The “Legal” Official Silence

For Friday, July 13, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Tal Cual Digital

Opacity characterizes chavismo and Transparencia Venezuela is working on it, studying the frequency with which the public administration refuses to answer requests for information. The report “Opacity: the rule imposed by the top government,” states that the silence has been fostered by the existence of legal instruments that violate or restrict the right to access public information; just like the Judiciary has restricted this right by issuing rulings that prevent citizens from accessing information. In 2017, the TSJ issued 12 rulings denying requests to access information that, in addition to the 33 rulings documented by Transparencia Venezuela in previous years, reveal the Judiciary’s intention to legalize secrecy and opacity, legitimizing official silence. Financial intelligence units from Colombia, Mexico, Panama and the U.S. discussed this in Cartagena de Indias, to establish support networks to fight corruption. The joint statement about the fight against Venezuelan corruption explains that the government “uses food and humanitarian aid as a weapon for social control” and condemned the CLAP’s “embezzled funds.” Their conclusion was that Venezuelans are starving “due to the regime’s corruption.” The next meeting will be held in Washington, with the participation of Spain and Argentina.

Protesting

The report of the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict documented 5,315 protests during the first half of 2018, an average of 30 protests per day and an 8% increase compared with 2017, with the highest amount of protests taking place in June. 84% of them were to demand economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. While the Argentine Health Ministry decided to look for Venezuelan doctors to cover vacant spots in the province, Douglas León Natera, head of the Venezuelan Medical Federation, said that the conditions are set for national protest against the crisis affecting the healthcare sector, whose doctors and nurses are protesting in 19 of the country’s states, yesterday with the support of the Odontological Association. Ana Rosario Contreras, head of the Nurses Association of Caracas, restated that despite extraordinary payments, “if salaries don’t improve,” workers will resign en masse. By the way, Barrio Adentro workers joined the nurses’ strike.

Amazing chavismo

Vice-minister Carlos León Mora met with employees and workers of the education sector to tell them that the University Education Ministry doesn’t have the money to cover their salary demands, saying that, just like the Ministry understands their demands, they must understand the “complex economic situation affecting the country” that “isn’t due to [Nicolás’s] lack of disposition,” (only to his terrible policies).Supposedly, the banknotes for the new monetary cone will be distributed starting next week, according to the Bureau of Banking Institutions (Sudeban) but lawmaker José Guerra said that the Central Bank is considering slashing six zeroes off the currency in a second extension before the new cone starts circulation. Meanwhile, the government celebrated the news that Banco del Tesoro gave Capital District and Miranda State bus drivers 33 points-of-sale. A hit!

Riot at SEBIN HQ

The relatives and lawyers of political prisoners said that they fear the authorities will retaliate against the inmates for the riot they started on Monday. The government hasn’t reacted and lawmaker Adriana Pichardo explained that they’re keeping the inmates “in total isolation,” and they’ve been unable to contact the outside world for over 24 hours. The lawyers defending political prisoners held at El Helicoide demanded the release of those who have been issued release warrants, and urged Ombudsman Alfredo Ruíz “to fulfill his constitutional obligations.”

Luisa’s titanium face

In an interview for Punto de Corte, Luisa Ortega Díaz revealed that Diosdado Cabello called her on December 28, 2012, to tell her that Hugo Chávez had died, although he later took it back. Officially, Chávez died on March 5, 2013. When asked about her silence on this matter, Ortega said that she was abroad in December, but, in January and March too? And in later years? Regarding the conflict between Nicolás and Diosdado, the prosecutor said that “Diosdado was convinced that in elections, which should’ve been held in December this year, he’d be the candidate.” According to her, “Maduro won’t give up power, regardless of what the opposition does,” and she claimed to know first-hand how the government mocked the opposition and the maneuvers they used to accuse them of crimes; once more, why didn’t she do anything when she could? After the interview was published, Punto de Corte started suffering malfunctions that prevent the access to any published content. They’re still unsure whether these are caused by the server’s saturation due to the number of visits, or by a systematic block imposed by the government.

Abroad

  • Brazil’s Prosecutor General asked the Superior Court of Justice yesterday to open an investigation against judge Rogério Favreto for granting an “habeas corpus” to former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Also yesterday, Lula was found innocent for obstructing justice, because there isn’t sufficient evidence to sentence him for attempting to interfere with Petrobras’ investigation.
  • Colombian Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín rejected the statements issued by Pedro Carreño about attacking Colombia if the U.S. invades Venezuela, restating that her nation doesn’t believe in military solutions and that they’ve never cooperated with any kind of intervention. However, Nicolás repeated yesterday that “the Colombian oligarchy has been infiltrating paramilitary groups in Venezuela to try and escalate a wave of violence.”
  • 351 people have died and at least 2,100 have been wounded in less than three months in Nicaragua, according to NGO Nicaragua Pro-Human Rights Association (ANPDH). Its director Álvaro Leiva cautioned that other 329 people were kidnapped and 68 more were tortured after being captured by police officers and paramilitary groups. Out of these 351 victims, 289 people have been killed with firearms, but the Venezuelan government thinks that the IACHR’s report about this massacre is biased.

The Venezuelan Press and Society Institute reported that at least 46 newspapers in different states have temporarily or permanently ceased circulating between 2013 and 2018. The main cause is the lack of newsprint. In the last two weeks, five regional newspapers scrapped daily circulation to adopt another format. Additionally, 40 radio stations have been shut down between 2017 and 2018. Half of them returned, but they changed their editorial line.

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