The PSUV-campaign head, Jorge Rodrigez, said in a televised speech today that at least one of the men accused of the rape and murder of Liana Hergueta is connected with Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles and other opposition figures, including Primero Justicia‘s Carlos Ocariz and National Assembly Deputy Richard Blanco.

Rodriguez explained that authorities believed that Carlos Trejo, one of the accused in the murder, was in charge of “exchanging money” to finance the 2014 anti-government protests. Rodriguez also said that Trejo “organized the guarimbero camps” [the street barricades that popped up in cities across the country last year]. Rodriguez also said that another one of the suspects, Jose Perez Venta, has confessed to the authorities, saying:

There are no limits to the things Mr. Venta has confessed to – pictures with Ocariz, Capriles. They’re criminals used by the Venezuelan right-wing. They don’t care about human life.

While Rodriguez did not explain exactly the nature of the alleged connection between the suspects and the opposition is, or what the motive for the crime might have been, he did show a number of pictures of the suspects posing alongside opposition figures at public events. He also accused Venta of being Maria Corina Machado’s chief of security.

After asking that the opposition figures he linked to the murders explain why they appear in photos with the suspects, Rodriguez mockingly added:

I’m waiting for them to say that Perez Venta was a human rights activist. They might do it.

Luis Vicente Leon: Wheelbarrows for Carrying Money Not Unlikely

Economist Luis Vicente Leon voiced his displeasure today at the Banco Central de Venezuela‘s  (BCV) apparent unwillingness to print bills in higher denominations than 100, a fact that he said might lead to Venezuelans having to carry money around in wheelbarrows “soon”.

In a series of tweets, Leon said that there was no “technical reason” for the central bank to refuse to print bills with a higher denomination than 100, and called it “absurd” that even though inflation has increased tremendously since the first Bs. 100 bills were issued, no higher-denomination bill has been placed into circulation.

Leon also hinted at what he believes to be the reason behind the BCV’s stance on the bills: their desire to hide the inflation crisis from Venezuelans. He stressed that it’s not necessary for the BCV to issue higher denomination bills for Venezuelans to understand that inflation was a reality, and that it was “impossible to maintain a fluid operation” with just Bs. 100 bills.

Warning that wheelbarrows for carrying money would be needed soon unless higher denominations bills were printed, he pointed out that ATM machines are not designed to carry the large amounts of cash Venezuelans need to withdraw to buy even the most basic necessities, and that it was “ridiculous” that several of the highest denomination bills were needed to buy “even the stupidest little thing at a corner store”.

The Banco Central de Venezuela prints Bolivares Fuertes (Bs. in this blog) in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. The fact that street hot dogs sell for about Bs. 90 means that Venezuelans almost always need large quantities of the Bs, 100 bills to buy virtually anything.

MUD To Focus Campaign on Discontent, Political Prisoners

In a press conference today, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica has officially launched it Comando de la Venezuela Unidad [United Venezuela Command], its official campaign for the December 6 parliamentary elections. The head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, said that all candidates will be instructed to hold meetings with residents in their respective circuits to get to know votes and identify their needs.

During the same press conference, Henry Ramos Allup, the MUD’s representative before the Consejo Nacional Electoral [CNE] said that were the MUD to win a majority in the National Assembly, one of their first priorities would be to pass a law to grant amnesty to all political prisoners in the country. A MUD-controlled National Assembly would also move quickly to restore independence to public institutions, Allup said.

Torrealba said that he expects the head of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, to extend voting hours on December 6 as it becomes apparent that the PSUV is losing the election.

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

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