Minister of Foreign Relations Delcy Rodriguez met today with the United States’ highest-ranking diplomat in Venezuela, Lee McClenny, and told him that his government has two weeks to reduce their diplomatic staff in the country.
Venezuela only has 17 embassy staff in the United States. Because Rodriguez said that international relations should be governed “by reciprocity and respect”, the Venezuelan government has limited the number of U.S. staff in Venezuela to 17.
Speaking on the sanctions against the United States announced on Saturday, Libertador municipality Mayor Jorge Rodriguez said:
We fervently support the measures taken by President Maduro. They’re a way to defend the peace and democracy of all Venezuelans.
Santos: Maduro’s Coup Claims are Irrational
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said today during an interview with Spanish media that Maduro’s claims that he is involved in a coup against him “no tiene pies ni cabeza“ [literally, “have neither feet nor a head”, meaning, “are completely irrational”].
Santos said that he was more than willing to talk in private with Maduro to help resolve differences, and admitted that his relationship with his neighbour was strained. Santos said:
We have a difficult relationship. We think differently, but we admit that honestly. We manage our differences carefully, which is the responsible thing to do.
People’s Defender: “La Tumba” Are Re-Purposed Offices
Tarek William Saab, the People’s Defender, spoke to the media today about the infamous “tumba” [tomb], the prison cell (or cells) in the basement of the SEBIN offices in Plaza Venezuela, Caracas. People who have been held in la tumba describe it as a cell – or series of adjacent cells – measuring about 2 by 3 metres.
Saab tried to quell rumours that the cells were draconian dungeons, saying:
According to the official information I have, [the tomb] are offices that have been re-purposed to hold people in maximum-security.
He also spoke directly on the cases of Lorent Saleh and Gerardo Carrero, two students accused of conspiracy to overthrow the government currently held in la tumba. Saab said that neither student has been tortured, that they receive regular meals, and that they’re allowed frequent visits.
Protests Continue in Merida, Tachira
Students continued to take to the streets in the states of Merida and Tachira today. Below, some pictures from earlier today in San Cristobal, Tachira state:
At the Universidad de Los Andes in Merida, a group of pro-government armed individuals entered the Liria campus on the Las Americas Avenue and assaulted several students. Witnesses said that the men, who rode onto the campus on motorcycles, fired on students, although is it not known at this time if anyone was seriously injured.