Photo: El Mundo

National Assembly lawmakers submitted a document criminally denouncing Nicolás for taking advantage of his position for the electoral campaign for May 20: “Nicolás Maduro violated article 70 of the Anti-Corruption law by participating in electoral campaigns using State resources,” said lawmaker Luis Florido. The lawmakers denounced the exchange of votes for the bonus he promised through the carnet de la patria: “Offering the bonus in exchange for votes in presidential elections is a punishable crime.” In case imposed prosecutor general Saab doesn’t answer, the accusation will be taken to international instances. Meanwhile the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in exile declared on Twitter the vacancy of the Presidency of Venezuela and decreed the urgency to fill the power vacuum according to the Constitution of the Republic. The declaration was supported by OAS secretary general Luis Almagro, who tweeted: “We support the @TSJ_Legitimo’s decision, which is coherent with the OAS General Assembly resolution of June 5.” Opening a way, once more, to vilify Parliament on social media for unenforceable “orders”.

Clear priorities

For a second year in a row, Citgo, a PDVSA branch company, finances the 4th of July celebration in Houston. Since 2015, Citgo pays for all the expenses of the fireworks used to conclude the party. NGO Transparencia Venezuela said that on top of extraordinary wages, the military has been granted additional credits. In 2018, the Defense Ministry has received resources for Bs. 36,131,051,079,471, a figure that surpasses the nation’s budget for the year, which is Bs. 36,102,059,000,000. The military has received 17 times more resources than the Agriculture Ministry; 35% more resources than the University Education Ministry and 110% more money than the amount used to feed students. Out of the 11 additional credits granted to the Defense Ministry, four were approved a few days before the May 20 elections. That’s why it’s laughable that Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez said that the Executive will prioritize focusing on solving essential issues such as water, public transport and infrastructural work, and added that they’ll do this “in coming weeks”; while Education Minister Elías Jaua claimed that he feels “prouder of public education in Venezuela” every day.

The marines that didn’t come

Almost a year after the thesis of D-Day in Venezuela is revealed: Last August, during a meeting with his advisors, president Donald Trump asked why the United States couldn’t invade Venezuela. The suggestion surprised those present, including State Secretary Rex Tillerson and security advisor H.R. McMaster, both of whom have left their posts. The story of the talk, which had remained secret until now, comes from a high-ranking government official familiar with what was said then, who spoke in anonymity and said that the advisors explained Trump why a military action could be counterproductive and jeopardize the support obtained among Latin American governments to punish Nicolás. Allegedly, Trump didn’t abandon the idea and offered it to President Juan Manuel Santos and later, to other four Latin American leaders. All of them refused the possibility. The rest of the article criticizes Trump’s indiscretions and his foreign policy, but recognized the relevance of sanctions against Venezuelan officials; as well as the financial contributions to help Colombia and Brazil deal with the migration crisis. Last night, based on this story, Diosdado Cabello threatened to investigate dissidents who requested a humanitarian intervention (which is the same as a military invasion to him), claiming that they’ll approve laws to punish them severely, that they’ll be tried regardless of which country they live in and that “anyone deemed to be a traitor will be treated as an enemy.”

We, migrants

Nancy Izzo Jackson, a U.S. State Department official, explained that even when the U.S. remains intent on supporting us, conditions to receive immigrants are rigorous and only “a very small percentage” will be granted asylum in the country. Yesterday, the Colombian government started the process of updating the data of Venezuelans living there with the Special Stay Permit. Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín said that the Venezuelan government’s refusal to accept the crisis is an obstacle for finding solutions and also for the relations with neighbors willing to help. The Venezuelans arrested in Trinidad and Tobago for immigration crimes are expected to return to the country in the next few days. The National Assembly asked the government to help them by allowing them to come back as returnees, disregarding any legal problems for immigration crimes. The Andrés Bello Catholic University said that students and graduates of some careers may obtain undergraduate diplomas valid in the U.S. thanks to the recent agreement signed with URBE University and Florida Global University. Those interested in getting more information can write to [email protected]

Brief and serious

  • Acción Democrática leaves MUD (opposition party coalition.) According to El Nuevo País, the reason is “failure to fulfill the agreement signed by all parties on July 19 last year,” as well as the coalition’s “paralysis.”
  • Nurses have been in protest for ten days already, but the government hasn’t taken any actions to listen to their demands. The threat of mass resignations seemed to matter little to them. Yesterday’s march in perreras, buses and personal vehicles (called the Pilgrimage for Health) reached Miraflores, asking Nicolás to try and live on a nurse’s wages.
  • Ecuador’s Foreign Minister José Valencia announced that the country called their ambassador in Bolivia for consultation and suspended the trip of their new ambassador to Venezuela, after both nations condemned the prison sentence against Rafael Correa. At night, President Lenín Moreno demanded respect for his country’s decisions.

  • Yesterday, thousands of Nicaraguans joined in a human chain in a Managua avenue, to demand dictator Daniel Ortega’s resignation and the end to the violence that has left hundreds of people dead in 75 days of protests.

We go on.

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