Another Victory of Civility

Photo: Javier Liendo

This Tuesday was the 5th anniversary of the cruel repression ordered by Miguel Rodríguez Torres, then Interior Minister, and consented by Luisa Ortega Díaz, which caused not only the iconic deaths of Bassil Da Costa and Robert Redman, but also over 3,000 detentions, with hundreds tortured and dozens murdered. Many people still have open trials, another evidence of chavismo’s violence. But now we can celebrate the 69 protests that took place all over the country; we celebrate that we returned to the streets peacefully, with slogans that sum up our demands, with routes that show the temperanza of citizens that never get tired of reclaiming their freedom.

The game is on 23rd, on 23rd

Most speeches of the student movement focused on honoring past experiences and ratifying the vanguard they’ll hold in this route to transition. Caretaker President Juan Guaidó said yesterday that the humanitarian aid will enter the country “no matter what” on Saturday, February 23rd, asking Venezuelans to use the days left to register as volunteers and organize: “On Saturday, everyone who has registered will receive information about an assembly or meeting to start the process of organization the aid,” he said, adding that the Armed Forces will have the same period of time to stand for the Constitution and humanity. Guaidó said that there’s no fear when stirring the streets to exercise our rights, but several civil society organizations have cautioned that if the entry of humanitarian aid causes conflict, it’s better for it not to take place, to avoid adding victims to an already seriously complex situation.

From Boves everything, from Ribas nothing

Continuing with the pattern of reacting to the democratic cause’s agenda, chavismo called for a march for the Day of Youth and with few willing attendees, Bolívar Square in Caracas served as the scenario for a Nicolás who arrived late and even more confused than in his interview with the BBC, so much so that he assumed that the stars on our flag represent the skies; once again he refused humanitarian aid and repeated the tale about an armed intervention that only exists in his mind. Based on the idea that young people won’t come on their own and have to be fetched instead, he announced house-to-house visits for February 16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th to find them and integrate them to the Chamba Juvenil mission. Allegedly, he’ll hold a march on February 14th to celebrate the Day of Friendship, because “Venezuela is in peace and united,” he said, inspired by who knows what dissociation.

Biological weapon?

Forgetting such an obscene scandal as PDVAL’s rotten food containers, omitting the detail of the questionable quality of the products included in CLAP boxes, but also mocking every Venezuelan infected by the quality of drinking water and those who feed on what they can find in the trash, Delcy Rodríguez also refused humanitarian aid and even questioned the amounts of aids collected by the democratic cause and the amount of supplies that arrived in Cúcuta. The most serious part? She claimed that the aid is contaminated, that it brings cancerous cells and that they’re biological weapons sent from the U.S.

Later, Jorge Rodríguez celebrated on Twitter the possibility of a new opposition political party and announced the candidacy of Leopoldo López (known even to the guards at Ramo Verde) writing like a cartoon villain. Could “revenge” be the pathogen that incapacitated these siblings? How did they mutate from henchmen to crybabies?

More chavista noise

Freddy Bernal held an event at uLas Tienditas bridge to claim that in view of a threat from the empire and the “terrorist” threat of Colombia, chavismo will defend the country; that’s why he denounced the “show” to make believe that nobody’s starving to death in Venezuela; he said Guaidó was a puppet and predicted for him a fate similar to that of Pedro Carmona Estanga: “Sooner rather than later, Guaidó and his camarilla will face the Constitution, and then they shouldn’t squeal,” he said; another veiled threat, but Guaidó’s still free. In this event, chavismo used some prisoners as audience.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced at UN headquarters “the coup attempt against Venezuela,” criticizing other members for their indifference. He also denied the emergency and explained everything with “the blockade,” although the sanctions against PDVSA aren’t even a month old and recession started in 2014, with the oil barrel at $100.

The paths of repression

The NGO Foro Penal reported the detention of five people during yesterday’s demonstrations: three in Lara (two released, one pending court presentation) and two in Zulia, both pending court presentation. All of them were transporting sound system for the marches. The NGO Espacio Público denounced that Colombian photographer Luis Bernardo Cano was detained by the National Guard in San Antonio del Táchira while covering the protest and they forced him to erase his camera’s material. Un Nuevo Tiempo reported the release of three of its leaders: councilman José Gregorio Caribas, teacher Carlos Pérez and Alejandro Zerpa. The 15th court of first instance of Caracas made politician Daniel Ceballos sign a document to prevent him from joining demonstrations. Five years ago, NTN24 showed images of the demonstrations repressed by the state and that’s why Conatel pulled them off the grid of cable TV operators. Yesterday, the platform NetBlocks reported that CANTV blocked YouTube during President Guaidó’s speech.

Movements on the board

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo discussed Venezuela’s situation. The Russians believe they can facilitate a dialogue while they question the resolution proposed by the U.S. before the UN Security Council because it “aims to cover the intended provocations with the delivery of humanitarian aid as a means of destabilizing the situation in Venezuela, and even getting a pretext for direct military intervention.” According to the Wall Street Journal, in recent weeks Chinese diplomats have held debt negotiations in Washington with Juan Guaidó’s representatives, concerned for the future of their oil projects in Venezuela and the almost $20 billion in debt. The Italian Foreign Minister said yesterday that his government’s stance on Venezuela consists of “avoiding confrontations that delay the holding of fair and transparent elections in the country.” He also announced that they’ll donate two million euros for humanitarian aid.

 

After his meeting with Arreaza, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres renewed his dialogue offer. U.S. security advisor John Bolton said that his government won’t forget those countries and companies that do business with Venezuelan oil. Wearing a Metropolitan University shirt, OAS secretary general Luis Almagro participated in an event with Venezuelan youths, encouraging them to promote the entry of humanitarian aid: “No soldier can stop you. No soldier can stop the aid that the people require, you will get it in, you will ensure that your country and your people have access to the resources they need,” he said.

According to Reuters, President Guaidó’s team is considering four Venezuelan executives of Citgo Petroleum’s transitory board: Luisa Palacios, Edgar Rincón, Luis Urdaneta and Ángel Olmeta, adding the Citgo executives, Art Klein and Rick Esser.

The commitment to our freedom is expressed through these demonstrations, the 69 held yesterday, their predecessors and those that will succeed them. It’s a task of citizen responsibility and we’ve assumed it massively, in peace. Each police checkpoint wasted its time before demonstrations who aren’t confronting chavismo’s “power” but instead decided to ignore it, just like that Nicolás who couldn’t tell the BBC how much is a kilo of cheese worth, who lied shamelessly, with his precarious arguments and a huge irresponsibility. We won’t stop. We go on.

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