Sobre las elecciones presidenciales ordenadas por la “ANC”

Prodavinci - Hace 2 horas 49 mins
Fotografía de la ANC La llamada “asamblea nacional constituyente” (“ANC”), aprobó un “Decreto que convoca a proceso electoral para la escogencia de la Presidencia de la República en el primer cuatrimestre de 2018”. Para poder analizar las implicaciones de este anuncio, debemos primero esclarecer cuál fue la decisión que adoptó la “ANC”. Técnicamente no podemos…
Categorías: Noticias

‘Voy y vuelvo’: adiós al antipoeta Nicanor Parra con sus propios versos

Prodavinci - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 21:18
El poeta chileno, creador de la antipoesía y ganador de numerosos galardones literarios, entre ellos el Premio Cervantes, murió este martes en Santiago, a los 103 años. Sus admiradores recurrieron a sus versos para darle el último adiós y lo convirtieron en tendencia mundial en las redes sociales.
Categorías: Noticias

El método del enfermero alemán acusado de 97 asesinatos

Prodavinci - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 21:06
Niels Hoegel enfrenta ya una condena a cadena perpetua por el asesinato de 6 de sus pacientes, pero como lo intuían los investigadores, este enfermero pudo provocarle la muerte a casi un centenar.
Categorías: Noticias

The 23 de Enero Myth Turns 60

Caracas Chronicles - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 20:00
Original art by @modográfico

January 23rd, 1958. One of the most important dates in Venezuelan history lays half-forgotten today, eclipsed by the infamous neighborhood named in its honor. For those who need a crash course, here’s a snazzy newsreel about it:

60 years ago, General Marcos Pérez Jiménez, dictator of Venezuela for ten years, is ousted after several weeks of revolt, fleeing to Santo Domingo. A junta led by admiral Wolfgang Larrazábal takes the government and calls for elections, won by Rómulo Betancourt, starting a period of peace and democratic stability unheard of in our history.

On the streets, people erupted in celebration. Jails full with political prisoners were emptied and government buildings were ransacked, particularly the Seguridad Nacional headquarters, the regime’s political police. Pro-government newspapers, such as El Heraldo, are burned down, loyalists went into hiding and many exiled came back.

It was a Bastille Day at the foot of the Ávila. The legendary origin of the democracy we once were so famous for, the promise that, from this date on, we would be a free, modern country and never again some militaristic, autocratic strongman would rule us.

So, what happened?


In her book The Indictment of a Dictator, Judith Ewell points out several factors that led to the weakening of Pérez Jiménez’ regime.

On the first place come the usual suspects– repression and lack of liberties, although far more repressive regimes managed to last much longer. Then, there’s the drop of oil prices in the mid 50’s, inefficient services –hinting the superbloques were a failure from the start – and rampant corruption around the government’s clique.

But the single most important factor? According to Ewell, discontent within the military:

Pérez Jiménez had ignored the military and heavily depended on Seguridad Nacional and his civilian advisors. The civilians dominated all his cabinets but the last. (…) Unfortunately, for Pérez Jiménez, the military revolt could not be stopped by last-minute concessions.

Surprising, when we consider the vast amount of projects and programs the regime aimed at the military, including supermarkets, social clubs, and hospitals. In the dictatorship’s official philosophy, called the New National Ideal, the military – in its highest moral and rational level, just like in Bolivarian times – is the baseline institution that everything else in the country should derive from.

“Venezuela marches at the pace of the Armed Forces,” Pérez Jiménez declared in a 1983 interview with historian Agustín Blanco Muñoz. “There won’t be a great Venezuelan nation without an equally great Venezuelan Armed Forces. (…) That’s what we wanted with the New National Ideal: to build a strong, dignified, prosperous nation.”

And in this philosophy, democracy was consequence of a stable, prosperous society, not its catalyzer. This was shaped, in part, by planting a sense of stratification and nation-building were democracy had no space, and making an emphasis on creating lavish works to make the common person feel proud of his nation:

Ultimately, it was the common people who lived the political repression, the ban on labor unions, the newspaper censorship, the sham elections. Some men in fatigues set the fuse alight, starting the revolt on New Year’s Eve and one of them, Wolfgang Larrazábal, became the man who called for elections.


After el 23 de enero, things were hardly settled. Everyone agreed they wanted Pérez Jiménez out, but there was far less consensus on what came next. During the uprising, protests called by local leaders of Acción Democrática and the Communist Party placed the country in a standstill, and now those leaders felt disparaged by the more moderate politicians taking over.

In a 1997 documentary about the Venezuelan guerrilla, former communist Moisés Moleiro sums up the sentiment for these young rebels:

The old leaders of Acción Democrática return from their exile and they turned out to not be what we expected. They weren’t that democratic, they weren’t (…) anti-imperialistic. They were worried because a revolution had occurred in Cuba, so they made up a very conservative government.

In 1961, Rómulo Betancourt got a second chance to lead the country, after his previous attempt was slashed by a military coup 13 years before. He still envisioned AD on the same line than Mexico’s PRI or Perú’s APRA, but now he was older, more pragmatic. Something necessary in a Caribbean increasingly shaped by Cold War politics.

This meant making stronger allies, particularly the United States. The Kennedy administration was eager to take a more flexible approach to Latin America, curtailing Castro’s revolutionary example with health and education programs, while distancing itself from unpopular, difficult authoritarian regimes that previously served as allies, such as Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, or Pérez Jiménez himself.

The man who was once harried by the US State Department was now walking around Caracas with JFK:

But Betancourt was at odds with many, including the far-left wing of his own party that would eventually split off. Nationalists across the political spectrum who once criticized the closeness of Pérez Jiménez with foreign capital saw him as a lap dog. Despite two left-leaning military uprisings, an assassination attempt and an ongoing guerilla conflict that would be conquered, he was successful on establishing a political structure that would outlive him. The guerilla, despite strategic assaults and kidnappings, never really managed to set foot beyond limited bastions.

“It never reached the masses,” Moleiro says. “It was seen with sympathy by some in the country, but no one would risk their future in that war. It was a thing for rebellious students.”


In the 1970s, Rafael Caldera’s administration called an amnesty for the leftist guerrillas and lifted the ban on the Communist Party. Many, like Moleiro, Teodoro Petkoff and Pompeyo Márquez, took the opportunity to organize their own political parties, while hardliners like Douglas Bravo accused them of selling out.

But the biggest threat for the young democracy was the return of Pérez Jiménez. Extradited in 1963, he could only face trial for embezzlement due to a legal loophole and now, after serving his term, nothing would stop him from running for public office:

The trial of Pérez Jiménez, conceived by AD as a final victory over dictatorship, became a lightning rod for discontent in conservative circles. In the 1968 Presidential Election, Cruzada Cívica Nacionalista, a far-right pro-Pérez Jiménez party, surprised everyone by getting 11% of the total vote for Miguel Ángel Burelli and in 1972, Pérez Jiménez briefly returned from Spain to write in his presidential candidacy.

According to Judith Ewell’s book, the three biggest proposals to bar Pérez Jiménez for the 1973 elections were eliminating the presidential reelection, adopting a two-round system (Caldera’s party and AD’s biggest frenemy, COPEI, preferred this) and, the ultimately approved option, a constitutional amendment barring anyone accused of public funds embezzlement to run for office.

Though this marked the political end for Pérez Jiménez, his shadow loomed then and now over Venezuela. For Ewell, the appeal is obvious: “(Voters) nostalgically yearned the relative prosperity and harmony of the 50’s.”

It’s hard to ask sacrifices from the people for freedom and democracy, when they think freedom and democracy aren’t capable to feed them.

In the 1980s, with Venezuela facing hardships after a huge economic boom, many started to reevaluate the hurried democracy Betancourt helped to establish two decades before.

Not helping the case was the sectarian, unaccountable nature of AD and COPEI, caring more about holding power than healing up a sick system. When reforms were tried, they met aversion by political factions and unrest by the citizenry.

After the February 4th coup in 1992, Rafael Caldera, the other godfather of Venezuelan democracy, sang the death rattle of whatever was born on January 23th, 1958: “It’s hard to ask sacrifices from the people for freedom and democracy, when they think freedom and democracy aren’t capable to feed them.”

Paraphrasing José Ignacio Cabrujas, a 35 year-old dream was dead and nobody seemed to mourn it. This is not for joy, as chavismo loves to say, but out of indifference. That’s how democracy dies, when it becomes a legend, something distant and mythical, and not something living, common, fragile and in need of constant care.

The post The 23 de Enero Myth Turns 60 appeared first on Caracas Chronicles.

Categorías: Noticias

April Elections: This is not a drill

Caracas Chronicles - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 19:57

I wasn’t surprised that Diosdado Cabello moved today to force a presidential election in the first quarter of 2018. Rumors about this had been circulating for some time and, in its own twisted way, the government’s decision makes sense.

Why? Because our economic crisis can only get worse. Venezuelans do not have enough money for food or medicines as it is. Even for the few who do, food and medicines are nowhere to be found. The comatose productive sector is under merciless onslaught. And the Carnet de la Patria and CLAPs barely hold back the crisis. Public services and public transport are on their last legs.  

Other things being equal, you’d rather hold a vote when there’s less social conflict than when there’s more.

Screwed up though the country is, all signs point to things getting even worse. Social tension and conflict can only grow.

Social conflict on this scale carries risks. Why take chances? Sure, the government can steal an election whenever one is held. But other things being equal, you’d rather hold a vote when there’s less social conflict than when there’s more.

Not that the coming months will be easy. The government and PDVSA must pay bondholders some $2.5 billion — in capital and interest — between February and April this year. Chances of a messy default adjudicated by gringo courts are increasing by the hour. That would mean even less food and medicines for Venezuelans.

The opposition is at one of its lowest points ever. In the coming weeks AD, PJ and VP must revalidate their status as official political parties to maintain their access to CNE ballots. That’s unpopular among their followers, because it involves recognizing the current CNE, which brazenly stole at least one governorship last October and is blatantly partisan.

Rushing the timetable will make it difficult for the opposition to rally support behind a single candidate chosen via primaries. It’ll leave the eventual candidate basically no time to campaign, to organize against fraud, or to do any of the thousand other things he would want to do to be competitive.

To make matters worse, less than a week ago the opposition was a no-show at the negotiating table in the Dominican Republic. That helps the government frame today’s decision, saying it’s the opposition that doesn’t want to negotiate and that if they won’t even talk, they have no right to complain about the electoral conditions. And just like that — poof! — the prospect of credible international monitoring disappeared.

The government betting on a fratricidal debate over abstention to depress our turnout and hand them the election.

Many within the opposition are now convinced that elections are not the answer, spending their time daydreaming about Marine Expeditionary Forces instead of doing the hard work of organizing politically. This is a serious problem for the political parties as they seek to retain ballot access, or to mobilize voters for a primary election and for the presidential vote itself.

“If the opposition is not in it to win” some will surely argue, “there’s no point in taking part.”

You can be sure the government understands this dynamic. They’re betting on a fratricidal debate over abstention to depress our turnout and hand them the election.

Just to be clear: I don’t like it and I don’t approve it. We’re heading towards a blatantly unfair vote. I just hope that the opposition, instead of spending the next week criticising what they ought to have anticipated, starts organizing right away for what’s to come.

Time’s a’wastin’.

The post April Elections: This is not a drill appeared first on Caracas Chronicles.

Categorías: Noticias

ANC ordena al CNE realizar elecciones presidenciales durante el primer cuatrimestre de 2018

Prodavinci - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 18:41
El martes 23 de enero de 2018, la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente (ANC) aprobó, mediante un acuerdo, solicitar al Consejo Nacional Electoral realizar las elecciones presidenciales para el primer cuatrimestre del 2018.
Categorías: Noticias

Dialogue RIP: Diosdado Announces Presidential Vote Before May with No Agreement

Caracas Chronicles - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 17:14

This morning, speaking to the all-chavista National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello motioned for the presidential elections to be held during the first quarter of the year, before April 30th.

Eugenio Martínez, the go-to elections journalist, shared this on Twitter:

Es evidente que una elección antes del 30 de abril carecerá de las condiciones técnicas mínimas que permitan asegurar que el chavismo (que controla el sistema) no manipulará los resultados como hizo en #Bolívar

— Eugenio G. Martínez (@puzkas) January 23, 2018

It’s obvious that an election before April 30 will lack the minimal technical conditions that could guarantee that chavismo (in control of the system) won’t manipulate the results like they did in #Bolívar State.

We all saw it coming, but it’s obviously enraging and worrisome. This announcement short-circuits the negotiations with the opposition in the Dominican Republic, which were supposed to be precisely about the when and how of Presidential Elections this year. 

The recall referendum in 2016 didn’t happen because, according to the CNE, there wasn’t enough time. Now, an illegitimate body might decide the fate of the country and we all know which color they’ll want the map to be. 

This story will be updated as soon as we can confirm more information.

The post Dialogue RIP: Diosdado Announces Presidential Vote Before May with No Agreement appeared first on Caracas Chronicles.

Categorías: Noticias

23 de enero de 1958: El clero en la lucha

Prodavinci - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 14:50
El 1° de mayo del año pasado (1957) —fiesta del trabajo— los curas párrocos de Venezuela leyeron en los púlpitos una carta pastoral del arzobispo de Caracas, Monseñor Rafael Arias. En ella se analizaba la situación obrera del país, se planteaban francamente los problemas de la clase trabajadora y se evocaba en sus términos esenciales la doctrina social de la Iglesia.
Categorías: Noticias

El espíritu del 23 de Enero

Prodavinci - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 14:19
El 23 de enero de 1958 amaneció con las calles desbordadas de gente celebrando el derrocamiento de la dictadura militar. El triunfo de la libertad no fue obra exclusiva de un grupo, sino de la acción mancomunada de quienes luchaban con vocación democrática.
Categorías: Noticias

You Wouldn’t Work a Whole Day for Five Cents Either

Caracas Chronicles - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 13:00
Original art by @modográfico

I’m obsessed with these stories about Metro de Caracas workers who can no longer afford to work. They’re fascinating as human interest stories, yes. But that’s not why I’m obsessed. I’m obsessed by their strategic implications. Because, these aren’t stories about the Metro de Caracas at all; they’re the tip of an iceberg. Absenteeism is the big Venezuela story of 2018.

If Metro workers can’t afford to work, workers throughout the economy can’t either. But what happens in a country where no one can afford to work anymore? That’s the early challenge hyperinflation poses, and it’s one whose answer is far from clear.

To grasp why, you need to understand what’s different about the Venezuelan hyperinflation, what sets it apart from the classic Latin American hyperinflations of the 1970s and 80s.

It’s not the run-up: like all hyperinflations, Venezuela’s took hold after a long period of persistent high inflation. Price rise in the 5-50% range per month has been with us for some time, and that’s the usual pattern: countries don’t tip from low inflation to hyperinflation at once – they do so after high inflation has become “normal”.

Absenteeism isn’t an annoyance. It’s workers’ only rational reaction.

Now, the typical pattern in Latin America was that countries tipped from persistent high inflation to hyperinflation in large part due to wage indexing. To compensate for fast rising prices, labor unions bargained successfully for automatic cost-of-living adjustments indexed to the monthly inflation rate. If last month’s inflation was 15%, you need to hike up my salary 15% this month to make up for it.

It’s easy to see how wage indexing can tip a persistent-high-inflation situation into hyperinflation: it creates a positive feedback loop between prices and salaries that naturally tends to spiral out of control. Under wage indexing, rational expectations are that governments will be forced to print ever larger sums of money to cover automatically upward wages – a situation that defeats the original purpose. Wages always lag behind the rate of price rise. It’s a terrible idea.

What’s bizarre about the Venezuelan case is that the economy has tipped into hyperinflation without any plan of wage indexing at all. In fact, with the Consumer Price Index no longer officially published, it’s not even clear what a labor union would ask for wages to be indexed against. There’s no index.

So now prices are doubling every 30-odd days and salaries aren’t even pretending to keep pace. That’s what makes the Venezuelan hyperinflation so corrosive – there isn’t the pretense of an attempt to protect purchasing power over time. This is most visible in the parallel-exchange rate value of wages, which has crashed to now laughable levels. Who can work for 5 cents a day? But that’s what the minimum wage amounts to these days.

What happens in a country where no one can afford to work anymore? That’s the early challenge hyperinflation poses.

That being the case, absenteeism isn’t an annoyance. It’s workers’ only rational reaction. It’s the only way to cope with a situation where the cost of actually turning up to work exceeds any imaginable measure of the benefit received. That’s why you need to pay attention to the Metro worker no longer able to afford laundry for his uniform.

Those Metro stories are about the Venezuelan economy writ-large. Amid hyperinflation, without wage indexing, rational workers won’t turn up to work. They can’t. They know that under the firing freeze (inamovilidad laboral) they can’t be fired even if they don’t show up. And they need to spend that time hustling for side-income. There’s no other way to feed the kids.

Now where exactly is the threshold where absenteeism causes the public sector – and much of the private – to stop operating, even marginally? And what happens inside the Armed Forces, where it’s a crime for soldiers to go absent without leave, but where remaining in service means condemning your family to hunger?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. But they are the big riddles facing Venezuela in 2018.

The post You Wouldn’t Work a Whole Day for Five Cents Either appeared first on Caracas Chronicles.

Categorías: Noticias

El discurso de Luis Castro Leiva sobre el 23 de enero de 1958

Prodavinci - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 13:00
No sería inapropiado comenzar en tono confesional. Después de todo no otra cosa hizo el primer venezolano que escribiera para Hispanoamérica el primer tratado de teoría política que se conoce en nuestra historia. Hablo del prócer Juan Germán Roscio y no, como sugieren el cinismo y pragmatismo políticos del momento, del nombre de algún audaz empresario.
Categorías: Noticias

No More Euros

Caracas Chronicles - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 12:12

Image: Efecto Cocuyo

Yesterday, foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) formally adopted sanctions against seven high-ranking government authorities for the constant decline of Venezuela’s situation. The first individual sanctions adopted by the bloc, which had already approved an embargo on weapons and supplies susceptible to be used for repression, imposes restrictive measures against these authorities including frozen assets and a travel ban throughout European territory, as they’re considered responsible for human rights abuses or for violating the rule of law.

The individuals
  • Interior Minister Néstor Luis Reverol. The EU deems him responsible for serious human rights violations and repression against the opposition, particularly the prohibition and repression of political demonstrations.
  • TSJ head Maikel José Moreno. He is accused of having facilitated government actions and policies that have undermined democracy and the rule of law, and of being responsible for actions against the National Assembly (AN).
  • Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab. In his previous role as Ombudsman, he undermined democracy and the rule of law by supporting actions against the opposition, as well as stripping the AN of its faculties.
  • Former National Guard Commander Antonio Benavides Torres. Participated in repression and is held responsible for serious human rights violations committed under his orders.
  • CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena. Has undermined democracy and the rule of law with her political actions, specifically for facilitating the ANC’s installation.
  • PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello. Has acted to undermine democracy and the rule of law, using State-run media to attack and threaten political dissidents, other media outlets and the civil society.
  • SEBIN director Gustavo González López. Responsible for arbitrary detentions, inhuman and degrading treatments and tortures, as well as repression against civil society and the opposition.

Diosdado Cabello said that the sanctions are “a shot in the heart for dialogue,” that they’re not individual and that their goal is isolating Venezuela, but according to him, he’ll never give in. He memorably requested Nicolás to apply “with immediate reciprocity” measures against the European Union (EU) and admitted his belief that a humanitarian channel would open the door to international forces who want to intervene Venezuela.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza expressed regret that the EU is “subordinating is foreign policy to the United States’ imperial, supremacist and racist policy.” According to him, these measures undermine institutionality and democracy.

Maikel Moreno claimed that the TSJ has promoted dialogue and that its rulings have promoted peace in the country; I don’t think I need to comment on that.

Minister Jorge Rodríguez claimed that the EU committed a “shameful action under orders from the American government,” saying that sanctioned government members are honorable and that the Venezuelan democracy (?) is solid. He urged the countries to get more sanctions ready because there’s still “more democracy” to come.

Funny: only Néstor Reverol understood sanctions as individual, although he called them immoral.

González López, Benavides Torres and Lucena didn’t make any comments.

Breaking the silence

After a week of absence, of a noxious silence that prolonged the human rights violations suffered by the families of the victims of the massacre at El Junquito, the imposed prosecutor general and the Ombudsman finally came out of the woodwork just to read a statement full of complicated language to say the same that the other sanctioned individuals said. Their cynicism is anachronistic and the submission, neocolonial. As always, there was far more arrogance than sense.

Individual sanctions don’t affect the nation but those responsible for massive human rights violations. The sanctions don’t isolate the country, that’s what chavismo’s done by not paying what they owe to airlines, closing off borders, breaking commercial relations and handling passports as a form of extortion. Honoring the guarantees on human rights isn’t meddling, it’s coherence.

But these authorities don’t know anything about that.

Preliminary report

As head of the committee investigating the massacre at El Junquito, lawmaker Delsa Solórzano said that there’s a denominator in the corpses that allows conjectures about the actions of security forces: “There’s a pattern that predicts the execution,” she said before requesting an autopsy, since it’s the only way of discovering the truth. She said that the National Assembly will request compensation for children and relatives of those killed in the massacre; that many of them (including friends and employers) have received threats and that they require protection, because they’re already gathering reports of illegal home raids, serious injuries and torture.

Neither the Prosecutor’s nor the Ombudsman’s offices have answered requests for comments on the State’s actions, as demanded by the special committee.

Las Tres Gracias

The rally called by the movement Soy Venezuela at Las Tres Gracias Sq, ended with clashes between protesters and PNB officers. María Corina Machado spoke of the sacrifice of Óscar Pérez and his comrades: “Today the best tribute is fighting, the best tribute is fighting restlessly to topple the tyranny,” she said, adding that the people won’t give in, while she urged the Armed Forces to choose whether they stand by the tyranny or by the people. Once she ended her speech, the clashes between the PNB and protesters started.

11:20 am #Caracas | Inicia actividad "en honor a los caídos", en la Plaza Las Tres Gracias, de Los Simbolos, organizada por la alianza Soy Venezuela que encabeza la dirigente pilítica María Corina Machado #22ene

— El Pitazo (@ElPitazoTV) January 22, 2018

There were abundant pellets and tear gas with which the government proves its intolerance towards protests, their willingness to repress, to violate university autonomy and reactivate the disproportionate use of public force. Aside from that, Avanzada Progresista (AP) “announced that they’d announce” the creation of a new coalition of parties, made up of Copei, MAS, UNT and AP, because “MUD has run its course.”


Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis underscored that the EU sanctions are “an incentive to help in negotiations” and the decision “may be reversible.” Canada’s foreign policy department applauded European sanctions and tweeted:

The international community will not tolerate further abuses by #Venezuela's Maduro regime. Canada welcomes the European Union's decision to impose sanctions. We stand with partners in defending #democracy & #humanrights in #Venezuela & around the world. @EUCouncilPress

— Foreign Policy CAN (@CanadaFP) January 22, 2018

“The international community will not tolerate further abuses by Venezuela’s Maduro regime.”

The Lima Group will meet today, January 23, in Santiago de Chile, to study Venezuela’s situation.

Meanwhile, the immortal Bs.100 banknote was extended once again until March 20.

We go on.

The post No More Euros appeared first on Caracas Chronicles.

Categorías: Noticias

El 23 de enero o los problemas en torno a una fecha

Prodavinci - Mar, 01/23/2018 - 10:30
A diferencia de otras, el 23 de Enero no es –al menos en apariencia- una fecha que se preste al desahogo de las pasiones, como podría serlo el 4 de Febrero o, dentro del calendario de las remembranzas, el más o menos remoto 18 de Octubre. Tanto así que, a diferencia del 27 de Abril guzmancista, el 23 de Mayo castrista, el 19 de Diciembre gomecista o el 2 de Diciembre perezjimenista que le sirvieron en su momento de caja de resonancia a una determinada parcela, se trata de una fecha celebrada hasta ahora, casi con igual grado de celo, por tirios y troyanos.
Categorías: Noticias

Premio de Cuento Policlínica Metropolitana para Jóvenes Autores edición 2018

Prodavinci - Lun, 01/22/2018 - 19:19
La Policlínica Metropolitana ha instituido el Premio de Cuento Policlínica Metropolitana para Jóvenes Autores, el cual se encuentra en su XIII edición, como un reconocimiento a los jóvenes talentos venezolanos en el arte de la escritura narrativa.
Categorías: Noticias

Óscar Pérez Vive: How a Desecration Created a Threat

Caracas Chronicles - Lun, 01/22/2018 - 19:18
Original art by @modográfico

What Óscar Pérez never managed in life – becoming a true threat to the regime –, he is now doing in death. The government’s unseemly rush to destroy the evidence, its wanton abuse of the remains, the whole saga of a mother humiliated when she sought nothing more than to bury her son, have given Pérez a resonance he never really achieved alive. His death, and particularly the way the government managed its aftermath, turned Óscar Pérez into a symbol that won’t be easily forgotten in a country that took all the outrage in a rather personal way.

Starting last June, when he shook Venezuela’s public opinion by commandeering a police helicopter and shooting at the Supreme Tribunal headquarters in Caracas, Óscar Pérez was subject of deep interest and not little derision.

To the government, he was always a terrorist; to the rest of public opinion, a riddle, a prócer, a madman or a joke. Even after Pérez breached a GNB outpost, stealing high caliber guns and grenade launchers, his movement seemed comically outmatched by a totalitarian regime awash with guns and petrodollars. He wanted to build a David & Goliath narrative, but to it looked like Bambi & Godzilla.

Operation Gideon – the government’s name for the murderous raid – was stained by abuse since its start; Pérez’s videos surrendering, Lisbeth Ramírez’s audio asking her family to pray for her, the open participation of pro-government paramilitary groups with police IDs and even the video of a GNB officer using an RPG-7 against Pérez’ hideout quickly made it through Venezuelan social networks, making the official version of the killings being the result of the official forces’ self-defense, hard to believe.

To the government, he was always a terrorist; to the rest of public opinion, a riddle, a prócer, a madman or a joke.

But it was the government’s ruthlessness in handling his death that gave Pérez the relevance he had been seeking since his famous helicopter escapade.

After a 24 hours delay, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, revealed the identities of the seven rebels killed – after accusing the opposition delegates in the Dominican Republic of revealing their whereabouts, indefinitely halting the already fragile negotiations. The Bello Monte morgue, where the bodies were kept was militarized on Monday night. Their relatives reported not being allowed to see or retrieve the bodies for burial and National Assembly lawmaker, Winston Flores, also said that bodies were allegedly wrapped in plastic to accelerate decomposition, as a way to force the families to sign an illegal cremation authorization.

Like Creon denying Antigone the right to bury her brother, the Government showed that to them, death is not enough. But as Sophocles knows, cruelty has the habit of backfiring.

The regime’s refusal to allow access to Pérez and his comrades’ bodies adds to the shocking list of Human Rights abuses reported here and abroad. The suspicion that they’d been straight-up executed only grew after leaked photographs of their death certificates revealed all rebels were shot in the head.

After five days of agonizing confusion, a Military Attorney authorized the burials without informing their families. Two of them, Abraham Agostini and José Alejandro Díaz Pimentel, were quickly buried in Caracas’ Eastern Cemetery, with only a few family members (informed of the process minutes earlier). The National Guard had to repel a small crowd at the entrance of the cemetery.

Like Creon denying Antigone the right to bury her brother, the Government showed that to them, death is not enough.

Hours later, Daniel Soto Torres and brothers Abraham and Jairo Lugo were buried in Maracaibo, under custody of the GNB.

Meanwhile, people met in Altamira in a demonstration organized by Voluntad Popular, to show their support to the grieving families. Shortly after, they marched to the morgue, where Pérez’s body still was, but they were stopped with tear gas and pellets.

Lisbeth Ramírez’ body was moved in a military helicopter to San Cristóbal, her hometown. Her family was never informed about its precise location and, after eight hours waiting, they buried her in La Consolación Cemetery, at 8:00 p.m. She was the first person to be buried there at night.

Oscar Pérez’s body remained in the morgue until Sunday, January 21st. Six days after his death.

He was buried in the early morning yesterday, with the sole company of his aunt and cousin, at Caracas’ Eastern Cemetery. The authorities chose an isolated part of the graveyard difficult to access by foot as location and, hours later, a crowd (including the parents of Neomar Lander, David Vallenilla and Juan Pablo Pernalete, all kids murdered during the 2017 protests) organized an emotive mass.

By showing the country how ruthless it can be and how little it cares about its rivals suffering, Nicolás Maduro’s government managed the sole thing Oscar Pérez couldn’t: It turned him, and his teammates, into the protagonists of every conversation, every Whatsapp chat, every family dinner and every line of people waiting for food.

They can kill the body, but not the message” concluded the priest in charge of Pérez’ rites. Countless flowers now adorn his small, isolated grave.

The post Óscar Pérez Vive: How a Desecration Created a Threat appeared first on Caracas Chronicles.

Categorías: Noticias

Los efectos de una rebaja forzosa de precios

Prodavinci - Lun, 01/22/2018 - 19:07
El domingo 21 de enero el ministro de Agricultura y vicepresidente para el área económica, Wilmar Castro Soteldo, reiteró la decisión y afirmó que “hemos tomado la medida de retornar a los precios que en diciembre se habían establecido y que ya estaban inflados”.
Categorías: Noticias

“El tratamiento especial”: El método que el médico de las gimnastas usó para abusar de más de 125 niñas

Prodavinci - Lun, 01/22/2018 - 16:49
¿Cómo logró Larry Nassar abusar de tantas atletas durante dos décadas? A pesar de que ya en 1998 surgió la primera acusación, este médico logró convertirse en el oficial del equipo de gimnasia olímpica de EEUU y de la Universidad Estatal de Michigan. Sus artimañas por fin quedaron desveladas en los testimonios de las más de 60 víctimas que hasta ahora han declarado en la corte de Michigan que lo juzga.
Categorías: Noticias

A Chavismo of Nightmares

Caracas Chronicles - Lun, 01/22/2018 - 14:07
Image: Amnesty International

I find it increasingly hard to chronicle what’s going on in Venezuela. Images of empty grocery aisles, pictures of families separating at the airport, starving children, mutilated bodies left in garbage dumps, fear and rage and despair all pile up in my mind making a mess.

We’re first row witnesses to a tragedy that we have been warning about for too long, but we’ve all failed to forestall it. Now we stand before its consequences. Part of me wants to make sense of it all, another part wants to turn away, and a lot of the time I just end up stuck on Twitter, scrolling images and messages in a numb search for who knows what.

The picture of a family with a coffin on the back of a tow truck, along with the video of men chasing and slaughtering a cow, while the one filming it cheers on with “We are hungry, the people are hungry, ¡no joda!”, was last week’s glimpse into Dante’s tropical inferno. Nightmarish, fragmented scenes give us only a sample of the dimensions of despair common people are withstanding everyday. It defies our capacity to grieve, to digest, to understand. We have arrived at a place where our only reasonable response seems to be to tread on.

Maybe those fragments are the most honest testimony we can give of this time. Outrage is hard to put into words.

In 1933, journalist Charlotte Beradt began to recollect nightmares from her fellow Germans, soon after Hitler took power. She was careful to hide her project, smuggling it piece by piece until she finally fled Germany in 1939. The dreams are filled with authority, persecution and frustrated attempts to escape.

In one of many coincidences, many of the dreams she registered have to do with passports, official documents, unattainable or insufficient.

In one of many coincidences, many of the dreams she registered have to do with passports, official documents, unattainable or insufficient. Some dream that, after escaping Germany, persecution follows. Some are both beautiful and terrifying: a doctor in his room browses through a book of pictures, raises his eyes to see that the walls of his house, and all walls from all buildings as far as he can see, have disappeared. Protection, intimacy are all banned. Beradt recounts a recurring dream of being informed of the prohibition to dream, while dreaming.

She published them in 1966, as The Third Reich of Dreams.

La Vida de Nos has done a wonderful job trying to give testimony to our current struggles. Ever smaller fragments seem more revealing than political essays on what’s going on. Enza García spent four months at the famed Iowa International Writing Program; on her return, she tweeted on how many of her loved ones politely asked how things had gone, immediately asking how she had eaten and what the supermarkets are like.

On her way back from Caracas to Puerto La Cruz, her bus was stopped by the National Guard, who opened and searched her suitcase. “Nothing happened” she writes, “they didn’t steal from me. And yet, everything happened: yes, I’m back.”

Carlos Sandoval, a literary critic and university professor, has been writing very short chronicles of daily life on his Facebook wall. Last week, he commented on receiving his monthly bono alimentario of Bs. 20,500, equivalent to a dime, then going over to the university cafeteria to buy a coffee for Bs. 20,000, and not being able to pay for it since the punto de venta was down.

Igor Barreto’s 2010 book of poetry, “El Duelo”, describes the robbery and slaughter of a horse by hungry thieves. It immediately came to mind with the scenes of last week:

y el paisaje quedará guardado

en el saco ácido

de la desmemoria

His book doubles as a testimonial for a loss for words. En la caverna de la boca ya no veo palabras, solo hambre. Urgency, voracity drowns comprehension. Reality saturates our capacity to symbolize, to represent.

In the middle of these poems on horses, plains and hunger, a poem about Klaus Mann, Ernst Weiss, Walter Hasenclever, Stefan Zweig and Walter Benjamin, all of whom committed suicide trying to escape from the Nazis.

His book is unfortunately prophetic, it’s the chronicle of a descent into a place that you cannot reason yourself out of.

In his poem Aviso, he warns:

Frente a la barbarie


un cierto aire de cordura

que es verdaderamente


It is hard to write down a nightmare. It is disturbing and hard to fathom.

We are there.

The post A Chavismo of Nightmares appeared first on Caracas Chronicles.

Categorías: Noticias

Unión Europea sanciona a siete funcionarios del gobierno venezolano

Prodavinci - Lun, 01/22/2018 - 13:58
El lunes 22 de enero de 2018, la Unión Europea publicó un comunicado en el que anuncia sanciones contra 7 funcionarios del gobierno de Venezuela por estar involucrados "en actividades que vulneran los principios democráticos o el Estado de Derecho y en violaciones de los derechos humanos". A continuación reproducimos el comunicado.
Categorías: Noticias

La batalla de las Gracias

Prodavinci - Lun, 01/22/2018 - 13:26
La Real Cédula de Gracias al Sacar (1795) es una lista de aranceles, a través de la cual se señala a los súbditos la cantidad de dinero que deben pagar si buscan un trato especial en ciertos trámites burocráticos.
Categorías: Noticias