The head of the Sucre municipality police force (Polisucre), Manuel Furelos, has been charged over his alleged involvement in a violent attack against a rally in support of opposition National Assembly candidate Miguel Pizarro that took place in Petare, Caracas last week. Furelos was arrested by SEBIN agents yesterday afternoon.
Carlos Ocariz, the mayor of the Sucre municipality, reacted to Furelos’ arrest today, and called for his immediate release since he believes Furelos to be innocent. Speaking to reporters earlier today, Ocariz said:
We reject Chief Manuel Furelos’ detention (…) he is a man wholly dedicated to his job. Now they want to tie him to a political event. We ask the Public Ministry to free officer Furelos.
Ocariz also said that Furelos has not been allowed to speak to anyone since he was arrested yesterday. He also suggested that the reason the Furelos has been linked to the attack is because the government knows its National Assembly candidates are losing in the districts overlapping the municipality, and that his detention is an attempt to divert blame from the real culprits.
Miguel Pizarro: Furelos’ Arrest Desperate Move by Gov’t
National Assembly deputy Miguel Pizarro also spoke out against Furelos’ arrest, calling it a desperate move by the government. He also called Furelos’ arrest “arbitrary“, and said that the arrest would not intimidate the opposition.
GDP Down 9% From Last Year
La Patilla reported today that Venezuela’s gross domestic product shrunk 9% from last year in the third trimester. The website cited official figures circulated inside the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) that have yet to be published.
If the figures are correct, it would mean that the country’s economy has lost size for four consecutive trimesters, starting roughly in in the third trimester of 2014. However, this is a difficult fact to establish because the BCV has not published official figures since the end of last year.
Lopez Invokes Right to Vote
Leopoldo Lopez’s defense team has asked the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, the nation’s top court, that their client be allowed to vote in this Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Juan Carlos Gutierrez, one of Lopez’s lawyers, summed up his argument:
There is no legal restriction [for an inmate to vote]. Safe conditions for him to cast his ballot this Sunday December 6 in the parliamentary elections must be authorized.
Lopez has requested through his legal team that he either be allowed to leave his cell in the Ramo Verde military prison so that he may go to a voting center to cast his ballot, or that a voting table be installed inside the prison so that he may vote here.
CNE Promises State of Exception Won’t Affect Elections
The Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) reiterated today that the state of exception currently affecting 23 municipalities along the border with Colombia will not in any way affect electoral proceedings in those areas. Tibisay Lucena, the head of the CNE, said today that elections in the zones of exception would be conducted “normally”.
We are completely calm and secure [knowing that] this is not a state of exception that does not in any way affect political rights and consequently, the electoral process.
The state of exception currently affecting municipalities in Zulia, Tachira, Apure and Amazonas state limits several constitutional rights, including the freedom of assembly and the freedom of movement.
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