The Chronic Optimist

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet concluded her visit to Venezuela after collecting information from victims of human rights abuses and authorities. leaving two representatives behind to monitor the situation. Russia moves to secure the exploitation of gas resources in Venezuela.

Photo: Cristian Hernández AFP retrieved

After confessing that she fulfilled the schedule that could’ve taken five days instead of three, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement from Maiquetía Airport where she announced that she requested compromises from the regime and reached agreements, including a group of two people that will “remain here to offer assistance and technical advisory, but also to keep monitoring the situation, and evaluating human rights violations.” Bachelet said that it was “profoundly painful to hear the testimonies of the victims of serious human rights violations or political violence.” She said that the health situation is alarming, adding the fierce decline of the humanitarian situation and remarking that the report she’ll publish on July 5th “will contain much information based on evidence.” She defined herself as a chronic optimist, and said that she respects the skepticism of many with any negotiation effort, but she also asked political leaders to reach an agreement to solve the crisis and to participate in the dialogue efforts. Bachelet promised to insist on justice and reparation to the victims and their families, called for the release of prisoners and said: “I won’t forsake Venezuela (…) I grieve for what’s happening in Venezuela.”

Nicolás the fake

Before that, Nicolás held his last meeting with Bachelet and claimed that the visit was a success: “Today we’ve taken the first step towards a fluid relation. If there’s progress in this sense, I think this visit has been a success for Venezuela and the Human Rights System of the United Nations.” He emphasized that the High Commissioner had “full freedom to meet with all sectors, to listen to all situations and all opinions” (as if that was a merit,) and that he reached the conclusion that her visit was good, “and I hope the spirit of this visit will define the relation between the UN Human Rights Office and our country,” he emphasized, adding that he’ll take Bachelet’s recommendations very seriously, so that Venezuela can have an increasingly better human rights system, as well as to “prosecute any human rights abuser.” He thanked Bachelet for taking his invitation and proceeding with the visit.

Monitoring on the field

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó said that the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will leave two representatives in the country to monitor violations against citizens’ essential rights: “The High Commissioner said: reading the report is one thing, and seeing what Venezuelans are going through in person is another,” adding that Bachelet was moved by the testimonies of the relatives of political prisoners, the tortured and the murdered. “This recognition and visibilization of the the crisis is significant,” he said, adding that they explained Bachelet that they managed to enter Parliament only because she was in the country; detailing the persecution against lawmakers, as well as the hijacking of institutions.

With their blessing

A commission of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, led by Mgr. José Trinidad Fernández, met with Michelle Bachelet and gave her a document in the hope that her report “reflects the reality of what’s happening in Venezuela and that it reveals mechanisms to solve the essential problems of the situation.”

The document is a detailed summary of the main variables that describe our complex humanitarian emergency, it demands the inclusion of a team to monitor the report that Human Rights Office will present in July; it also makes requests on urgent matters to solve with the regime, for the restitution of electoral, political and economic rights of the population that contribute to seeking solutions to the governability crisis. They also denounced corruption and impunity in the looting of public funds.

More of the infamous agenda

This Friday morning, the High Commissioner met with Diosdado Cabello at the Foreign Ministry (and not the Federal Legislative Palace,) and official outlets claim that, along with other ANC members, he told her about “the legislative progress on human rights.” In other words, he lied to her, because although in practice the National Constituent Assembly illegally usurped Parliament’s authority, it’s made no progress whatsoever; what it does have is a record of abuses.

The information chavismo produces makes so little sense that they praise the National Constitution, which the ANC’s supposed to repeal, and they praise it because “it incorporated the highest human rights standards, which surpass even what’s established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments,” positioning it as one of the most advanced in the continent, they say. Aren’t they cute?

Who wants our resources?

Russian State-run oil company Rosneft is getting concessions from Nicolás to access the natural gas markets, which will strengthen Russia’s support for the regime, said Bloomberg. Last week, Putin approved Rosneft’s plans to exploit the deposits of Patao and Mejillones (to the north of the Paria peninsula) and modified the cooperation agreement signed in 2009, so Rosneft and its providers will be exempt from paying valued added taxes and import taxes. Venezuelan gas could offer Russia new access points to Asia and Europe, because the deposits are estimated to contain 6.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (double the proven gas reserves in all of Colombia.) Meanwhile, Curaçao’s government announced that, from now on, any import, export and transit of gold from Venezuela is banned, according to Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath, who also said that the gold industry in Venezuela has been tied to “illegal mining, capital flight, oppression and exploitation. There are indications that the trade in and transport of that gold may be accompanied by various forms of organized, cross-border and undermining crime.”

Bachelet’s gone and with her, the efforts to give visibility to our tragedies, those that collapsed social networks these last three days, combining complaints, demands and pleas. Each victim, relative, activist and defender can give and account of the despair and helplessness. Few could personally share their case, but several testimonies which circulated this Friday on social networks, all of them acknowledging that they were heard respectfully and attentively. Our troubles continue and now we have this couple of people who will provide assistance and monitor our complex situation, which includes systematic human rights violations, that’s the sole reason Michelle Bachelet came. Although Nicolás says he invited her, his barbarity is clear for everyone to see.

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.