Elias Jaua, the Minister Communes and Social Movements, spoke on Televen’s Dialogo Con… on a broad range of topics, including violent crime and the scarcity crisis.
On the issue of violent crime, Jaua said that many gangs in the country are “financed” from Colombia. Jaua said:
These gangs have a lot of money. They’re financed – many of them – from Colombia, paid with drugs, and they’re somehow connected with the phenomenon of Colombian paramilitarism.
Linking violent crime in the country to Colombian paramilitaries has been a PSUV mantra for at least a year, and the claims have intensified in the past few weeks. Most recently, Minister of the Interior Gustavo Gonzales Lopez blamed Colombian paramilitaries with infiltration the Cota 905 area of Caracas shortly after a raid there left 16 people dead on Monday.
When prompted by the show’s host, Carlos Croes, to explain his reasoning, Jaua said:
We’re not talking about a hypothesis here. We’re talking about concrete facts (…) I’d point you to the case of [Adriana] Urquiola. Her murderer was being protected in Colombia, and was being aided from here by a lawyer from the Foro Penal Venezolano [an NGO]. We all know the Foro Penal‘s ideological leanings. It has the facade of a human rights organization, but behind it lies the politics of destabilization (…) I’m not accusing the Foro Penal, just one of the lawyers there.
Adriana Urquiola was murdered on March 23 of last year by a man named Yonny Bolivar in Los Nuevos Teques, Miranda state. Bolivar confessed to El Nacional last year that he opened fire in response to a threat from an anti-government protest by which he was driving, and admitted to firing the bullet that struck and killed Urquiola. Bolivar claims to have been carrying police identification on the night of the murder, although he declined to say why. He had been linked to Minister of Penitentiaries Iris Varela’s body guard detachment, a claim Valera denied.
Bolivar was arrested in Colombia in early June of this year. Colombian authorities cooperated closely with the Venezuelan governments after Bolivar’s arrest, and he was subsequently extradited to Venezuela less than a week later without incident.
Speaking specifically on the raid on the Cota 905 area of Caracas earlier this week, Jaua said:
These past few days we’ve seen the liberation of the entirety of the Cota 905 zone from criminal gangs that had formed an alliance to take over that territory and subjugate the people, and from there harass them.
The Cota 905 is a so-called Zona de Paz [Peace Zone]. In 2013, 79 neighbourhoods with some of the county’s highest crime rates were designated Peace Zones by the national government. The Zones were given autonomy to look after all of their internal needs, including policing. Critics of the initiative say that the Peace Zones have become sanctuaries for criminals and criminal organizations.
Jaua: “U.S. Bankers” Responsible for Venezuela Scarcity
On the issue of the crippling scarcity affecting Venezuelans, Jaua blamed foreign agents, namely U.S.-based ones. Jaua said:
That’s an economic war. It’s financial terrorism within the context of a country where due to the fall of oil prices, it has lost half of its foreign currency income. In the face of this reality of decreasing foreign currency, it’s really easy to set up a speculative matrix through technological platforms.
While Jaua did not elaborate, he did say that the Venezuelan government would like to see unspecified “fugitive bankers” extradited to Venezuela so that the country might “show the structure of the financial terrorism that affects Venezuela”. Jaua continued, saying:
In the name of justice, they should be made to come here and show face, because they defrauded their clients, they took dollars out of the country and unleashed a criminal war against out economy that is affecting our people. They’ve forced our people to line up and suffer through shortages and speculation.
Jaua did not specify who exactly he was referring to, nor did he suggest that the Venezuelan government was engaged in any kind of serious discussion to bring the mystery bankers to justice.
Jaua also seemed to suggest that the Bolivarian revolution had been too successful in improving the standard of living of Venezuelans:
We’ve seen the expansion of consumerism in Venezuela thanks to the revolution. The consumption of food as well as goods and other services in the face of a lagging productive apparatus that, as far as agriculture goes, was not able to keep up with the rise in food demand in Venezuela and in its capacity to acquire them.
Borges: Disqualifications Part of Demoralization Campaign
The national coordinator of the Primero Justicia opposition party, Julio Borges, spoke today on the recent disqualifications of prominent opposition politicians. Borges said that the measures point to a “defeated government” that is desperate to delay its inevitable defeat and demoralize the opposition.
Borges also called on the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica to finalize plans to present a unified ballot at the December 6 parliamentary elections to maximize their chances of defeating the PSUV. According to Borges, the upcoming elections are likely to be “one of the most important days for our country”.
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