EDIT: On Saturday, November 21, authorities in the Dominican Republic issued a statement saying that the raid on The Kingdom reported below was not related to the investigation involving Efrain and Francisco Flores, and was in fact part of a separate investigation. The country’s Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCD) [National Directorate for Drug Control] said today that the story as originally reported below “is in any way connected” to the case of the Flores cousins.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic raided a home belonging to Francisco Javier Flores Suarez yesterday in the country’s south-eastern side and found 80 kilograms of cocaine stashed in the residence. Authorities also found 10 kilograms of heroine aboard a yacht registered to the man, called “The Kingdom”, that was anchored in Casa de Campo. Francisco Flores Suarez is not to be confused with Franqui Francisco Flores de Freites, the man who was arrested alongside Efrain Flores on Thursday in Haiti.
La Patilla reports that the yacht’s captain is a Venezuelan national and is currently under DEA protection as he is collaborating with the authorities.
Spain’s ABC also reported yesterday that Efrain Flores named PDVSA’s treasurer, Erick Malpica Flores, as an accomplice in a money-laundering scheme. According to the newspaper, Malpica’s job in the operation was to launder money from drug sales through the state-owned oil company. Earlier this year, Andorran and US authorities accused the Banca Privada D’Andorra of laundering money originating from Venezuela through PDVSA.
Maduro, Cilia Still Silent
Maduro spoke for nearly two hours last night at an event in Zulia state and refused to directly address his nephews’ arrests and the mounting allegations of widespread corruption in the Venezuelan government. Instead, Maduro continued to hint that the arrests were part of a plot originating in the United States, saying:
The Empire is entering a phase of total desperation. I call on President Obama to get his country’s organizations under control, since they’re breaking the basic norms of relationships between countries (…) their desperation is causing them to make big mistakes. Get a hold of your crazies, tie them down! Venezuela wants peace.
Maduro also accused the United States government of deliberately seeking to drive oil down to $20 per barrel with the express purpose of destroying Venezuela:
How many evil things have they done to me, to the people? I want you to know, imperialist gentlemen of the north, that the people of Venezuela cannot be stopped. We will continue to walk down the path of triumph and of the revolution of independence of the 21st century. Know this, northern imperialists: no attack can stop us.
Capriles: “No Way” For PSUV to Win Elections
Speaking during a press conference yesterday, Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles went over recent polls that, continuing a months-long trend, place the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) with a healthy lead over the PSUV. Among them was the latest poll from Datanalisis, which has the MUD leading the PSUV by 35%.
Capriles pointed out that the fact that 90% of Venezuelans agree that the country is in poor shape is reminiscent of the situation in the country in 1998, the year in which a wave of popular discontent brought Hugo Chavez to Miraflores.
Capriles also called on the government to not “flip the table over” once it became clear on December 6 that the election was lost, and called on the National Armed Forced to remain vigilant for any sign that the PSUV wanted to maintain power in the National Assembly in an unconstitutional way.
Speaking on the arrests of the Flores cousins and the fact that the two men had diplomatic passports when they were detained in Haiti, Capriles said:
Beyond the family problems, which I will not address: Why did they have diplomatic passports? This government no esta maduro, esta podrido [“Maduro” means “ripe” in Spanish, a pun that makes the sentence read, “this government isn’t ripe, it’s rotten”].
Minister Says Capitalism To Blame for Paris Attacks
Minister of Agriculture and Land Yvan Gil spoke at an event in Portuguesa state earlier today and briefly commented on last night’s terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Gil blamed capitalism for the events, although he did not explain exactly how the two are connected.
As the world wastes away due to capitalist violence – through the horror of capitalism – we send a message of solidarity to France in the face of these terrorist attacks that are nothing more than the most nefarious expression of the capitalist model.
During the same event – which was broadcast on the state-owned VTV channel – Gil violated rules created by the Consejo Nacional Electoral that prohibit elected officials from campaigning alongside National Assembly candidates. While handing out food to supporters, Gil introduced William Perez as “a community leader, a leader of this sector”, and proceeded to hand Perez the microphone, who then spoke for approximately one minute.
Gil did not mention at the time that Perez is a PSUV candidate for the National Assembly in Portuguesa’s District 3.
Venezuelan Unaccounted For After Paris Attacks
A Venezuelan man named Sven Alejandro Silva Perugini was declared missing by a woman claiming to be his mother on her Facebook page. Sven was in attendance at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in the Bataclan theater in Paris last night.
Questions/Comments? E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org