208 years after our Independence, with dozens of congratulations from governments and public figures (and a Google doodle), this Friday, major Leonardo Malaguera, responsible for the Federal Legislative Palace’s security, prevented the access of National Assembly deputies to the Elliptical Hall, which contains the original Book of Records of the first Congress of Venezuela containing the Declaration of Independence.
About this action, caretaker President Juan Guaidó said: “Seizing an icon of our independence doesn’t make them stronger than a country determined to change, what it does confirm is their dictatorial nature. There’s no door that can block Venezuela’s freedom.” Regime vice-president Delcy Rodríguez, accompanied by ANC members and soldiers, did enter the Elliptical Hall.
Guaidó spoke about the report published by Michelle Bachelet: “There are no more euphemisms to describe the regime. It’s no more than a dictatorship,” he said. The solemn session for Independence Day was held in the Hemicycle with the presence of the diplomatic corps. The speaker was Bejamín Scharifker, rector of the Metropolitan University, who spoke of how the complex humanitarian emergency further intensifies the university crisis and offered a summary about the situation of universities, with elections of authorities suspended, insufficient budgets, less research and the decline of basic services. “By the end of the 20th century, one in every 20 scientific publications in Latin America came from Venezuelan universities’ laboratories. Today, scientific research isn’t even a 1%,” said the rector, adding that “there’s no independence without science.” Scharifker said that we’re united by the possibility of recovering independence and ratified the call to take to the streets.
The honor of a CLAP box
Nicolás didn’t take part of the events in the National Pantheon or the Elliptical Hall. He came at midday with Cilia Flores, pretending to greet an audience that didn’t cheer for him and calling the brief parade as an “excellent demonstration of discipline and cohesion.” He announced the military drills for July 24th and granted a 7-day leave to all military personnel who took part in yesterday’s events, perhaps due to the amount of smoke they had to breathe. By the way, Nicolás said that “all the Armed Forces’ machines are checked and examined with Venezuelan technological tools.” He said nothing about a new Defense Minister, although Admiral Remigio Ceballos, head of the Strategic Operational Command, was the main speaker of the “solemn” event at the ANC. It was tough to see the FAES as part of the parade after the severe accusations the High Commissioner laid against them for extrajudicial executions (demanding their dismantling); as tough as seeing militia men marching with CLAP boxes.
Raising arms against the people
In his speech before the ANC, Remigio Ceballos said that the members of the Armed Forces won’t allow weapons to be used “in our nation to fragment it, for that we have a new geostrategic architecture for the nation’s integral defense,” whatever that means. He called for peace and harmony to prevail among soldiers, aiming toward development and progress: “We aren’t afraid of defending the people from the falsehoods and public attacks made on social media without any respect for the Constitution,” he said, and I still don’t understand which of the components of the Armed Forces is trained in digital rights nor how these are tied to the Constitution, much less when we constantly experience internet blocks. Remigio Ceballos said about the murder of Captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo: “He had been conspiring for over 10 years against the state, planning terrorist attacks. He died under detention in circumstances currently being investigated by the Citizen Branch,” demonstrating that either the military intelligence apparatus is slow, or he’s not very good at lying; in fact, he also said that “the Armed Forces will never raise arms against the Venezuelan people.”
Soldiers torturing soldiers
This Friday, several cities attended Juan Guaidó’s call for street protests to demand justice for the cases of tortures and human rights violations. Before the headquarters of the United Nations Development Programme, Guaidó announced that the International Contact Group, headed by Enrique Iglesias, will visit the country on July 8th. Due to the call to march to the headquarters of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM), anti-riot teams were deployed close to this location to prevent demonstrators from reaching it.
Guaidó mentioned that the reasons for the protest also include “soldiers who, ironically, are being tortured by soldiers” and he told the Armed Forces that this day was also to defend them: “The murdered [Acosta Arévalo] was your brother in arms.”
- The BCV ordered all financial institutions that participate in the foreign currency exchange market to carry out, within 30 days, all necessary technological and infrastructural adjustments so that the retail currency buy-sell service becomes more agile and speedy. They also set a period until August 5th for all banks to have at least one agency in each state where they offer the possibility to buy and sell foreign currency.
- Bony Pertiñez, wife of former commissioner Iván Simonovis, denounced that SEBIN officers illegally detained Yakelin Ángel for having worked with her family for over 14 years. They also detained Yakelin’s aunt and cousin, so much hatred for this family!
- This Thursday, I told you about José Ramón Rodríguez, detained in Valencia because he was allegedly preparing an attack with explosives. Well, his friends and relatives have denounced on social media that he isn’t a terrorist for a teacher in a university village of the Sucre Mission, and he also works in PSUV’s Ciudad Valencia newspaper. According to PROVEA, his family already confirmed his release, but they know nothing about his physical integrity.
Movements on the board
- Deputy Miguel Pizarro announced that Peru took over the leadership of the international investigation committee to determine individual and collective responsibilities for each human rights violation mentioned in Michelle Bachelet’s report. From Switzerland, Pizarro explained that the initiative has the support of the Lima Group and other countries in the UN Human Rights Council.
- Chilean President Sebastián Piñera asked Michelle Bachelet this Friday to present her report about Venezuela before the International Criminal Court, so that Nicolás can be tried for crimes against humanity: “We’re going to ban access to Chile for more than 100 people who are directly linked with the dictatorship in Venezuela and with the crimes it has committed,” Piñera announced.
- Just like the United States used the anniversary of independence to ratify their commitment for restoring democracy in Venezuela, Russia announced that they’ll continue strengthening the country’s military capacity, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov, who will visit the country on July 20th, in a shorter visit than Michelle Bachelet’s. Some friends are like that.