Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) of Tuesday, November 27
RUSSIANS, PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. Since the Head of the Press Office at the Russian Embassy in Caracas, Artiom Ustinov, was instructed by his superiors to answer to my references to his fellow citizens, contractors, I would like to dispel some doubts and misunderstandings expressed in his letter, published in daily newspaper El Universal, last Friday, November 16, stating that my reports would be "false, inaccurate and unconfirmed."
Since he claims to be fully proficient in Spanish idioms, let me start by recalling that if the shoe fits, wear it. I wrote: "In a few hours a widespread protest could break out against Putin's sons that is, Moscow partners." The reference made to said Moscow partners, instead of the Russian people, comes from multiple articles in English-speaking media, which for quite a few years talk about "Putin's sons or Putin's kids" in reference to the friends, partners and business mates of the Russian president, namely: Igor Sechin, the almighty CEO of oil-company Rosneft , many a time a guest of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez; Anatoly Isaikin, from the largest provider of Venezuela, from weapons to Russian machinery, Rosoboronexport; Mikhail Fridman, Lew Blavatik, Víctor Vekselber and another half a dozen of his (President Putin's) fiduciary men. The double intention of this phrase could rather apply to Venezuelans who have given Russians lot of cash in billionaire arms deals that contribute nothing at all to our country necessary development. (...) Incidentally, protests did break out following my report.
As late as Tuesday, February 25, there was some visible response from Gabriela Ramírez's office. Representatives of the Office of the Ombudswoman would visit independent human rights watch groups to find what happened in connection with repression of protests. That day, they visited NGO Provea. The next day, they met with the attorneys of NGO Venezuelan Criminal Forum. They pursued specific data because -they argued- no claims of human rights violations of demonstrators had been filed with the Office of the Ombudswoman.