Photo: Venezuela’s National Assembly.
  • With 93 deputies in the session, the National Assembly approved modifying the rules of internal debate to allow the use of new technologies and, with it, have lawmakers who are exiled or hiding because of political persecution participating in sessions. Deputy Manuela Bolívar said that this is how they protect “the parliamentary majority the people elected and the desperate regime is trying to destroy.” This exercise proves that Juan Guaidó has the votes to be re-elected as speaker of the AN on January, 5th, 2020. 
  • Regarding the debate, the chavista faction (recently reincorporated after being away for three years) left the building. The CLAP faction did the same: José Antonio España, Adolfo Superlano, José Gregorio Aparicio, José Brito, Luis Parra and Conrado Pérez. 
  • Special Attorney General José Ignacio Hernández said that the Constitution doesn’t forbid deputies from doing their jobs using technology: “According to Article 187.23, this is a managing measure that the AN can adopt (…) The internal debate rules can be modified by simple majority and in one single session, since it’s an organizational, internal rule of the National Assembly.”
  • Professor Iria Puyosa, political communications scholar, explained that the technical solution for deputy participation and vote can be very simple: PGP-based identity certification system. Puyosa also said that no substantial investment would be required, because what’s necessary for quorum verification and participation already exists, so the main investment would be to teach deputies who are less proficient with IT how to use it. “What they need the most is security and transparency,” said Dr. Puyosa, who’s currently a guest professor at Brown University. Let’s say it again: you only need ID verification for quorum and a video conference for debate. 
  • Special Attorney General José Ignacio Hernández said that a Delaware court ratified that the regime can’t make any decisions for Citgo: “This stops in its tracks an attempt to steal over 50 million dollars worth of oil.” 
  • Economist Steve Hanke said that hyperinflation in Venezuela continues, at a rate of 7,072%. He called it the third longest in history, and said that informal dollarization is typical in countries with hyperinflation. 
  • Bloomberg reports that Nicolás and other regime officers have met with Wall Street financiers to find a proposal that will end the bond default. 
  • Five Latin American economies will contract this year alongside Venezuela (-25.5%,) Nicaragua (-5.3%,) Argentina (-3%,) Haití (-0.7%) and Ecuador (-0.2%.) 
  • During the Global Refugee Forum, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres asked the international community to do “much more to collectively assume” the load. With a record of 71 million displaced people in 2018, including 26 million refugees, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi’s perspectives are positive. Spanish minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska explained that the number of asylum applications in Spain doubled in a year, from 2018 to 2019, because of the Venezuelan exodus. The Inter-american Commission on Human Rights decried the possible irregularities on recent deportations of Venezuelans in Colombia. 
  • Deputies Jorge Millán and Carlos Lozano Parra said last night that Sebin was harassing their families.
  • The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance and Development Act (Verdad Project) which will “strengthen the mechanism and ways of pressuring Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship (…) and adds $400 million for humanitarian aid for the Venezuelan people,” said Ambassador Carlos Vecchio.
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