Photo: Metro Ecuador retrieved
Caretaker President Juan Guaidó was this Friday at UCV’s Aula Magna in a meeting with young people, in his opinion, the vanguard of this process, expressing his trust that they won’t stop being that, and also that they won’t renounce their critical thinking. Guaidó has no doubts that the goal will be accomplished and called for taking to the streets on February 12th to demand the end of the usurpation. He also called for people to organize in volunteer teams to help get the humanitarian aid into the country: “If they dare keep blocking roads and hindering the life of Venezuelans, all of us will go as volunteers to open the humanitarian channel in time,” he said before once again asking the Armed Forces not to commit a crime against humanity by preventing the aid’s entry. This same Friday, UN special rapporteur Diego García-Sayán expressed his concern for the measures implemented by ANC-imposed prosecutor general Saab against President (E) Juan Guaidó. Last night, the AFP news agency manipulated one of Guaidó’s statements and published a headline with a warmongering narrative that ensured them more social media interactions, a despicable practice!
About humanitarian aid
The UN hopes that the humanitarian aid at the border will enter: “We hope that the forces that need to be involved allow this assistance to go through. Humanitarian aid needs to reach those people who need it,” said a spokesman for the organization. Kevin Whitaker, U.S. ambassador in Colombia, asked Venezuelan soldiers to allow the access of humanitarian aid to the country. Colombia clarified that they’ll merely guard and protect the supplies. In July, 2016, hundreds of Venezuelans were forced to cross the border in Cúcuta, temporary closed by order of Nicolás, in order to be able to get supplies; Guaidó’s team doesn’t discard the use of that mechanism again and that’s why lawmaker Lester Toledo spoke of a humanitarian corridor “involving civilians and the military.” The military reinforcement at the border with Brazil was dismantled by pemon natives, who demanded the entry of humanitarian aid and also not to be identified with any political sector. Very early, Niels Annen, German Foreign Affairs vice-minister, cautioned: “Politicizing humanitarian aid is something we’ve criticized before the Venezuelan crisis escalated. And I think that’s also an indication of the cynical political strategy of Maduro and his team.”
The greatest invisible
Venezuela is experiencing the worst crisis of its modern history, verifiable in so many indicators that it’s simply unconcealable. At noon, during a press conference in Miraflores, there were several outages that affected the event’s broadcast. Nicolás called them “a strange sequence of events,” not as strange as his insistence on saying that humanitarian aid is “alms” even though so many people are dying for lack of medicines and food. The idea is that he won’t be humiliated and he restated that there’s no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, that “a country can’t be developed on scraps and mendacity” (at the official exchange rate yesterday, the minimum wage was $1.26 per week) and that the only aid the country needs is lifting of sanctions. He cheered the “Montevideo Mechanism” and insulted the European Union, claiming that they’re doomed to fail due to their (far right) ideologization and rejected the International Contact Group’s statement. Once again he said that in order to restitute peace in the country, they’ll hold early parliamentary elections. All the aggressiveness of his answers to unpleasant questions, was more determinant than his tired discourse as the victim he isn’t. The only victim is the Venezuelan people and he, the greatest invisible (that’s what he called himself), knows it.
Precisely yesterday the Venezuelan military ship loaded with 100 tons of humanitarian aid arrived in Havana, but they never called it a macabre show or scraps, but an act of solidarity instead; perhaps the Cubans can indeed be beggars. Diosdado Cabello’s motivational talks had aerial pictures showing the holes in his rallies. That didn’t keep him from claiming that they’re ready to talk with anyone, “but Nicolás Maduro won’t resign”; that they’ll soon imprison Juan Guaidó and he even asked “where’s the business” of bringing humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, Juan José Mendoza, chairman of the Supreme Tribunal’s Constitutional Chamber, urged the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the ambassadors appointed by the National Assembly for the alleged crime of treason and declared the absolute nullity of the Law of the Statute for Transition to Democracy, unanimously approved in first discussion. By the way, Bloomberg explains in an article that months after Nicolás visited Erdogan in Ankara in 2017, a company called Sardes was created which has moved $900 million in Venezuelan gold thus far.
Movements on the board
Romania recognized Juan Guaidó as President (E) of Venezuela, and U.S. Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi did the same. U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence thanked the mobilization of humanitarian aid to Cucuta, denouncing that Nicolás blocked its entry; also Elliott Abrams, U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, said that the more Nicolás clings to power, “the more misery will be there’ll be in Venezuela.” And security advisor John Bolton said that there’s no good faith negotiation with Nicolás and his cronies and that his only intention is to hold on to power. Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero spoke about the meeting with European Union ambassadors to discuss the Venezuelan crisis, while OAS chief Luis Almagro condemned any attack against the ambassadors appointed by President Guaidó. And yes, the Vatican announced they keep their position of “positive neutrality” in this crisis.
Freedom of expression
Venezuela is 19/100 in the ranking of countries that aren’t free according to Freedom in the World 2019, and also ranked the 143rd and 180th in the world ranking on freedom of expression, according to the report presented by Journalists Without Borders, which means the country’s dropped six spots since 2017. The detention of 12 journalists in five days in January doesn’t help, but it’s also about the unyielding censorship: yesterday, five information and opinion programs broadcast on radio stations in Margarita were pulled off the air, but additionally, the National Union of Press Workers denounced that journalist Raylí Luján was detained by National Guard officers at the border between Venezuela and Colombia and released her once they forced her to erase her material.
No material of chavista propaganda reached the viral level of a video made at the collapsed La Rinconada metro station. To the sound of Nicolás’s last name, the people answered as they’ve been doing for weeks: “¡Coño ‘e tu madre!”, proving his extremely low approval rating. The people were later teargassed for protesting the serious delay in the system due to a power outage.
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