Imports arriving at the port of La Guaira have fallen by 80% this year, according to the head of the Camara de Comercio del Estado Vargas [Vargas State Chamber of Commerce], Eduardo Quintana. Quintana said that similar figures are being reported throughout the other major ports in the country.

Quintana blamed the lack of foreign currency available to businesses to pay for imports. He also said that the port is only operating at 20% capacity, and that of that figure, only 5% corresponds to private businesses. Quintana explained:

From that 20% that’s left over, public companies account for 15-16% of imports. The rest is accounted for by private businesses who want to stay active.

Leon: Currency Exchange Restrictions “Tend to Collapse”

Economist Juan Vicente Leon said in an interview earlier today that Venezuela’s currency exchange restrictions is “unsustainable”, but that Venezuela was not yet “on the brink of social explosion”.

When asked for his thoughts on the December 6 parliamentary elections, Leon said:

They could open up a door, a process for change. Change demands participation and negotiation with the entire country. We need a profound process of transformation.

Three Trucks Looted in 24 Hours

Three trucks involved in separate traffic accidents were looted over the span of 24 hours starting yesterday morning.

The first incident involved an overturned truck in Valera, Trujillo state. There, motorists took the opportunity to empty the truck of its cargo: corn flour. The driver of the truck was in the event.

A few hours later, a truck on its way to Villda de Cura, Aragua state was looted, although it appears that the truck was not in any kind of distress prior to the event.

The third event involved another truck that saw its contents looted as it transported them along the Autopista Regional del Centro, which connects Caracas and Valencia.

Below, some pictures of the events:

AG: Prosecutors Are Independent

Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz continued to defend the Public Ministry today after recent allegations by Franklin Nieves that the institution is simply an extension of Maduro’s office. Earlier today, Diaz said:

The only order our prosecutors get is to adhere to the Constitution and the law.

Addressing Nieves’ allegations that he and other prosecutors in the Lopez trial received direct orders from superiors to fabricate evidence during the trial in order to secure a conviction, Diaz said:

There do not exist in our institution any orders that come from directors, or the vice-attorney general, nor the attorney general regarding the acts of prosecutors because they are autonomous in how they proceed [with cases].

DIaz also said that it is up to the individual prosecutor to report any irregularities or violations of the law they feel may be affecting their cases.

US: Narcos View Venezuela as “Most Efficient” Drug Route

William Brownfield, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said that Colombian drug traffickers view Venezuela as the most convenient route through which to traffic their products into the United States. Brownfield made the comments while in Colombia as part of a U.S. committee working on drug trafficking.

When asked if he could speak about how Colombo-Venezuelan collaboration on anti-drug trafficking, Brownfield said:

It’s calculated that the vast majority, more than half of the illicit product in Colombia, moves through the territory of that neighbouring country [Venezuela], which suggests that for some reason drug traffickers have decided that is the most economical and efficient route for them.

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

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