Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of the Metropolitan District of Caracas, had a couple of things to say yesterday during the demonstration in Caracas. Amongst them:
Maduro wants to turn Venezuela into a big jail. Well, echele bolas! [roughly, “give it a shot!”] The new Rotunda [an infamous prison used by Juan Vicente Gomez to imprison political dissenters at beginning of the 20th century] in Venezuela is called Ramo Verde. If you [Maduro] want dialogue, release the detained students and the mayors. Put a stop to the persecution. If the government attacks us, it’s picking a fight with the unity of all Venezuelans.
Carlos Vecchio, a director of Voluntad Popular [Leopoldo Lopez’s party] emerged from hiding yesterday during the same rally. Apparently, he took to the microphone very briefly, and was surrounded by a group of men who were protecting him. As soon as he finished speaking, he slipped back into the crowd. There is an arrest warrant for Carlos Vecchio for the crimes of arson, “public instigation”, damage to public property and associating with criminals, all stemming from the protests and similar to the charges Leopoldo Lopez faces. Carlos said:
This is a difficult and trying time. We must try to find what was on the minds of our liberators [Simon Bolivar, Francisco de Miranda, etc.]: to rescue the dignity of a people to live and die free on this land.
We must fight for the liberty of a people who want to overcome and come out of poverty. This is not a fight between the people. It’s [a fight] between a people who suffer before a corrupt leadership that takes advantage of them. The [Venezuelan] people will live an die free in Bolivar’s country. Venezuela is worth it. God bless you all. You’re all in my heart!
There are a couple of new details surrounding Maria Corina Machado’s brief detention at the Simon Bolivar International Airport yesterday upon her arrival into the country. According to her press team, upon leaving the airport, the car Maria Corina was chased by SEBIN agents, who then “crashed without taking any type of action against Machado”. I’m not sure if it is being alleged that the car crashed into the car in which Maria found herself, or if it crashed somewhere else and was thus unable to continue the chase.
Two days ago, Felix Osorio, the Minister of Nutrition, said gave new details about the new card the government is bringing in to combat scarcity (the Tarjeta de Abastecimiento Seguro). Felix Osorio says:
An excessive purchaser is someone who buys meat, chicken, milk, flour every day. No one does that. If they do it’s for two reasons: they’re reselling it, or they have a business. If we notice nervousness [too many purchases], we will take measures. But the nervous people don’t buy from us [state-owned markets]. If someone wants to have 30 kilograms of [powdered] milk at home, they can go buy that from somewhere else.
Someone who wants to buy [food] every day will not be able to do so because they are a reseller. We will not allow resellers [buying from] our markets.
[On food line ups]: You have to line up for everything here: for concerts, at the movie theatre, at the bank, but they complain about line ups to buy food.
The United States Embassy in Caracas has temporarily suspended the granting of tourist visas, since apparently it lacks the staff required to process the pending requests. The embassy said that this is a direct result of the expulsion of some consular officials back a few weeks ago. This will continue to be the case “until further notice”.
Ramon Muchaho, the mayor of Chacao, said today: “Polichacao [the Chacao municipal police] does not act against peaceful demonstrators”. He also reiterated the fact that municipal police are legally barred from taking part in “public order” (read: protest control/dispersement) duties. He said that while municipal police cannot act in the way I’ve just described, “[the police] has acted and will continue to act to [work towards] public safety and the protection of the integrity of our residents and of their interests.”
And to give you an idea of what the crime situation is like, there were 32 detected homicides in Caracas alone this weekend.
Here are a couple of pictures from around the country today:
From San Antonio de Los Altos:
And a grandmother. I do not know the location of time of this picture: