An Insidious Exercise

Photo: Pulzo retrieved

On Sunday, news agency AP published a piece where they said that the U.S. had been in contact, secretly, with Diosdado Cabello, because they think that “his influence in the government and security forces have increased as Maduro’s power has weakened.” This happens despite the accusations against him for “acts of corruption, drug trafficking and even death threats.” At times, the text is exaggerating, including the information that “a second meeting is being organized” because, after the revelation, it’s unlikely that it’d happen. The most important part about the article, is that it might help us overcome the stagnation we find ourselves in: a setting that only favors Nicolás, and helps worsen our complex humanitarian emergency. 

Taking the bait

Diosdado Cabello denied that the meeting happened: “AP can write that what’s important is that we’re holding parliamentary elections here before 2020, whether the Venezuelan opposition wants them or not…  The empire thinks that it’ll divide us with gossip,” he said to the AP journalist, clarifying that in order for him to have a meeting with them, there are three requirements (that turned out to be four): doing it with Nicolás’s permission, in the name of Venezuela, not his; it has to happen in Venezuela and, using a quote by el finado, that he’d meet with the owners of the place, “not the people who work for them.” And he threatened again with moving the elections: “The date of the election is set by the CNE, but the ANC can set that election at any moment, even before 2020,” he said. He also mentioned that justice will fall upon caretaker President Juan Guaidó soon. 

Not with Nicolás there

Guaidó thinks that a presidential election wouldn’t be “completely free” with Nicolás in power: “It wouldn’t be a completely free election and we have to try for a competitive election… We’d have to push and do everything we can to have a truly free election, a transition that moves toward re-institutionalization, a new CNE, international observers,” he declared in an interview for CNN in Spanish. He thinks that there’s another obstacle for a competitive election: politicians and political parties barred from running. Guaidó emphasized the need to keep pressuring Maduro’s government, because as his usurpation of power continues, the region is at risk of having in Venezuela “an enclave for supporting terrorism.” Meanwhile, Delcy Rodríguez traveled to Russia to solidify Nicolás’s diplomacy and opposition delegates traveled to the U.S. to go over the key points discussed during the negotiations. There’s no set date for re-starting that process. 

Los Marín

During the day, there’s been a strong reaction to a joke Guaidó made: “‘When are the marines coming?’ they asked me. Look, here’s Franklin Marín, Carlos Marín (…) Here they are. (I’m a Marín, too, says a woman’s voice) another Marín here,” is what the viral video says. In it, Guaidó makes a joke about the option that one sector of the opposition has kept going for a while: a foreign military invasion. Every U.S. spokesperson  (Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Elliot Abrams and John Bolton) has uttered the phrase “All options are on the table” to dismiss, without further explanation, the possibility of a military intervention, an option that most nations that support Guaidó reject, but in key moments, Abrams and Bolton have explained that they’ll keep trying the diplomatic way and sanctions, always reinforcing their support for Guaidó and the National Assembly. They’ve also explained several times that the military option is exclusively Trump’s decision, when “he thinks that the United States security is at risk.” 

The non-country

– CICPC director Douglas Rico confirmed that journalist Anabel Quevedo was released on Monday in El Marite, Western Maracaibo, after 58 days: “It’s truly an irregular event, but this afternoon we’ll have a better picture of what might be happening in this case,” he said. 

– José Patines, the secretary of the Foreign Ministry’s workers union, said that he has received threats from Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, for denouncing the employees’ conditions. They demand salary adjustments. 

– Antonio Suárez, president of the National Federation of Public Employees, said that their salaries should be $400 per month, including benefits contemplated in their contracts. Their salaries today: less that $4. 

– Two GNB officers are in jail for torturing a FAES officer: he was handcuffed, hung from the roof and beaten. They also stole a gold crucifix and $500 in cash. 

We, the migrants

High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi advised countries in the region to continue receiving Venezuelans and he asked for more humanitarian aid for Venezuelan refugees

“This is one of the humanitarian requests with the lowest financing in the world, and one of the worst crises,” Grandi said. A survey by Venezuela Migration Project consulted 1,006 Colombians of every socioeconomic status in 91 municipalities and revealed that Colombians approve the measures that grant citizenship to children, but don’t want Venezuelan adults to get it or to be able to vote. They agree with Venezuelans investing in Colombia but they don’t think that they should compete against them for jobs. Regarding the economy, there are disagreements between those who interpret immigration as a risk and the group that sees it as an opportunity. The middle class, according to the survey, is the most reluctant to measures of economic integration. 

Movements on the board

– According to Axios, Trump proposed to his officers the idea of a naval blockade to Venezuela, with Army ships in Venezuelan coasts to stop goods and products from entering the country. 

– U.S. Southern Command’s Admirant Craig Faller, said that they’re ready to act if Trump makes political decisions that so require it. He also said that their current focus is to continue to pressure, in order to achieve the transition to a “democratic and legitimate government”. 

– Ambassador Carlos Vecchio and Special Security and Intelligence Commissioner Iván Simonovis met with DEA authorities to fine tune “strategies and cooperation mechanisms to fight drug trafficking at every level.” 

– The Canadian government recognized the AN’s decree from June 7th, and they’ll now be accepting expired Venezuelan passports for five years. 

 – Bulgaria expressed that the negotiation process with Norwegian mediation must resume, and accused Nicolás of abandoning the negotiation in Barbados as a “strategy to delay the solution to the crisis and hold on to power at all costs.” 

– The French Senate could discuss in future sessions the possibility of strengthening sanctions against Nicolás’s government, the National Communications Center reported. 

Reuters expanded on the news about the detention of a Venezuelan oil cargo by China National Petroleum Corp. Their sources say that CNPC is afraid to be hit by secondary sanctions, so they’ll wait to receive new guidelines from the Treasury Department before they trade Venezuelan oil again. It’s not all gossip. 

 

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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.