Photo: Noticiero Venevisión

Another Day, Another Opposition Party Hijacked

The regime moves forward in its plan to organize elections it can’t lose; Maduro premieres a new slogan: “EU out of Venezuela!”

  • Copying the sentence issued on Monday night against opposition party Acción Democrática, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice issued another ruling suspending Primero Justicia’s leadership. The decision imposed a board led by deputy José Dionisio Brito, who was expelled from PJ in December for his ties with corruption schemes and then helped install the fake board of authorities controlled by chavismo in January.  The TSJ has now given away the spot on the ballot and all of PJ’s symbols for the next election. 
  • This is how the tribunal keeps creating the “conditions” that Nicolás needs in order to “win” anyway it can: a partial, illegitimate electoral referee, opponents bought by chavismo, a broad ballot with “opposition” parties but controlled by PSUV. The TSJ decision about this same process with Leopoldo Lopez’s party Voluntad Popular is even broader, with a request for interpretation that went to another chamber. They don’t know whether to call VP a terrorist organization or if they’ll give their spot to other members of their prêt-à-porter opposition. 
  • Even more worked-up than usual, Nicolás went on a mandatory national broadcast to inaugurate the most unequal electoral campaign—imagine that—in 21 years chavismo has been in power. He ordered PSUV candidates to be presented in a week and the roadmaps to establish alliances with other parties. He said that “the stability of the Legislative Branch will be reestablished.”
  • The chief of Euro diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said that he considers an independent and balanced electoral institution to be key for a credible electoral process, and “equal conditions that allow political parties and candidates’ participation.” Nicolás answered with a new slogan: “EU, out of Venezuela! That’s it! Enough of your colonialist vision. We don’t care about the EU or anything else.” 
  • Acción Democrática’s secretary general Henry Ramos Allup, rejected the TSJ’s ruling that pretty much hijacks his political party: “The regime, without democratic opposition parties that can run in this election, has decided to kidnap and assault the spots on the ballot that belong to political parties, using their own law firm, what they call the Supreme Tribunal of Justice,” he said. He called Bernabé Gutiérrez an unsupported “deserter.” Gutiérrez was expelled from AD, “for violating his duties as a militant.” Gutiérrez, in a letter addressed to members of the party, said that during his rule of AD, they’ll stop working under a dictatorship and assured that they’ll be part of the next elections. Ramos Allup and the Central Committee of AD were part of the appointment ceremony of Carlos Prosperi as the new secretary general. 
  • José Brito, during his first interview as the ruler of Primero Justicia’s shell, attacked the opposition leadership and accused the caretaker government of corruption. He used the argument of “the revenge of the regions” to explain his betrayal. He justified the agreement with Nicolás with “who else would do it?” He also called journalist Roberto Deniz  “a criminal and a lapdog of journalism” who’s part of Armando.Info’s team in exile, because he didn’t like the published piece on Alex Saab’s tour to clean up his image. 
  • 88 cases of COVID-19 were registered on Tuesday, for a total of 3,150. Out of the new cases, 47 are local infections, 31 of which are associated with the outbreak in Las Pulgas market in Maracaibo, with 273 cases and 8 deaths. Nicolás said this is all because of “this aggressive new strain,” an unnecessary lie. He reported the death of an 80-year-old man in Caricuao (Capital District), and even though the total is 27 deaths, Nicolás didn’t mention that Dr. Samuel Viloria died, an epidemiologist and former director of Maracaibo’s University Hospital, or that he was the first doctor to die in Venezuela because of COVID-19. 
  • Nicolás’s Education minister, Aristóbulo Istúriz, was appointed as protector of Anzoátegui state and PSUV vice president for the state. The “protector” is a figure invented by chavismo to impose authorities where they don’t win elections. This appointment is another obstacle for adeco governor Antonio Barreto Sira and a move for advancing the electoral campaign in the region. Nicolás added last night: “It seems that the governors of Táchira, Mérida, Nueva Esparta and Anzoátegui resigned, that’s what I’m told (…) that they won’t be participating in elections any more, that they’re quitting politics. It’s regrettable, because they won with votes,” and he added that it was a direct order by James Story, the U.S. Embassy chargé d’affaires. 
  • Venezuelan oil exports have dropped 28% in the first two weeks of June, to 325,000 bpd, their lowest in over 70 years. In 2013, when Nicolás started pretending to be working, exports were 2 million bpd. And even though owners and operators of tankers are suspending contracts with PDVSA, Reuters reported that Venezuela has so far exported two oil shipments to Cuba (Icaro y Sandino) in June, equal to 63,000 bpd. By the way, Brazilian oil company Petrobras won’t accept ships or tankers that have loaded oil or its derivatives or worked in Venezuelan ports. 
  • For the fourth year in a row, the Venezuelan economy, in recession since 2013 and hyperinflation since 2017, is the least competitive in the world, according to the results of the annual analysis by IMD’s World Competitiveness Ranking. 
  • On Tuesday, the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office called Alex Saab to court for money laundering, the crime for which he was detained in Cabo Verde, with an American warrant. The institution said that it’ll go through with the process and investigations against Saab, even though he’s not in the country. Foreign Relations commissioner, Julio Borges, warned about Alex Saab’s record and asked the government of Cabo Verde to support the extradition request. He mentioned Saab’s illegal operations, emphasizing he became rich using Venezuelans’ hunger and that he has traded illegal gold that allegedly finances terrorist groups. 
  • Uruguayan Foreign minister, Ernesto Talvi, said that the International Contact Group rejects the way in which the National Electoral Council was established, “without AN participation, against what’s established in the Constitution and damaging the credibility of the electoral process.” 
  • Swedish Foreign minister Ann Linde had a meeting with Juan Guaidó and expressed their support for the struggle of Venezuelan democrats, as their concern for their safety. 
  • José Brito told a really tall lie: “There hasn’t been an election with more quorum than the one where Luis Parra was elected (…) the only person missing was Juan Guaidó.” Remember the election of the parallel board was rejected even by Russia and forced them to come up with this plan using TSJ. All the TSJ is missing at this point is appointing the deputies itself. While all this happens, chavismo needs to fracture the opposition even more and delegitimize Juan Guaidó before the international community. Expropriating parties won’t solve their legitimacy problem or facilitate the much needed financing.

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.