All Of Us Together

Caretaker President presented the Law of Guarantees to public sector employees. Deputy José Guerra presented a plan for progressively increasing minimum wage. EU gets back to work with their proposed Contact Group to solve our crisis. Special envoy Elliot Abrams will travel to Latin America and meet with allies in the region.

Photo: @jguaido

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó met with public employees to talk about the Law of Guarantees recently approved by the National Assembly, which has a similar goal to the Amnesty Law for military officers. Guaidó asked public employees to take the project to state offices to discuss it with more employees: “Today we give you this document and a humbly requested task, create your Operation Freedom committees (…) Venezuela trusts its workers (…) the end of usurpation is an urgency for all of Venezuela,” he said, emphasizing that the workers are the key to continue on the path to transition.

The Operation Freedom in the union sector glimpses at: discussion of the law, labor protests and the organization of activities for Wednesday, April 10th. Guaidó disregarded a dialogue with chavismo (due to Nicolás’s Saturday plead to reactivate the “Montevideo Mechanism”) and restated that it’s impossible to live on our minimum wage (Bs. 18,000 per month) saying that this plan with the workers is to rescue their dignity and achieve prosperity for everyone.

$20 a month

Precisely yesterday, lawmaker José Guerra, member of the National Assembly’s Finance Committee, denounced that our minimum wage equals $5.3, which confirms the condition of “extreme poverty” according to United Nations standards: those who earn less than $1.25 per day. That’s why he proposed to increase the minimum wage for the public sector to $20 in May, and increase it to $1 per day in three months. “With this salary, the economy can’t be reactivated; companies may produce, but who’s going to buy their products. The economy faces a restricted demand because the salary is absolutely insufficient,” said Guerra. To this context he added that the national banks have restrictions to grant credits due to the severe marginal banking reserve that Nicolás’s regime increased in February from 60% to 100%, accelerating the paralysis of the economic activity that freezes the exchange rate, but at the cost of brutal contraction.

Up to a year

Jorge Rodríguez said that they keep working “without rush, but without rest” to recover the National Electric System, a task that includes a plan to maintain power lines, stations, substations; in other words, to do what they should’ve done before, denying with their decisions (firing Motta Domínguez, restructuring CORPOELEC and trimming vegetation) any sabotage theory to explain the collapse. “Maduro has ordered a 30-day plan that can be extended to 60, 90 days or a year,” said Rodríguez about electric rationing, which was ratified by regime minister Igor Gavidia.

Venezuelans know how malleable chavismo’s “temporary” decisions are: the exchange control was imposed in 2003 and the economic emergency decree, originally for 90 days, has been extended since March 2016.

Nicolás’s answers

On Friday, April 5th, Diosdado Cabello told his militants to blame the “demented opposition” and the empire for the blackouts. However, he asked President Donald Trump to meet with Nicolás. On Saturday, Nicolás said that the electric system was also digitally attacked from Chile and Colombia, with the support of the U.S. government, once again denouncing cybernetic and electromagnetic terrorism. That same day, he begged his regional allies (Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and Caricom) to “retake the dialogue initiative decided in Montevideo.“ Well, the Colombian government emphatically rejected the accusation, saying that it completely lacks foundation and it only seeks to confuse public opinion and deny responsibility. Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero denied the accusations and said that Nicolás “doesn’t represent any degree of seriousness.” Lastly, Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that Mexico has its doors open to mediate in the Venezuelan crisis, but cautioned that for a dialogue to happen, it must be accepted by the opposition: “Both parties must request it and we help,” he said. With Francisco Arias Cárdenas as new regime ambassador in Mexico, after his successful management of Corpozulia, we’ll see how that develops.

A partial balance

Regime Youth Minister Pedro Infante announced yesterday that, between April 10th and 13th, chavistas will “mobilize” in a mess that includes “anti-imperialist tribunes,” food production and communication activities, and an event for the national militia day (?). Regime Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza offered a sort of balance about his most recent tour, boasting that some countries in Africa and the Middle East still support Nicolás; that he met with Angolan authorities to review mining cooperation and that he keeps in touch with the governments of Lesotho, Argel and Nigeria. He said that they’ll send a delegation to South Africa to talk about agriculture and that he agreed on technical advisory on housing with Namibia; that they could export synthetic rubber to Turkey and that they’ll create a Syrian-Venezuelan business council. Sadly, he didn’t explain the pertinence of Iranian airline Mahan Air’s Caracas-Tehran route (a 16-hour flight.) But there have been complaints that Mahan Air has contributed to supplying dictator Bashar al-Assad with military personnel and weapons since the Syrian civil war started in 2011.

The board of organizations

The European Union will speed up its diplomatic work in favor of a solution to our political crisis, without discarding the possibility of expanding sanctions against Venezuelan authorities responsible for violence: “We will also intensify our work on the second track, which is the political one, trying to prepare the ground for presidential elections to be held in a free and transparent manner as soon as possible,” said Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, recognizing that the goal of elections is far due to Nicolás’s resistance and emphasizing that her main concern is humanitarian, as well as guaranteeing people’s wellbeing. Remember that last Saturday, G7 Foreign Affairs ministers declared that it was urgent to restore full respect for democratic and constitutional order in Venezuela; they urged to hold presidential elections; they demanded the access of humanitarian aid and expressed their concern for “the numerous credible alerts of serious human rights violations and for the growing economic crisis and its humanitarian repercussions.”

This Monday, the OAS Permanent Council convened an extraordinary session for this Tuesday to study Venezuela’s situation.

The authorities move

Representatives from the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference and Caritas Venezuela met with U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, to discuss humanitarian assistance for Venezuelans. Abrams will travel this week to Spain and Portugal to discuss with their authorities the decline in Venezuela’s situation and the need for a political transition. U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence met with his Brazilian counterpart, Hamilton Mourão, to discuss sanctions and diplomatic efforts to increase pressure and force Nicolás’s ouster. U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo will visit Paraguay, Chile, Peru and Colombia between April 11th and 15th. On Sunday 15th, he’ll tour the border with Venezuela in Cucuta to witness the migration crisis. Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero confirmed that a new Lima Group meeting will take place on April 15th to talk about the Venezuelan crisis and that U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo will visit Santiago on Friday, April 12th.

Yesterday was maestro Rafael Cadenas’s 89th birthday. Enjoy his Ars poetica:

“Que cada palabra lleve lo que dice.
Que sea como el temblor que la sostiene.
Que se mantenga como un latido.
No he de proferir adornada falsedad ni poner tinta dudosa ni añadir
brillos a lo que es.
Esto me obliga a oírme. Pero estamos aquí para decir verdad.
Seamos reales.
Quiero exactitudes aterradoras.
Tiemblo cuando creo que me falsifico. Debo llevar en peso mis palabras. Me poseen tanto como yo a ellas.
Si no veo bien, dime tú, tú que me conoces, mi mentira, señálame la impostura, restriégame la estafa.
Te lo agradeceré, en serio.
Enloquezco por corresponderme.
Sé mi ojo, espérame en la noche y divísame, escrútame, sacúdeme.”

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.