Obstacle Road

Photo: @TomasGuanipa

The humanitarian caravan that caretaker President Juan Guaidó led from the Francia Square to travel to Tachira State, met all sorts of obstacles, a task doubtlessly assigned to the National Guard, in charge of parking sand trucks across the Caracas freeway and stop them in every checkpoint, to reach the summit of absurdity at the La Cabrera tunnel (Aragua State) where lawmakers and volunteers were attacked not just with the blockade of the Regional Central Freeway (GN officers even pinched the tires of vehicles) but also with tear gas; they were forced to struggle with the GN in order to advance. About 8:30 p.m., some lawmakers arrived in Tachira, where Juan Guaidó was waiting for them. Each attack against the caravan increased the cause’s notoriety.

Shedding the fear

In all the material collected about the National Guard’s aggressions against lawmakers and volunteers, there’s a video that sums up this paragraph’s title. A wide-bellied GN officer approaches a loaded truck, climbs the stairs, opens the driver’s door and attempts to pull him out. Lots of people recorded the event and amid noise, rises the sound of “Criminal! Criminal, come so we can kill you!” addressed to the GN. Other voices pick up, asking to push the aggressor and people fulfill the request by pulling him by the shirt until he loses the footing that his belly allows him. Even when he tries to climb up again, hitting his hand was enough to prevent him from holding to the door. One of his partners was standing by the door and defending himself from the collective euphoria, marking his space with kicks. When the fat guy, angry at the defeat, looked his peer in the eye, he raised both arms in front of his face, reproaching him for the help he didn’t give him. The throng lightly pushes the attacker to make him leave at last and the same male voice shouts: “Asshole! Coño’e tu madre!” while about eight guards retreated and people cheered after “defeating” the fat guy.

Chickening out

Hugo Carvajal made a video reading a statement demanding that Nicolás leave power and that the military rebel against him to “put an end to the deepest republican and humanitarian crisis in our modern history.”

El Pollo Carvajal, major general of the Army, former National Assembly lawmaker and former director of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence for over 8 years, was loyal to Hugo Chávez and, despite the diplomatic scandal raised by Nicolás in his favor in 2014, he’s been apart from chavismo for some time. In the video, Carvajal demands holding of free elections and also offered his service to President Juan Guaidó. Although he has neither power nor troop command, with this action he’s telling his former peers in arms that even a proven criminal like him can negotiate, but he also opens a gaping breach of information about the crimes of Nicolás, Diosdado Cabello and Tareck El Aissami. It’s an important scale of chavismo’s fracture and it won’t take us long to measure its influence.

The usurper’s delirium

While the lawmakers overcame the obstacle race, several people reported the trucks carrying CLAP boxes as humanitarian aid for Cucuta, as well as convoys moving soldiers and weapons to the border. Nicolás said in a “videoconference” surrounded by members of the Armed Forces’ Strategic Operational Command (CEOFANB), that he was evaluating closing the land border with Brazil until further notice, also ratifying the suspension of all communications with Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire. Nicolás criticized the artists that will perform at Cucustock and accused them of being accomplices of an attempted military invasion, so he assumes that “they’re committing an international crime.” Last night, it was revealed that the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin denied having information about the alleged humanitarian aid that Nicolás claimed to have received; in any case, when telling the tale of the meeting Delcy Rodríguez had with the International Contact Group commission, Nicolás claimed that they requested two billion dollars to buy medicines (surely, the most corrupt and insolvent regime in our history will get them) and that he asked the UN for humanitarian aid. Thus he admits the complex humanitarian emergency we’re going through, whether he wants it or not.

About the humanitarian aid

The NGO Médicos por la Salud issued the seventh bulletin of the National Survey of Hospitals, revealing that 1,557 patients died in three months due to the hospital crisis: 756 deaths were caused by polytraumas, 801 by cardiovascular diseases, and 79 deaths, by power outages. The information about the level of shortages of supplies and medicines for hospitals is bloodcurdling. Over 70 Venezuelan and international organizations ask that all humanitarian aid be organized according to humanitarian standards and coordinated with actors with technical expertise so they can reach the greatest number of people possible. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference said that the regime has the obligation to facilitate the entry and distribution of humanitarian aid, avoiding any kind of repressive violence, urging the Armed Forces to disregard orders that threaten people’s lives, and to allow the aid to come through. According to lawmaker José Manuel Olivares, the humanitarian aid will be brought from Cucuta through four bridges that connect the border between both countries. The operation will be carried out simultaneously, starting 9:00 a.m. on Saturday “in the Caribbean Sea, in Brazil, in Falcon and other points of our geography and our borders,” said Olivares.

Movements on the board

U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo met with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence announced that he’ll travel to Colombia on February 25th to attend the Lima Group summit that will be held in Bogota; but additionally, the State Department announced that Elliott Abrams will travel to Cucuta on February 22nd to support the entry of humanitarian aid. Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo announced that he’ll be in Roraima on February 23rd to support the entry of humanitarian aid into Venezuela.

“The only aggression against Venezuela is perpetrated by Maduro’s illegitimate regime against the rights of Venezuelans to freedom and democracy (…) Only the dictator Maduro will be responsible if there are incidents of violence at the border,” said Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo.

Meanwhile, Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero said that, by closing the borders, Nicolás shows his international isolation and “the machiavellian cruelty toward his own people who urgently need food and medicines.”

By the way, Chile reported that they’ve sent humanitarian aid and from Miami, 50 tons of aid were flown to the collection point in Curaçao.

Cucustock (Venezuela Aid Live) will start at 11:00 a.m. this Friday and if chavismo doesn’t block them, you’ll be able to watch it through venezuelaaidlive.com and ayudaylibertad.com; it will also be broadcast by Antena 3 of Spain and MTV. After the concert, there will be a great gathering for those who wish to stay in vigil until Saturday and help push the humanitarian aid through.

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