The Ministry of Foreign Relations published and official statement regarding the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 yesterday in eastern Ukraine, for which it blamed the United States and the United Nations. The statement partly reads

The people and the government of Venezuela are united in their grief with the families and the victims, and hopes that the necessary investigations to find out exactly who was responsible for this act are carried out.
[Venezuela is worried] by the occurrence of this type of situation which can destabilize the region, which are without a doubt a consequence of the chaos generated by political interference by the United States and the United Nations… which we will continue to denounce as one of the principle causes of the complex situations in Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and some countries in Africa.

The statement comes despite an overwhelming amount of evidence indicating that the flight was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile launcher provided to Ukrainian separatist rebels by Russia.

Venezuela received at least three BUK-M2E anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia in 2009, which are similar to the one that shot down MH17 yesterday over Ukraine.

PSUV Congress Elections Set for Sunday

The PSUV is holding its annual congress this weekend, and its roughly 7.6 million members are being urged to vote in the party elections on Sunday to choose their local representatives. 537 delegates will be elected in Sunday’s vote.

Diosdado Cabello, the vice-president of the PSUV, said:

Let every elector vote for whoever their conscience chooses.

New Opposition Block Created

Venezuelans currently only count on the Mesa de Unidad Democratica  (MUD), a block of parties opposed to the PSUV, as the country’s official opposition.

That will change on August 2, when the Bloque de Reconstruccion Nacional (BRN) comes into existence. The block, headed by Miguel Grillo. The block is made up of 10 parties from across the political spectrum, united in their opposition to the PSUV and their disappointment with the way the MUD has handled the task of being the country’s official opposition block.

Grillo explained:

This August 2nd we are going to create the block’s constitution [of the] Metropolitan Area [of Caracas]. The point of this is to respond to those who have not responded, the MUD directors and the PSUV directors who – it’s no secret – are more concerned with their own affairs than with that of the citizens.

Finally, a picture of an official PSUV bus spotted somewhere in Venezuela. It appears to be in disrepair, another victim of the scarcity crisis strangling the country:

Far from affecting only food supplies, scarcity also affects virtually every industry in Venezuela, including automotive repair.

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