Photo: WAMU, retrieved.
- On February 4th, the most important event was U.S. President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech. Caretaker President Juan Guaidó was one of his guests of honor, an extraordinary privilege; “The U.S. is leading a diplomatic coalition of 59 countries against the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolás Maduro. Maduro is an illegitimate ruler, a tyrant who brutalizes his people. But Maduro’s grip on tyranny will be smashed and broken. Here this evening, is a very brave man, who carries with him the hopes, dreams and aspirations of all Venezuelans. The true legitimate president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, joins us in the gallery,” said Trump. The standing ovation that followed this comment was impressive and both parties clapped for Guaidó. Trump continued: “President Guaidó, please take this message back that all Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom. Socialism destroys nations.” Trump’s support for Venezuelan democracy gains momentum and reminds us we’re not alone. The long applause by everyone in the room was moving and it was more important than Guaidó, an entire nation clapping for another, greeting the hope for freedom, our freedom.
- Nicolás’s government blocked the IACHR delegation visit to Venezuela, stopping them from boarding their Copa Airlines flight in Panama. While they solve the dilemma about the airline’s authority to forbid boardings, the IACHR regretted and rejected Nicolás’s decision and announced that the delegation will meet with victims of human rights violations and their families in the Colombia-Venezuela border: “Authoritarian regimes don’t allow international observation or analyzing the human rights situation,” says the IACHR. That’s how you hurt victims and make NGOs jobs more difficult. The fact that we already know that chavismo despises justice and human rights, doesn’t make it less serious. If there’s a country denying justice for its citizens, international organizations exist to help the victims.
- In the National Assembly: Deputies rejected the blocking of the IACHR visit. The AN suggested they could be intermediaries for the victims’ testimonies to the IACHR; An agreement against Cuban interference in Venezuela was signed, after Nicolás included the Cuban ambassador in his cabinet; An early warning agreement about the coronavirus, and a rulebook for managing and controlling the epidemic was approved, to be distributed in health centers, airports, migration checkpoints and customs; Tax and fiscal announcements by the ANC were rejected, because they’re unconstitutional. The AN foresees that they could cause a contraction bigger than the one in 2019 (36%), the worst the nation has ever seen, larger than the Spanish contraction during their civil war; Deputies approved the creation of a commission for the Litigations Fund and a unanimous agreement to support Luis Almagro’s re-election as OAS secretary general.
- Chavismo’s founding date was celebrated with a sort of allegory: World Cancer Day is the same day as the anniversary of the failed coup (with soldiers who were taken there under false pretense). Nicolás assured that 1992 was “a scream that marked the country’s history” and that Hugo Chávez started building “a free, sovereign, independent country.” That’s why he demanded initiatives to “solve problems” and even though he tried to dignify the date, he insulted caretaker president Juan Guaidó several times and called himself the “true president.” He should have said “de facto.”
- Despite the inflation figures reported by Venezuela’s Central Bank (BCV) today, Nicolás was optimistic: “I can handle this and much more, but I can’t do it alone.” He said that he advances while the democratic cause keeps making a fool of itself. He didn’t say where he’s advancing to. He blamed “bureaucrats and minimalists” (sic) and people infiltrated in key positions. He vowed to lead (?).
- According to the BCV, inflation in 2019 was 9,585 %, a figure higher than the one reported by the National Assembly: 7,374 %. Venezuela still has the highest inflation rate in the world and hyperinflation continues.
- Nicolás received the reform on the Law for the FANB (Lofan), giving it Constitutional rank. This law integrates militias as a FANB component; he also demanded military exercises on February 15th and February 16th.
- One month after the self-proclamation of the CLAP authorities serving chavismo, a special commission was appointed yesterday for speeding up the process of overruling the contempt sentence on the AN, imposed by the Judicial Branch over the Legislative. The self-proclaimed will lead their own commission.
- Residents of Bolívar state are victims of amputations and other atrocious abuses by armed groups that control the gold mines, including organizations known as “syndicates” and Colombian paramilitaries, said HRW director for the Americas José Miguel Vivanco.
- UN Secretary General António Guterres admitted that this institution’s ability to push for a political solution to solve the Venezuelan crisis is limited, but emphasized it’s the only way.
- Yesterday afternoon, Guaidó announced that Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno, “is still closely supporting the Venezuelan cause and the situation in our country. We’re joining efforts to achieve freedom in Venezuela, so we can have free presidential elections.”
- Amnesty International condemned that the Peruvian government is blocking the access of Venezuelans applying for asylum. They criticized the switch of policy, when international protection for Venezuelans was offered in 2019.
- China’s National Sanitary Commission reported that 490 people have died out of the 24,324 coronavirus cases. The commission says that they have registered 3,219 severe cases and 892 have recovered.
- SOTU, Trump, Guaidó and Estado de la Unión, were trending on Twitter last night in Venezuela. There’s no amount of bots that can beat the power of something organic. Support for Guidó is a victory. Happy February 4th!
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