Photo: El Carabobeño, retrieved.
On Monday, the variety show on VTV started early in a school of La Pastora, where Nicolás’s vice-president and Education minister staged the start of the school year with uniforms, supplies, medical exams and food. According to Delcy Rodríguez, 30,000 children started formal education today and on October 2nd the rest will follow, to surpass 8 million students in the whole country. At the Education Ministry HQ, teachers were protesting the miserable wages and lousy working conditions, those teachers who didn’t start school today but who demand equipped schools and food for their students and Aristóbulo Istúriz’s resignation. They tried to march to the Vice-President’s Office but PNB and GNB didn’t let them. “Go to school, go to school! Go to school or you’ll resemble Nicolás!” they chanted. Teachers were attacked by armed colectivos at Panteón Ave. and the PNB and GNB strategy was, once more, inaction. Back at the Ministry, a group of PSUV activists paid by Chamba Juvenil mission attacked the teachers, but they said they’ll remain on the streets.
While teachers were attacked, former political leaders that call themselves “opposition” made a pact with the regime, proving their extraordinary instincts for opportunity. They aren’t exclusively shameless, you know. Political parties MAS, Avanzada Progresista, Soluciones and Cambiemos announced that they’ll form, alongside Nicolás’s government, a dialogue and negotiation table. “We’ve assembled and we’ve let go of positions to build, unite and contribute,” said Timoteo Zambrano, who thanked the government for the will to (important use of this verb, look!) impose peace through politics. He said that they rebel against anger and hate. Diplomatic sources explained to EFE that the EU ambassadors who attended the event out of courtesy left when they saw what it was all about. European diplomats defend the dialogue sponsored by Norway, that Nicolás’s government suspended.
Nicolás’s Communications minister Jorge Rodríguez said that they made partial agreements that will be followed by technical working groups to polish the content, execution and application to the legal national framework. So:
– Psuv and Gran Polo Patriótico factions will return to the AN;
– A new CNE will be appointed;
– They’ll exhort the justice system to release several political prisoners;
– They’ll defend our rights to the Esequibo;
– They reject sanctions against the country and demand they’re lifted;
– They propose an exchange of oil for medicine and food;
– An agreement over balance and equilibrium among powers.
The key point is: if Psuv manages to control the AN, what’s the point of keeping the ANC?
Those last three items come from Nicolás’s daily variety shows: an agreement to get along (as if it could really be solved on paper); another for proportional representation as established in the Constitution and another for coordinated work between the public and private sectors.
The Agreement That Never Happened
On Sunday, caretaker President Juan Guaidó announced that he has abandoned the Norway-sponsored dialogue. Norwegian mediator Dag Nylander said he was willing to participate in future negotiations between the government and the opposition, before chavismo’s tailor-made opposition announced their partial agreement. Guaidó called this an irresponsible maneuver: “To use bandaids today, in this emergency, it’s sadistic and irresponsible,” he said before repeating that the government abandoned the Barbados process with cheap excuses. His proposal for solving the crisis had five points: creating a Transition Government Council, with representation from all the political forces and the Armed Forces (including his and Nicolás’s resignation, to renew public powers); immediate entry of humanitarian aid; an economic agreement; guarantees to all officers that participated in the electoral process and protecting the Esequibo. “The solution was so near that the regime ran off for the first time in 20 years,” said Guaidó.
Ignoring all attacks on teachers by his buddies, Nicolás celebrated going back to school, asking that this year “be the best school year in history.”
As if our schooling rate (because of problems that range from malnutrition to families’ financial inability to put a kid through school,) the crumbling infrastructure of our schools and the loss of qualified teachers didn’t matter. He was bold enough to challenge Michelle Bachelet on the guarantees he’s allegedly providing regarding education: “We’re the only country that provided children with a Canaimita (a small, mini-laptop computer,) all their books, food, uniforms.” This isn’t only a lie, it’s also that we’re the only country that endures the collapse of all public services at once. He celebrated the “agreement” between his government and the tailor-made opposition and said that the pacts made regarding elections will “offer the most solid guarantees”. “It was in the fascist right’s plans to try to sabotage the going back to school,” said Aristóbulo Istúriz; let’s never forget.
Brief and Dire
– Cavilac said that demand has decreased because of the decrease of the purchasing power. According to their figures, demand dropped 60% in a month and a half.
– Cavidea also registered a 96% decrease in food consumption. Purchase of animal protein has fallen 86%, carbs 68%, roots and tubers 56% and legumes around 60%.
– Spanish justice denied Hugo “El Pollo” Carvajal’s extradition to the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking crimes, said the Audiencia Nacional. Justices also ordered Carvajal’s freedom, who will have to show up in court every 15 days. Oh, Spain.
– On Saturday, Houthi rebels attacked with drones Saudi Arabia’s two main oil facilities. Saudi Arabia is the world’s first oil provider, covering around 10% of global demand. The price of oil immediately increased.
– This setback in Saudi oil production equals almost 6% of world consumption, but the full impact remains to be seen. Reuters consulted analysts who said that the initial increase could very well reach $100, if the problem isn’t solved in the short term (one to three months).
Ruling chavismo tries to adapt the country to the script they need, again. Somehow, there are spheres of power where the institutionality that they have destroyed, still matters. They want to control the National Assembly after they declared it to be “in contempt” to deprive it from making decisions, after persecuting over 70 deputies, after coming up with the ANC aberration. If the complex humanitarian emergency and hyperinflation could be solved with pointless pacts celebrated between illegitimate officers, that’d be cool, but our crisis keeps getting worse. These agreements are part of their script, no commitment, no chance, no grounds.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.