The National Assembly continued to stand in defiance to a recent ruling by the TSJ which stripped it of the ability to investigate the appointment of 13 magistrates to the nation’s top court made in December of last year.
Today, the opposition took the matter a step further, by debating and approving a proposal to ask the Organization of American States (OAS) to apply the Carta Democratica Interamericana (Inter-American Democratic Charter] (CDI) to Venezuela.
The CDI is a tool that allows the OAS to sanction member states that break away from democratic norms. Two thirds of the OAS’ 34 member states would have to vote to approve the sanction, which would see Venezuela removed from the OAS until such time as it was able to prove that it had adhered itself once again to democratic principles.
In order to invoke the CDI against the Venezuela, the OAS must find that the country’s Constitution has been “assaulted” by the national government.
A number of opposition deputies spoke out against the TSJ’s ruling, including Tomas Guanipa who said:
What’s unconstitutional is having to line up for 10 hours to buy food. What’s unconstitutional is falling ill to a curable disease and dying because there’s no medicine (…) while we have no electricity, you’re comfortable in your palace showing your backs to the people.
Deputy Freddy Guevara also had words of warning for the TSJ, saying:
That decision seeks to protect a few who stole money from many. The magistrates still don’t understand that it’s because of that kind of attitude that the people didn’t vote for you [the PSUV].
If you [the PSUV/TSJ] continue to ignore the people they people will ignore you in order to stop the abuses from the PSUV. You won’t have enough weapons or jails to stop the people when they take to the streets to defend the popular will.
Opp. Deputy Attacked Near National Assembly
Opposition deputy Carlos Paparoni was attacked by a group of individuals he identified as government supporters while he made his way out of the National Assembly building earlier today. The attackers threw objects at Paparoni, and he was struck by a bottle in the head and bloodied. Paparoni also said that he was pushed and punched by the attackers.
Below, a video clip showing Paparoni talking about the attack on the National Assembly floor:
Reporter: Good afternoon, Maria Natal. As you’ve mentioned, we’re here on at the national parliament where just a few minutes ago deputy Carlos Paparoni gave a statement about an attack he suffered while he walked out of the legislature. Let’s see the clip showing part of his statement after he was attacked.
Paparoni: … sadly, which is that they’re attacking not only deputies but also everyone who comes to visit us here at the National Assembly. How can it be possible that there are police, National Guard, and SEBIN [officers] around the building harassing and taking pictures of the deputies, but when something like this happens neither the SEBIN nor the National Guard stepped in to help not a deputy or a public official, but just another Venezuelan?
What I came here to say is that you won’t get rid of us with this type of aggression. You won’t stop us – who were elected by a majority of the people – from touring around the country with these attacks. The other thing we have to point out – and I call on my fellow deputies from the [PSUV] to join in – to think for a minute about whether that hatred that is being planted out there is what we want for Venezuela. We know that this has been happening over the last few days. It’s been getting worse, and you know it. You’ve seen it.
We’re seeing blood for the first time here, because they broke a bottle over my head right here near the National Assembly. If we keep going with the dichotomous discourse of violence, if we keep saying “Let’s launch a coup against the National Assembly”, etc., then worse things are going to happen. The moment has come for us to accept the responsibility with our people and 1) reject these acts, 2) if these workers [the attackers] were here because they’ve just finished work or because they were sent here in an official capacity, and 3) that we start talking to the country about the things that they really care about: the reconciliation of all Venezuelans.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Paparoni said that the crowd that attacked him was made up of approximately 30 people, and that they were part of a pro-government rally that was taking place near the National Assembly at which Paparoni heard “very violent speeches”.
Deputies Jesus Armas, Juan Miguel Matheus and Jorge Millant were walking with Paparoni when the crowd attacked, although it appears that only Paparoni was injured.
Below, pictures showing Paparoni after the attack:
Opp. Deputy Has Car Windows Broken
The day’s second act of violence against an opposition deputy came when MUD deputy Dinorah Figuera denounced that her car’s windows had been broken while she attended today’s parliamentary session. Figuera’s car was parked in the National Assembly parking lot.
Deputy Richard Arteaga shared the following picture via his Instagram account showing the damage to Figuera’s car:
NA Passes First Law; Reverses Maduro Changes to BCV
The National Assembly also voted to approve a reversal of changes Maduro ordered by decree at the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV). The piece of legislation – which was approved after its second reading – becomes the first law passed by the opposition-run National Assembly.
Back in December, Maduro decreed that the National Assembly no longer had the power to authorize the appointment of individuals to the BCV’s board of directors, and that the BCV no longer had to provide any information to the National Assembly. The law approved today reverses these two changes.
The law also requires that the BCV provide economic statistics – including the country’s inflation rate – at “timely” intervals for the sake of transparency and free access to information. It also prohibits the Central Bank from directly financing the national government, after opposition deputies raised fears that the executive would use the BCV as a piggy bank.
PDVSA Earnings Fall 27% in 2015
PDVSA, the state-owned oil company, earned 27% less in 2015 from oil sales than it did in 2014. The figure comes from an official report given to the National Assembly by the head of the oil firm, Eulogio del Pino. According to the report, PDVSA earned $88.56 billion in 2015.
Venezuela earns over 90% of its foreign currency through PDVSA.
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