Following a day of confusion concluding with the discovery of Marco Coello’s flight to Miami, the Leopoldo Lopez trial was adjourned and will resume on Thursday of next week. Barring any other eventualities, it is expected that a verdict will be reached on that day.
Yesterday’s session was originally scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM, but did not actually start until 4:20 PM because Marco Coello’s whereabouts were unknown. Coello is one of the co-defendants in the case. It was revealed later in the day that Coello had boarded a plane to Miami from the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Miami the day before. 2001 reports that Coello is seeking political asylum in the United States.
Coello is one of four students who is on trial alongside Lopez for the violent events that took place on February 12, 2014 in Caracas. While Lopez was ordered to remain at the Ramo Verde military prison throughout the course of the trial, the students were given bail. According to 2001, the bail conditions did not prohibit Coello from leaving the country.
Vielma Mora: Colombians in Tachira Will Get Venezuelan Citizenship
Tachira state governor Jose Vielma Mora promised today to give Colombian citizens living in the state Venezuelan citizenship. Vielma Mora made the surprised announcement while talking to reporters today, saying:
We are not going to abandon you [Colombian citizens]. We’re going to nacionalizar [literally, “nationalize”, but in the context of people it means “give you citizenship”], and we’re going to give you what the Colombian government has never given you and will never give you.
At the same time, Vielma Mora said that Venezuela would fight to protect Colombian citizens in the country:
We’re going to protect all of the Colombians who live in Venezuela who gives them the love of a mother. I reiterate our promise to the people against the elite oligarchs in both countries. We are not going to displace you, we are going to nacionalizar [“give you citizenship”].
Vielma Mora’s statements are difficult to reconcile with reality. Since August 19, at least 1,381 Colombian citizens have been deported from Venezuela, the majority of whom lived in Tachira.
Vielma Mora made the promise while leveling heavy criticism at the Colombian government:
You were displaced from your country. Your possessions were taken away from you, your ranches; your families were murdered, and now you’re here with us.
University Professors Will Make Bs. 19,000 Per Month
Carlos Lopez, the head of the Federacion de Trabajadores Universitarios [Federation of University Workers], said today that the contract between university professors and the government setting their salary at Bs. 19,000 per month will be applied retroactively to January 1 of this year.
Retroactive payment for the difference in salary due will be paid in four installments once the entire contract between the two groups is finished, a process he expects to take place next week, Lopez said.
Calculating the exchange rate to Venezuelan Bolivares is difficult because the country has a multi-tier exchange system. At the official government rate that is most easily accessible to ordinary Venezuelans (SIMADI, currently at Bs. 198.77/US Dollar), Bs. 19,000 is approximately $95 per month.
At the black market rate (currently Bs. 705.31/US dollar), a university professor in Venezuela makes $26.94 per month.
The minimum wage in Venezuela is currently set at Bs. 7,421.67 per month.
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