Lunch Break: Only With Russian Support

Luis Parra and his made-up legislative board tried to start a parliamentary session today, and they literally ran off when the actual board, along with other opposition deputies, showed up for work. The events of Sunday 5th still generate ripples in foreing and domestic arenas.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido (C) delivers a speech after being re-elected Venezuela's parliament speaker during a parliamentary session with allied lawmakers at the offices of the El Nacional newspaper in Caracas, on January 5, 2020 after being prevented from entering the National Assembly. - Venezuela's opposition denounced a "parliamentary coup" on Sunday after its leader Juan Guaido was prevented from entering the National Assembly by police and a rival tried to take his role as speaker. (Photo by Yuri CORTEZ / AFP) (Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo: La Gran Época, retrieved.
  • On Monday January 6th, the caretaker president Juan Guaidó and the new authorities of our National Assembly said that on Tuesday 7th, the session would be held at the Federal Legislative Palace. Yes, once more downtown. The NA Speaker condemned the “unprecedented aggression” of Sunday, which left injured journalists and lawmakers, like deputy Elimar Díaz, with a fractured shoulder. Guaidó said there’s only one National Assembly: “Saying there’s another one is cooperating with the dictatorship.” He reminded everyone that the CLAP deputies (Luis Parra, Franklyn Duarte, José Gregorio Noriega and Negal Morales) were expelled from their parties, so they should be considered PSUV deputies and “saying they’re opposition means following the dictatorship’s narrative.” He also said that calling Maduro’s regime anything else is also collaboration. “Tomorrow, it’s our lives on the line again,” he foretold. Second vice-president Carlos Berrizbeitia said that “Parliament was forcefully taken by four institutions; FAES, (the national police force) PNB, (the national guard) GNB and (intelligence apparatus) Sebin.” 
  • On Tuesday morning, state security forces repeated the ploy: they allowed Parra and some other deputies in, and without enough attendance or the right to do so, Parra opened a session. They left the Legislative Palace soon after, as Guaidó and a bunch of opposition deputies, including the new board elected at El Nacional, overcame the GNB blockade at the outside gates and the inner halls. They started a real session immediately, while the Palace’s lights went off. Using the light of their cellphones, they approved the Sunday election and Juan Guaidó took oath as Speaker and caretaker president, this time at the National Assembly.
  • Emilio Graterón, Voluntad Popular’s spokesman, said that after the events of Sunday chavismo intends to steal his party’s identity, using the name and colors, and “hand them over to those puppets,” meaning the Clap faction. “What else are they going to take from us? They’ve called us terrorists, they barred us from running for office, we’ve been persecuted, tortured, one of our deputies is now missing and kidnapped, Gilber Caro.” 
  • Luis Parra, deputy expelled from Primero Justicia and self-proclaimed speaker of the AN in an illegal event, said Monday night that the necessary attendance was 150 deputies (although the day before he said 140,) that he did roll call (without a list) and that they got 81 votes: 30 opposition and 51 chavista, despite having said on Sunday that there were 86 votes. There’s no way to verify that because the list “is getting made,” along with the session record. Parra said they didn’t vote one by one because the vote in Parliament is always collective. He asked for evidence of his participation in the image restoration of CLAP businessman Alex Saab, and evidence of bribes to make him self-proclaim. He introduced everyone in the CLAP faction as members of their actually former parties and promised to appoint a new CNE. He downplayed how most countries won’t recognize his leadership and said that deputies would be allowed inside the building on Tuesday with their rights respected… as long as they recognize him as Speaker.  
  • Later, ANC deputy Francisco Torrealba (from PSUV) announced they’d be releasing 14 prisoners (not all of them political prisoners) to preserve the negotiation efforts. Javier Bertucci, after recognizing it, said that he expects the self-proclaimed board to join the Negotiation Roundtable (wasn’t it a “dialogue table”?) and asked the regime to lift the contempt decree, so the AN can appoint a new election board. 
  • Diosdado Cabello said that the attendance of Sunday was 127 deputies (23 less than what Parra said.) He also said that the Argentinian Foreign Minister, who decried the Parliament takeover, said “something idiotic”: “We’ve never needed Argentina. They’ll figure out if they’ll stand behind the people or if they’ll be the empire’s suck up!” 
  • The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, congratulated Juan Guaidó for his reelection and assured the White House and other 57 countries see him as the legitimate leader of the AN. The Special Envoy Elliott Abrams said that “the U.S. will do more to help the AN and its legitimate leadership, as well as the Venezuelan people’s efforts by putting more pressure on the dictatorship, its leaders, its allies in Venezuela and abroad.” Vice-President Mike Pence said he had talked to Guaidó and congratulated him on his reelection, saying he’ll support the democratic cause until “freedom is restored.” 
  • Germany criticized Maduro’s regime for trying to manipulate the AN election and reiterated support for Guaidó. In name of the European Union, Josep Borrell condemned the irregularities in the “Constitutional and democratic operations” of the National Assembly, so they continue to back Guaidó as speaker of the AN. 
  • Only Russia backed Luis Parra, saying his fake appointment was “the result of a legitimate democratic process.” Moscow called both parties to avoid confrontation and discourage chaos so a dialogue can happen. 
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the same as always: he’s concerned and he calls for measures to dissipate tensions. 
  • Once more, state security bodies harassed opposition deputies at the Paseo Las Mercedes Hotel, raided twice in three days. This time they closed it down for five days through the tax overseer entity, Seniat.

Naky Soto

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.