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Leopoldo Lopez’s trial resumed today at approximately 4:30 PM Caracas time.

Sometime during the day, Leopoldo managed to record one of the points of his defence. The recording was made available on social media. The recording can be heard here. My translation is below:

Only in a dictatorship is it a crime to say that a government is inefficient, corrupt and anti-democratic. That only happens in a dictatorship. Only dictatorships condemn those who point out – in our case, with evidence – what the characteristics of their governments are. If democracy is characterized by one thing, it is precisely by the freedom we have to criticize it and its politicians. If democracy is characterized by one thing is that it is a system that allows for renovation, alternatives, and change. If democracy is grounded on one thing, it’s the power of the people, the citizenry, the power of raised voices, of being able to say, “That’s enough!”. When circumstances take a society to long for change… http://ends.

Imports Fall 22% in First Semester

The first semester of 2014 saw a decrease in imports of 22%, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, a government-run body that tracks economic and social data.

The news is especially troubling since Venezuela depends on imports to meet its needs. Between 1999 and 2012, the amount of goods in U.S. dollars imported into the country increased by a staggering 309%.

The decrease in imports coincides with a worsening scarcity crisis that is currently affecting every sector of the Venezuelan economy, most notably the food and medical sectors.

Healthcare Workers Appeal to Government

Pablo Zambrano, the coordinator of the Movimiento del Sindicato de Bases del Sector Salud [Health Sector Base Union Movement] spoke on the crisis affecting the medical sector in the country, where basic medicine is difficult to find and operations are being cancelled due to lack of medical resources.

Zambrano blamed the government for the crisis, and more general, for mismanaging the Venezuelan healthcare sector:

We want to tell the Venezuelan people today about the situation we are going through in our sector. It is a profound crisis that not only exists in places people can see, such as the situation with hospital infrastructure, but also when it comes to medical supplies, equipment, human resources, patient nutrition, and also insecurity.
(…)
We have very little protection against patients who come in with very high fevers thanks to viruses like dengue or chikungunya, which have taken over Venezuela thanks to a lack of attention from the Ministry of
(…)
Each day that passes without the government taking care of this situation, they must understand that it means another lost life. They [the government] have a great responsibility, since we’ve been bringing attention to this situation for many years…

Finally, a picture allegedly showing mothers in the city of Pampatar, on Margarita Island. The mothers allegedly blocked the road in protest of the fact that they are finding it nearly impossible to find diapers in the city:

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