Advancing in the Dark

Photo: @jguaido retrieved

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó said that he’s awaiting the official statement of the Norwegian government to resume the dialogue between opposition and chavista delegates. “We hope we’ll be able to advance in all areas. In the TIAR, the mediation with the Kingdom of Norway, the International Contact Group, the OAS. There was also a great Lima Group meeting, too. We’ve advanced in all areas and this week won’t be any different,” said Guaidó this Tuesday morning; while his diplomatic representative in the United States, Carlos Vecchio, said that there would be another round of talks this week, but offered no details. Vecchio refused to say when and where the fifth round of dialogue to find a solution to the national crisis will take place. Norway has been a mediator in about 20 dialogue processes in the last decades.

Two years of the substitute assembly

The National Constituent Assembly (ANC) celebrated two years of its imposition in a session where Diosdado Cabello said that they’ve fulfilled their mission, although there’s no progress with a new Constitution: “Let’s feel that today, two years later, we’ve truly fulfilled the mission,” said Cabello at the National Pantheon. In the report about Venezuela, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, says that the government activated the ANC two years ago “after en electoral process that lacked political inclusion and filled with irregularities,” cautioning that “it took over the constitutional responsibilities of the National Assembly democratically elected in December 2015.” The ANC has issued what they call constitutional laws, constituent decrees, and it has taken over the National Assembly’s functions, openly contributing to its dismantling.

The non-country

  • Yesterday, there were again clashes between paramilitary groups at the border of San Antonio del Tachira (near Cucuta.) Allegedly, it’s about control of the area. A shooting (and even grenades) took place after a weekend of incidents in the area.
  • Diosdado Cabello said yesterday that “there will be parliamentary elections no later than 2020,” adding that the ANC “may call for elections of that power when we deem it necessary. It’ll be really hard to recover the AN’s institutionalization in 2020. They’ve taken it to the bottom.”
  • The official dollar exchange rate reached Bs. 10,731, according to the BCV’s webpage. In the black market, the price surpasses Bs. 12,000. According to economist Luis Oliveros, “the same authorities who claimed the black market dollar didn’t exist just a few months ago,” now have their exchange rate tailing the black market dollar: “Between July 19th and July 30th, the black dollar moved 15%, the official dollar moved 43%.”
  • The political party Avanzada Progresista rejected the decision of the U.S. Appeals Court in favor of Crystallex (and against CITGO/PDVSA)  but they also denounced the role of José Ignacio Hernández, the attorney appointed by Guaidó, for alleged conflict of interests (he was an expert witness in that case). They blame the ruling on judicial strategy mistakes. Funny that this party would spare chavismo from all responsibility about this conclusion and demand that Hernández be sacked for failing to “duly safeguard our interests,” ignoring precisely the roles he’s played.
  • Believe it or not: the same regime incapable of keeping Margarita island with electricity, sent a delegation to the Forum for the Development of Pacific Islands, over there, in Oceania, to talk about what they’re incapable of achieving.

Let’s talk about human rights

Deputy Gilber Caro denounced during this Tuesday’s ordinary session, that the soldiers held at the offices of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) are being  tortured, and demanded the regime to allow the committee appointed by Bachelet to access this office to verify the human rights violations. NGO Foro Penal said yesterday that there are currently 550 political prisoners in the country. Among the people arrested for political reasons, there are 12 teenagers and 538 adults, 52 women and 498 men. 443 civilians and 107 soldiers; in addition to the 8,851 people who are still under unfair criminal proceedings for political reasons. Deputy Ismael León denounced that four of the CICPC officers who fought against El Coqui’s gang in the Cota 905 in Caracas, had to flee the country after they demanded opening an investigation against them.

We, the migrants

Republicans, who hold the majority in the U.S. Senate, prevented this Tuesday a vote about granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelan migrants, which was approved last week by the Chamber of Representatives. Marco Rubio, one of its proponents, said he has hope that Donald Trump’s administration would do something for Venezuelans. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met with human rights organizations in Brazil, and announced that France will send 200,000 euros to contribute to these NGOs’ efforts in assisting Venezuelan migrants in Brazil. In Colombia, congresswoman María Fernanda Cabal proposed a draft law that seeks to grant humanitarian visas to Venezuelans entering the territory. Cabal explained that Venezuelans must seek asylum and that, in case it was rejected, they might request a new measure, that seeks to guarantee job stability and respect for human rights. The law will be effective only temporarily while Venezuela overcomes the crisis.

Movements on the board

  • Russia announced that they won’t attend the International Conference for Venezuela’s Democracy that will be held in Lima, because they doubt this forum can clear the way for the dialogue promoted for negotiations in Oslo.
  • After returning to Venezuela, German ambassador Daniel Krieger met with Guaidó at the seat of Parliament. Chavistas lifted his condition of persona non grata and allowed him to re-enter the country, the first diplomat they do that for.
  • An operation carried out by the Argentine Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, collected this Tuesday testimonies of Venezuelans living in the country who denounce alleged crimes against humanity committed by Nicolás’s regime. Natalia Figueroa, general director of the Center to Assist Crime Victims (Cenavid), said that the goal is to submit a report to the International Criminal Court and other international bodies so that they start an investigation based on the evidence.
  • Nicolás and his Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, put a show in Miraflores to receive, honor, congratulate and thank the six CodePink members they brought to their Sao Paulo sham. They’ve met with any American who speaks in their favor before, even if the Americans in question got Venezuelan financing to do that.
  • Deputy Mariano de Alba, who in May represented Guaidó before the IACHR, said he was puzzled because “a week after the National Assembly’s approval,” Guaidó hasn’t sent a document to the OAS ratifying the TIAR’s re-entry: “It’s a simple letter where they notify that Venezuela has decided to once again be a part of the treaty,” he said.

Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero played at the Carnegie Hall, and the testimonies on social media have been moving. Comedian Ricardo del Búfalo shared on Twitter the Alma Llanera that Montero played along Paquito D’Rivera, which earned them a standing ovation.

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