Colonel Homero Miranda – the man in charge of the Ramo Verde Military Prison – spoke to Leopoldo Lopez last night, telling him to “pick up [his] things”. Colonel Miranda told Lopez that he was being moved to an undisclosed location.
The news created a stir, but today it appears as if Colonel Miranda’s threat was completely empty. Lilian Tintori, Leopoldo Lopez’s wife, confirmed today that the move had not taken place. There are indications that the threat to have Lopez moved was an attempt at intimidating him into silence.
According to one of Lopez’s layers, Roberto Marrero, Colonel Miranda became angry at Lopez and other prisoners after they released a statement on Friday demanding their freedom. As a result, the colonel told Lopez that he was going to be moved, presumably to another prison. Marrero said:
It was a response to the protest. On Saturday, there was a protest near the jail in support of Lopez. However, it has to be made clear that he [Miranda] cannot decide [to move prisoners]. At least, a deputy from the sheriff’s office has to be present. He can’t be moved only by SEBIN or National Guard [agents].
Lilian Tintori, Lopez’s wife, said that her husband is now facing “punishment” for 15 days due to the peaceful protest her husband, along with other inmates, have decided to stage.
CICPC Leadership Fired
Just one day after removing Miguel Rodriguez Torres from his post as Minister of the Interior and Justice, the government fired the “majority” of the CICPC leadership. The CICPC [Cuerpo de Investigaciones Cientificas, Penales y Criminalisticas] is Venezuela’s version of the FBI.
According to unofficial reports published in El Universal, the new head of the CICPC is Juan Pablo Peñaloza, who replaces Jose Gregorio Sierralta.
The shake-up follows in the wake of the October 7 CICPC operation against colectivos in Caracas, during which five colectivo members died, including Jose Odreman.
The government has relied heavily on the support of the colectivos to maintain its hold on power during times of strife, most recently during the protests earlier this year. The CICPC raid against colectivos earlier this month appeared to mark a turning point in the colectivo-state relationship. However, the fact that Rodriguez Torres and the CICPC leadership have been sacked appears to indicate that the government has caved in to pressure from colectivos to punish those responsible for the October 7 raid.
Government Employee Arrested on Weapon Smuggling Charge
A 39 year old Venezuelan woman was arrested aboard a private PDVSA flight after it landed in Sao Paulo yesterday. The arrest came after x-ray detectors identified a pistol along with ammunition among the woman’s belongings.
While Brazilian authorities did not reveal the woman’s identity, they did say that she was “an employee of a high-ranking Venezuelan government official”.