The governor of Aragua, Tarek el Aissami, went on the offensive today against news reports that a mystery illness had killed eight people in a hospital in Maracay over the past four days. el Aissami said:
I categorically reject the claims that there is a virus or bacteria in the Hospital Central de Maracay that is putting the lives of patients or people who work in the centre.
Yesterday, the president of the Aragua Medical College, Angel Sarmiento, said that a disease of unknown origin had killed four patients in the hospital since Monday. Sarmiento said that all the patients suffered from fever, widespread haemorrhages, sepsis, all of which eventually lead to death.
According to el Aissami, the eight victims all died of known diseases. He said that the adults died of cancer, cellulitis, and pulmonary complications. The children died of enterocolitis, complications from pneumonia, leukemia and peritonitis. No evidence for the claims was provided.
Governor el Aissami said that Sarmiento’s comments last night were tantamount to “terrorism”, and that he had requested the Public Ministry launch an investigation into the state’s top doctor. He also said that Sarmiento:
… is a militant from the fascist right wing in Aragua.
He’s a criminal, a bandit, regardless of his status as the president of the Aragua Medical College.
Minister of Information Also Denies Maracay Disease
Delcy Rodriguez, the Minister of Communication and Information, joined the government’s denial of the existence of the Maracay mystery disease on Twitter. She said:
Campaign unleashed regarding unknown disease in Maracay is ABSOLUTELY FALSE. We ask the media to respect the Venezuelan people.
In a later tweet, Rodriguez suggested that legal action would be taken against anyone reporting the story:
Any media that joined this campaign to spread confusion amongst the people should face the appropriate legal actions!
Two Arrested in Barquisimeto Protests
Demonstrators took the streets today in Barquisimeto, Lara state, along the Bracamonte avenue in the city. Two men – David Contreras and Gerardo Leal – were arrested as a result of their activities.
Below a picture of the confrontations today. The shot below shows National Guard soldiers dragging two individuals, while a second group of officers appears to hold a third citizen down on the floor:
National Guard soldiers enter a residential complex:
At some point during the day, the roof of a residential building caught fire, which was later put out:
Finally, a video showing some of the barricades erected in the city today: