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Venezuelan democracy was dealt another blow today, as the mayor of the city of Guasdualito in Apure was unceremoniously removed from her office without cause by the town’s council. Guasdualito is located in the southern edge of Apure, near the border with Colombia. It has a population of about 100,000.

The town’s mayor, Lumay Barreto, was informed today by the city’s council that she was no longer the mayor of the city. The council waited for Barreto to leave the city to make the surprise move. Barreto is a member of the Voluntad Popular opposition party.

Barreto had been in Caracas for the last three days to attend a meeting of the Association of Mayors, and had stopped in Lara state on her way back to visit her son who is currently in the hospital. When she returned to Guasdualito today, she found out she was no longer the mayor.

Barreto explained:

The councillors [who support the PSUV], following orders from Apure Governor Ramon Carrizales [PSUV], removed me from office and named the city council president, Victor Blanco, as my replacement. They did this because they allege I had abandoned the office, but I had notified them that I was going to be absent for three days and I left the municipality’s general director, Tulio Hidalgo, in charge.

The mayor explained that she was waiting for copies of the paperwork filed to remove her from office so that she could go to Caracas to meet with lawyers and plan her next steps.

According to Barreto, her removal from office is the last in a series of offences committed against her:

It’s been a year of sabotage, expropriations, el pueblo militarizado [roughly, “the army patrolling the streets”]… They won’t let me carry out my term. Next, I’ll be arrested, or turn up dead somewhere.

SIMADI Closes at Bs. 172.89

The newly-created SIMADI currency exchange system closed the day’s trading today at Bs. 172.89 per U.S. dollars, while the price of U.S. dollars in the black market climbed to Bs. 213.77.

The SIMADI market is one of three currency markets operating in Venezuela. While the SIMADI rate fluctuates, the other two markets trade dollars at the fixed rates of Bs. 6.30 and Bs. 12.00 per dollar.

The amount of U.S. dollars traded through SIMADI today accounted for only 1.69% of all U.S. dollars traded in Venezuela today, while the other 98.37% were traded through the country’s other two markets.

Maduro Claims to Have Coup Evidence

Speaking on live television a short while ago, Maduro said that he was going to show video evidence of what he says is the latest coup attempt by Venezuela’s foreign and domestic enemies.

Maduro said:

I’m preparing a a national cadena [when every television and radio broadcaster in the country is forced to broadcast his speech], and I’m going to announce it so that we can show the videos and the evidence that Diosdado Cabello and Jorge Rodriguez presented about this coup attempt.
(…)
The international right wing wants Venezuela to leave those responsible for this conspiracy alone. The world is backwards. The President of Venezuela dismantles and presents evidence of a coup d’etat, and the right wing wants to condemn us because we’re bringing justice to those who attempt coups, the fascists.

Despite almost daily claims of coup attempts by a host of national and international enemies, the Maduro government has yet to produce anything resembling conclusive evidence for their claims.

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One thought on “02.26.15: Guasdualito

  1. Pingback: 06.02.15: Violations | In Venezuela

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