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Villca Fernandez, a student leader and former candidate to the National Assembly, was arrested yesterday afternoon in Merida state by men who identified themselves as agents from the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional [National Bolivarian Intelligence Service] (SEBIN).

Fernandez’s lawyer, Alonso Medina Rosa, said that no charges had been filed against Fernandez, and that he was not aware of any reason why his client might have been detained.

Fernandez was arrested in a shopping mall somewhere in Merida, a week after SEBIN agents attempted to arrest him at another shopping mall.

The day before his arrest, Fernandez tweeted a message to PSUV number-two man Diosdado Cabello, which you can see below:

@dcabellor [Diosdado Cabello’s Twitter account] your days in power are numbered, and you’ve got a lot to answer for before justice… I am not AFRAID #RecallNow

PDVSA, Russian Energy Minister Talk Oil

Eulogio del Pino, the head of the PDVSA state-owned oil company, spoke with Russian Minister of Energy Alexandr Novak about the continued low in oil prices. The talk was part of an international mission del Pino is currently on, as he is scheduled to visit Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the next few days.

Novak said that he was happy to sit down with del Pino to discuss the issue. A release from the Russian Ministry of Energy summarized the discussion between the two men:

In particular, they spoke about the possibility of holding a meeting between [oil producing] countries – be they in OPEC or not – in the near future.

Del Pino’s international tour is taking place at Maduro’s request, who told del Pino to go on an “immediate tour” to try to force oil prices upward again.

Attorney General to Address NA Tomorrow

Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz will provide the National Assembly her yearly report tomorrow. The National Assembly has set aside time to listen to Ortega’s speech, as well as a debate period to “discuss the crisis of the justice system in Venezuela” afterwards.

Housing Minister: We Won’t Cooperate with NA

Minister of Housing and Habitat Manuel Quevedo said in a television interview that his office would not cooperate with the National Assembly after the country’s legislature voted to approve a reform to the country’s subsidized housing program, the Mision Vivienda.

Quevedo made the comments on a pro-PSUV television show hosted by Mario Silva. Quevedo also said that the opposition had placed agents in subsidized housing buildings as part of a campaign to spread misinformation to residents.

Below, Quevedo’s comments along with my translation:

Quevedo: … there is no doubt. And on top of that, they have to know that we also have information that, for example, they get together in Ciudad Tiuna. They meet there, and they look for the people that they placed there as infiltrators, so that these infiltrators will scare people  [living in subsidized housing buildings] into thinking that we’re going to take away their homes, and that we will evict them. There’s a campaign — we have intelligence, and look — they go there —

Silva: Just like what happened with the long lines?

Quevedo: Of course! They go in there and they keep aggravating — I was in Ciudad Caribia today — I was there with Minister Molina, and we conducted an operation there. It was [with the] Fundacion Mision Habitat to [create] protocol, because this is a whole city with 20,000 projected units. Beautiful apartments — it’s a city, a beautiful city. So, we started [creating] protocol with the first few buildings. Once we got into a rhythm building the homes, we’re now in the process of continuing the protocol. Well, they’ve [the opposition] gone out there to scare residents! Some of them have documents in hand, and the ones who are waiting for this protocol process, they’re going out there — they’ve got their agents out there scaring people, saying that we’re going to take their homes and evict them. That’s a lie!

We have, of course, advanced a lot — and we’re not going to give them [the National Assembly] the figures anymore, because what they’re doing is scoping out the market so that they can keep going…


Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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