The head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica [MUD], Jesus Torrealba, spoke to Spain’s ABC about the opposition’s stance leading up to the December 6 parliamentary elections. In an interview published today, Torrealba stressed that every Venezuelan is suffering from “the crisis” affecting the country, and called unity against the PSUV “an existential necessity”.

When asked if the MUD needs a strong leader like Chavez was, Torrealba said:

We’ve learned our lesson. We’ve been paying for the last 17 years for our fascination with a messianic leader, an illuminated leader, a saviour like Chavez. We’re in a pit. We’ve reached Haiti’s level.

Torrealba also spoke on the effect the state of exception declared in municipalities bordering Colombia has had on MUD candidates in the affected areas:

We have 22 candidates affected by the decree which limits mobilizations and meetings of more than five people. They can only start campaigning 15 days before the election.

Torrealba also said that the MUD’s organizational machinery has improved since the last election, and said that opposition observes would target “the [voting] centres that saw the most irregularities” during the last elections. He also warned that the PSUV could steal the election with just 200,000 votes.

Ciudad Guyana Residents Faces Bus Problems

A video uploaded to YouTube by Correo Caroni, a newspaper from Ciudad Guayana, Bolivar state, shows the difficulties the city’s residents face when trying to buy bus tickets to travel outside of the city.

Below, the video along with my translation:

Yois Esparragoza: Well, we’re waiting here for them to sell us tickets to go to Caracas. Look at the time [8:05 AM] — I’ve been here since 4:00 AM, and look what time it is. They haven’t even made any announcements. This happens every day. They don’t tell us anything, no one comes — as a human being, I think that someone should be here to give us some news, right? That way we don’t get desperate, we don’t agonize.

Eric Otamendi: It’s so hot. This terminal is only a year old and the air conditioning is already broken. So then you show up here, and there are no tickets? That’s not fair. As you can see, all of the companies here say, “There are no tickets to anywhere”, but you don’t know if they’re selling. So then you line up and when it’s your turn, they tell you there are no tickets, or that you have to line up, or that they’re sold out. So you don’t know if you’ll be able to buy tickets or not.

Man with Glasses: You go from place to place looking to see if you can find a ticket. I got out of a line up because they were sold out, so I came here.

Yois Esparragoza: In this season, it’s more difficult. In other seasons, it’s also difficult, but before you could tickets at any time, right? Even return tickets. And look where we are now. We haven’t been able to buy them. When I got here at 4:00 AM, there were some people out there, a woman, who’d been here since 3:00 AM. They made a list and we all signed up, but this list doesn’t mean anything to them. But it does to us, because this is how we organize ourselves so that no one butts ahead of us.

Man with Glasses: The tickets used to cost Bs. 750-800. Now, I was very surprised to find how expensive it’s gotten.

Leonidas Abreu: What’s happening here is that the bus companies are the ones causing this mess. How is it possible that there are lines starting at 5:00 AM, and then when they open the sales counter they say, “We’re only selling 10 tickets”. What happens to the other spots? Let me ask you something – if you get here at 8:00 AM, 6:00 AM, you see people with tickets — they [the companies] are re-selling those tickets themselves.

Eric Otamendi: A ticket from there to here costs Bs. 1,500. I’m not sure if that’s the right price, but that’s what I paid yesterday. There’s lots of people here facing the same problems that I am. They have to leave their homes in the early morning to be able to buy a ticket. They get here, and they have to deal with the indifference of the people who work here. They have to wait til late in the morning, and when it’s their turn to buy tickets, they’re sold out. I’m angry about this, and I’m complaining about it.

At 0:55, the text that appears on the left side of the screen reads:

The Puerto Ordaz Terminal was expanded and re-opened in August 2012. The new space occupies 2,500 square meters, at a cost of 29 million Bolivares. The terminal’s old section has yet to be renovated. Sleeping rooms and luggage conveyor belts have been abandoned.

Maduro Attends Pilots’ Funeral

A funeral was held today for the two pilots of a Su-30 fighter jet that crashed in Apure state on Thursday night. Maduro attended the event, and said after that the government would erect a monument in honour of captains Ronald Ramirez Sanchez and Jackson Garcia Betancourt.

Maduro also said that he had put twelve more Su-30s on order from Russia, and that:

I’ve instructed the Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, to strengthen our air force to defend our airspace and fight against drug trafficking. I’ve given instructions to intensify the battle against drug trafficking (…) specially coming from Colombia.

National Guard Accused of Killing Two Wayuu Natives

Members of the Wayuu (also known as Guajira) community in northwestern Venezuela accused a National Guard officer of murdering two of its members earlier today. The victims were 29 year old Henry Ipuana and 28 year old Daiver Fernandez.

Milithza Ramirez, who knew the victims, said National Guard soldiers fired on the two men as they drove by them on a motorcycle. Ramirez said:

Without saying anything, in cold blood, they hit my cousin and my brother-in-law (…) the Venezuelan [National] Guard has always come here to provoke us. I don’t know why they always blame us for using up all of Venezuela’s gas and food.

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

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