Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez released a statement today to mark the 27th anniversary of El Caracazo, wave of civil unrest that left hundreds of Venezuelans dead. The unrest began after President Carlos Andres Perez announced a series of unpopular economic measures, resulting in widespread looting and confrontations between civilians and state security forces.
In his statement, Padrino Lopez assured Venezuelans that the kind of military repression of civil unrest that occurred in February and March 1989 would never happen again:
We are firmly devoted [to the idea that] the homeland’s soldiers will never again raise their weapons against the people, and that they will always stand beside them in the search of supreme happiness, peace and co-existence in a democratic State with true social justices and rights.
Padrino called El Caracazo “one of the saddest and darkest” periods of Venezuelan history, and called the government’s heavy-handed repression of the unrest “grotesque”. He also said that that he believed that the armed forces at the time were “markedly distanced” from the civil sphere, something he thanks Hugo Chavez for rectifying:
We [the military] feel fully integrated into Venezuela society in a perfect civil-military union.
For his part, Maduro called El Caracazo “the greatest massacre of the century”.
Below, a video showing unedited, raw footage taken during El Caracazo:
Allup: Maduro’s Removal Not Anti-Democratic
National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup spoke at a political rally earlier today in which he stressed that any opposition attempt to remove Maduro from office would not be against the principles of democracy, but rather “the exercise of rights found in the Constitution”. Allup explained:
Moving forward with a recall [referendum], a amendment [to the Constitution], asking for the President’s resignation, declaring him in abandonment of his post, calling for his trial at the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia [TSJ]; there aren’t attacks against democratic stability. These are the exercise of rights found in the Constitution, and they’re not liable to be regulated by the person to whom we will apply them.
Allup was accompanied by Mitzy Capriles, Antonio Ledezma’s wife, and lamented the fact that the government appears to be more preoccupied with persecution political dissenters like Ledezma than working towards the welfare of the people.
Allup also reminded the national government that the opposition was in fact the majority in the country, and that its will was bent uncompromisingly towards the removal of the PSUV from power:
The government does not deserve to be in power, and the only way for Venezuela to have the possibility of recovering the country we all want is by removing the government in a democratic, peaceful and constitutional manner… that is not a crime.
Understand, people in government, that this opposition will not be intimidated or easily scared. It will not abandon its duties as you (Maduuro) have done.
On exactly which constitutional tool the opposition will use to remove Maduro from power, Allup said that the bloc would be meeting this weekend to come finalize its strategy.
Maduro Creates New Agricultural Initiative
In a televised speech broadcast earlier today, Maduro created the Plan Agroproductivo Zamora-Bicentenario [Zamora-Bicenentenario Agricultural Productive Plan], an initiative that hopes to kick-start the agricultural industry in the country. The initiative has been placed under the command of the armed forces, and is meant to take place in sites where the army operates, presumably border regions and areas in the country’s interior.
This plan will allow production by every military unit and all the places where the National Armed Forces operate.
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