Following Instructions

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, July 4, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: @DPresidencia

Imposed Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab said that another 23 prosecutors were arrested for allegedly engaging in corruption during Luisa Ortega Díaz’ administration: “Corruption is a scourge that can grievously harm our revolution. Since corruption’s ultimate goal is to embezzle the nation and this hurts both the people and entrepreneurs,” said the wise Saab, before reporting the arrest of another 20 citizens for embezzling preferential dollars granted by the National Center of Foreign Commerce (Cencoex). Saab also spoke of the arrest warrant issued against Pablo Machillanda, head of the Venezuelan Triathlon Federation, for “alleged document forgery, false attestation before a public authority, criminal association and obtaining illegal profits,” he explained, before highlighting the complaints made by Sports Minister Pedro Infante, which allowed the opening of this investigation. Sadly, Saab forgot to mention that his actions aren’t independent, but ordered by Nicolás. That’s how they (shamelessly) announced it on the President’s Office’s Twitter account (@DPresidencia), the same day that Cáritas de Venezuela denounced the State’s assault on the dignity of Venezuelans, especially the most vulnerable, for whom fragility and hunger-driven dependency, lack of medicines, abuse of power and the collapse of public services have intensified. For Cáritas, the rupture of Venezuela’s social tissue and normal lifestyle “is undeniable and is plain to see for everyone”; the government remains blind, though.

More on human rights

“Traitor! Get out, murderer! The streets are for the people, not for the oligarchy!” That’s what the Tupamaros were yelling to intimidate Lilian Tintori and the relatives of political prisoners who tried to offer statements near the Prosecutor’s Office.

During the attack, the National Bolivarian Police (PNB) left the area, clearing the way for “colectivos.” A couple of relatives of political prisoners managed to submit a document demanding due process and full freedom for the detainees; the rest had to leave to avoid an escalation. If the PNB can work in favor of these attackers, it shouldn’t surprise us that a soldier with such a long record of assaulting students, lawmakers and journalists as Bladimir Lugo Armas was promoted to Brigadier General and that Nicolás even decorated him. But Lugo’s promotion is an offense and so is Saab’s inaction about his record, because in May, the National Union of Press Workers demanded the Prosecutor’s Office to open a criminal investigation against him. Aside from this, Caracas’ second court of Military Control ordered the release of student Ariana Granadillo, arrested on June 23 in CICPC HQ in Táchira State. Ariana is barred from leaving the country or offer statements to the media, and she must report before court every eight days, despite her arbitrary detention and the tortures she has suffered.

The corruption Tarek doesn’t see

This Tuesday, the Swiss company Glencore announced that it was summoned by the U.S. Justice Department regarding an investigation for acts of corruption related to its activities in Nigeria, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo. News of the summons demolished their shares in London. It’s worth noting that, in 2013, Correo del Caroní, and Ipys Venezuela wrote a journalistic series called “Glencore, the tzar of Venezuelan aluminum,” so chavismo had plenty of information. Lawmaker Winston Flores announced the alleged embezzlement of $100 million due to corruption in the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS) during Carlos Rotondaro’s administration, explaining operations made by former officials with companies in Panama to purchase supplies and medicines “charging fees to companies that provided services to hospitals.”

According to Flores, Rotondaro left the IVSS “because he’s at odds with Giuseppe Yoffreda, head of the Venezuelan Exports Corporation and other military officers,” saying that the shortage of medicines is caused by corruption and because there’s an inner military struggle in the military to control the imports of these products.

Another Chinese aid

The same day we hear that gas stations won’t work on Sundays (to compensate for increasing workplace expenses) and that in 19 years of chavismo, PDVSA has stopped producing at least 1,796,000 barrels, causing losses for about $130 billion according to lawmaker Elías Matta, Economy Minister Simón Zerpa said that the Chinese government decided to grant the Venezuelan government a special credit for five billion dollars to increase production at the Orinoco Oil Strip. Apparently, the first transfer will be $250 million, but there are no more details about this investment, not the credit’s conditions or anything else. Opacity is a rule for chavismo. By the way, Grupo Zoom and Italcambio already increased the remittance dollar to Bs. 2,500,000, although the black market dollar is already over Bs. 3,400,000.


  • The European Parliament held a discussion about the Venezuelan diaspora and the eurodeputies asked the European Union to send emergency aid to countries in the region who are hosting Venezuelans and, in the medium term, a political and negotiated solution to the crisis.
  • Mexico’s President-Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered his first promises yesterday: he renounces official security, the Los Pinos residence and the presidential plane, and vowed to hold a recall referendum halfway through his six-year long presidential term. The PTSD is real.
  • President Donald Trump claimed that he’s had “many good conversations” with North Korea, days before his State Secretary Mike Pompeo travels to Pyongyang to discuss denuclearization: “All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining,” he wrote.
  • 45 years later, eight retired Chilean Army officers were sentenced to fifteen years and a day in prison for the murder of singer Víctor Jara during the first days of the coup d’état that started Augusto Pinochet’s regime.

The Andrés Bello Catholic University opened registration for the program Educa 20-20, which will grant 100 scholarships for high school graduates who want to become teachers. Aimed at young students between 17 and 24 years old with outstanding academic performance, with social-economic needs and a vocation for teaching. Applications will be received until July 11 and can be submitted through UCAB’s webpage. If you need to know more: @EducacionUCAP and @Educa_Guayana on Twitter.

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.