Lunch Break: Luis Parra Gets a Whole Lot of Backup
Different forces in chavismo offer full support for self-proclaimed National Assembly speaker, Luis Parra; Parra, meanwhile, swears he's part of the opposition and he totally had the needed votes for the speaker post; Venezuelan economy keeps making twists and turns.
- The national constituent assembly is a fake instrument that Diosdado Cabello uses as he sees fit, to recognize self-proclaimed Luis Parra as speaker of the National Assembly, for example. On Wednesday,Cabello ordered Parra to go to the TSJ and request a review of the orders declaring the AN in contempt, with the promise that the PSUV would contribute to the future of the Legislative Branch, and he still says that the dispute over the AN leadership has nothing to do with chavismo. Later that night, Maduro echoed the script when he proclaimed his “full support to the ANC to bring order back.”
- Luis Parra indeed offered to normalize relations between groups in the AN. The deputy tied to corruption (and an ally of chavismo) said that the CLAP fraction will work for deputy Requesens’s freedom and will “demand justice for the murder of Fernando Albán,” even though he’s in league with those responsible for the councilman’s death (the Albán team later criticized him for using Albán’s name, a victim of “forced disappearance, torture and extrajudicial execution.”) In an interview with EFE, Parra said that repression against the AN is routine now and he changed his explanation about not having proof of the alleged 81 deputies voting for him on Sunday; on Monday, he said Héctor Agüero had the list with 81 names, on Tuesday he said that it was a show-of-hands vote because of “evident majority” and on Wednesday he said they’re checking the video to see who raised their hand, disregarding the the issue because “it’s in the past.” He considers himself the AN speaker and that’s it.
- Nicolás’s variety show took place at the Military Academy, in what he called “a strategic meeting” with 1,159 commanders of the Popular Integral Defense Groups working in 1,141 parishes of the country. Joined by his Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López and the commander of the National Bolivarian Militia, Manuel Bernal Martínez, Nicolás celebrated the existence of 3,778,334 militias. The alleged structure of the Popular Integral Defense Groups will join the Popular Integral Defense Base, so there won’t be a slum that isn’t monitored, in a structure that will control and oversee elections. All of this in uniforms, because amidst a humanitarian emergency, Nicolás ordered 2 million outfits for militias. Padrino López said that groups and units for Integral Defense have been trained in “armed and unarmed combat.” He also said that the FANB draft law has the goal of including the militia as a special component of the Armed Forces.
- Lawyer Joel García explained that the judge ruling over Roberto Marrero’s case, caretaker president Juan Guaidó’s private secretary, was removed from the case so the trial is suspended and must start over. He thinks this removal has to do with the judge’s impartiality.
- Lawyer Theresly Malavé, in charge of deputy Gilber Caro’s case, said that they still don’t know where Caro and journalist Víctor Ugas are. They were detained on December 22nd.
- Student movement leader Rafaela Requesens said that the trial against her brother, deputy Juan Requesens, will continue on Tuesday, January 14th.
- In two days, the black market dollar dropped 15%, after a 35% increase between January 2nd and January 6th (from 58,500 to 79,100 bolivars). Yesterday, the average rate was 66,847 bolivars. Deputy in exile José Guerra explained the drop obeys the BCV “burning euros,” since it doesn’t have reserves to sustain the currency.
- Deputy Ángel Alvarado warned about a possible finance operation pushed by Russia to offer oil fields as a guarantee on north of Monagas for external debt, and reminded everyone that only the National Assembly can approve external debt bonds.
- The World Bank excluded Venezuela from its projections for lack of data, even though it considers our economy will continue to deteriorate. They also foresee that mass migration will continue, despite some countries demanding visas, and warned that migration “can have important political implications in other places.”
- Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz reiterated his support for Guaidó.