Nicolás, The Irrelevant

Your daily briefing for Friday, August 12, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo:Correo del Orinoco

One week after the National Guard’s memorable stampede at the Bolívar avenue, Nicolás held an event with the Armed Forces, flanked by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López and SEBIN chief Gustavo González López. A message in itself. Interior Minister Reverol, Chief Justice Moreno and imposed prosecutor general Saab were part of the audience. Nicolás insists on going over the alleged assassination attempt, the importance it hasn’t had anyone, while he vows that there will be no mercy for the perpetrators of “this crime that bloodied history,” creating for the drone flight the “historic impact” that was reserved for the GIF of the soldiers fleeing. “My physical assassination was decided in the Nariño House in Bogota. It was Juan Manuel Santos who ordered it,” he said yesterday as a conclusion derived from the “objective and scientific” investigations he leads.

The myriad paths to violence

“Venezuela, in its political culture, isn’t a country where eliminating the adversary through violence is usual,” said Nicolás, forgetting every citizen murdered, wounded, politically disqualified, exiled and imprisoned that he’s accumulated during his administration. He presented another video of lawmaker Juan Requesens which he called “one of the calmest and most serene statements he’s offered in his life,” claiming that he spoke willingly, that the trial is taking place (nobody told him that the preliminary hearing was suspended until Monday afternoon); that the trial (which hasn’t started) complies with “judicial principles” and that’s he’s demanded “professionalism and objectivity” for this case, which appears to show that these traits aren’t common.

What does Requesens say?

Looking less erratic than in the video presented by Minister Jorge Rodríguez, the lawmaker says: “Alexander was a contact that Julio gave me. When I helped Juan Monasterios through text messages, when I got him in touch with Colombian immigration, Alexander was the one who would confirm to me that he’d crossed. Since Juan Monasterios had a Venezuelan phone number, after he crossed there was no way of getting in touch with him and this person, Alexander, I don’t know who he is, I don’t know him personally, I only had his contact and I confirmed with him that Juan Monasterios was in the Colombian side.” In other words, Requesens restates that he facilitated a contact for one of the alleged culprits to cross from Venezuela to Colombia, but for Nicolás, this statement confirms “Julio Borges’s involvement as general coordinator of the terrorist attempt,” last Thursday, Borges was a financier; on Friday, he was the mastermind and yesterday, he became the general coordinator.

The unnecessary mockery

Regarding the video evidencing how lawmaker Requesens was humiliated, Nicolás improvised and pretty much revealed that the arrest warrant was issued after the arbitrary detention: “a video was published yesterday, I don’t know, I asked for an investigation because these are private videos from SEBIN’s medical corps. When he was undergoing the medical examination and was recorded and he grew nervous, and we see, well, the situation of anxiety when SEBIN arrived with the judicial arrest warrant. And then he, more serene in these testimony before the Prosecutor’s Office, offers all of these revelations, key revelations in an investigation process that’s just starting.” Neither the prosecutor general nor the ombudsman have said a word about the denigrating treatment. Last night, Hermann Escarrá posted fifteen Twitter updates that sum up everything the State has violated thus far in lawmaker Requesens’s case. Although he opens the thread condemning the assassination attempt, he says that he also condemns “the violations of the prisoners’ procedural guarantees, if any. It’s a difficult time for the Republic where justice, truth and respect for human dignity are paramount.”

A transition government

Showing the reach of his creativity, Nicolás claimed this Saturday that the central idea behind the drone flight was to make believe that “the Armed Forces had murdered the President of the Republic in order bring about a phase of chaos and confusion (…) the idea was to establish a transition government that would progressively be accepted with sympathy by the Lima Group and the U.S. government. We already have the politicians who were going to establish it and who would’ve presided over it.” He said it as if it was a revelation and not a statement that every dissident has made: the need to remove this government and then create a transition government. He added that some of the people involved in the August 4 incident are seeking asylum in Peru. Regarding the economic measures starting on August 20, he claimed that they’re not easy but that they’ll bring a new economy. He insisted on the transport census because “when the new subsidy comes into force, if you haven’t registered, you’re going to regret it.”

Other voices



There was a rally yesterday in Chacaíto in support for lawmaker Juan Requesens, where attendants demanded their release: “We remain strong here. We’re your voice. The Venezuelan people is our engine to keep fighting against the regime,” said his sister Rafaela Requesens. Several protesters undressed in solidarity with the lawmaker, simulating the image shown in the video shared on social media. Former Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz, who was one of the mediators for the dialogue in the Dominican Republic, expressed his solidarity with Julio Borges and Juan Requesens; while his successor Roberto Ampuero demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners in Venezuela: “We can’t accept the persecution against lawmakers Requesens and Borges, and against all the citizens who freely choose to oppose a dictatorial and cruel regime.” The Lima Group urged the government to carry out “an independent, exhaustive and transparent investigation,” repudiating any attempt at manipulating the August 4 incident “to persecute and repress political dissidence,” condemning the violation of due process and human rights in the case of Requesens and Julio Borges.

The man who doesn’t fear “death, nothing and no one,” didn’t speak about Citgo, the Orinoco river’s historic flood, the three-day blackout in Zulia, the healthcare sector’s crisis or the reach of hyperinflation. Everything starts and ends with him. For every time he mentioned the word peace, he demanded merciless punishment ten times. Nicolás, the irrelevant.

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.