Jorge Rodriguez, the mayor of the Libertador municipality in Caracas, made some remarks regarding poverty and the future role of the opposition during an event in Caracas earlier today.
Rodriguez commended the audience for their continued work with their respective consejos comunales [communal councils], grassroots organizations formed to help citizens address neighborhood concerns. During his speech, Rodriguez said:
… [the people] continue their fight, and when they say [the opposition] will never come back it’s not just a motto, they mean that they will actually never come back to Venezuela.
The mayor also had words of warning for his supporters. Rodriguez explained that while opposition politicians might in the future try to appeal to their interests, their words will be empty:
They [the opposition] are enemies of social missions, but when it comes time for an election, they’re going to put on a mask and say that they’re not going to eliminate the missions and the consejos comunales.
“El Colombian” Awaits Extradition
UPDATE: Shortly after the writing of this section, Padilla’s extradition was approved. The Venezuelan government will now make a formal request to have Padilla handed over to Venezuelan authorities.
Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz spoke on the status of Leiver “El Colombia” Padilla, who stands accused in Venezuela of murdering Robert Serra and his partner. Padilla was arrested in Colombia last week.
Diaz explained that while it is her office’s intention to have Padilla extradited so that he can face trial in Venezuela, she is currently waiting for permission from the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, the nation’s top court. She said:
The officers in charge are Juan Carlos Tavares who is the assistant director of Common Crimes, and the one carrying out the investigation, Miguel Hernandez, asked the 9th Control Court back on November 10 to start the process of extradition as is established in the procedural penal code. We’re just waiting for the TSJ to [make a decision] on the extradition.
Should the TSJ give the go-ahead for the extradition, Diaz continued, the foreign ministry would then make the formal request of the Colombian government for Padilla to be transferred to Venezuelan authorities.
Plan Feliz Navidad Means Extra-Long Lines
The government’s Plan Feliz Navidad [Merry Christmas Plan], an initiative launched last week to ensure low prices on consumer goods just in time for the Christmas season, appears to be causing problems for both consumers and businesses. For consumers, the plan means extra-long line ups, and for businesses, it means potentially lost revenue and extra strain on an already emaciated supply chain.
EFE sent a reporter to a mall in Caracas, who reported that 21 year-old George Arenas waited 11 hours in line at “a famous Spanish clothing store” (Zara), only to find out that he could only purchase a maximum of five items. George said:
The cheapest things were pants for Bs. 1,500 (approximately $15 at the black market rate), and the most expensive were Bs. 3,000 ($30 at the same rate). I think that’s cheap because it’s more expensive in the street.
Another shopper, Ivan Bellome, said:
I haven’t bought anything because first you have to write your name on a list (…) you have to come here at 5:00 AM to write you name on a list, and after that you can enter the store.
Ultimas Noticias was on site at the El Tolon mall in Las Mercedes, Caracas, where lines began forming in front of the Zara and Bershka stores at 1:30 AM this morning. As a result of increased demand, Zara has placed a limit on purchases of five items per month per costumer.
Below, some pictures of the lines in question:
More pictures, courtesy of Manuel Corro from Ultimas Noticias:
A hopeful shopper shows the number written on their forearm to show their place in line: