Your daily briefing for Wednesday, August 1, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: El Nacional

In addition to the torture that Zulia and Táchira states have to live daily, ravaged by a low electric energy distribution that has nothing to do with planning, this Tuesday, there was a blackout that lasted several hours in Caracas, some areas of Miranda, Vargas and Aragua. Electric Energy Minister Luis Motta Domínguez, in another exercise of spite of Venezuelans, first said that heavy rains (amidst raining season) in Santa Teresa del Tuy explained the incident. But after the malfunction repeated, Motta summed up a report from the Bolivarian Service of National Intelligence (SEBIN) which justified the blackout saying that “the control wiring for tension transformers was cut” and showing a worker without protection or equipment, he added that those cut wires caused a system lockdown.

Later, Minister Jorge Rodríguez spoke of an identified failure, claiming that it was difficult to make repairs due to weather conditions at the Guatopo National Park —hard to reach, according to him— contradicting the area and the status announced by Motta. Rodríguez added that three tropical waves will affect the coastline and will cause “hydric difficulty” in some coasts.

Nicolás and electric energy

Strictly speaking, if the electric system still works at all, it’s because there were considerable investments in the past to develop it. Chavismo has only brought corruption, disinvestment and lack of maintenance, as well as a severe deprofessionalization of the sector. Nicolás has been explaining system failures for five years, without announcing investments or maintenance labor: in 2013, he proposed militarizing all electric substations and making a “special plan against sabotage,” as well as decreeing electric service as paramount to State security. In September that year, he denounced an “electrical coup” and in October, he blamed Henrique Capriles, Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado for all sabotages. By September 2014, he’d created the theory of a guerrilla that caused the malfunctions. In November 2015, Nicolás “denounced” a plan for a great national blackout and announced the arrest of five (electrocuted) perpetrators in the dress rehearsal. By April 2016, he was already speaking of a “true electric emergency” situation, except he blamed it on the “extreme drought” and activated a plan against the weather phenomenon El Niño. In October 2017, he asked the ANC to modify the laws to suspend benefits in the sentences against system saboteurs, and then in February this year, he once again “militarily armored” the system. As you see, it’s a very serious problem, handled with brazenness.

With the governors

After being ratified as PSUV chairman and violating the party’s statutes, now enjoying absolute power for his decisions, yesterday, Nicolás demanded chavista governors and “protectors” (figures imposed in states with opposition governors) to quit “the excuses and the whining” so they can start “birthing” the necessary solutions, promising all the weight of the law on those who try to sabotage the economic measures he announced and talking of new measures to beat down speculation, inflation and recover workers’ purchasing power; but of course: with more price controls.

The guy with absolute powers urged “a great democratization of all government instances.” In order to stick to the script I just summed up for you in the previous paragraph, and contradicting ministers Motta and Rodríguez, Nicolás explained the blackout as one more “sabotage”, claiming that they’re investigating: “In a few hours, we’ll know who’s responsible, don’t be shocked with the political masterminds of these mischiefs,” he cautioned. In his sham version, Caraqueños reacted with “morality, support, understanding.” Lying is a compulsion.

Amazing chavismo

There was another bit of information where Nicolás’s and minister Jorge Rodríguez’s versions didn’t align, because even though the former set August 3 as the date to start the vehicle census, Rodríguez announced it would start this Wednesday, August 1, and he also said that it would take place through the carnet de la patria website (, he didn’t offer any more details on the process.

Interior Minister Néstor Reverol met with rectors of several universities to work on the security issue. He proposed the activation of some “peace quadrants” —whose ineffectiveness we’ve already confirmed— opening the question of how and to what extent this policy will affect university autonomy. Reverol also met with SAIME authorities to work on “the service’s profound transformation and restructuring.” He mentioned that there are almost a hundred thousand unretrieved passports that they’re planning to use as material for new documents, although they’re working with the ional Mint Currency Houseto issue new passports. CANTV employees spoke yesterday about the lack of resources to offer a quality service, demanding improved workplace conditions and denouncing the company’s utter decay: no transports, supplies or tools for repairs and emphasized a key detail: in the rooms that house the equipment for the operation of phone lines and internet, the air conditioners are out of order.

Briefs and serious

  • At least 2,700 people have been affected in Amazonas by a flood of Orinoco river, caused by the rains, as explained by Sidney Rodríguez, head of Civil Defense in the area. For former governor Liborio Guarulla, this flood is “the largest of the last century,” criticizing the government’s indifference to the situation, saying that Amazonas natives “have been forced to go to Colombia” because this country did activate an emergency plan to help.
  • At the border between Venezuela and Colombia, Army lieutenant Roberto Carlos Ulpin González (27) was murdered near the Perija mountain range, a Zulia area where the guerrilla and Venezuelan paramilitaries are vying for control of illegal trade. Whether the culprits were Los Pelusos gang, the ELN or the EPL, it’s unclear.
  • Over 55 cancer patients lack medicines for their treatment in Venezuela, denounced Codevida director Francisco Valencia. In 2018, they’ve recorded the death of 11 transplant patients for the same reason.
  • Just like on Monday, President Juan Manuel Santos said that he sees Nicolás’s government close to the end, yesterday Luisa Ortega Díaz said: “Resign, how long will you keep Venezuelans suffering? Your days are numbered,” said Luisa, to later claim: “Maduro told me that he wouldn’t leave power even if he lost an election.” Coherence isn’t her trademark. In any case, she claimed that she’s making progress with the trial for corruption with Odebrecht.

  • Ah! Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio announced that several countries in the region are studying the possibility of asking the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor for a preliminary investigation about the human rights situation in Venezuela.

It’s been 100 days of civic rebellion in Nicaragua against the government of dictator Daniel Ortega. The balance is bleak. Following chavismo’s path, yesterday in an official event, the Army’s chief proclaimed the institution’s “apolitical and non-deliberative nature,” but among the FSLN’s red-and-black flags. This Thursday, the OAS Permanent Council will debate a resolution against the Nicaraguan crisis.

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.