Photo: Prodavinci retrieved

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó presented before the National Assembly his balance about the international tour he did: “We came with tangible results for Venezuelans abroad. We’re protecting their interests and their rights.” For Guaidó, the “petrodiplomacy”, the method with which chavismo paid (with public funds) for his international relations, is over, and now come healthy relations, including the provision of aid to tackle the complex humanitarian emergency. Meanwhile, the regime Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of German ambassador Daniel Martin Kriener, after declaring him persona non grata for receiving Guaidó on March 4th in Maiquetia, and gave him 48 hours to leave the country.

“Usurpers, you’re the ones who aren’t welcome in Venezuela,” said Guaidó in Parliament, while German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said that the decision was incomprehensible, because it intensifies the discrepancy between both countries. Mass restated Germany’s support for Guaidó’s government and called the ambassador for consultation.

Passing as productive

Juan Guaidó keeps setting the agenda for Nicolás. After the meeting on Tuesday between the caretaker President and union representatives of the public sector, Nicolás appeared on a mandatory broadcast (recorded, once again) promising that he’ll reactivate Guayana’s basic industries bankrupted by his regime. He’s not reactivating them, just announcing that he will; perhaps he’s aware that he doesn’t have neither the resources nor the necessary management for this feat. He admitted out loud that Guayana is his last lifesaver and for a fifth year in a row, he promised that this will be the year of economic recovery.

He tried to pass as productive, but was even less convincing in his role as a wounded heir (the one he played this Tuesday at el finado’s tomb) and that’s why he looked disconnected as he announced yet another productive plan which, as usual, lacks investments, staff and material. Doing that with union leaders in jails for denouncing Guayana’s destruction is more than cynical. Nicolás signed alliances with Palestine for the exploitation of diamonds at the Guaniamo mines, without mentioning the companies involved.

Reporting isn’t a crime

This Wednesday, journalist and political activist Alí Domínquez, missing since February 28th, died at Dr. Domingo Luciani Hospital after suffering cranioencephalic trauma, nasal septum fracture and loss of teeth, among other severe injuries. Since March 3rd, relatives and friends organized a campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #QueAparezcaAliDominguez to denounce his disappearance. Also this Wednesday, agents of the Military Counterintelligence Directorate (DGCIM) arbitrarily arrested and isolated American journalist Cody Weddle and his assistant, Venezuelan Carlos Camacho. The State Department expressed their concern for Nicolás’s method “who prefers to stifle the truth rather than face it. Being a journalist is not a crime.” Weddle and Camacho spent more than 12 hours under interrogation. Both were released, but Weddle was taken straight to Maiquetia to be deported.

Weddle had been in Venezuela for four years, contributing for outlets such as TeleSUR, ABC News, Miami Herald and The Telegraph. 36 press workers have already been unjustly detained by Nicolás in 2019 alone.

About Human Rights

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said this Wednesday that the violations of fundamental freedoms in Venezuela are the cause of the decline of social and economic conditions, but recognized that the latter have been intensified by sanctions, she said in the presentation of his annual report about the state of human rights in the world.

The Human Rights Council will discuss Venezuela’s situation again on March 20th, with the presence of the High Commissioner who announced later that her office will send a mission to the country next week.

It doesn’t matter how many people sign the petition addressed to the White House, demanding that María Gabriela Chávez be deported: the U.S. can’t deport UN diplomats, because the accreditation is provided by the institution, no the country. NGO Foro Penal issued a special report denouncing the repression of February 22nd and 23rd, in the context of the attempted delivery of humanitarian aid, with a total balance of 107 people arrested, seven people murdered and 58 with bullet wounds. There were also many people wounded by pellets, tear gas canisters, marbles, concussions and blades; Bolivar, Tachira, Zulia and Anzoategui were the states with the most arbitrary arrests.

Movements on the board

European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani invited Juan Guaidó to the Eurochamber. U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence revealed that the government will revoke visas for 77 Venezuelans, including Nicolás’s officials and their relatives. “The United States calls all nations in the world to recognize Juan Guaidó as President of Venezuela and to take the side of freedom,” added Pence. Deceived by a couple of Russian comedians who passed for a representative of the Swiss government, U.S. special envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams admitted that his country discards a military intervention, unless the regime does something absolutely crazy such as attacking the American Embassy, but he didn’t publicly discard military action to “make the Venezuelan Army nervous.” National Security Advisor John Bolton announced that his government has sent a formal notice to banks outside of the U.S. that are financing Nicolás, cautioning that they face sanctions. The governments of the 28 European Union states will discuss this Thursday in Brussels the next steps after Nicolás declared the German ambassador persona non grata. Diplomatic sources interpret the German ambassador’s expulsion as a warning for the entire European Union.

More censorship

Chavismo cuts the internet, lowers the speed, blocks pages and apps, all of this to affect the communications of a society that has managed to overcome their censorship. It’s still early to interpret the inconsistencies of the map of censorship on the web, but the blockades have even affected platforms such as Gmail. Therefore, think of your plan B, who are you going to call if you’re left “without signal”? How would you get information after several hours offline?

Nicolás hasn’t mentioned the reopening of the border and not doing it intensifies the humanitarian emergency, because in the transit to Colombia and Brazil, there’s a sort of guarantee for nearby towns. Children have been demanding a humanitarian corridor for days to go to class, but there are also adults who get medical treatments in Colombia (some are crossing over through back trails), people who buy supplies that are scarce in Venezuela, medicines, etc. Opening the border is a matter of human rights. Hopefully, that’s going to be Nicolás’s next disguise.

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