Omar Estacio, Antonio Ledezma’s lawyer, gave an interview to Televen today in which he said that the government is using “contaminated evidence” against his client with the goal of incriminating him in “false events”.

Estacio pointed out that the judges and prosecutors currently working Ledezma’s case “are not career” officials; rather:

… they are officials who can be removed [from the case] with the stroke of a pen because they were hand-picked and are under a lot of pressure.

According to Estacio, a judge or prosecutor who is worried about pleasing his/her superiors “will not dare to rule against the state”.

Estacio summed up his position on the case:

The charges against Ledezma are based on false events, contaminated, brittle evidence that has little credence, and on backwards judicial statements.

Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas, was arrested on February 19 of this year and charged with conspiracy and associating for the purposes of committing a crime. He is currently being held in the Ramo Verde military prison pending the conclusion of his trial.

Venezuelans March Against Resolution 8610

Citizens opposed to Resolution 8610, which allows for the use of lethal force to suppress peaceful protests, took to the streets of Caracas today and called for a repeal of the decree.

Maria Corina Machado headed the march, and made a number of statements. Speaking on the resolution, Machado said:

The only thing [that matters] is that Maduro revokes this criminal resolution. Mr. Minister [of Defence Vladimir Padrino Lopez, who decreed the law]: you don’t have the power to set limits on a right (…) which we, Venezuelan women and mothers, will defend, the right of our children to express themselves.

Below, some pictures from the march:

The resolution has already been challenged in court. On February 3, a group of students, judges and academics went to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, the nation’s top court, and filed an appeal to nullify the resolution. At the same time, Minister of Defence Vladimir Padrino Lopez said that an upcoming decree will seek to clarify Resolution 8610.

OPEC: Oil Prices Set To Rebound in 2015

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri said in a press conference today that he is sure that oil prices would “return to balance” in the second half of 2015.

Badri explained that oil’s steep price decline over the last several months is not grounded on market fundamentals, and that the commodity’s long-term outlook is healthy.

The barrel of Venezuelan oil ended the week on Friday at the $50.76 mark, up $1.94 over five days.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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