Speaking on his weekly television show En Contacto Con Maduro earlier this evening, Maduro spent some time talking about reported irregularities with Heinz operations in the country. Maduro ordered government inspectors to launch an investigation into the company’s operations in the country, and to imprison any of the company’s management found to be “sabotaging” the company.
We’ve got the Heinz company. I don’t know who owns it. Tomorrow, you [government inspectors] should go there first thing in the morning and find out what’s happening at Heinz. If the managers are sabotaging things, we’ve got the head of the SEBIN [the Venezuelan intelligence service] here, and you should throw them in jail right away. We’ve had enough of this bourgeoisie.
Maduro’s order appears to have been prompted by a complaint from a worker at the company’s San Joaquin plant. According to La Patilla, a worker named Amilcar Jaspe said that the plant experienced a production stoppage that he considered to be “unjustified”. The stoppage resulted with several workers initiating peaceful protests calling for a restart of production.
According to Jaspe, nine of the plant’s production lines were stopped due to lack of raw materials needed for food production. However, it appears that the workers have taken issue with the fact that four other production lines have been stopped due to a mechanical issue that requires a special type of imported adhesive to fix. According to Jaspe:
… we haven’t seen any kind of effort to acquire made-in-Venezuela glue.
Maduro responded to the worker’s concerns by saying that he “trusts the working class and know that the workers are telling the truth”, hence his order to imprison the company’s managers.
Maduro also dismissed the widely-reported fact that the country’s economic policies create barriers for imports that are often impossible to surmount, saying:
Ah, well, then you go ahead and meet with a pelucon [a derogatory term for “business person”] from that or any other company and they say, “No, whatever, I haven’t gotten dollars [to import]” and they start like that. No. Your time is up, bourgeois. Parasites! The people are sending a clear message, and I receive the message clearly in my heart.
He also blamed the country’s scarcity crisis entirely on businesses hoarding and hiding products from citizens, saying:
Enough is enough! You have the products, but you close your doors to the people so that they suffer out in the sun. Men and women: we cannot allow this. We must act with an iron fist against all of these people who want to make us toil and suffer. Let us prepare… to give the parasites, the saboteurs, the bourgeoisie, the oligarchy a beating!
During the same address, Maduro said that he had personally ordered the arrest of a business owner recently, although he provided few details on the event:
Just recently I walked by a long line here in the Plaza. I sent the SEBIN in immediately because I knew that that [store] manager was conspiring to irritate the people (…) arrest him immediately!
Torrealba: Venezuelan Democracy is “Thuggish”
Jesus Torrealba, the head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, gave an interview yesterday in which he called the Venezuelan democracy “thuggish” and suggested that the Consejo Nacional Electoral was working alongside the PSUV to ensure the party’s victory on Sunday.
To counteract his second point, Torrealba reiterated that the MUD would count votes at the same time as the CNE does on Sunday in order to ensure no irregularities take place.
Central Bank Stops Processing Remittances
El Nacional reported today that the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) has not processed any remittances leaving the country in the past two months. An industry sold corroborated testimony collected by the newspaper by affected users that the Venezuelan government has not processed remittances for October of November.
El Nacional spoke with an Ecuadorian national living in Venezuela who said that even though his application to send US dollars out of the country to his family in Ecuador was approved for October, the money has yet to be moved. When he contacted the (BCV), he was told simply that the transaction had yet to be conducted.
The man, named Carlos, explained his predicament:
Until [the October transaction] goes through [so that I can] make a sworn statement for that month, I can’t ask for the dollars for November. In other words, I’ve lost this month. What the customer service representative who talked to me said was that what is happening isn’t in their hands as an institution: they have to wait for the national executive to order the BCV to hand over foreign currency to be exchanged. We have no option but to wait.
As Venezuela deals with a continued dip in oil prices, the country has seen a 60% reduction in outgoing remittance traffic in 2015.
Residents React to Chicken Selling Out
A group of citizens became upset by the fact that the supermarket they were lining up to buy chicken from would not be selling any, and would instead sell flour and soap. The event happened near the La India roundabout in Caracas earlier this morning.
At the beginning of the video, people can be seen throwing garbage onto the road in an attempt to disrupt traffic while security forces try to keep the road clear. Starting at around 1:45, the camerawoman speaks to a woman who had been in line hoping to buy chicken.
Below, the video along with my translation:
(Starting at 1:45)
Camerawoman: What happened here, ma’am? What happened?
Woman in White: There are people here who’ve been here since 5:00 AM waiting for them to bring out the chicken. Now they come out and tell us that they’re out of chicken. How can they tell us that they’re out of chicken? I have two children. So they said, “Stay in line and you’ll be able to buy four packs of corn flour and one bar of soap”. Is my son supposed to eat soap with corn flour? How is this possible? Can you tell me? [pointing to the number on her arm showing her place in line] This is an insult! Them writing on us, or on our ID cards, is an insult. We are Venezuelans! And the [National] Guards, instead of supporting us, the people – that’s what they’re here to do! – but they don’t support us. Instead, they push us, beat us and mistreat us. How is this possible, miss? We tired! We’ve had enough!
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