The head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), Jesus Torrealba, gave an interview to Spanish newspaper La Razon in which he addressed the recent arrest of Cilia Flore’s nephews for allegedly attempting to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States.
Below, a selection of questions and answers from the article:
Has Venezuela become a narcostate?
In Venezuela, there is reliable and obvious evidence of the relationship between important players in politics and dark elements from the world of drug trafficking. It’s not about news stories anymore: it’s about people with diplomatic passports [Efrain and Francisco Flores], presumably connected to the presidential family, indicted before a grand jury and not over some freak occurrence but rather as a result of an eight-month long investigation. This is concrete evidence of a nexus between political players and the world of drugs.
Do you believe that the President and his wife know what’s going on regarding the drug trafficking?
I can’t say, but that’s the exactly the reason why Venezuela needs to conduct and in-depth investigation. This news has had great impact throughout the world, but in Venezuela they’re trying to make it disappear thanks to the fact that the government controls the media. Due to what we call “media hegemony”, the media is censured or self-censured.
President Nicolas Maduro has said that if the opposition wins [the December 6 elections], he will not hand over “the revolution”. Do you think that a coup against the result of the elections is possible?
You need political capital to carry out a coup, and Maduro doesn’t even have a vote among inside the country or with his allies abroad. Every poll says that the opposition will be the PSUV by more than 30 points. Attempting to ignore this popular victory by force would end up in disaster for them. The government’s only choice is to lose the December 6 elections or lose it all by trying to use force.
Have you reached out to moderate sectors of the government?
Right now there’s a lot of blackmail going on within the government ranks. Those players are paralyzed, as we are, and are waiting for the militaristic elite of diosdadomadurismo to be defeated by the people. I have no doubt that after the elections we’re going to see the emergence of actors that will call for a dialogue that would seem impossible today. This will depend on the size of the victory on December 6. The greater the victory, the more likely there is to be a path towards dialogue and co-existence in the future.
The full interview can be found here.
Rosales in Good Spirits: Family
The family of former Zulia state governor Manuel Rosales told Venezuelan media today that the opposition figure has gone 25 days without seeing sunlight or breathing fresh air. In an interview, Rosales’s son, Carlos Rosales, described his father’s cell as humid and uncomfortable, that he is under constant video surveillance and that he’s not allowed to communicate with anyone.
Despite the difficult conditions, Rosales appears to be in good spirits, as Carlos said:
As soon as you enter his cell, you see him with that enthusiasm, happiness, and conviction, and you just fill up with energy. He passes on his feeling of security on moving forward, and to not falter.
Chaderton Expects “Butchering” of Right-Wing on December 6
The former Venezuelan ambassador to the Organization of American States, Roy Chaderton, spoke with Jose Vicente Rangel on his television show on the Televen network earlier today. The two talked about the December 6 parliamentary elections, and Chaderton voiced his belief in the total destruction of the Venezuelan opposition:
I expect the hecatomb of the right-wing. In Greek, hecatomb means something like “butchering of 100 oxen”. Since we’re dealing with people as stupid as oxen, this would be desirable, and that’s what we’re working towards. [We’re working towards] achieving a democratic triumph, a clean and just triumph over the enemies of democracy.
This is not the first time that Chaderton has used violent imagery when describing his disdain for opposition supporters. Back in March of this year, Chaderton joked on a television interview that a bullet tearing through the skull of an opposition supporter would make an unusual sound since “the skull is empty”.
Pharmacies Resort to Manufacturing Own Medicine Amid Scarcity
El Tiempo, a newspaper from Puerto La Cruz, Anzoategui state, published an article today in which it claims that pharmacies around the country are being forced to manufacture their own medicines in order to help alleviate the scarcity gripping the sector.
The article cites Yolanda Carrasquel, the head of the Federacion Farmaceutica Venezolana [Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Association] (FEFARVEN), as saying that at least half of the country’s 80 medical labs have had to reduce production this year due to lack of foreign currency with which to import raw materials. As a result, she said that there are three pharmacies in Puerto La Cruz alone that have been equipped to make medicine on-site.
Damelis Arismendi, the manager of a pharmacy in Barcelona, Anzoategui state, said that her pharmacy makes anywhere between 15 to 20 medicines each day, mostly for children. However, the makeshift nature of the operation means that the medicine has a shorter shelf-life:
Because they don’t contain the chemical preservatives that the industry uses, [the medicine] loses its effect after a week.
Arismendo said that while the measure is much better than the alternative, she is not sure what will happen once the pharmacy runs out of the ingredients with which to make medicine on-site.
Maduro Nearly Hit in Head By Basketball
While speaking on television at an event last night, someone whipped what appears to be a basketball in Maduro’s general direction. While the basketball nearly missed Maduro, it did hit a woman standing beside him.
Below, a video showing the event along with my translation:
Maduro: … I swear it before our people. It’s a personal promise with Commander Chavez’s legacy and the people. We’re going to reach the 3 millionth home — [basketball whizzes by] — ah! that’s true, look. Where’s the ball? Look, it’s true.
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