PSUV National Assembly Deputy Pedro Carreño spoke on today’s Jose Vicente Hoy on the Televen network. Carreño spoke at length on the sanctions imposed by the United States on seven Venezuelan officials suspected of committing human rights abuses.
Carreño made a number of interesting claims. He assured Jose Vicente Rangel that the sanctioned officials don’t even have U.S. visas to begin with, making the sanctions essentially meaningless. Carreño explained:
They said this hideous law was made to take away their visas, which begs the question, how do you take away the visas of seven citizens, none of whom have one? The second measure freezes their accounts and assets [in the U.S.]. How do you freeze the accounts and assets of people who don’t have any? In other words, the law is pure intimidation and interference. It seeks to tie the hands of our state institutions [so that] they can carry out their coup (…) The decree, in regards to the freezing of accounts and assets, includes the Banco Central de Venezuela and Venezuelan companies.
The sanctions, the full text of which can be read here, clearly spell out the names of those sanctioned. Neither the Banco Central de Venezuela nor any Venezuelan company is mentioned in the decree. It’s not clear if Carreño was referring to the same decree, or if he has access to information not yet known to the public.
Finally, Carreño said that the sanctions have all the marks of “pre-war”, since – as Carreño put it – the United States has invaded every single country it has ever placed sanctions on in modern times.
Gov’t Collects 1 Million+ Signatures
Libertador municipality Mayor Jorge Rodriguez announced today that an initiative called “Obama Deroga el Decreto Ya” [Obama, Repeal the Decree Now] had managed to collect more than a million signatures. The signatures are being collected to show solidarity with the Venezuelan government against the U.S. sanctions.
Jorge Rodriguez: …. that’s why I want to tell the Venezuelan homeland, gratefully, that at this time – 1:10 PM on Sunday, March 22 – we’ve passed the one million signature mark from the entire Venezuelan people. From all of its women, its men, its youth, its grandfathers and grandmothers, who’ve stepped up to say, “Obama, repeal the decree now!”. At the same time, we’ve passed the 2.6 million tweet and retweet mark. I think that’s a really impressive number in the history of Venezuela. [It’s a] great expression of the Venezuelan people’s will against the infamous decree which is nothing more than an aggression against the innocent people, the dignified people of Venezuela.
These dignified people have risen up. What Jose Vicente was saying is really true. The reports we have from the entirety of the country – the Unidad de Batalla Bolivar-Chavez have been deployed, the Gran Pueblo Patriotico has been deployed, the social moments, the people here in the Plaza Bolivar who’ve been here since 7:00 AM to ask us to open up the signing tables. In fact, we’ve decided to open up the tables earlier because since very early, the people have been lining up to sign and express their will.
So, I’m very proud to say that this Sunday we’ve gone passed the one million signature mark, and we’re going to keep going. We’re going up to the 10 million signature mark so that we can give them to Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.
El Helicoide Holding At Least 40 Prisoners
The SEBIN headquarters in Caracas, known as El Helicoide, is an imposing structure in the centre of the city. Beneath it is a now infamous prison where political prisoners are held. According to El Nacional, 40 of the country’s 86 political prisoners are currently held in El Helicoide‘s cells.
Below, a picture of the building:
One of the prisoners is 34 year old Carmen Gutierrez, a cosmetologist, was arrested last February. She’s also the wife of Lt. Col. Jose Gamez Bustamante, a man accused by Maduro of conspiring to overthrow him. Gutierrez’s lawyer, Lilia Camejo, says that her client was detained on charges of terrorism and associating to commit a crime because her husband used their home phone, which is under her name.
Another prisoner, 55 year old Maria Magaly Contreras, was arrested in October. Her crime: tweeting anti-government opinions to her 700 followers. She was charged with instigation and intimidation because, as Public Ministry argues, her Tweets “generated unrest among the people”. Contreras is joined by five other people arrested for their Twitter activities.