Gonzalo Gomez, the co-founder of the pro-PSUV website aporrea.org and member of the lest-wing Marea Socialista party, urged the MUD and the PSUV to work together to solve the country’s problem since, as he sees it, Venezuela is “approaching the abyss”.
When asked by El Nacional about the reasons for the PSUV’s implosion on December 6, Gomez said:
Due to a move from a very important chavista sector over to the opposition. This was a punishment vote, a protest vote. It was a scolding for chavismo.
Gomez said that he believes that the country’s poor economic situation is the reason why so many PSUV supporters voted for the MUD. While Gomez subscribes to the “economic war” theory, which blames internal and external PSUV enemies for the economic crisis, he also placed responsibility in the hands of a government “that could not keep its promise of winning the war”. Gomez considers it “unfortunate” that the PSUV did not take any corrective measures to try to fix the country’s economic troubles.
When asked what he thought about Maduro’s threats to punish electors by withholding social programs, Gomez said:
The government is making a mistake when it blames chavistas. Diosdado Cabello said that they would be “punished”, when the government, the value of the dollar, smuggling to Colombia and the banks are the ones who have punished the people. The people reacted to this mistreatment and arrogance. Now they [the PSUV] are calling for a reflection that is forced, made under pressure. This is damage control. Still, the PSUV does not call on those of us who voiced critiques before. Even though we were right, we were insulted, called traitors and CIA agents.
The Marea Socialista party to which Gomez belongs was kicked out of the PSUV bloc earlier this year after its leader, Nicmer Evans, took a critical stance on some of the party’s policies.
Gomez was also asked if he thought there was still time to save the Bolivarian revolution, to which he replied:
We’ve yet to see. We want to save it because we’re approaching the abyss. There’s also an opportunity to regroup and advance, but it depends on the government’s policies.
PDVSA Output Falls
A monthly OPEC production report revealed that PDVSA’s oil production fell 4.78% between January and November of this year, a total of 130,000 barrels per day. While the state-run oil company extracted 2.71 million barrels of oil per day it January, it managed only 2.58 million barrels of oil per day in November. According to the report, November alone saw a decrease in production of 14,000 barrels per day.
The report suggests a continuing trend in decreasing production that stretches back to 2013. Last year, PDVSA averaged 2.68 million barrels per day, while in 2013 it produced 2.78 million barrels per day.
The figures are particularly alarming because the 2016 budget drafted by the government in November is based on income from an average of 3 million barrels per day.
The Ministry of Oil and Mining explained that the reason for the slowdown has to do with the fact that there continues to be an excess of oil in the world market, which is the reason why oil prices continue to drop.
MUD Deputies Meet in Caracas
The 112 MUD deputies elected to the National Assembly on December 6 meet in Caracas yesterday to discuss their plans for the upcoming parliamentary session. El Nacional reports that one of the issues they agreed on was giving Primero Justicia‘s Julio Borges the role of President of the National Assembly, which is currently held by Diosdado Cabello.
Jesus Torrealba, the head of the MUD, said that while he did not believe that the PSUV would set itself up as a roadblock to any proposal the MUD makes, he is confident that the Constitution contains enough tools to deal with any situation that may arise in the legislature. Torrealba said:
Let’s see what happens if we move to pass the Ley de Misiones Para Todos [Missions for Everyone Law]. If the government decides to block it, if it decides to oppose the wishes for change and justice, we will activate the paths set out by the Constitution to change the government.
The Venezuelan Constitution allows a 2/3 majority in the National Assembly – which the MUD has – to call a Presidential recall referendum, as well as call for the formation of a constituent assembly that would have the power to create a new constitution.
Henry Ramos Allup, who stood beside Torrealba as he made the comments, reminded the press that the Constitution also allows for the President of the Republic to resign, or be impeached.
Torrealba also reiterated the MUD’s commitment to improving the lives of Venezuelans living in subsidized housing units, both by granting them deeds to the properties in which they live and by improving the services available in their units. Torrealba said:
We’ve found that the government has been building concrete shacks without services; unsustainable and unsafe. We are going to help improve the quality of life in this spaces.
Maduro: PSUV Will “Fight to Infinity and Beyond”
In a speech given to members of the armed forces earlier today, Maduro promised that the PSUV would fight for the county “to infinity and beyond”, and that the MUD’s electoral victory on December 6 had triggered “a counterrevolutionary power crisis”.
They will not destroy this homeland. They will not make it go backwards. No. Even if it costs us our lives, I will not allow it (…) in the face of difficulty, we will continue the revolution.
Maduro Has Heated Exchange with Critic on TV
A video uploaded to YouTube on December 10 shows a heated exchange between Maduro and a PSUV supporter during a televised event. In the video, an elderly man gets up to speak at Maduro’s request. A clearly angry Maduro lashes out at the man for rising to critique the government.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Maduro: Who said “no”? What state is he from?
Man: [unintelligible – I think he might be saying his name].
Maduro: Go ahead, then. Why did you say “no”?
Man: Ok, well —
Maduro: Speak, then!
Man: Ok, I’m talking —
Maduro: Speak! Speak!
Man: Ok, let me speak. I’m going to speak. The lady who is here —
Maduro: Make the critique you’re going to make! Don’t ask for permission! You don’t need permission!
Man: Ok, yes, of course. I’m not asking for permission —
Maduro: Does this [the program they are talking about] work or not?
Man: It does not work.
Man: Because they meet a bunch of times only to [unintelligible]. There are no opportunities for people to communicate [with the government], for people to speak. The lady says [unintelligible] about the UBCh [Unidades de Batalla Bolivar-Chavez, a militia group], and all they have is useless meetings. They have improvised meetings that last four and five hours. I brought that up at the working group, but it didn’t appear in the document. I handed the document over to comrade Elias [Jaua], and I said, “Give this to comrade Nicolas [Maduro]”.
Maduro: He gave me some documents.
Man: So, when somebody makes a critique, then they’re counter-revolutionary [crowd claps]. This isn’t a personal problem, it’s a,political problem. I wish the national leadership would go to Amazonas [state]. Comrade Diosdado [Cabello] has said – he’s promised – that he’d go many times. But we’re still waiting. There needs to be real reflection, from the Vice-President’s office down. I submit to any kind of political sanction if it’s found that I’m lying.
Maduro: Where do you do your work for the party?
Man: I do it there at [unintelligible] at the state level.
Maduro: The state level? What’s your name?
Man: Antonio Groterol.
Maduro: Antonio Gloterol. Well, thank you for your honest opinion.
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