Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles attended a political rally in Puerto La Cruz, Anzoategui state this morning, and became the victim of an attack by unknown individuals on a motorcycle.

According to Capriles, the car he was driving in was pelted by rocks by two men who drove by the car on a motorcycle.

Below, a picture of some of the damage the vehicle sustained:

After the attack, Capriles said that he believed the attackers were security officers associated with the national government., although he provided no evidence for the claim.

Cilia Flores Speaks on Nephews’ Trial

First Lady Cilia Flores spoke briefly on the trial of her two nephews – Efrain and Francisco Flores – for allegedly attempting to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. Flores, along with the rest of the Venezuelan national government, have been hesitant to acknowledge the case.

An interview with Flores published on Version Final contained two questions about the case, which I’ve translated below:

How is your nephews’ case progressing? You’d told us that you were waiting for more information.

Cilia Flores: Yes, and we’re still waiting. This is a trial, and we have to respect that. All the parts are there. When it comes to justice, [I hope] that the truth will come out and the issue of the kidnapping will come to light, and the violation of our territory by the DEA. Our sovereignty was attacked. That’s all part of a trial we have to respect so we don’t taint it. We believe in justice. We’re going to wait.

Are you thinking about accompanying them?

Cilia Flores: Let’s wait for justice to speak, and then we’ll have lots to talk about. We do have a lot of things to say, but we have to wait out of a respect for justice and so that we don’t disturb a process that has to take place without obstacles or disturbances. We, believing in justice, are here trying to bring justice to Venezuela when they try to attack it, for example, with an “Amnesty Law” that is looking to bring about impunity.

Efrain and Francisco Flores were arrested in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on November 10 of last year while trying to arrange the smuggling of 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States with undercover DEA agents. In the past, Cilia Flores has spoken in vague terms about her version of the events, in which she claims that DEA agents flew to Venezuela and kidnapped her nephews.

Rodriguez: Low Oil Prices “Main Reason” For PSUV Defeat

The head of the PSUV in the National Assembly, Hector Rodriguez, spoke in an interview with Televen’s Jose Vicente Rangel earlier today, and blamed low oil prices for handing the PSUV its largest electoral defeat back on December 6. Rodriguez said that the defeat had humbled the party:

We have to go back to our participatory democracy roots. We have to leave behind the arrogance of titles and caravans and listen more, work more, and build more with the people. The people must be the protagonists.

While Rodriguez conceded that the government was partly to blame for the country’s economic crisis, he stressed that the main reasons for the state of the economy were the low oil prices and the economic war. As an example, Rodriguez pointed out that while Venezuela sold $3.5 billion worth of oil in January 2014, it only sold $77 million in January of this year.

Rodriguez also accused the opposition in the National Assembly of “not caring about the country’s problems”, and suggested that it was acting in a way contrary to what the majority of Venezuelans want.

Poll: 88.2% Do Not Believe “Socialist Economic Model” Will Solve Problems

A survey conducted by the Hercon polling firm found that nearly 9 in 10 Venezuelans do not believe that the PSUV’s “socialist economic model” will solve the country’s economic crisis. Only 9.1% of respondents said that they “had hope” that the socialist economic model would turn the country’s fortunes around.

Below, a select sampling of questions from the survey:

  • How would you evaluate the Nicolas Maduro government? 
    • 84.4% answered “regular, but more bad than good”, “bad”, or “very bad”.
  • Generally speaking, do you think Venezuela is heading in the right direction?
    • 89.3% responded “It’s heading in the wrong direction”.
  • Do you believe things will improve in the next three months?
    • 83.5% responded “no”.
  • On the growing shortages, scarcity, insecurity, high cost of living, inflation, economic war, unemployment… what, in your opinion, is responsible?
    • 65.8% responded “The Maduro government”; 12.3% responded “The Socialism of the 21st Century”; 7.7% responded “corruption”; 4.3% responded “the opposition”.

The survey was conducted between February 10 and 25, and sampled 1,600 people across the country. The poll has a margin of error of 2.87%.

The full survey can be found here.

Border With Colombia Opens for First Time in Six Months

Six months after Maduro ordered the border with Colombia closed in order to put an end to the scarcity crisis in the country, residents from the neighbouring countries were once again able to cross the frontier starting yesterday.

The border re-opened at 2:00 PM yesterday afternoon, but only for five hours, as part of an agreement between the Colombian and Venezuelan governments that hopes to eventually normalize the border situation.

El Nacional reports that the crossing into Cucuta, Colombia opened without any incident. Throughout the course of the afternoon, journalists counted 233 vehicles crossing into Venezuela.

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



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