Exercising for War

Photo: CNBC retrieved

After making the announcement on September 3rd, and activating an “orange alert”, Nicolás’s government started on Tuesday a round of military exercises, deploying troops and arms on the border with Colombia, even though the officers didn’t do any action or fire drills. The Venezuelan Armed Forces deployed, besides the cheesiest messages on social media, armored vehicles, missile launchers and a helicopter. The exercises will be done until September 28th, as an answer to an alleged “aggression” that Colombian President Iván Duque is planning against Venezuela. “Trumpets of peace, not war, should sound,” Nicolás wrote, but then, smart Pedro Carreño said that “in 11 seconds, a Sukhoi will be in Bogotá,” saying he holds the coordinates for several key points, and emphasized that if there’s a military aggression, chavismo will attack first. There you go, his peace trumpet. 

Maximum Alert

The Colombian government remained prudent about the military maneuvers on the border. Cucuta remained calm. “Colombia won’t fall for Nicolás Maduro’s traps,” said  vice-president Marta Lucía Ramírez, and added they’ve never been a violent nation. Francisco Barbosa, Presidential Advisor for Human Rights and Foreign Affairs, said that the Executive “won’t take part in the hysterics” and that “it’s closely watching” the military drills and that they’re in “maximum alert from the Colombian authorities regarding any movement in these matters.” The U.S. offered their full support to the Colombian government in this delicate moment of its relation with Venezuela. Their ambassador to the OAS, Carlos Trujillo, said that it was “totally unacceptable” that an “illegitimate government that’s usurping power is threatening the region’s security and tranquility… Colombian allies will do everything to help one of their best allies that we’ve had, not only in America, but in the world.” 

Rejecting the “War”

National Assembly deputies asked Michelle Bachelet to enforce the recommendations she made to Nicolás’s government and respect fundamental rights. Juan Guaidó said that the human rights situation has gotten worse because “the regime didn’t comply with any of the points in the first report.” Guaidó rejected the military exercises on the border, carried out to take attention away from the problems our country faces. Deputies debated again about the education crisis; almost a year after they called a state of emergency of the sector. They also debated about Bachelet and the human rights situation in Venezuela and demanded that a permanent investigation commission be installed in the country and tangible measures that guarantee Venezuelans’  lives. 

The Non-Country

According to Cedice Libertad’s Public Expenses Observatory, a family’s minimum expenses in 61 products and services reached 6,480,969.14 bolivars between August 15th-30th, which demands over 100 minimum integral wages of 65,000 (more than three salaries a day) to pay for it. That’s 288.38 dollars, but the minimum wage in Venezuela has never been this low before. 

Irregularities in AN’s first vice-president Edgar Zambrano’s case continue, at the hands of the judge assigned to the case, who now denied the lawmaker’s defense to swear in. The other four people who were arrested with him were also denied this right and inefficient public attorneys were imposed on them. 

The AN’s sub-commission for health denounced that implementing the Health Ministry’s resolution 075 that allows importing medicine, is a possibility that violates PAHO and Health Ministry’s rules.

The 16J parliamentary faction considers that it’s not the right time to ratify Juan Guaidó as speaker of the National Assembly. 

While chavismo’s media outlets published that “Venezuela and China are strengthening bilateral bonds at the UN” for a meeting between one of Nicolás’s vice-ministers and China’s representative before the UN, it was made public that China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) won’t load Venezuelan oil shipments, to avoid U.S. sanctions.

Between War and School

Tuesday’s variety show had a little war and a little school. Nicolás made them thank him for school supplies. Said that Venezuela’s the only country that produces notebooks to give them out for free, in order to guarantee education all across the country, even though hundreds of teachers have had to resign because of their absurd wages. He showed notebooks, backpacks, uniforms and shoes that were supposed to be given to students, but he didn’t say if parents had to be active PSUV members, have the carnet de la patria or sign against trump. He was so bold as to say that he’ll guarantee the students’ meal plan with the Programa de Alimentación Escolar. He assigned 62,426 million bolivars (almost 3 million dollars) for a plan to buy school supplies, 40 million euros  for purchases abroad (?!) and 118 million euros to buy raw materials for producing school supplies. He mentioned the military exercises several times, “to guarantee peace” and rejected AFP’s article that says that Venezuelans were forced to sign the No More Trump letter. 

Bolton

President Donald Trump, announced on Tuesday John Bolton’s ouster. He mentioned many disagreements on many of his suggestions: “I asked for John’s resignation, which he delivered this morning,” tweeted Trump but Bolton denied that version and said (also on Twitter) that he offered to resign in the first place. Ruling chavismo reacted to the news with unnecessary euphoria, that translated more into fear for Bolton than “a victory” over him. Even though Venezuela isn’t the cause for all this, expectations run high about his replacement. 

Other Movements on the Board

Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said that activating the TIAR doesn’t mean that there’d be a military action but “reassemble the consultation institution so member states can talk about which actions to take”. 

Washington’s ambassador to the OAS, Carlos Trujillo, backed Abrams’s words and said that his country supports Guaidó’s decision to call on the TIAR but they don’t seek a military action, only to pressure Nicolás.

EU ambassadors exhorted Juan Guaidó and Nicolás’s government to return to the dialogue sponsored by Norway in order to end the deep crisis that Venezuela is going through. 

Political party Ciudadanos presented a proposal in the Spanish Congress that seeks an extension of the temporary protection granted to Venezuelan exiles, guaranteeing “their insertion in the market and full access to social services” and their “obligations with the Spanish state”. In the document, they also exhort the Spanish government to promote within the EU applying new sanctions against Nicolás’s regime, they demand denouncing the dictatorship and ask Spain to collaborate with 145 countries that have endorsed a plan of action to help with the inclusion of the Venezuelan exodus celebrated by the UNHCR and the IOM. Ciudadanos asked Spain to join the group of countries who took Nicolás’s government to the ICJ for crimes against humanity. 

 

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.