Photo: El Independiente

Opposition Figure Nicmer Evans Has Been Detained

The reason for his arrest was wishing Fidel Madroreño a long life; We’re getting close to 10,000 COVID-19 cases and 100 deaths

  • Over the weekend, PSUV militant Fidel Madroreño reported his COVID-19 contagion. Nicmer Evans, lawyer, director of news site Punto de Corte, former chavista and a strong opponent to the regime, wished him “a long life, so we can get justice on earth before divine justice.” One of Madroreño’s colleagues in propaganda TV show Zurda Konducta, Pedro Carvajalino, threatened to punch Evans, who replied his message could be interpreted as a promotion of hate and added “whenever you want, Pedro.” On Monday, CICPC detectives held Nicmer Evans’s family under custody during a raid to his house. From there, they took his lawyer, Álvaro Herrera, as a witness.  Evans himself was found by security officers later. He recorded the moment when they presented him a warrant. Promoting hate is what he’s been accused of. “Being critical, and resisting tyranny can’t be considered hate,” said Evans before his arrest. The warrant was issued by the 21st Court of the Metropolitan Caracas Area, led by judge José Márquez. 
  • On Monday, they registered 242 new cases of COVID-19 in Venezuela and four deaths, said Nicolás’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, for a total of 9,707 cases and 93 deaths they’ve admitted to. On the same phone call, Delcy said that because of the increase of cases in the Capital District (824) and Miranda (556), they decided that both entities will be on radical quarantine level 1 starting immediately. On Monday, the Capital District registered 69 cases of COVID-19. That’s what happens when you improvise.
  • Zulia has had 2,003 cases, according to Zulia state official and governor’s right hand, Lisandro Cabello (who said that patients were “biological weapons”). According to their figures, there have been 33 deaths in Zulia. 
  • Nueva Esparta governor Alfredo Díaz demanded the Commission Against COVID-19 an explanation about the cases detected in Coche, because that small island has been locked down for a month. 
  • Over 30 cases of COVID-19 have been registered in the most important military base of Caracas, Fuerte Tiuna, between July 9th and July 12th, among military officers and Defense Ministry workers, said a source in the Health Ministry to El Nacional. From July 1st to July 12th, they ran 392 PCR tests, out of which 67 came back positive. A total of 53 cases in military officers and Health Ministry personnel, including 11 Russians, said the source. 
  • Sudeban adjusted banking activities according to the flexibilization program. As it was expected, those in radical quarantine won’t be working, those in partial flexibilization will have reduced hours and the rest will operate normally from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
  • Using an Armed Forces Twitter account (@ceofanb), Venezuelans who return using shortcuts (called “trochas” in the local parlance) are being called “bioterrorists,”  stigmatizing them with the slogan: “Denounce them without anyone finding out it was you.” 
  • The National Civil Aeronautics Institute reported the extension of flight restriction in Venezuela until August 12th, 2020. Flights carrying mail or cargo, technical landings, humanitarian flights, repatriation flights or flights authorized by the UN are allowed.
  • Rafael Simón Jiménez, vice president of the CNE imposed by the TSJ, said: “In a way, we get things, let’s call them half-ready from the mesita,” admitting that Nicolás’s prêt-à-porter opposition makes the decisions and the Electoral Branch isn’t independent. Jiménez also confessed that the new distribution of seats was decided by the roundtable and that he doesn’t know where funds for this election will come from. 
  • The Electoral Registry started on Monday, for those interested in signing up or updating their data in the CNE. The participation rate was low, even though there were plenty of people on the streets. 
  • At least 109 citizens and human rights NGOs in Venezuela were attacked on the first half of 2020, a situation that has gotten worse because of COVID-19, according to a study published on Monday by the Centro para los Defensores y la Justicia: “The Venezuelan State continues to attack those who defend human rights under the logic of domestic enemy,” says the report. 
  • NGO Foro Penal reported that 21 teenagers detained for resisting authority in El Tocuyo, Lara, were released with precautionary measures. 
  • Lawyer Rafael Narváez assured that Nicolás’s Defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, became the TSJ’s ally to violate electoral rights: “The TSJ, which illegally appointed a new CNE and took over political parties (…) found a new ally to violate Venezuelans’ electoral rights.” Narváez said that Padrino has become a political leader and he should resign from his military post. 
  • Colombian and now Venezuelan citizen Álex Saab, accused of being Nicolás’s middleman, hired former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón to defend him from extradition to the U.S. and the charges he’s facing in Cape Verde, confirmed his lawyer José Manuel Pinto Monteiro. Garzón will lead “a process against the U.S. and Cape Verde in The Hague’s International Criminal Court for violating Álex Saab’s immunity,” Pinto told EFE. He will also try to open an indemnization process for the Cape Verdean State for “damages to their patrimony and image”. The indemnization he’ll be asking for is around 5 to 12 million dollars. Saab protested for the conditions in his cell, he complained because of mosquito bites and has requested that a doctor visits his cell to supervise his health, and he considers his food isn’t adequate. 
  • Also, according to the news agency EFE, Saab’s extradition process was approved by the government of Cape Verde, although the decision itself must be ratified by a local court.
  • Elections in Venezuela must be “democratic, legitimate and fair” in order to recognize the result, said Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya, after a meeting with her European counterparts. “The next legislative elections in Venezuela [have to be] democratic, legitimate and fair, as a guarantee so the European Union and its member states can recognize this result,” she said. 
  • Josep Borrell mentioned he intends to call a meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) with key players—like the Lima Group—to discuss parliamentary elections. “And to send a strong message to Maduro’s regime about their last decisions on the matter,” added Borrell. 
  • Slovakian Foreign minister Ivan Korcok called for all countries in the EU to recognize Juan Guaidó as caretaker president, as they did in early July. 25 countries in the EU recognize Guaidó except Cyprus and Italy. 
  • Donald Trump’s government has focused on enforcing sanctions on maritime cargo companies to isolate Nicolás’s regime, said Elliott Abrams, Washington’s special envoy for Venezuela. “What you’ll see is most carriers, insurance companies and captains will stay away. For them, it’s not worth the trouble or the risk,” said Abrams. 
  • Bill Richardson, former New Mexico governor, said that he’s planning on coming to Venezuela to meet with Nicolás in order to release Americans detained in our country, which would be a step to ease tensions with Washington.  Richardson has opened diplomatic channels with hostile governments before, including Iran, Cuba and North Korea, to release around 40 Americans.

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.