Tibisay Lucena, the head of the Consejo Nacional Electoral [National Electoral Council] (CNE) said last night that no organization would be allowed to observe the December 6 parliamentary elections; rather, they would be allowed to “accompany” the process.

Lucena said:

We have a robust accompaniment program, and it won’t be any different this time (…) there’s a kind of intention or tendency to disqualify the accompaniment program that Venezuela has, which is one of the clearest and most technical in the world.

At the same time, Lucena said that “electoral authorities” from Africa and Europe, along with parliamentary officials from abroad, would come and “accompany” the elections, but that no one would observe the elections.

The head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, Jesus Torrealba, was quick to reply to Lucena’s statements, saying:

Tibisay Lucena’s statements regarding the international observers is regrettable. She is not the head of an autonomous body.

Gov’t Orders Return of “Shop by ID”

Last night, Minister of Nutrition Carlos Osorio announced that Venezuelans would be forced to buy basic necessities only on certain days as determined by the national identification number once again. The measure had been in effect for some time, but Osorio assured in June that it would be rolled back gradually. At the time, Osorio assured Venezuelans that the scarcity crisis was being brought under control, and that it would be two or three months before basic necessities were found in abundance once again in the country.

Under the scheme, the days on which Venezuelans are allowed to shop for basic necessities are determined by the last number of their national I.D. For example, only people whose I.D. number ends with 0 or 1 are able to shop on Monday; those ending with 2 and 3 on Tuesday, etc.

Osorio made the announcement through his Twitter account. Although he provided no details, he did say that the rationing measure was being brought back at the request of “the people”, who apparently “demanded it” through social media.

Agricultural Industry: New Cash Only 50% of What Is Needed

Antonio Hopkins, the president of the Confederacion de Asociaciones de Productores Agropecuarios (Confederation of Agricultural Associations) [FEDEAGRO] said yesterday that the $150,000,000 approved by Maduro to help the agricultural industry in Venezuela will only cover 50% of the industry’s needs.

Calling the measure “positive”, Hopkins explained that if the money were to be injected into the industry within the next 30 days, repair parts for broken-down machinery could begin arriving in the country before the end of the year with the hopes that they would be up-and-running in time for the 2016 harvest.

Hopkins also said that the last time that a large sum of money was allotted to the industry was in early 2014, and warned that the foreign currency must be assigned to trusted, well-established companies with a track record of providing quality and timely service if the measure is to succeed.

Tintori: Hergueta Murder Suspect is “Cooperating Patriot”

Shortly after Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez accused the suspects in a gruesome murder of being “closely linked” with opposition figure, Lilian Tintori admitted to knowing one of the men.

Tintori, who is Leopoldo Lopez’s wife, said in an interview with Union Radio that she has met Jose Perez Venta, a suspect in the murder of Liana Hergueta. Tintori said that she was under the impression that Venta was a “patriota cooperante” [cooperating patriot], a term used to describe a political informant working for the PSUV. Tintori explained:

The person that appears in that picture is a cooperating patriot. I knew he was one. He put on the Voluntad Popular shirt and then took it off right away — I mean, these are people we have seen, and who we’ve identified.

Tintori appeared to be referencing a picture of Venta making the rounds through social media that shows him wearing an orange Voluntad Popular (VP) shirt.

She continued:

I don’t even feel safe at home because I don’t know if there are any cooperating patriots working in our building or living next door (…) there are cooperating patriots everywhere placed there by the government.

Website Publishes “Cooperating Patriot” Evidence

An article published on Runrun.es last night appears to provide evidence that Venta has in fact worked alongside the government.

The article claims that Venta has at least three different Facebook accounts and four different Twitter accounts. One of his Facebook accounts shows Venta in a military uniform, while his LinkedIn page listed “Community Coordinator with Voluntad Popular” in his job history. Other Facebook pages link him with the JAVU and Operacion Libertad anti-government student movements, and is seen in numerous pictures alongside opposition figures.

While Venta claimed to be officially tied to the Voluntad Popular party, a Chacao municipal worker who met Venta during his time at Voluntad Popular in 2013-2014 told RunRun.es: 

The first time I saw him was at [the VP headquarters in Chacao]. He passed himself off as someone who was intelligent, and he talked a lot. We never found out where he lived. He always stayed in other people’s houses. He came and went; he’d go missing for weeks or months. Then, I’d see him around again.

The article claims that “alarms went off” at VP when someone spotted Venta working as a security guard in the building where opposition figure and mayor of El Hatillo David Smolansky lives. At that point, VP cut all ties with Venta, and he moved on to the Alianza Bravo Pueblo (ABP) party.

Venta’s time at ABP was short, since RunRun.es claims that he was accused of being a “cooperating patriot” and was promptly expelled from the party.

The same article links Venta romantically to two women, both of whom are members of the inner circles of Carlos Vecchio and Antonio Ledezma, two high-profile opposition members.

Perhaps most strikingly, the same article provides evidence that Venta was an avid supporter of the PSUV prior to 2010. Images linked to one of Venta’s Twitter accounts from the time show him attempting to communicate with Hugo Chavez and Diosdado Cabello through the social media website, calling Chavez “commander” and “comrade”, and praising the Bolivarian revolution.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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