Rufo Chacón's case: a portrait of injustice.

Photo: America Digital

Burning Bridges with the European Union

More protests and repression, more COVID-19 cases (especially among healthcare workers), and the EU mission couldn’t delay the “election”

  • According to NGO Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictos, there were 76 protests in 19 states, most of them against lack of basic utilities and gas shortages. The Observatorio Social Humanitario registered 83 protests. However, both organizations agree that the states of Nueva Esparta, Sucre and Anzoátegui had the most simultaneous protests. GNB officers used tear gas and rubber pellets to repress a peaceful protest in Carúpano (Sucre state, on the eastern coast), while deep down south, in Upata, citizens with pots and pans managed to interrupt a PSUV campaign event. The National Assembly’s Interior Policy Commission reported 287 protests in the last week for lack of public utilities. Deputies Delsa Solórzano and Freddy Valera said that 31 people had been detained, including senior citizens, 13 people had been taken to hearings, and there’s been excessive use of force and firearms to repress the protests. They also have witnesses saying that illegal raids took place in Yaracuy state; it looks like an extra effort by Maduro’s regime to prove that violating human rights is a state policy. 
  • ANC-imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab said on state-owned TV station VTV that during the last three years, “140 officers who have violated human rights have been charged, with definite, firm sentences,” and mentioned the case of Rufo Chacón’s attackers. Adriana Parada, Rufo’s mother, said that the officers who attacked her son are free and she demanded they be taken to court. Parada invited Saab to read the documents presented by prosecutors, because they didn’t work on the officers’ individual responsibilities and created a confusing file, allowing the judge to “establish lower crimes and sentences.” Rufo Chacón, 17 years old, lost his eyesight when Táchira state police officers shot rubber pellets to his face, during a protest against the shortage of cooking gas in 2019. Despite this and because she demands justice, lawyers and family members have been threatened, attacked and harassed: “Adriana and Rulfo have been victims of robberies twice, right after they demanded justice,” said their lawyer.
  • Nicolás’s foreign minister, his ombudsman and his prosecutor general presented their report on human rights (Venezuela’s Truth Against Infamy) to Aldo Giordano (Italian prelate of the Catholic Church and Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela), and the UN’s General Coordinator in the country, Peter Grohmann, so he can give it to Secretary General António Guterres, because they’re convinced that they can compete against the protocols and the credibility of the Human Right Council’s Fact-Finding Mission  and disregard the accusations of crimes against humanity. 
  • The Human Rights Council debate about the Venezuelan situation ended yesterday. It was proved that Nicolás’s regime only has the support of other dictatorships and states accused of violating human rights: Belarus, China, North Korea,Cuba, Iran, Laos, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Syria and Russia, 11 out of 63 countries that participated in the debate. Only Venezuela has the right to vote in the UNHRC. 
  • The CNE published several changes on its timetable for the “elections” that affect several audit processes. CNE vice president Leonardo Morales said that changes are due to an extension of the nominations, which led to the modification of some activities, including software audits (October 12th- 23rd); totalization software (October 2nd-13th,); voting lists (October 2nd-4th); production of electoral instruments (October 12th-31st), among others.
  • The Health Emergency Commissioner, José Manuel Olivares, assured on Monday that  1,277 people have died of COVID-19, twice as much as the regime reported. The deputy accused chavismo of trying to build a fake reality to be able to hold their “elections”. 
  • Olivares reiterated that Venezuela is the country with the lowest amount of PCT tests, that tests take 15 to 20 days and that the situation of supplies in hospitals is precarious. 
  • NGO Médicos Unidos por Venezuela reported that five healthcare workers died of COVID-19, for a total of 200 deaths.  
  • Nicolás’s Communications minister, Freddy Ñañez, reported  837 new cases and eight deaths, for a total of 73,528 cases and 614 deaths they’ve admitted to.
  • Juan Guaidó backed the protests: “The dictatorship hasn’t yet understood what our people need and what has generated the utmost rejection for the regime,” he wrote after the regime repressed protests in Carúpano, and added that Venezuelans don’t need “tear gas but cooking gas; no es plomo, es gasolina sin plomo”.
  • The first oil tanker from Iran is near Margarita island. It’s expected to arrive to Venezuela on Tuesday. Reuters reported that one ship that was carrying 100,000 barrels of gas, that was allegedly on its way to Venezuela, arrived at a U.S. port, according to Refinitiv Eikon.
  • The black market dollar is now over 440,728 bolivars, according to the average by Monitor Dólar Venezuela. The official rate is 421,193.87 bolivars. 
  • Newspaper Tal Cual said that the mission sent by the European Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell couldn’t achieve postponing the “elections”, in order to guarantee democratic conditions, needed to recognize the election and the results. Europeans Enrique Mora and Javier Niño talked to candidate Jorge Rodríguez and his sister Delcy, and as always, they spoke of the many strengths of their system, quoting the Constitution as an argument for not changing the date of the elections and opened a “crack” to keep talking. They also talked to Juan Guaidó, Henrique Capriles, Nicolás’s prêt-à-porter opposition, and representatives of the church and civil society. It’s unlikely that Borrell will comment on his commission’s results while they’re still in the country, especially considering the complex agenda. Burning bridges with the EU would be a huge mistake on Nicolás’s part.

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.