Nicolás’s Supportless Imposition

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, August 14, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Prensa Presidencial

Nine days after the National Guard’s stampede and a week after the failed “Shield of love,” PSUV collapsed the Caracas traffic, closing streets and avenues for a 15 km march that nobody attended: they couldn’t patch up their lost support with public employees, but Nicolás’s ego was once again beaten. The speaker in the march’s last station was again Diosdado Cabello who, with more anger than peace, spoke of the joy of marchers, the huge attendance, the impossibility that the opposition could ever arrange a similar event and even people’s patience, restating the threat: “This country is ours, if it’s not ours, it belongs to nobody, the country is socialist or it isn’t a country. Rifles on the shoulder, knees to the ground and bayonet ready.” Pure peace. If the next bonus will be paid for repeating the term “frustrated assassination attempt,” all the spokespeople interviewed on official media already have it in their bank accounts.

The big announcements

Nicolás ratified last night that for the first time in 19 years, they have an integral plan. He knows this one to perfection because he prepared it personally. What does it include?

  • Monday, August 20 will be non-working, marking “the start of a phase of work, effort and progress.”

  • That same day they’ll start the process of tethering the new wage and price-setting scheme to the petro. BCV will publish the operational figures and the tethering to something that doesn’t exist, which is absurd because currencies are tethered to people’s trust in them.
  • Starting on August 20, there will be two accounting units: the sovereign bolivar and the petro. He lacked the capacity to explain what this means.

  • He’ll impose the “maximum public sale price,” tethered to the petro amidst hyperinflation. By the way: the petro was created by the government which originally said that there would be a finite number of it, but they already ditched it; as it is, they could create petro banknotes, which would be worth less and less every day and so would the sovereign bolivar.
  • To stop gasoline smuggling, it will have international prices, right when the real income is at a historic minimum.
  • There will be a direct subsidy system for gas and he offered no details, so with or without carnet de la patria, this is a promise of rationing.
  • Sovereign bolivar and strong bolivar banknotes will coexist.

  • “They will regret having been born,” said Nicolás to those who refuse his plan, with the threat of a club to carry it out. More social control for political purposes, more apartheid, more poverty.

Due process

Ombudsman Alfredo Ruíz said yesterday morning that he’s at peace with the handling of lawmaker Juan Requesens’s case because due process has been respected. In his version, it’s normal that a lawmaker is presented before court after five days of his arrest (even with the allegation of flagrancy) and that he communicates with his lawyer only after the preliminary hearing. He was notably concerned by the leaked humiliating videos, not by their content, no, but by the leak itself. Hermann Escarrá said that in case there were human rights violations, the lawyers and relatives must go to the Prosecutor’s Office to file the complaint: “The judicial process established by the Constitution has been followed (…) knowing Nicolás Maduro as I know him, I’m sure that constitutional guarantees are being complied with,” he emphasized.

Last night, Nicolás once again talked about the video where Juan Requesens admits he facilitated details to one of the people allegedly involved in the drone flight, claiming that the lawmaker “could have stuck to the constitutional precept, but no, he testified and confirmed the attempt,” taking the video as an “evidentiary confession that has turned the investigation around.”

Requesens case

While the German government expressed its condemnation for lawmaker Juan Requesens’s arrest, María Corina Machado said that the government’s actions against the lawmaker are “State terrorism,” because only terrorists commit crimes and then laugh about it.

Dr. Juan Guillermo Requesens explained that the lawmaker’s lawyer is Joel García and that they won’t accept the imposition of a public prosecutor. The lawmaker was transferred to court, and his sister Rafaela Requesens couldn’t access because court officials demanded a “SEBIN permit,” forgetting which institution should be subordinated to which.

The seven detainees presented in yesterday’s hearing were: lawmaker Juan Requesens, general Alejandro Pérez Gámez; colonel Pedro Zambrano, Bryan Oropeza, Luis Guerra Giménez, Yanin Pernía and José Gregorio Blanco.

Briefs and serious

  • According to OPEC (secondary sources) Venezuelan oil production dropped in July by another 48,000 barrels per day and reached 1,278,000 barrels per day. An official source reported a larger drop: 62,000 bpd.

  • Grupo Zoom reported that starting yesterday, the “remittance” dollar exchange rate is Bs. 4,010,000.00, so now the minimum wage in Venezuela is officially less than a dollar, thanks to this 27.6% depreciation.

  • Ana Rosario Contreras, head of the Capital District’s Nurses Association, invited citizens to join them on Thursday, August 16, and walk from the J.M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital to Miraflores to deliver a document to Nicolás.

  • Relatives of Rubén González, general secretary of Ferrominera’s Union, denounced his enforced disappearance yesterday morning, explaining that he was being persecuted by the National Guard and SEBIN.

  • The rains in southern states continue and Ciudad Bolívar is just three centimeters from reaching the historic level of 1976, keeping six municipalities in red alert. Some people in Apure and Amazonas also remain in alert due to their own floods.

  • Several areas of Maracaibo report intense protests after 80 hours without electricity.

From abroad

  • “We hope that all neighboring countries keep their doors open and we are prepared to assist in support of the people crossing the border,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq, adding his concern for the amount of people in this exodus, mentioning the state of migration emergency decreed by Ecuador.
  • U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis talked to his Brazilian counterpart, general Joaquim Silva e Luna, and they studied the Venezuelan crisis. Silva e Luna explained that they discussed how to aid Venezuela, without giving further details.
  • Former Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero rejected lawmaker Julio Borges’s statements about how he was threatened to sign the agreement at the Dominican Republic in February this year: “What I won’t accept, under any circumstances, is that someone questions my attitude of absolute nobility, disinterest and good faith in Venezuela’s entire conflict,” he said. Moving.

Rafaela Requesens said at 11:10 p.m. that they had been waiting at the Justice Palace for news about her brother for nine hours. These are the practices to which Nicolás’s phrase is “tethered”: “They’re going to regret having been born.”

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.