in Trinidad and Tobago started a hunger strike in protest for the mistreatment they’ve suffered. They demand freedom and respect for their human rights.

  • In Nicaragua, there are reports that dictator Daniel Ortega’s massacre surpasses Somoza’s (1978-79) because they’re not amidst a civil war and they’re murdering unarmed civilians. The hope is that today they’ll get from OAS a bit more than a mere diplomatic condemnation, that greater efforts are made to isolate Ortega.
  • Beatriz Becerra, vice-president of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, accompanied Irwin Cotler, one of the OAS experts that made the report that proves that crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela and asked European Union’s member States and especially Spain, to present a report before the International Criminal Court as signatories of the Rome Statute so that the investigation can be started.

I fear for these recurrent news that sum up a country, where people keep suffering atrocities that are denounced but never answered; that far from being solved, they intensify, displacing what we already knew with more devastation. Chavismo, as the strongest minority, has radicalized this week amidst a humanitarian crisis, with the huge advantage of a fragmented, lost and persecuted opposition, with the cruel circumstance of citizens trying to survive to so many ways of simultaneous violence, including a crumbling social fabric due to crime, frustration and uncertainty. Take care of the people around you, we 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.