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Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz delivered her yearly report before the National Assembly today, providing a summary of the Public Ministry’s work in 2015 before the MUD-controlled legislature.

Diaz began her address by stressing her office’s commitment to operating within domestic and international human rights standards, saying that the Public Ministry “has acted in adherence to human rights” during her tenure as the body’s head.

She also provided some statistics on crime in Venezuela in 2015, including the following:

  • 17,778 murders; 82% committed with firearms.
  • 21,127 drug arrests.
  • 23,190 charged for violence committed against women.
  • 1,450 accused of committing fraud through the state-run currency exchange system.
  • 7,859 investigations for corruption.

On the country’s murder rate – which according to her figures is 58.1 per 100,000 – Diaz said:

It is absolutely worrying because it confirms that we have a serious violent crime problem.

On the issue of people arrested over their involvement in the 2014 protests, Diaz said that “the Public Ministry has been careful to guarantee their rights”, and that there were no pending investigations in protest-related cases.

Diaz also said that she was “alarmed” at the number of police officers who become involved in violent crime, and said that her office would work hard to rectify this issue. Diaz said that officers were involved in some of 2015’s kidnappings, extortion, robbery, car theft and drug trafficking cases.

She also said that the Public Ministry “processed” 1,312 officers in 2015 for human rights violations, 132 of whom are currently in prison. Of the total number of suspects, 29 were arrested for torture while 503 were arrested for assault.

Below, an image showing Diaz entering the National Assembly earlier today, and one showing her speaking before the legislature:

Mendoza Proposes Seven Steps to Restart Production

Lorenzo Mendoza – the head of Polar, the country’s largest private food producer – gave a press conference today in which he called for the national government to act in restarting the country’s economy, and suggested seven steps it could take in the short-term to achieve that goal.

Mendoza said that Polar operates 32 factories around the country, and that “almost all of them have some kind of problem” due to lack of raw materials. He also reminded journalists that private enterprise is not an enemy to be feared, and that Polar directly employed at least 30,000 people across the country.

Mendoza’s seven points for restarting national production are:

  1. That the government recognize its debts with suppliers of raw materials, and that it begin refinancing those obligations.
  2. That the national government seek out and access the most efficient and least expensive foreign credit lines.
  3. The creation of an emergency fund to aid with the purchasing of raw materials.
  4. An adjustment to the government-set prices for goods to allow producers to cover their costs and earn some profit.
  5. Off-loading state-owned companies that are failing to perform into a type of “rehabilitation program” to aid in their struggle.
  6. Ensure that part of what is produced in the country makes it to the country’s most vulnerable populations at a discounted price.
  7. Strengthen agricultural production for the most competitive crops (coffee, white corn, cacao and rice).

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

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