The Ongoing Attempt

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Asamblea Nacional

Hyperinflation goes on and none of the economic measures recently announced by Nicolás tackles any of its causes. This Monday, lawmakers of the National Assembly’s Finance Committee presented the results of the National Price Index for July: the inflation for the month was 125% (the second highest since Parliament started calculating it); the cumulative inflation between January and July this year increased to 10,664% and the yearly rate reached 82,766%. The daily inflation rate in July was 2.7%, surpassing the annual rate of several countries in the region. The Central Bank keeps having the main responsibility for this drama, since they haven’t stopped issuing money to finance the Executive’s spending: monetary liquidity went from four trillion by the end of 2016 to three quadrillion bolivars in 2018! We’ve been in hyperinflation for 10 months, an ongoing attempt against survival, exacerbated shortages, a production reduced to the minimum and no change in the official policy that brought us to this drama.

4F shield

Although the government apparatus moved to support him, with the inspiring spontaneity of public officials and the militia, Nicolás didn’t speak for them, contradicting Diosdado Cabello’s promise, who opted for issuing threats to give hope to their loyal militants. In his view, Latin America “will become a true hell if something happened” (something different than chavismo controlling power) claiming that “the right-wing won’t govern this country ever again, through good or bad means” proving the reach of his democratic judgement, which he later surpassed reminding the justice system (because we have branch autonomy here) that “there can be no mercy.” The same guys that assume a frustrated coup d’état as their foundational date, are tearing their clothes now for what they believe to be “a frustrated assassination attempt.” The attack against the media was an unnecessary excess, considering that there was no media in the presidential stage on Saturday.

Lessons on diplomacy

Contributing to the show of plurality, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said that Colombian authorities are “hypocrites” due to their statements after Saturday’s incident. He said that Nicolás will be the one to present the “solid” evidence they have to show Colombia’s responsibility in the alleged attempt. Additionally, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement holding the Colombian government liable for any further attacks, thinking that it’s suspicious for them to firmly defend outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos, whom they accuse of facilitating and opening the offices of Colombia’s public powers for “fugitives of Venezuelan justice whose clear purpose is to attack the Rule of Law.” Santos rejected the accusations made against him. Meanwhile, UN secretary general António Guterres rejected “any act of violence” in Venezuela. His spokesman Farhan Haq restated the call to make “all efforts to seek a consensus in order to solve the country’s many problems.” The Chilean government condemned Saturday’s “confusing incidents” and urged the Venezuelan government to provide explanations and evidence for the claims they’ve made about the alleged culprits.

A report without details

After a long summary of anti-government protests in 2002, 2014 and 2017, imposed Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab said that the Truth Committee benefitted almost 300 people with procedural measures, among whom there are some linked to Saturday’s incident. For some reason, Saab thinks that calling it an “assassination attempt” wasn’t enough and claimed that it could be called a “massacre” because the heads of public powers were in the presidential stage. What did he say about the investigations? They pinpointed the places from where the drones were operated; they arrested two people in flagrancy; they identified the material authors and their immediate collaborators, including the explosive experts “who armed the devices and the first international connections have been established” and they also identified the place where the perpetrators stayed, without specifying whether it was the Pestana Hotel, raided yesterday by SEBIN. For Saab, this incident strengthened the unity of public powers and he hopes that it’ll serve “to stop any violent attempt against the country’s peace.” By the way, the relatives of Argenis Valera, an alleged suspect, demanded a proof of life.

We, migrants

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN, announced that she’ll use her trip to Colombia to visit the border with Venezuela to meet there with Venezuelan politicians in exile and visit humanitarian facilities. The Guyanese government announced that they’ll receive $30,000 from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to assist some 900 Venezuelans who have crossed their borders. Also yesterday, Helder Girão Barreto, judge of the First Chamber of Federal Justice in Roraima, suspended the entry of Venezuelans to Brazil for an indeterminate time until there’s a “balance” between the amount of those who enter and those who are transferred to other cities. The judge also decided to suspend the decree issued on August 1, allowing the deportation or expulsion of Venezuelans involved in crimes and ordered the obligatory vaccination against measles for all Venezuelans. This is the first time that the justice system issues a restriction for the entry of Venezuelans. The border operates normally for other nationalities and Venezuelans who want to return to their country are allowed to do so.

Brief and serious

  • Banesco’s takeover was extended for 90 days. SUDEBAN argues that they still haven’t finished the assessment because Banesco has companies and clients who keep commercial relations with countries in “high risk“ jurisdiction and geographic areas. Banesco chairman Juan Carlos Escotet confessed on Twitter that he’s perplexed about the extension, calling it “absurd, unfair and without any legal foundation.”

  • The Supreme Tribunal of Justice in exile held the second hearing of the trial against Nicolás yesterday. Aside from Luisa Ortega Díaz’s testimony, they had the (online) testimony of Euzenando de Azevedo, former Odebrecht chairman in Venezuela, who ratified that they financed the campaigns of Chávez and Nicolás and claimed that official Américo Mata contacted him to request his “contribution”. The trial will continue next Wednesday.
  • Sergeant Bryan Acosta died and other two Venezuelan soldiers were wounded by the explosion of an anti-personnel mine while they patrolled the Catatumbo municipality (western border with Colombia.) The government has said nothing about the incident.

We have to pay close attention to the Orinoco river flood and with it, the clearest proof of one of the Mining Arc’s side effects. There are several affected areas in Amazonas and Bolívar states, with thousands of citizens in vulnerable conditions.

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.