From Euphoria to Silence

Newspapers all around the world headlined with the news about an Interim President in Venezuela. Pompeo said that Venezuela will get $20 million in humanitarian aid. Prominent chavistas mentioned dialogue and Nicolás “joked” about having Guaidó killed.

The front pages of newspapers in many countries dedicated a space to the news of Juan Guaidó’s swearing-in as Interim President and the mass protests in Venezuela. The National Assembly’s decision added new supports, as significant as Albany’s (a country that supplies PDVSA); Germany’s declaration of non-neutrality; Portugal’s demand for the regime “to realize that this time is over” and the United Kingdom’s disregard for Nicolás’s legitimacy as leader of Venezuela. But the country lived between the roaring repression that state security bodies have exercised on the poorest neighborhoods and the Interim President’s silence, broken with tweets thanking the supports received and with an interview granted to journalist Patricia Janiot which wasn’t broadcast on any Venezuelan TV channel.

What did Guaidó say?

According to EFE, the Interim President is safe but won’t reveal his location. Right before the interview with Janiot, Guaidó posted a tweet saying: “Brothers and sisters, we’re taking important steps, doing what we must do to achieve a transition government and hold free elections. Always remember, if we resist and insist, this fight will be worth it. We’re doing well, very well!” In the interview, he spoke of January 23 as a beautiful space for reunion, saying that he spoke with clarity to the Armed Forces and their families, announcing that on Sunday they want to take the Amnesty Law to military spaces. He restated that the fundamental goal of this quest is to have free elections, adding that nobody wants a foreign military intervention and that he included Nicolás as beneficiary of an amnesty “in exchange for leaving power,” explaining that we’re still in a dictatorship “because they still hold the Republic hostage.” He announced more street actions in coming days.

And at the OAS

OAS chief Luis Almagro said that ending the usurpation of the Venezuelan Presidency must be the only purpose of the Pan American body, asking members to act in consonance with the approved resolutions, including that which declares Nicolás’s elections on May 2018 as illegitimate.

U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said that “the time for debate is over,” asking the states to align with democracy to help Venezuela, requesting that the OAS recognize Juan Guaidó and announcing that his government has $20 million prepared to attend the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. 16 of the 34 member states signed a declaration expressing their full support for Guaidó as Interim President. Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador condemned his swearing-in. The fake neutrality of Mexico and Uruguay, based solely on ideological affinity, is shameful. Several ambassadors spoke of Nicolás as Venezuela’s former president.

Chavista noise

Covering the absence of popular support with a vigil that didn’t take place in Miraflores, Nicolás received the support of such exemplary regimes as Russia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Irán, China, Turkey and Bolivia, the same that reject foreign interference (except their own) sell weapons, disrespect human rights and have created wars to strip other nations from their territory. Aside from them, Hezbollah also recognized him. Later, although the message was broadcast in the morning, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López opened and closed his statement wishing “Good afternoon” and denouncing a coup d’état, although the only shots fired thus far came from chavismo. He accused “far-right” factors of wanting to impose a de facto parallel government. He swore to avoid a civil war (he should tell that to the FAES) but, and here’s the important part: he mentioned several times a dialogue and a constitutional solution, celebrating that there are governments seeking how to resolve our institutional crisis. As usual, he closed his message saluting el finado, proving that his posture responds to political partiality and not to the Constitution.

A bit more noise

Maikel Moreno, chief of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, who has been sanctioned by 42 countries, also backed Nicolás and cautioned the start of a coup d’état with the support of foreign governments, claiming that “any adventure against the country must be reduced by imposing the law,” but inviting the Legislative branch to end the contempt, because “it’s time for fraternity and respect.”

He gave the floor to National Electoral Council chairwoman Tibisay Lucena, who criticized Guaidó for disregarding the law and the system that made him a lawmaker and denouncing the interventionism that stains chavismo’s “long and proud anti-imperialist tradition.” ANC-imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab condemned the intention of establishing a parallel government, saying that the events on January 23 were reproachable; sadly, he didn’t say the same about the repression exercised by the state. None of the performances of these spokespeople expressed conviction, they simply proved that their powers depend on the Executive.

“To destroy him”

“The republic and the country won’t end in our hands,” said Nicolás in his speech in the TSJ, denying what he already accomplished. Before that meagre audience, he celebrated all declarations in his favor, as well as the initiative of Mexico and Uruguay for a new dialogue process, because “interventionism isn’t the path.” He insisted that the U.S. diplomatic staff must leave Venezuela on Sunday and ordered the shutdown of all Venezuelan consulates in the U.S. He said that Juan Guaidó won’t hold any power and, asking for a glass of water, he joked: “Escalona (…) my secret weapon. Escalona, I’m going to send him to the self-proclaimed as an assistant to destroy him (few laughed). I’ve thought of offering him to [Guaidó] as an assistant so that he ends his life with his great skill; to destroy him, to drive him mad (silence). It’s a joke,” he explained.

This Friday and next Monday, January 28, Tarek El Aissami, economy vice-president will make announcements because “prices must go down.” He presented a new Law Against Corruption which increases jail time for all crimes. His historic phrase: “In our times, criminals must not prevail.” Amen!

Yesterday, we got the ratification that our institutionality has been kidnapped by a military dictatorship: only the Armed Forces keep Nicolás in power. It’s absurd to talk about tense calm because censorship intensifies: Conatel ordered cable TV operators to pull the Chilean channel 24 Horas from their grids and several journalists denounced that they can’t work normally in their radio shows. Although many expect them to immolate themselves as proof of their “bravery” (as if caution was cowardice) the scenario demands us to do better, to inform those who don’t know what’s happening using other routes such as social networks. We went from euphoria to silence, but Guaidó says that “we’re doing well.”

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.