Maduro announced last night that he had secured a $5 billion loan from China to go towards “elevating oil productions” in the short-term. Maduro made the announcement on a special episode of his television show En Contacto Con Maduro, which he broadcast from China.
In addition to the loan, Maduro announced an agreement to create “Special Economic Zones”. Venezuela currently has two such zones with China, along with one which has yet to be set up in Moron-Puerto Cabello.
During his show, Maduro also announced the creation of a 10-year co-development initiative called the Plan de Desarollo Conjunto con China 2015-2025 [China Co-Development Plan 2015-2025].
Maduro also spoke on the Colombia border issue, saying that he had finally called Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to arrange a “face to face” meeting. Maduro also reiterated his belief that Venezuela is the victim of attacks from Colombia, which is attempting to “destabilize” Venezuela.
Foreign Dignitaries Visit Border
Colombia has arranged for the ambassadors of more than twenty countries in the nation to visit the border with Venezuela near Cucuta to witness the situation of deportees in the area. The visitors arrived in Cucuta earlier today, and include a delegation from the Organization of American States.
The diplomats visited the camps housing the thousands of Colombians who have left Venezuela over the last week and a half.
Saab: Going To ICC Is “War Propaganda”
People’s Defender Tarek William Saab spoke today on reports that Colombia is considering taking the humanitarian crisis caused by the deportation of some of its citizens from Venezuela to the International Criminal Court on the grounds that it might constitute a crime against humanity. Saab called the reports “an act of war propaganda”, and said that there was no basis for Colombia’s stance.
Saab also personally attacked Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, saying:
[Santos] has escalated his warmongering rhetoric, which serves as a reminder that Santos was once the Minister of Defense for Alvaro Uribe (…) always conceited, arrogant, warmongering, Uribe’s right hand for threatening nations (…) and not the Santos who wanted to have cordial relations with the presidents of Venezuela.
State of Exception Could Extend Beyond Tachira’s Borders
Today, National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello threatened that the state of exception could be extended beyond its current borders, first to Zulia and Apure states and beyond.
Speaking from Tachira state, Cabello said:
We are announcing that wherever it is necessary to take the actions that we have to take, the government will do it. Sections of Zulia and Apure, and wherever necessary.
The announcement is significant because under the state of exception, important constitutional rights are suspended. These rights include the right against warrantless searches and wiretapping, the the freedoms to transit, peaceful assembly and protest.
El Nacional Condemns Gov’t Harrasment
El Nacional, one of the leading critical media voices in Venezuela, claims in an article today to being the victim of a harassment campaign by the Servicio Nacional Integrado de Administración Aduanera y Tributaria (SENIAT) [National Integrated Service for the Administration of Customs Duties and Taxes], the country’s tax and revenue service.
In an article published today, El Nacional claims that SENIAT officials have visited its Caracas offices twice in the last week, in a move that the publication’s editor, Miguel Otero, categorized in the following way:
They’re launching a tax assault against the newspaper, which is one of the methods the government uses to silence media.
El Nacional claims that a SENIAT official named Lilia Caraballo visited its offices in Caracas on Thursday, August 27, at 3:25 PM. Caraballo allegedly spoke with representatives from the newspaper’s legal team, and presented them with a list of 28 demands, 11 of which had to be met immediately before the end of the day. Given the lack of time to prepare the required documentation, El Nacional was given until yesterday at 3:00 PM to hand in all the required documents, which it did.
One of the 28 demands was to hand over the original and a copy of all the contracts signed by El Nacional under Venezuelan law, which the newspaper says totals approximately 1,500 documents. The newspaper was also asked to hand over its accounting books; when it did, the SENIAT told them that the procedure for handing over the books had changed, although they did not explain in detail what the new procedure was.
A second SENIAT official, named Tito Hernandez, visited the newspaper’s Caracas headquarters yesterday afternoon. Hernandez brought with him requirements and documentation dating back to 2011.
Otero said that the quantity of documentation the SENIAT is asking for is absurd, and that:
This is like the lawsuit by Diosdado Cabello, which wouldn’t be allowed in any country in the world. Jose David Cabello – whose brother we all know [Diosdado Cabello] – is acting in his role as [the head of the SENIAT] is looking for any excuse, any detail, so that he can shut down El Nacional. Venezuela has become a country where clans control power, and it looks as if the Diosdado clan has more control over the path Venezuela is taking that the Presidency.
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