Last week, a popular performer by the name of Miguel Ignacio Mendoza – better known as “Nacho” – gave an impassioned speech at the National Assembly in which he heavily criticized the PSUV and the national government for mismanaging the Venezuelan state to the point of collapse. During his highly publicized speech, Nacho said that he was disappointed by the fact that government officials, while publicly claiming to uphold socialist values, live in luxury:
No one told me that government officials had homes in Aruba and the Dominican Republic. I’ve seen them. I’ve been with them (…) I’ve seen them wearing $1,500 shoes. Yes, I wear the same ones, but I earned them [through my singing career].
Nacho also said that the Hugo Chavez’s legacy was having “created division” in the country, and said that he had difficulty believing anything Maduro said.
Just a day after giving his speech, Nacho said that agents from the Venezuelan secret police, the SEBIN, had placed him under surveillance.
Today, Nacho was detained at the Simon Bolivar International Airport by the SEBIN [the Venezuelan secret police]
while attempting to board a flight to Miami. Nacho was scheduled to flight out of Venezuela on American Airlines flight 949. (EDIT: Nacho was not detained attempting to leave Venezuela. He was detained upon his arrival in Venezuela from Miami).
After being held in detention at the airport for most of the afternoon, Nacho uploaded a short clip to Twitter in which he appears to be walking out of the airport’s immigration office, claiming that his passport has been annulled. In the video, Nacho waves his Venezuelan passport in the air and says:
Here’s my passport, which has been annulled by the main offices of SAIME [the Venezuelan immigration service] (…) I won’t be able to leave the country, but the struggle continues here. The struggle continue here in Venezuela. We’re gonna hit them harder, with everything, so that they’ll finally leave [power]. This is what I had to fill out [holds piece of paper to the camera].
At the end of the video, Nacho holds a piece of paper that appears to contain sets of fingerprints, presumably his own.
El Impulso Shows Medicine Scarcity in Barquisimeto
A video uploaded to the YouTube page of El Impulso, a newspaper out of Barquisimeto, shows the difficulties in finding medicine in the city. The video shows testimony from a pharmacist and a shopper, and their experiences with the medicine scarcity in the city.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Text: Barquisimeto residents hunting down medicine
Giovanni Leal (Pharmacist): … anti-diarrhea… anti-pyretic, anti-seizure as well. Umm, pain killers are also really scarce, like diclofenac and apronax, which are for pain as well. Even though doctors give people three or four options in the prescription… if we don’t have one, we can’t substitute it for another. Most of the time we can’t substitute them because we don’t have them.
Isbel Acosta (Shopper): When the doctor gives you a prescription, he lists five kinds of the same medicine, and you can’t find any of the five. I need an injection for tomorrow because I’m having a colonoscopy done, and I can’t find it anywhere.
Giovanni Leal (Pharmacist): We ask for 36 atamel tablets, and we receive 12 little boxes… that’s how it is. The scarcity levels are too, too high.
Isbel Acosta (Shopper): We have to find medicine in other parts of the country, through friends, our children, because we can’t find it [here]. Specially hypertension medicine. It’s too difficult.
Giovanni Leal (Pharmacist): Lines form frequently, but many times after five, ten, fifteen minutes the line is gone because all we’re saying is “No, no, no, no”. That’s what’s going on across all of the pharmacies in the chain.
Isbel Acosta (Shopper): This situation is really difficult, Aside from the fact that you have to line up everywhere to get medicine. Look here — look at this line. Some might even say it’s short, but it’s been here since this morning. If you go to the roundabout there’s no line up, and the other [pharmacy] there’s no line either, because they don’t have anything. The shelves are empty. There’s some medicine here.
Giovanni Leal (Pharmacist): They say, “close the pharmacy, lock the doors” — can you imagine that? They think that we’re withholding the medicine, but if we don’t have it what can we do? We can’t do anything.
The Venezuelan national government has an outstanding debt of over $6 billion with medical providers dating back three years.
Allup: Governors Plotting Against Maduro
National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup continued to insist yesterday that Maduro was facing existential threats from within the PSUV. In an interview that aired on Globovision, Allup said:
It’s an open secret that governors [who are/were in the military], headed by [Zulia state governor] Arias Cardenas, are putting pressure on Maduro to resign.
According to Allup, the faction includes the governors of Tachira (Jose Vielma Mora), Merida (Alexis Ramirez), Trujillo (Henry Rangel Silva), Bolivar (Francisco Rangel Gomez), and Nueva Sparta (Carlos Mata Figueroa).
Allup suggested that the comment might cost him his parliamentary immunity but stressed that what he said “is the truth”, and suggested that the faction might be motivated by the ambition of one or more of its members to run for the office of president.
Maduro: “Allup is the Devi Himself”
Maduro shot back at Allup’s recent comments earlier today at a rally in Caracas, saying:
Allup is the devil’s representative — the devil himself. [He has] the most diabolical, malignant forked tongue that we have known in decades. Am I wrong? The bourgeois National Assembly stinks of sulfur.
Maduro provided as evidence the laws the opposition-controlled National Assembly is attempting to pass, namely the amnesty law and the Mision Vivienda reform law. Maduro drew parallels between the situation at the National Assembly and Biblical scripture, saying:
That law — they name it as the devil would. You all know that the devil took Jesus Christ for 40 days and he promised him everything — he made him doubt. The devil has instruments to make you doubt, to make you corrupt, and to make you see things that aren’t there — specially these devils from the treacherous right-wing.
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