At an OPEC meeting last week, the organization rejected calls for from the Venezuelan delegation to cut oil production in order to help drive prices up.
At the same time, the head of the Iranian state-owned oil company, Rokneddin Javadi, said that his country was ready to place 500,000 barrels of oil per day on the world market as soon as sanctions against the country are lifted. Javadi said that Iran hopes to be able to ramp up production from a short term goal of 3.9 million barrels per day to 5 million barrels per day.
By placing more oil on the world market, Iran’s move is likely to stave off any increases in oil prices in the short term, a move that is likely to continue to deeply hurt Venezuela. While PDVSA would like oil prices to bottom out at around $70 per barrel, experts expect the price of Venezuelan oil to average between $43-46 per barrel in 2016.
PDVSA Pumping Out 2.9 Million Barrels per Day
The Minister of Oil and Mining, Eulogio del Pino, informed the National Assembly yesterday that Venezuela is maintaining production at 2.9 million barrels of oil per day. Out of that number, 2.4 million are exported, with 1.3 million heading to Asia.
Del Pino provided “preliminary” figures that suggest that Venezuela brought in $59.18 billion dollars from oil sales during the first trimester of the year, earning approximately $13 billion. He also said that PDVSA is expected to provide about half as much money to the country has it did last year, given the fall in oil prices.
Tintori Claims Ramo Verde Guard Abuses
Lilian Tintori, Leopoldo Lopez’s wife, said today that prison staff at the prison holding her husband have forced her to crawl on the floor and then jump up and down naked. Tintori did not give more details on the alleged abuses, only saying that:
When I go to the prison, they force me to take off my clothes and crawl. There are cameras there that are monitored directly by Diosdado Cabello. I do it because if I refuse, they don’t allow me to visit.
Tintori also said that on one occasion, a guard forced her to jump up and down naked. Tintori says that she told the guard:
If you want, I can jump for 30 or 40 minutes because I do sports and I can take it.
On her last visit, Tintori said that she told Lopez about Franklin Nieves’ recent statements and that he became emotional by the news. Tintori said:
I forgive him [Nieves], because Leopoldo has forgiven him. We already knew about this because there was never any evidence (…) it’s incredible to see the man who insulted and humiliated my family so much ask Venezuela for forgiveness.
Cabello: Nieves Received $850,000 From Unknown Source
Last night, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello used his weekly television show Con El Mazo Dando to discredit Franklin Nieves’ flight to the United States and the allegations he has made regarding the integrity of the Leopoldo Lopez trial.
During his show, Cabello suggested that an unknown source paid $850,000 for a nefarious reason, and that if his allegations were true, he would have made them while still in Venezuela.
This gentleman had the opportunity to say these things in Venezuela. I got a letter from someone, they said $850,000 are in an account. This gentleman — what a thing! He was a prosecutor, but he didn’t say anything. He went to the United States, and now he’s a hero of the opposition (…) everyone who goes to the United States to gossip about Venezuela is a hero of the opposition (…) and just so you can see how the institutions work here, he [Nieves] was never persecuted even though he belongs to the opposition.
Cabello said that by accusing Lopez of “stupidness” like arson and damages to public property instead of murder, Nieves actually served to help Lopez. Cabello argued that Lopez should have instead been charged with the murders of the 43 people who died during last year’s protests.
Military to Investigate Grenade Attacks
The Ministry of Defense has begun an investigation into an apparent rise in the number of grenade attacks against police officers throughout the country in recent weeks. Ultimas Noticias reports that Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez has ordered the army’s Direccion de Armas y Explosivos [Weapons and Explosives Directorate] (DAEX) to carry out an inspection of every weapons storage depot belonging to each of the country’s police services.
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense has charged the Direccion General de Contrainteligencia Militar [Military Counterintelligence General Directorate] to investigate where the grenades have been coming from.
According to Ultimas Noticias, there have been eight grenade attacks against police officer and police installations in the country this year, with five of the attacks happening on a single day – September 24. The publication points out that September 24 is also the day Venezuelan security officers with the CICPC killed a gang leader named Jhony Aponte (a.k.a. Mini Joe), raising the possibility that the attacks are an act of retaliation.
PSUV Deputy Calls Opposition “Motherfuckers” on Live TV
PSUV National Assembly Deputy and former personal assistant to Hugo Chavez Pedro Carreño was interviewed on a show on Globovision last night, and had some choice words for the Venezuela opposition.
Below, a clip of the exchange, along with my translation:
Carreño: … it’s a show. When Pedro Carreño goes to the Public Ministry and files a complaint to preserve peace and the homeland against Lorenzo Mendoza and — then they use big media, “Pedro Carreño’s Profile — Pedro Carreño was [dismissed from the army]”. And they believe it! They believe it. The escualidos [derogatory term for opposition supporter] are so stupid, so stupefied — they’ve been manipulated so much, they’re so sick that they think it’s true. “Pedro Carreño [didn’t perform well in the National Assembly in 2011], and thanks to Diosdado Cabello he changed”. No, in 2011 Pedro Carreño was the back-up deputy for Luis Reyes Reyes. They’re lazy even when it comes to investigating people. Those punks are lazy — lazy! — they’re lazy motherfuckers. We have to say it clearly – lazy!
Anchor: The law [against swearing on televison?] is going to get you. Let’s go on a break.
Carreño: The other thing I want to say is that — “No, Pedro Carreño signed a pact with Cuba…”
Last week, Pedro Carreño headed a group of approximately 100 PSUV National Assembly deputies and filed a formal complaint at the Public Ministry against Lorenzo Mendoza and Ricardo Hausmann over allegations that the two men had spoken about possible IMF intervention in Venezuela.
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