Maikel’s Proof of Loyalty

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

This Tuesday, May 7th, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice abruptly convened in an extraordinary session. Hours later, the Plenary Chamber ordered the prosecution of six National Assembly lawmakers and citizen Andrés Delgado. The affected lawmakers are: Henry Ramos Allup, Luis Florido, Mariela Magallanes, José Simón Calzadilla, Américo De Grazia and Richard Blanco. They’re accused of the same crimes as Edgar Zambrano: treason, conspiracy, instigating insurrection, civil rebellion, aiding and abetting, usurpation of functions and public instigation to disobey the law.

Shortly afterwards, the TSJ’s community manager erased the original tweet and modified the ruling’s text on Facebook, scrapping the unknown Andrés Delgado, but keeping the excuse that considering the flagrant commission of common crimes, there will be no preliminary hearings on merits to remove parliamentary immunity and that the National Constituent Assembly will determine the lawmakers’ fate. Justice Danilo Mojica voted against this ruling and justice Marisela Godoy rejected the arguments even from abroad.

Violating the law

Article 200 of the Constitution says that lawmakers will have immunity during the exercise of their functions since their proclamation and until the conclusion of their terms or their resignation and, in case of committing any crime, only the TSJ will be able to order, with the National Assembly’s prior authorization, their arrest and trial. “In case of flagrant crime (…) the authority will be held under custody in their residence and the incident will be communicated to the TSJ,” a step that was omitted with lawmaker Juan Requesens. Additionally, the article says that public officials that violate the immunity of lawmakers “will incur in criminal responsibility and will be punished according to the law,” but as you can see, it’s been 11 days and lawmaker Gilber Caro’s still missing. Removing parliamentary immunity is another violation of the law and the will of Venezuelans.

In the National Assembly

National Guard officers prevented the press from accessing the Federal Legislative Palace, adding a new violation against the right of information (including blocking websites and apps to watch the session) and the threats and insults of Nicolás’s supporters. The hemicycle was also left in the dark and yet, the lawmakers approved:

  • The Law of Guarantees for officials and employees of the public sector and social sectors involved in restoring democracy, in its second discussion.
  • The Finance Committee’s report authorizing the payment of interests of the PDVSA 2020 bonds, for $71 million, the only bond not in default.

  • The start of the process to re-incorporate Venezuela to the Inter American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR). There are many testimonies about the TIAR’s inefficacy.

  • Agreement condemning the harassment against First Vice-President Edgar Zambrano, and ratifying the TSJ’s illegitimacy to exercise functions in Venezuela.

And then, the ANC

After two years of its “election“, the ANC hasn’t written a new Constitution, the only function for which it should legally exist, but it’s still usurping authority to criminalize dissidence and commit abuses. Yesterday, they held a session to declare that the lawmakers marked by the TSJ won’t have a preliminary hearing on merits and authorize the courts to prosecute them. Diosdado Cabello asked those in attendance not to despair because “justice has its rhythm.“ He also claimed that the opposition “is morally incapable to govern this country.” He referred to caretaker President Juan Guaidó (whom he calls Juanito Alimaña) as an idiot; he praised Nicolás for not falling for provocations and claimed that there are no rifts within the Armed Forces.

ANC member María León, the same one who doesn’t want to share nationality with dissidents, proposed that the assets of “traitors” should be confiscated, and the plenary decreed April 27th as the “Day of the sovereign country” to celebrate the exit from the OAS, a key step for recovering the country they destroyed.

The obscenity of cynicism

This Monday, regime Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza started a script that was replicated yesterday by several chavista spokespeople. Ignoring that 30 children were waiting for a bone marrow transplant, but trying to take advantage of the death of one of them, Arreaza said that transplants were paid with CITGO revenue, blaming economic sanctions for the suspension of surgeries. Isaías Rodríguez, regime ambassador in Rome (who holds this post after being removed from the ANC while he was its vice-president) said yesterday that the “blockade” affected the agreement of medical assistance singed nine years ago with the Italian organization ATMO, and later, Larry Devoe and Delcy Rodríguez did the same, blaming the “blockade” for Giovanny Figuera’s death. The transplant program was suspended almost two years ago, and it’s obscene to use these patients’ drama for manipulation, without offering any modification to a health policy that has only violated rights.

Briefs and serious

  • The Official Gazette shows the decree N° 3.837 signed by Nicolás, indefinitely extending the “special workday” between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • Néstor Reverol announced the operational and administrative control of three airports that, strictly speaking, were already under the National Guard’s control, to fight “against the illegal operations that can be carried out in these airports.”

  • Major general Hugo Carvajal said this Tuesday that he’ll cooperate “without reservations” with Spanish justice, assisted by his lawyer and “in as many planes as might be reasonable and motivated.”
  • Conatel shut down the radio station Criolla 92.9 FM. Their equipment was stolen, according to the SNTP. This is the second stations shut down in Apure in less than 24 hours.
  • In 2015, Trump sold land in the Dominican Republic to the wife of former minister Pedro Morejón, considered a frontman for Diosdado Cabello and Darío Vivas.

Movements on the board

  • U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence announced the lifting of sanctions against former SEBIN director Manuel Cristopher Figuera. Cautioning that “Venezuela is a failed state and history teaches us that failed states know no boundaries (…) the people of Venezuela are the victim of two dictatorships: Cuba’s and Nicolás’s,” whom he accused of being the cause of instability in the continent. He confirmed that they’ll send a hospital ship with humanitarian assistance to Venezuela in June.
  • The International Labor Organization will provide 2 million dollars  to promote initiatives in favor of social and labor integration of Venezuelans arriving to Guayaquil and Quito in Ecuador, Barranquilla and Cali in Colombia, and Lima’s Northern districts in Peru.
  • The International Contact Group is ready to carry out a high-level mission in Caracas “to present and discuss concrete options for a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis,” meeting with the parties involved so that credible elections can be held as soon as possible. Chief European Union diplomat Federica Mogherini said that the concrete measures the mission will propose “require a certain level of confidentiality,” but she announced the creation of a group in Caracas that will perform humanitarian work.

What if we listened to tales instead of shouting insults during blackouts? “Cuenta conmigo, cuento contigo” is a beautiful initiative to bring short stories to Venezuelan children and teenagers. Yesterday, they released their first episode with the tale “El león y el barbero” by Rosario Anzola, read by Alida Rabbi’s sweet voice. I had the honor of presenting and closing this first story. They have accounts in Telegram, YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify, seek them out and share them, we can give many stories to many children.

Because there are always Venezuelans doing good things: we go on!

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