Pressure for Repression

Photo: Twitter retrieved
This Thursday, the European Parliament asked the European Union to impose more sanctions against Venezuela for repression in the country, after the death of Navy Captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo under state custody. The resolution, approved with 455 votes in favor, proposes travel bans, asset freezes and visa restrictions on the Venezuelan authorities “responsible for human rights violations and repression,” as well as their closest relatives, emphasizing the direct responsibility of Nicolás and his security forces in the indiscriminate use of violence. Nicolás decided to back the FAES even though Michelle Bachelet called them “death squads,” the Eurochamber backs High Commissioner Bachelet. That’s why they requested an independent mechanism to investigate extrajudicial executions carried out in security operations. Regime Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said: “The European Union’s institutions are bent on disrupting and attempting to destroy the dialogue process in Venezuela.”

Norway’s hope

Ine Eriksen Soreide, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, said that chavismo and opposition will remain in the negotiations in Barbados continuously and expeditiously, and urged both parties to be cautious with their statements about the process and to respect the agreements of this dialogue table. In the statement, Norway also asked: “For the benefit of the negotiations, it is important that the parties are provided with the necessary space to advance in a constructive environment and that the confidentiality of the process is respected by everyone.” Soreide expressed her hope in the progress of these talks “in the search for sustainable solutions for all Venezuelans.” Opposition representative Stalin González shared the statement with the message: “Together with the international community and thanks to the mobilization of all Venezuelans, we’re progressing on seeking an end to our people’s suffering and choosing our future in freedom.” Regime representative Jorge Rodríguez wrote: “We continue with the dialogue and we ratify the respect for the established conditions.” In truth, they’ve already disrespected them.

The local board

Yesterday, we learned that Henri Falcón, who sought to legitimize Nicolás’s fraudulent election last year with his candidacy, hired in May a Canadian lobbyist, Ari Be-Manashe, to persuade the Trump administration to support his presidential candidacy. According to a copy of the contract, Falcón paid Ben-Menashe $200,000. Later, journalist Eugenio Martínez wrote that Falcón’s party, Avanzada Progresista, claimed that the contract wasn’t meant to position Falcón, “but to seek options and diplomatic support to the proposal of a program to exchange oil for food and medicines in substitution of sanctions,” the same cause that deputy Timoteo Zambrano took to Norway as a request. However, yesterday Juan Barreto and Claudio Fermín presented the “Alliance for the Consultative Referendum” too,  which basically disregards the route of political change proposed by the National Assembly, instead arguing for a consultative referendum to hold free elections and demanding changes in the National Electoral Council (CNE) before holding elections, but not the referendum. Weird, isn’t it?

A bit of economy

Mexican authorities froze 19 bank accounts of companies and people tied to the sale of low-quality overpriced food to Venezuela for the CLAP boxes. Santiago Nieto, chief of the Treasury’s financial intelligence unit, said that “the amount of the first irregularities detected in the frozen accounts of the individuals involved was over $150 million.” The Mexican Prosecutor’s Office established that the companies and individuals under investigation received funds from the chavista regime and commercially speculated with them, with the support of a corruption network chavismo has never taken responsibility for. Caretaker President Juan Guaidó supported the act of freezing these accounts.

Meanwhile, the gap between the official dollar rate and the black market starts to become unstable and the bolivar has lost 18% of its value before the dollar. Some economists estimate that the accumulated pressure of the overvalued bolivar and the increase of public spending with inorganic money explain the recent hike of the dollar in the free market.

Nicolás’s circus

Nicolás dedicated his variety show this Thursday to humane childbirth, asking the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) to issue a law to give “greater rank” to the period of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. He does this in a country with no methods for family planning, where maternal and infant mortality rates are fairly high (and are only reported in spite of the Executive’s refusal to make them public) and where the amount of women in extreme poverty is alarming. ANC member María León once again mocked the general drama and said: “We don’t need transnational companies to bring us formulas because here’s the breast of the Venezuelan woman,” ignoring malnutrition and special conditions that make breastfeeding impossible for many. Nicolás announced (as an accomplishment) that the humane childbirth bonus is increasing to Bs. 50,000 ($5). He also dared to claim that his regime guarantees all vaccines, covering 91% of citizen vaccination requirements. An unverifiable figure.

Enemy of Venezuela?

The same day that UN Secretary General António Guterres said: “I support Bachelet’s report denouncing serious violations committed by the Venezuelan government,” Nicolás said: “That Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has declared itself an enemy of Venezuela. We can’t expect anything good from that office, that’s a fact; they can’t see the accomplishments, but even if they can’t see them and even if they lie, Venezuela will keep advancing,” he said, once again questioning the report presented by Bachelet. He said nothing about the accounts Mexico froze due to the corrupt scheme of food imports for CLAP boxes.

Briefs and serious

  • The National Assembly denounced the “enforced disappearance” of four political prisoners, and demanded proof of life. Deputy Delsa Solórzano said that the soldiers Luis de la Sotta, Igbert Marín Chaparro and Ruperto Molina, as well as civilian Carlos Marrón, “are under the condition of enforced disappearance” and that their lives are at risk.
  • U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence regretted that Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamad Yavad Zarif is planning to travel to Venezuela, and cautioned that he’ll fail in his efforts to keep Nicolás in power.
  • Regime Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez said that she repudiated Mike Pence’s statements, claiming that Pence “is in his wild hour and oozes his hatred against our country (…) The American political system chokes the political rights of their citizens. The dictatorship of the military, financial and media capital sadly rules over the fate of the U.S.” If you swap “U.S.” for “Venezuela”, you’ll have the summary of what chavismo’s doing.

Jorge Arreaza said that the Non-Aligned Movement (MNOAL) will hold a summit in Caracas this weekend, attended by the ministerial bureau of this group of nations. In other words, amidst the humanitarian emergency, in economic contraction and with an ongoing migration crisis, the regime will spend lots of money to host over 120 delegations that will talk about “the battle for a fair, democratic and equitable international order, the rejection of unilateral coercive measures and the strengthening of multilateralism,” says the official statement.

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