Photo: Noticiero Venevisión, retrieved.
  • Imagine an opposition party outlawed by chavismo in 2018, with leaders barred from public office, jailed, harassed and even with a councilman dead while in state custody. Imagine that this party, the day after a paramilitary attack near the AN, makes it to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice to “demonstrate.” That’s what chavismo faked on Thursday morning to support its CLAP deputies, with José Brito as spokesman, joined by dozens of people pretending to be Primero Justicia supporters, wearing new yellow t-shirts. According to Brito, everything that chavismo controls isn’t enough, so he’s asking the TSJ Constitutional Chamber to “give them guarantees as partisans” and appoint a new board for the organization. He’s basically stealing the party, to appear as a fake option for the opposition in the elections Nicolás needs. Brito talked about the public scorn he experienced after being expelled from PJ and about the U.S. sanctions that, according to his version, were issued to “silence the dissidence.” He said that his is a “rebellion from the ground up” inside the party and declared a rejection to tutelage. A contradiction, since he got there thanks to chavismo’s guiding hand. He ended with this little gem: “We can’t be a party of only blonde people. Black people with afros are allowed on Primero Justicia.” He didn’t mention his work in the Comptrollership Commission of the AN to improve the reputation of CLAP businessmen tied to corruption scandals, as proven by the Armando.Info investigation. 
  • After Brito’s (and the regime’s) move to steal PJ, deputy Juan Pablo Guanipa said, “They’re five times a traitor, because they betrayed the party supporting them, their families, our friendships, their constituents, and they’re Maduro and Disdado’s puppets.” Julio Borges, founder of the party, currently in exile, said that CLAP deputies are “employed by the dictatorship, bought with corruption money. Despite every attack, PJ keeps going with more determination.” 
  • Francisco Torrealba, chavista deputy at the constituent assembly, said again that the TSJ would be able to appoint the new authorities of the National Electoral Council. This was backed by deputy Timoteo Zambrano, who said that the only viable option for members of chavismo’s negotiation roundtable is to renew the CNE with a declared legislative omission from the TSJ. Zambrano thinks that Parra’s self-proclamation is as questionable as Juan Guaidó’s reelection, and since chavismo’s roundtable is in a hurry to make progress in holding parliamentary elections, the last democratic institution in the country is an obstacle. Zambrano said that deputy Gilber Caro hasn’t disappeared and, after nearly a month of Caro and journalist Víctor Ugas forced disappearance, he aspires to have “precise information about the reason for their detention.” 
  • The Special Attorney General appointed by the National Assembly said that private hydrocarbon companies must request a special permit before the AN to start activities in Venezuelan territory. They said that every contract signed by the regime that transfers exploration, exploitation and commerce rights “will be unconstitutional and won’t be seen as valid commitments by the Venezuelan state.” They’re most likely talking about Russian oil company Rosneft. 
  • UCV rector, Cecilia García Arocha, asked the TSJ to cancel sentence 0324 ordering universities to hold elections in February 2020. Yesterday, UCV administrative vice-rector Bernardo Méndez issued his resignation, and accused García Arocha of corruption. UCV secretary, Amalio Belmonte, will take over Méndez’s functions.
  • Foro Penal denounced that 13 Pemones detained in “Operation Aurora” (including a minor) have been prevented from having private defense, have been forced to declare against themselves and after almost a month of being detained, they still haven’t been able to verify the identities of all the arrested, because not all of them have been presented in court. 
  • Lawyer Theresly Malavé denounced that judge Ada Marina Armas refused to issue Metropolitan Police captain Marco Hurtado’s release from jail. Hurtado did his time,  16 years and eight months. Other than ruining his life, now he’s a victim of illegitimate deprivation of liberty and violation of his human rights. Malavé reminded the severity of deputy Gilber Caro’s forced disappearance, after 24 days without knowing his whereabouts. 
  • The European Parliament condemned the “coup attempt against the Parliament” in Venezuela on January 5th, and expressed its support for Juan Guaidó as caretaker president. They also demanded broader sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations and repression. Alejandro Giammattei, new president of Guatemala, said he’s breaking diplomatic relations with Nicolás’s regime and closing down their embassy in Venezuela. 
  • British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Violence and intimidation against members of the National Assembly in Venezuela are unsettling and must stop.” He reiterated the UK’s support for Juan Guaidó. 
  • The dictatorship’s Foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, met in China with Wang Qishan, China’s Foreign Minister and the person in charge of the Communist Party’s  international relations. 
  • Czech Foreign Minister, Tomás Petricek, questioned the attacks in Venezuela yesterday and said that Nicolás’s regime has lost the last fibers of decency, turning to violence against democratically elected lawmakers.
Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.