Speaking at an event last night, Maduro announced that he would take drastic measures to stop a ubiquitous sight on Venezuela’s streets: the bachaqueros, a derogatory term to refer to individuals who sell scarce basic necessities on the street at a premium. Maduro and other PSUV figures have often blamed bachaqueros for being one of the causes of the scarcity crisis in the country.
Speaking at a campaign event in Plaza Caracas, Maduro hesitated to give out details of the measures, admitting that he “sometimes fall into the temptation” of releasing more information than he should.
Below, a clip of Maduro’s comments:
Maduro: I’m going to launch a plan just like the OLP [Operación Liberacion del Pueblo, a security offensive]. You will find out about it once you see the results. I’m not going to give out an dates, but I’m going to launch a plan to demolish the bachaquero‘s criminal economy, against the pelucones [a derogatory term for “bourgeois”]. We’re going to demolish it, but with the people’s support. With a mobilized and active people. Enough with the criminal economy and economic sabotage!
The country’s second most powerful man, Diosdado Cabello, echoed Maduro’s comments at another event yesterday, calling for supporters to remove bachaqueros from supermarket lines whenever they saw them. Cabello said:
Let’s find the bachaqueros and remove them from the lines. They’re a plague that is harming the people.
Cabello also called bachaqueros “enemies of the people”, and said that they form part of a “mafia paid for by the bourgeois”. He said that once a bachaquero is identified in a line, “justice must be applied” and the bachaquero must be prevented from buying products, although he did not make it clear if he expected citizens to take on this task themselves.
OLP Nabs 10 Bachaqueros in La Guajira
Minister of Interior, Justice and Peace Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez provided an update on the recent performance of Operation Liberacion del Pueblo, and said that almost 20 tonnes of food had been seized in Zulia state alone.
According to Lopez, a major operation took place in the La Guajira region in Zulia’s northern tip over the weekend:
In Zulia state’s Guajira municipality, 718 police officers were deployed and found 14 firearms, 176,000 liters of fuel, 1,260 liters of cooking oil, and 2,000 boxes of beer.
Shortages of food and gas are exacerbated in Venezuela’s western states by their proximity and relative ease of access into neighbouring Colombia. Since the price for basic necessities and gas are regulated in Venezuela, people can buy products in Venezuela at a low price and them smuggle them to Colombia were they can be sold at market prices there.
Gonzalez Lopez also said that OLP operations in Portuguesa and Aragua states also netted arrests. In Portuguesa:
… eight individuals were arrested for distributing illicit substances, three for robbery, one for carrying a weapon, and one for domestic violence.
While in Aragua’s Girardot municipality, the operation saw 700 officers deployed and:
… 26 individuals [arrested], four of them wanted for various crimes, nine for trafficking, distributing and selling illicit substances, nine for resisting authority, one for robbery and vehicle theft, and three for firearms violations.
Capriles: Venezuela Sitting on “Bomb”
Miranda state governor and high-profile opposition figure Henrique Capriles said yesterday that Venezuela is sitting on a “bomb”, and that the looting that has taken place in recent weeks is proof of that.
You can’t play with people’s patience. The looting – which in the first six months [of 2015] totaled 56 with another 76 attempted, according to those who keep track of these things – are evidence of the bomb on which Venezuela sits.
In the same column, Capriles called the lines that Venezuelans are forced to endure in the hopes of finding basic necessities in supermarkets “inhuman”, made all the more so by a “ferocious armed delinquency” that has made Venezuela one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
Capriles said that the national government is doing nothing to resolve the scarcity crisis, and that it has “destroyed the national production system” through its continued attacks on “the few industries that continue to heroically produce what little we can still find”.
He also said:
A responsible government, not the poorly disguised one we suffer with in Venezuela, would be calling farmers and agricultural companies to find a way to produce the food its people need, it would be providing decisive support towards rescuing the hundreds of thousands of hectares of productive land that were snatched from their owners, it would be fairly distributing the dollars that come in through oil sales which, despite the fall in international prices, are infinitely superior to the ones received by other countries which do know how to invest their resources for the good of their people.
Capriles also criticized the government assertion that the looting that has sporadically breaking out in supermarkets across recent weeks is part of a campaign to destabilize the Bolivarian revolution:
The tension on the streets in any city or in the smallest and most remote little town in the country is not organized, and it does not have a political agenda behind it. It’s the anxiety felt by Venezuelans who know that they can spend hours in line and yet return home empty handed, who know that it has been months since they’ve brought home meat; it’s the desperation of mothers who have been going from one store to another for months looking for a bag of powdered milk for their children.
Finally, Capriles concludes by saying that the problems facing Venezuela “unite all Venezuelans, and the solution must be for all Venezuelans”, and calls on those who want to see change to take to the polls on December 6.
Maduro: U.S. Embassy Behind Conspiracy Against Venezuela
During a televised speech broadcast this evening, Maduro claimed to have evidence that right-wing organizations, with help from the U.S. embassy in Caracas, are behind a global conspiracy to topple the Venezuelan government. Maduro said that the conspiracy is called “Plan Buitre”, and that he will reveal the evidence in the coming days.
Maduro also suggested that the Organization of American States was a co-conspirator, saying:
How many lives has it ended? In the Dominican Republic, Granada, Nicaragua, Panama, Chile… thousands! With the Plan Condor — how many has it saved? None!
Maduro said that the evidence he will eventually reveal will prove that the United States government has “placed key agents in the U.S. embassy in Venezuela” to sabotage the Venezuelan economy and instigate violence.
CNE Turns Blind Eye to Constitution
El Universal has published today pointing out that the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) appears to be turning a blind eye to the fact that several National Assembly candidates are running in districts in which they do not reside. This appears to constitute a violation of Article 188(3) of the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, which states:
Article 188. The conditions for being elected as a deputy for the National Assembly are:
1. Being Venezuelan by birth or naturalization, with a least 15 years of residence in Venezuelan territory.
2. Being over 21 years of age.
3. Having resided for at least four consecutive years in the corresponding entity prior to the election date.
According to El Universal, the following National Assembly candidates are running despite being in clear violation of the Article 188(3) of the Constitution:
- Cilia Flores (PSUV): Lives in the Sucre municipality of Caracas, but is running in a district in Cojedes state.
- Hector Rodrigez Castro (PSUV): Lives in Caracas, but is running in a district in Bolivar state.
- Dario Vivas (PSUV): Lives in Libertador municipality in Caracas, but is running in a district in Vargas state.
- Carlos Vecchio (MUD): Currently living outside the country, as there is a warrant out for his arrest; running in a district in Monagas state, but resided in Baruta.
The same article points out that this phenomenon was first seen in the 2005 parliamentary elections, when the CNE acted in similar fashion to candidates running in apparent contravention to Article 188(3).
Last week, La Patilla published its own list of candidates running in districts other than the ones in which they reside. The list includes Carmen Melendez (PSUV), Pedro Carreño (PSUV), Ruben Limardo Gascon (PSUV), and Victor Clark (PSUV).
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