Now It’s an Electric Coup

On a mandatory broadcast, Maduro blamed an electric coup. Motta Domínguez was finally fired. Venezuelans have kept protesting. Guaidó was cool about Maikel Moreno’s threats and about the colectivos that tried to scare him and protesters away in San Bernardino yesterday.

Photo: @jguaido

Now It’s an Electric Coup

April starts amidst citizen protests due to considerable failure in the supply of basic services such as electricity and water. Still without school, under a “special” workday and with huge problems in public transportation, on April 1st at night, Nicolás imposed another mandatory broadcast in which he ignored people’s demands and merely focused on the script of his propaganda, on the strange epic that allegedly comes from interpreting this crisis as another “coup” that, in his view, “aims at leaving the people without electricity or water to create destabilization.”

Nicolás’s announcements

Igor Gavidia (@igor_gavidia on Twitter) will replace Luis Motta Domínguez as Electric Energy Minister, a post he briefly had in 2016 when Jesse Chacón was removed. Gavidia comes from being vice-minister, head of that ministry’s National Office, chairman of Edelca; candidate for the ANC in 2017 and Corpoelec advisor. Freddy Brito Maestro is Nicolás’s new Science and Technology Minister, areas that will no longer be under the umbrella of the University Education Ministry. Academic activities will resume at all education levels on Wednesday 3rd, “in resistance” and according to the power rationing plan. A new Electric Office will be activated, chaired by Delcy Rodríguez and with Néstor Reverol as secretary. Among other key areas, Nicolás mentioned that they’ll discover “the moles that have infiltrated (Corpoelec) pressing a key of destruction.” According to Nicolás, water and electricity were supplied to the entire country in “record time” except there are abundant testimonies of people in Apure, Lara, Carabobo, Guarico, Anzoategui and Zulia who deny such accomplishment. He said nothing about the ongoing blackout in some states, such as those mentioned above, nor did he speak about the current status of the electric system or the power rationing schedule.

Repression against protests

With his announcements, Nicolás ignored slogans like “No more lentils, sardines or yucca, I just want the bastard gone.” He covered up the attacks of paramilitary groups (colectivos) and state security forces against protesters (San Martín was one) and areas where protests had taken place (in Los Samanes, El Valle, for instance) with exercises that criminalize the right to demand our rights, as if demanding the restoration of basic services was a crime. From partially blocked avenues, to the exposition of patients who have been unable to get dialysis for lack of electricity, people have been denouncing the number of days they’ve suffered without electricity or drinking water. Our complex humanitarian emergency intensifies with the electric collapse, the water crisis and worsening shortages. People protest out of despair and chavismo insists on minimizing the crisis, without offering an effective response.

“We can’t make it alone”

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó attended the event of the Frente Amplio Venezuela Libre’s (FAVL) first anniversary. There, he called everyone to join forces and create a bloc to confront the dictatorship; he restated his call to the streets to protest the blackouts: “We won’t get used to outages, we won’t get used to the lack of water.” He also repeated his call to the Armed Forces. “Take the side of the Constitution. You don’t have electricity or water either, due to this regime’s incompetence. There are no more excuses, the patience of the Venezuelan people is running out. The time has come to protect citizens.” He also called for the larger and more organized protest on Saturday, April 6th, and urged the international community to be alert to the actions of armed civilian groups. He announced that this Tuesday, the AN will approve in an ordinary session the draft law of labor guarantees in its first discussion. “Either we succumb to despair or keep united and mobilized,” said Guaidó.

Stripping what they can’t

Elvis Amoroso’s announcement on March 29th about Juan Guaidó’s alleged political disqualification was so insignificant that yesterday, regime chief justice Maikel Moreno ordered that Guaidó be stripped off his parliamentary immunity, ratifying the contempt of the ruling issued on January 29th; imposing a fine of 200 tax units on Guaidó and also ratifying the precautionary measures imposed on January: prohibition to leave the country, sell, encumber or acquire assets, and freezing his bank accounts. The Supreme Tribunal notified the ANC (an entity disregarded by numerous countries) to investigate Guaidó’s actions and strip him off his parliamentary immunity, even though only the National Assembly can do that. He declared Guaidó “in flagrancy” for 36 days after his trip abroad and ordered the Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation without a preliminary hearing on merits. This action is political and completely illegal, and strangely, it wasn’t broadcast on VTV.

Guaidó’s reaction

Juan Guaidó said from San Bernardino: “There’s no such disqualification, because they have no authority to do that, we’ll keep on fighting with Operation Freedom (…) Those who use guns, and tear gas are the ones who are afraid, they can take their disqualification and do what they please with it.” He said that even knowing that they want him in prison, he’s not concerned: “Juan Guaidó isn’t important, he’s merely a public servant. What’s important is the trust of a country that wants to change.” When you can, watch the video of the moment his event was attacked with tear gas. Guaidó remained steadfast, with Gilber Caro supporting him and Stalin González monitored the situation, while Edgar Zambrano was spared a visit to the cardiologist. Interestingly, when the event ended, the neighbors reacted by criticizing the National Police for not protecting them.

Other movements on the board

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell and his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo talked about how Spanish companies operating in Venezuela could be affected by sanctions. According to Borrell, Pompeo asked Spain to “exercise all possible political and financial pressure to offer the Maduro regime no quarter,” and he answered: “Spain will do what it must in the context of the European Union.” Martha Bárcena, Mexican ambassador to the U.S., said that her government won’t allow human rights violations against dissidents in Venezuela and called for dialogue to solve the crisis. While Diosdado Cabello called for a march on April 6th (what a coincidence) and repeated his slogans of war, defeat and victory, Jorge Arreaza met with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, to claim that: “Nothing and no one will prevent us from diversifying and deepening the ties between Venezuela and Turkey.” That’s why it was even cute of U.S. Security Advisor John Bolton to ask Padrino López why he allows the action of paramilitary groups to “shoot and repress the Venezuelan people.” And no, he got no answer.

In high school, we had to read “Piedra de mar” without the complexities of the also obligatory “Cien Años de Soledad” and with many lines to memorize, perhaps due to the noble comfort of its language. Its author, Francisco Massiani, died yesterday.The testimonies I’ve read were moving; his relatives have received beautiful gifts from many who recognize in their Pancho a teacher and a friend.

“The city belongs to us. It’s ours because we’re the ones who love it.” – Francisco Massiani.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.