Hope is a noble magnet. Venezuelans once again took the streets all over the country accompanied by images gathered abroad under the hashtag #ElMundoEstáConVenezuela. Peaceful demonstrations sealed a day without negative balances. In Caracas, the subway didn’t stop working and Las Mercedes was too small to house so many. Recovering trust in the street, in one of the most dangerous cities on the planet, brings several simultaneous achievements. In Barquisimeto, police officers stepped aside from the march’s route saying that they wouldn’t repress citizens. The energy changed. People who could be devastated by hyperinflation and the humanitarian crisis still want to protest and do it enthusiastically. We’re doing well, we feel it.
The aid that’s coming
Caretaker President Juan Guaidó offered a summary of January (which replicated the faculty of dog years: each day lasted seven days,) starting with his swearing-in as National Assembly Speaker, until January 23rd, when he took on the functions of caretaker President. He also summed up the National Assembly’s decisions: from declaring Nicolás an usurper to appointing diplomats, celebrating the support of the international community, this unprecedented campaign of the democratic world that includes the humanitarian aid that will enter the country through three collection points: Colombia, Brazil and a Caribbean island. He asked the Armed Forces to join this cause explaining the vulnerability of so many Venezuelans due to malnutrition or lack of medicines: “You, soldier, will hold the possibility of letting that humanitarian aid enter the country,” said Guaidó. He also spoke of ongoing protests with peaceful marches promoting the end of usurpation, a transition government and free elections, emphasizing that February will be a defining month. This Sunday, he’ll offer details about the mobilization of the humanitarian aid and the march that will be held on February 12, Day of Youth.
A strange traitor
This Saturday started with the video of Aviation general Francisco Yánez Rodríguez saying: “I disregard Nicolás Maduro’s null and dictatorial authority and I recognize Juan Guaidó as caretaker President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (…) I ask my brothers in arm to cease repression.” Yánez Rodríguez was appointed Head of the Permanent Assessment Board of the Military Aviation’s General Command in 2015, and in 2016 he was made responsible for “Wheat” during the Sovereign Supply mission. Shortly after this statement, Aviation general commander Pedro Juliac Lartiguez said that Yánez is a “traitor” even though he’d been his head of Strategic Planning until the previous day, assuming his decision as predictable, because Yánez’s uncle has a file for corruption in the Armed Forces’ Comptroller’s Office. Of all regime members, it’s precisely Nicolás who’d be most poorly served by the predictability of uncle-nephew related crimes.
Loyalty through coercion
Neither popular support of the buses that brought public employees in uniform, with their carnets de la patria and attendance lists, nor the support of those militants who came from other cities to Caracas, gathered the necessary people to fill the Bolívar avenue. Only those who still prop Nicolás up refuse to understand that there’s nothing to celebrate 20 years after Hugo Chávez took power. Once again, Venezolana de Televisión used images from the past to cover the evident void. Nicolás took charge of the rest. “The ANC’s agenda includes evaluating the holding of early parliamentary elections, I agree with the relegitimization of the Legislative Branch and the holding of free elections,” he said, adding that he backs the proposal for dialogue made by Mexico and Uruguay, establishing as a priority for dialogue, the economic recovery he’s been promising since 2013! The usurper is convinced that Donald Trump “is being deceived,” and that Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton are warmongers obsessed with Venezuela; that’s why he demanded that the opposition abandon Yankee interventionism. Once again he rejected humanitarian aid because Venezuela “isn’t a country of beggars,” taking the chance to discredit Juan Guaidó for being a “beggar of imperialism.” Nicolás ordered the National Guard and the Army to incorporate militias as active officers in their ranks: that’s how armored he is.
Movements on the board
European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani restated his support for Juan Guaidó and said that Parliament stands with the Venezuelan opposition, so he urged European Union countries to recognize Juan Guaidó. Spanish President Pedro Sánchez demanded opposition leaders to be “loyal to the State” in the decisions made regarding the crisis in Venezuela. By the way, the security at the Spanish embassy in Caracas has been reinforced by a team of the Spanish National Police’s Special Operational Group. Julio Borges, former National Assembly Speaker and Venezuelan representative before the Lima Group, said that Nicolás is “knocking at the door” of Arab and Eastern European countries to guarantee his flight. Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton asked Venezuelan military officers to follow the example of general Yánez Rodríguez: “To the Venezuelan military high command, now is the time to stand on the side of the Venezuelan people. It is your right and responsibility to defend the constitution and democracy for Venezuela!”. According to EFE, a White House National Security Council spokesman said that the U.S. has already started sending humanitarian aid to Venezuela with food and medicines, defying Nicolás’ refusal. Bolton had already said on Twitter that the U.S. had the intention to start sending the aid requested by caretaker President Juan Guaidó.
Journalist Maye Primera Garcés received the Rey de España Award in the digital category for the work she made about the situation of migrants in Central America. Primera is the editor of Univisión Noticias Digital for Latin America, in Miami. In Venezuela, she leads the newsroom of Tal Cual and is an author of several books and a co-author of many literary anthologies.