Maduro’s Legitimacy

Photo: VTV

Nicolás said on Saturday that in the meeting he held with representatives of the European Union’s International Contact Group, he called chavismo “a solid wood, a conclusive reality,” and claimed that in the coming parliamentary elections, they’d win the National Assembly (AN) by a landslide because it didn’t do its job, saying that the opposition turned the AN into “a useless institution.”

Two days later, amidst hyperinflation and contraction, with closed borders and forced migration, with cities shut down for lack of electricity and gasoline, Nicolás wanted to celebrate his “victory” and challenged the opposition to run in early elections to “legitimize the only illegitimate institution,” ignoring the information about missing, imprisoned and exiled lawmakers, and those who remain as guests in embassies or in hiding. Nicolás bets on the divisions elections always bring, maximized by our precarious institutional conditions. The guy who has nothing to celebrate, flees onwards.

Above the Constitution

Pedro Carreño’s proposal to extend the National Constituent Assembly’s (ANC) operation for another year was approved by his peers, an astonishing move! “Many don’t want to say it, but this ANC is above the Constitution,” Carreño said, insisting that the ANC has absolute power and is supra-constitutional, and although we know nothing about the new Constitution that justified this ANC’s installation, Carreño revealed their displeasure because the International Contact Group didn’t call them to their meetings.

Aristóbulo Istúriz explained that even though the extension is until December 31st, 2020, they may keep operating, because the National Constituent Assembly “doesn’t work on time but on objectives,” and if they haven’t transformed the state or approved a new Constitution, they can carry on with their mess, because he actually believes that they’ve been “too moderate while using the power given to us by the Constitution, if we had applied it as we could, not a single dissident would remain.”

Without gasoline

PDVSA’s Twitter account guides Venezuelans so we won’t fall for fake news, so we won’t believe that there are problems with gasoline production and supply. It doesn’t matter that we see hours-long lines of vehicles in streets and avenues, people sleeping in their cas or those cars marked with numbers on the hood. It doesn’t matter that cities with less electricity must also beg for gas stations to have available power generators, or that there are cities where gasoline is sold in dollars, or that in Zulia, governor Omar Prieto designated by decree a gas station to be used exclusively by public officials.

Denying the collapse doesn’t help mask the fact that, at this moment, Venezuela only has one active refinery, that we’re producing fewer barrels per day and also less gasoline, and that the state isn’t charging enough money for imported fuel to cover its cost. It’s a very costly “gift” that, for now, favors Caracas over other regions, but that’s not bound to last.

Briefs and serious

  • Measles remains active in ten of the country’s states, according to the latest epidemiological bulletin issued by the Pan-American Health Organization. In June 2018, the chief of PAHO visited Venezuela and asked the state to take urgent action to respond to re-emerging diseases and those that can be prevented with vaccines, but now you see..
  • The Central Bank of Venezuela and the Banking Bureau are forcing the financial system to develop a internal network to process transactions that can ditch agreements with Visa and Mastercard, as well as the Maestro system, starting on November 30th for debit card operations, and on January 30th, 2020, for credit card payments.
  • Reading Isaías Rodríguez’s letter resigning as Venezuelan ambassador in Italy should be a prison sentence, so much cynicism, so much conceit to try and embellish the fact that, without a salary, there’s no paradise. If he wanted to do it right, he would’ve put a name to “those vipers that for so long” have accompanied Nicolás.

The ambassador’s money laundering

Raúl Morodo, former Spanish ambassador in Venezuela during the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, received 3.8 million euros in commissions from Petróleos de Venezuela through Switzerland and Panama for fake consultancies. PDVSA did most of the operations through a screen society (Furnival Barristers Corporation) headquartered in Panama and with an account in Switzerland, controlled by his son Alejo Morodo, through frontmen. Yesterday, the Spanish National Police’s Financial Crimes Unit (UDEF) carried out a raid, arresting four people for this investigation which has been active since 2015. The payments were authorized by Rafael Ramírez and made between 2008 and 2013, for alleged operations to establish PDVSA in Spain and Portugal which, just like the Guarenas-Guatire Metro, didn’t happen. My love to Zapatero, the neutral mediator.

Other movements

  • Juan Guaidó’s financial advisory team hired Lee Buchheit, a veteran American lawyer, to try and protect the country’s assets abroad. This comes days after the AN paid holders of the PDVSA 2020 bond and before the next payment for about $900 million is made in October.

  • Carlos Vecchio confirmed that he met with Admiral Craig Faller, chief of the U.S. Southern Command, saying that the meeting was very positive and adding that they were joined by representatives of the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon. The conversation focused on “the Defense Department’s role in supplying humanitarian aid and regional support,” said a State Department spokeswoman.
  • Hugo Carvajal, former chavista intelligence chief, is accused by the United States of coordinating, with FARC support, the transport of 5,600 kilos of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico. The file also reveals that Carvajal provided other kinds of support to the armed group for the production and transportation of cocaine to the United States.
  • Cristina Fernández announced her candidacy for Argentina’s Vice-Presidency, with her former boss (and her husband’s) in the Cabinet of Ministers, Alberto Fernández, as presidential candidate for coming elections in October.

We go on.

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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.