Boring Attempt, Country Plummets

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: RNV Informativa

This Tuesday, imposed Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab updated the list of people involved in the alleged assassination attempt, which increased to 34, and it might keep growing due to detainees’s accusations.

They’ve issued 27 arrest warrants, 14 people have been taken before court; several of the people involved are abroad, so they’ve issued requests to Interpol. Eight of these warrants have already been executed and six people have been arrested in flagrancy. Saab estimates that there’s solid evidence of what happened spread through videos, WhatsApp audios and testimonies, explaining that the Prosecutor’s Office uses confessions as “queen evidence.” He requested that Osman Delgado Tabosky’s bank accounts be blocked and lawmaker Julio Borges’s accounts be frozen. Additionally, he announced that he’s investigating Luisa Ortega Díaz for her statements regarding the drone flight. Ortega Díaz called him a “useful fool” and said that she’d start proceedings to denounce him before the International Criminal Court.

Requesens’s case

As you know, the first hearing concluded past 1:00 a.m. this Tuesday, with an indictment for the crimes of treason, frustrated homicide, frustrated homicide with malice and for ignoble reasons against seven military officers, terrorism, criminal association, continued public instigation and illegal possession of weapons and ammunition. The judge in charge of the case, Carol Padilla, said that they’ve also confiscated the parliamentarian’s assets and frozen his accounts. Tarek William Saab repeated this information in his report and added that he ordered a toxicological test and a medical and psychological examination, after the humiliating video he repudiated, adding as a sort of explanation that those responsible for it might have been involved in the alleged assassination attempt. Joel García, Requesens’s lawyer, said: “There aren’t enough conviction elements to know that Juan Requesens authored or participated in a punishable deed, in other words, Juan Requesens shouldn’t be in prison.”

The Inter-Parliamentary Union said it was urgent that the government allow an investigation mission from the Human Rights Committee to visit Venezuela, in view of the current repressive streak against opposition lawmakers.

The hearing continues

Yesterday, the hearing for Juan Requesens and the other six detainees started with seven and a half hours of delay. His lawyers shared the lawmaker’s words: “I plead innocent. Two things sustain this regime, first: what’s outside—he pointed at the door (security bodies)—which is the dominion of force; second: the judicial arm, which is you (…) I don’t break or bow my face before anyone. My fight has always been and will always be peaceful, protected by the rights established in our Constitution.”

Requesens’s hearing concluded at 10:30 p.m. He was imprisoned by SEBIN and it’ll be this branch that will decide the holding facility (El Helicoide or Plaza Venezuela.) The file was sealed for 15 days, but it was violated by Saab and his statements. According to lawyer Joel García, “it’s a carbon copy, everything the Prosecutor said, happened.” Meanwhile, lawmaker Julio Borges denounced that the judge in charge of the cause against him is “Diosdado Cabello’s right-hand man,” announcing that he’ll denounce him along with the accusing prosecutors before international instances “so they’re punished for their human rights abuses.”

In the National Assembly

Lawmaker Gilber Caro undressed at the speaker’s podium and with the applause of his colleagues, he said that “a man’s dignity isn’t in the clothing he wears” but in the unity of Venezuelans, adding that they’ll support Juan Requesens and all other political prisoners.

Meanwhile, lawmakers Luis Stefanelli and Jorge Millán called for a citizen rebellion against the measures announced by Nicolás: “We must oppose the increase of gas prices, because it’s an increase against the people,” said Millán; while Stefanelli said that service stations aren’t prepared for this measure, “to identify which vehicle is registered in which isn’t, who holds the carnet and who doesn’t.” The rebellion against Nicolás’s measures will be discussed next Thursday by a delegate committee. Lawmaker Carlos Valero said that they’ve issued the first bulletin about the Venezuelan diaspora, a report they’ll update monthly with data and figures that will allow them to narrate the exodus, the abuses against connationals and consequently take all diplomatic measures.

Amazing chavismo

Four weeks after the floods started, the government declared the six most affected states in emergency. Delcy Rodríguez explained that the phenomenon is the consequence of “the flooding of rivers in Colombian plains (which) have had a tremendous impact” in the rising flow rate of Venezuelan rivers; adding that they’ll install a “rains cabinet” to assist affected families, made up of the Health, Food and Housing Ministers, along with Civil Defense, fire brigades and the military. Hermann Escarrá said to Reuters that the ANC’s preparing a reform of the Constitution that will include a central bank for cryptoassets (the Crypto Central Bank) and a court above the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. “Not even CAP increased gas to international prices. It’s a neoliberal measure, they’re going to privatize PDVSA,” wrote former Minister Rafael Ramírez on Twitter.

More shortages

The same day that Carlos Albornoz, head of the National Federation of Stock Farmers, cautioned about the huge shortage of food that’s coming due to how little they could sow this cycle, recommending that Venezuelans “sow plantains, cassava, beans wherever they can”. Carlos Larrazábal, head of Fedecámaras, confirmed that the government has already issued a written order for business owners to hand over 70% of their production, as if the country’s problem was distribution and not production. Meanwhile, the government paid mining company Gold Reserve $88.5 million with sovereign debt bonds, as part of the conciliation agreement to cover the one billion dollars in compensation for expropriating their assets; they’ve paid $276 million thus far. Additionally, Central Bank chairman Calixto Ortega said that the banknotes with denominations below Bs. 1,000 will stop circulating on August 20 and should be deposited in banks.

We, migrants

The UN increased the estimate of Venezuelans who have left the country to 2.3 million. They say that citizens emigrate due to lack of food and medicines, reporting 1.3 million people suffering from malnutrition. U.S. spokesman Stephane Dujarric spoke of the severe decline of quality in hospitals, of the 100,000 HIV / AIDS patients at risk for lack of medicines and of the return of previously eradicated diseases such as measles, malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria. Ecuadorian authorities study the possibility of creating a humanitarian corridor between the Rumichaca international bridge and the Huaquillas bridge, to ease up the movement of thousands of Venezuelans who seek to reach Peruvian territory. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in Lima: “We share the vision that Venezuela must be held accountable before the international community regarding all the problems, including economic and social issues, which we’ll keep demanding of them,” including ”restoring democracy with a greater citizen participation,” thanking Peru for the initiative of leading the Lima Group.

So far, no authority has reacted to the U.S. investigation which claims that Nicolás might be implicated in a money-laundering network through Malta thanks to a take investment scheme involving the accounts of Cilia Flores’s children: Yosser, Walter and Yoswal Gavidia Flores. Nor have they reacted to news that Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Canada and Paraguay are in talks to denounce Nicolás and other government officials before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

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.