El Nacional reported today that although only four months have passed, Maduro has already used the entire travel budget allotted for 2015.
The 2015 budget set aside $5 million for travel. Since the start of the year, Maduro has left the country 12 times. His trips included destinations such as Brasil, Bolivia, Cuba (twice) and Panama. The fact that Maduro usually travels with an entourage of approximately 70 people means that costs accumulate quickly.
Having exhausted the budget for the year does not appear to have slowed Maduro down. Today, he left for Russia, where he is expected to join President Vladimir Putin in Saturday’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Maduro announced his trip on Tuesday night on his television show:
I’ll be leaving tomorrow [sic] for Moscow to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Russian people’s victory over the Soviet Union.
Capriles: Venezuela “In No Condition” To Pay for Maduro’s Trips
Miranda state governor and vocal opposition figure Henrique Capriles was quick to jump on the news of Maduro’s apparent disregard for his own travel budget, calling Maduro’s frequent trips a waste of money.
Speaking at an event in Caracas today, Capriles said:
A few months ago, they announced supposed cuts to unnecessary costs in the government, but there he [Maduro] is; the ones in power continue going on recreational trips. The country is in no condition to continue to pay for Maduro’s tourism. What does the country gain from this? Nothing. While this gentleman is partying and sightseeing in Russia, our professors and teachers are begging because their salaries aren’t enough. They [the government] are wasting millions of dollars that could be used to buy raw materials, medicine and food which we Venezuelans sorely need.
Capriles referenced a promise Maduro made in November last year. At the time, OPEC had decided to not cut oil production, which meant that oil prices would continue to fall or at least stay at relatively low levels. If the country found itself in economic trouble, Maduro said at the time, “we would cut unnecessary costs and our own salaries”.
Venezuela Joins Cuba in Human Rights Black List
The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights released it’s 2014 Annual Report today highlighting human rights in the region.
By absolute majority, the body found the case of Venezuela to constitute “a serious breach of the core requirements of representative democracy”, long with that of Cuba.
On Venezuela, the report cites a lengthy list of press releases and reports from human rights organizations listing the human rights abuses that took place in Venezuela in 2014.
While expressing worry over the use of “militarized and heavily armed security forces” to suppress civil unrest in the United States, the report points out:
The militarization of security forces to maintain or restore order in situations of civil unrest or public protests is also occurring in other States of the region, such as Venezuela, where the State issued Decree No. 1,605 on February 20, 2015, creating the “Reglamento Orgánico de la Dirección General de Contrainteligencia Militar” (“Internal Regulations of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence”). It has been reported that this decree has created a structure for military intelligence similar to those of past military dictatorships in South America, especially to those that existed under the doctrine of national security, which provided unlimited powers and jurisdiction to security forces to carry out intelligence and counter-intelligence operations in direct subordination to the President of the Republic and resulted in many human rights violations.
John Oliver Talks Mangoes, Maduro
American comedian John Oliver poked fun at the mango incident on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Below, the relevant clip:
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