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Miranda state Governor Henrique Capriles spoke today on the government’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric, which culminated on Saturday with the start of a 10-day-long national military drill known as Escudo Bolivariano [Bolivarian Shield]. Speaking at an event in Monagas state, Capriles said:

The country needs that we talk about education, not war. Why don’t they mobilize people for culture and education, instead of against an alleged invasion by the empire? No one is going to invade Venezuela.

Capriles also criticized the governmnet’s penchant for bringing politics into the classroom, saying:

… we’ve also made it clear that politics should remain outside the classroom. [We will] strengthen education, because it is the tool for critical thinking, so that our children and youth will be open to different ideas in the future.

He also called on all Venezuelans, regardless of political orientation, to think of their children, since everyone wants their child to receive the best education possible.

CNE Head: Parliamentary Elections Likely This Year

The head of the Consejo Nacional Electoral [National Electoral Council] said in an interview today that electoral procedure was unlikely to undergo any major changes this year, and that he preferred that the elections be held at the end of this year.

There had been fears among opposition supporters that Maduro would try to use the unrest in the country as an excuse to post-pone or cancel the parliamentary elections this year.

Gas Price Increase Plan To Be Announced This Week

Minister of Land Transport and Public Works Haiman El Troudi is expected to unveil the details of a proposed increase to gas prices some time this week.

According to La Patilla, the details were supposed to have been announced last week during a National Assembly session. However, once the United States announced sanctions against Venezuelan officials last Tuesday, the unveiling of the plan was moved so that the chamber could focus on responding to the United States.

Deposed Mayor to Run for Deputy

Enzo Scarano, the former mayor of San Diego, Carabobo state, announced today that he will run for the position of National Assembly Deputy at this year’s parliamentary elections. Scarano said that he would put his name on the ballot for the opposition primaries, which – if he wins – will allow him to run for a seat in the Venezuelan parliament.

Scarano, who spent a year in prison after being found guilty of failing to stop protests in San Diego, said that he hoped to one day meet Carabobo state Governor Francisco Ameliach and President Maduro so that he may tell them personally of the abuses he suffered in prison. Scarano said:

Despite the abuses I suffered in jail, I don’t hold any grudges. We’re political adversaries, not enemies (…) I worked in jail, and I left a humanized prison cell. we made a nursery [and] a gym with machines and carpet. We worked [while in prison].

Spanish Media Publishes Corruption Suspect Names

El Mundo claims to have access to information from Spain’s anti-money laundering police unit (SEPBLAC), which names a number of chavistas Venezuelan business executives as suspects in a money laundering case involving the Banca Privada d’Andorra and its Spanish subsidiary, the Banco de Madrid.

According to the publication, the men implicated in the multi-billion dollar criminal scheme are:

  • Alcides Ronon, former Vice-Minister of Civil Security.
  • Carlos Aguilera, former head of the National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP), the precursor to the Bolivarian Intelligence Service.
  • Javier Alvarado, Vice-Minister of Electrical Development.
  • Nervis Villalobos, Vice-Minister of Energy.
  • Omar Farias, a businessman.

At least one of them men has been accused of engaging in criminal activity in the past. In 2013, Mario Silva accused Carlos Aguilera of abusing his position to acquire dollars at the official rate, only to sell them for obscene profits in the black market.

Silva made the accusation in a secret recording which appears to have been taken without his consent. After the recording was released, Silva – a well-known public figure – disappeared from the public eye. He returned last month, claiming that the audio recording was a fake created by the CIA and Mossad for unknown reasons.

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