Incoming National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup was prevented from entering the National Assembly building in Caracas today by the head of the building’s security. Allup had hoped to get some work done today in preparation for the parliamentary session which is scheduled to begin tomorrow, but was stopped at the front gate.
Deputy Miguel Angel Rodriguez, who was accompanying Allup, said that the vehicle the men drove to the National Assembly in was attacked by unknown persons at the site.
Rodriguez also tweeted a series of pictures from the scene. Below, Allup (wearing glasses on the left) stands in a crowd, apparently speaking to a security officer:
Allup named the head of the National Assembly’s security staff, Esmir Mendoza, as the primary culprit in today’s event. Allup said:
The self-named “Henchman” took the decision arbitrarily, because the rest of the security staff there were looking to calm the situation down. Diosdado Cabello’s security was looking to goad us into a fight, but they won’t succeed.
According to Allup, the blame ultimately rests with outgoing National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, as he claims that Mendoza told him that it was on Cabello’s orders that he was being denied entry.
ANTV Station Looted, Sabotaged
Workers at the Asamblea Nacional Television [National Assembly Television] (ANTV), the legislature’s official network, denounced today the looting and sabotaging of their equipment earlier today by unknown persons.
Betzaida Amaro, a journalist with the network, explained the situation through a series of tweets:
We don’t have access to the channel. The tools the journalists and camera people used, among others, were stolen two days ago. ANTV has been kidnapped. 300 are standing up for a fight. Where is our equipment, the antennae and the ANTV cars? The antennae were ripped up, which is why the station is off the air.
It is not exactly clear who is responsible for the attack against the television network, El Nacional reports that National Guard troops were barring workers from entering the ANTV building throughout the day.
Allup Meets ANTV Workers
In the aftermath of his run-in with security at the National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup got a chance to speak to some ANTV workers who claimed that the station’s head – Dario Vivas – is threatening to fire them for some reason. Allup said:
They got a chance to voice some of their concerns (…) there are some irregularities that are coming to light (…) “they looted ANTV”, “No one’s listening to us”, “they cut off the sound feeds”…
Allup also said that the MUD wanted the nation’s media to be present at and transmit tomorrow’s swearing-in ceremony at the National Assembly.
MoD: Army Not “A Referee”
In an apparent response to the MUD’s repeated calls that the country’s military stand beside it against the recent decision by the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia to bar 3 MUD deputies from taking office tomorrow, Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez said today that the National Armed Forces were not “a referee” to be invoked whenever someone calls foul.
Through his Twitter account, Padrino Lopez wrote:
It is extremely important to exclude the National Bolivarian Armed Forces from this diatribe generated by politicians, who hope to manipulate it and in so doing interfere in things that don’t concern them.
Padrino Lopez’s comments are the strongest rebuke against recent pleas from the MUD leadership that the military play a role in protecting the December 6 election results from what the MUD perceives to be a “judicial coup” in play.
As if to put aside any lingering doubt on which side of the aisle the country’s military stands, Padrino Lopez said:
The National Bolivarian Armed Forces are profoundly Bolivarian, revolutionary, [and it loves] peace and democracy; they are respectful of human rights and it is a guarantor of independence and national sovereignty.
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