“Yes, we can!”

Photo: Apunto en Linea retrieved

This phrase marked the end of the open assembly held last night in Santa Rosa de Lima, sealing the oath of citizens to defend the Constitution. The open assemblies have grown in size and in such emotional tribunes, the lawmakers share the same key ideas: this is an agenda of freedom; we have to build a different country together and the proposed route includes the end of the usurpation, a transition government and free elections. Aware of the communicational blockade he already faces, National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaidó invited the citizens to defeat censorship by sharing verified information; he asked them to be strong, smart and organized for the protests on January 23 and added: “Even a smile is a sign of resistance amidst a dictatorship.”

Beautiful Venezuela

Utterly clueless, Nicolás cautioned in a mandatory broadcast that “guarimbas” can’t return to the country, that’s why he demanded prison for everyone who attempts to set them. His efforts to generate content is a reaction to the National Assembly’s newfound relevance, but while the country demands what’s necessary (food, medicines, fair salaries, functioning basic services and security) he promised to invest a billion euros in the plan Venezuela Bella; he celebrated having come up with peace quadrants for security (although he admitted that they don’t work just yet); he denounced a plan to sabotage public lighting and even congratulated Luis Motta Domíonguez for his work in the Electric Energy Ministry. He also asked governors and mayors to find alternatives to solve problems and said that if any of them dared to disregard his government “they wouldn’t even get to feel fear.” The threat is quite appropriate for the hashtag he was trying to boost: #RevoluciónEsInclusion.

Human rights

Luisa Ortega Díaz filed a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the death of councilman Fernando Albán, the testimony of justice Christian Zerpa and the testimonies of the Chacao police offices. It’s an insult for Ortega Díaz to denounce human rights violations that took place during her exile without mentioning the serious cases that existed during her years of service to chavismo.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza met with UN Secretary General António Guterres, to parrot the official script. A detail: the UN’s press conference doesn’t include a single word from Guterres about the meeting and it was even funnier to see the clarifications of the journalists in situ about why Arreaza’s exercise wasn’t a press conference.

In this same line, 120 organizations of Venezuelan civil society demanded that the UN take a coherent stance to uphold human rights in response to Venezuela’s humanitarian emergency, as a reaction to the recent agreements that UNICEF and FAO made with the government that has caused and has intensified the complex humanitarian crisis we’re going through. The Coalition of Lawyers for Human Rights offered a tremendously tough balance about political prisoners in the country. In January 2019 alone, 402 have become thought prisoners thus far.

Of imprisonments and extraditions

The TSJ reported the arrest of the 12 SEBIN officers “who illegitimately detained lawmaker Juan Guaidó while he drove on the Caracas – La Guaira highway,” according to the statement. They were accused of abusing their authority, illegitimate arrest and criminal association, and ordered them to be held at the Directorate of Military Counterintelligence. Nervis Villalobos, Energy vice-minister for Hugo Chávez between 2000 and 2005, detained in Spain since October 2017, was handed over for six months to the U.S., where he’s being investigated for alleged money laundering (real estate investments made with funds looted from PDVSA). Luis Carlos de León, former finance director of Electricidad de Caracas, will be handed over with him.

Supports

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and Argentina’s Mauricio Macri agreed to oppose the authoritarian government of Venezuela, calling Nicolas a “dictator” and saying that they’ll join the United States in increasing pressure for a democratic change in Venezuela. U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said that the United States backs the opposition’s actions. Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “anyone who contends to be a friend of Venezuela (…) would be very clear in standing up and condemning the Maduro government that has been responsible for terrible oppression, for terrible marginalization,” holding Nicolás responsible for causing the largest humanitarian crisis that Latin America has seen in years, highlighting how the usurper disrespects the Constitution, the rule of law and “the principles of what is true and fair for the future.”

Ecuador’s National Assembly approved a resolution that recognizes and supports our National Assembly as a legitimately elected body and backed the OAS’s resolution disregarding Nicolás’s regime. Hence the alarms raised by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, because the United States will carry out some sort of military options in Venezuela, are even less credible. This Thursday, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Faraujo will meet with Julio Borges, Antonio Ledezma and Carlos Vecchio to define actions against Maduro’s dictatorship.

The mass attendance reported in open assemblies is humbling. People are moving, beating down lethargy, coming together. That energy can’t be quelled with mandatory broadcasts. Nicolás decided to disregard the protests on January 23 in advance, pretending the normality that we’re not living, betting on decorations when people demand food; he even said that he’s “on the right side of history,” asking his lackeys not to lose their wits with what’s happening. But when he admits that it’s happening, he’s also turning it into news.

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