Maduro announced last night that the Venezuelan economy shrank 3% in 2014, but quickly removed himself from all responsibility by blaming the “economic war” for the country’s problems.
While the Banco Central de Venezuela is the entity responsible for compiling and divulging economic data, it has not done so for the 2014 year, leaving Venezuelans with virtually no information about the country’s performance. The bank stopped releasing GDP data in September of last year, when it announced that it had fallen 2.3% since July, following falls of 4.8% and 4.9% in the first and second trimesters of the year, respectively.
After his announcement, Maduro made clear that his government bore no fault in the matter:
Through the economic war, they [Venezuela’s external/internal enemies] shrank our economy by 3% last year.
Maduro Reacts Angrily to EU Statements
Following comments yesterday by European Parliament president Martin Schulz that “Venezuela is getting worse”, Maduro quickly took to the offensive, and insinuated that Schulz is simply playing a role assigned to him by Venezuela’s international enemies.
Speaking at the Congreso Internacional Inventar la Democracia del Siglo XXI: Derechos Humanos, Cultura y Vivir Bien [International Congress for the Invention of 21st Century Democracy: Human Rights, Culture and Living Well], Maduro said:
I’m sure that he [Schulz] doesn’t know where Venezuela is (…) he’s just reading the cue cards they have [to criticize] the country.
Maduro then turned to the topic of an upcomming summit between the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Brussels next month. On the meeting, which is supposed to bring the two regions closer together through dialogue, Maduro said:
Now they have a meeting between the EU and CELAC. One feels as if it’s a waste of time. There’s a secular contempt towards the peoples of the south that the European elites haven’t gotten over, towards the Latin American and Caribbean peoples.
Ceballos Receives Visits; Wife Claims He’s Being Tortured
Daniel Ceballos’ lawyer was finally given access to their client in a prison in San Juan de los Morros, Guarico state. Ceballos was allowed to meet with his lawyer and also with his wife, Patricia de Ceballos, yesterday for approximately 15 minutes.
Following the meeting, Patricia took to Twitter to denounce the conditions her husband is being held in, and said that they amounted to torture. Patricia made the following allegations through Twitter:
- Ceballos is held in an “unhealthy” cell; his toilet facilities are “a latrine in the ground”.
- His cell has access to water for only 10 minutes a day.
- He is allowed only 15 minutes twice a week with his lawyers.
- Lights in his cell are on 24 hours a day, and he does not have access to shower facilities.
- He is being held in isolation.
Patricia also claimed that six days into his hunger strike, Ceballos does not have access to adequate medical facilities, putting his life at risk.
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