Authorities in Spain claim to have irrefutable evidence that Hugo Chavez personally authorized payments exceeding €7 million to an organization called Centro de Estudios Politicos y Socialies (CEPS), which is run and operated by the left-wing Podemos party in that country. According to Spanish media, part of purpose of the payments was to help Bolivarianism gain a foothold in Spain.
According to two Spanish media outlets (El Confidencial and ABC) which claim to have seen the evidence, the incriminating documents are in the possession of the Unidad de Delincuencia Economica y Fisal [Fiscal and Economic Delinquency Unit] of the Spanish National Police. The unit has the documents as part of an investigation into the illegal financing of the Podemos party.
The payments in question took the shape of an €1.6 million transfer in 2008, and €2.8 million in 2009-2012.
According to ABC, one of the documents authorizing the transfer of Venezuelan money into Podemos contains a statement from the then-Venezuelan Minister of Finance, part of which reads:
… the financial support that this contract affords to CEPS will allow for the stretching and formation of links with known representatives from schools of left-wing thought, fundamentally anti-capitalist, which can create consensus among political forces and social movements in Spain, precipitating political changes in the country more in tune with the Bolivarian government.
ABC claims that the document was personally signed by Hugo Chavez. Spanish media is reporting that authorities there have authenticated Chavez’s signature on the documents.
The revelation appears to provide irrefutable evidence that Podemos violated Spanish financing laws, since the country prohibits the financing of Spanish political parties by any foreign entity, including governments.
New Evidence Adds to Consulting Fee Scandal
At the time, the head of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, downplayed the story, saying that lots of Spanish political parties carried out consulting work for the Venezuelan government.
Guri Hits Lowest Level Ever Recorded
The Guri dam hit the lowest level in its history yesterday: 243.94 meters above sea level. The Guri hydroelectric plant’s turbines are now considered to be operating under conditions so stressful due to the low water level that they are likely sustaining considerable damage.
The water level is now a mere 3.9 meters above the shut-down mark. At 240 meters, the water level would be so low that it would not be able to slow into the dam’s turbines, effectively shutting down the plant. The Guri hydroelectric plant provides 63% of the country’s electricity, and is the world’s third largest such facility.
The two previous lowest levels were recorded on May 10 2003 and May 11 2010, when the water level dipped to 244.55 meters and 248.08 meters, respectively.
The announcement was made by Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez, who also said:
… we’re reaching historic lows (…) In the event that we reach the critical level – which is 240 [meters] – we will have to adopt an operations scheme that would have to be announced when the time comes by the authorities.
Opposition: Gov’t Handing Out Food Based on Political Affiliation
MUD deputy Jose Guerra and Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles have both claimed that a government initiative that delivers shopping bags full of basic necessities to some of the country’s neediest is helping only those who claim to support the PSUV.
Yesterday, Guerra told reporters:
We’ve seen how in the [poor neighbourhoods] they only give out bags of food to those who claim to be government supporters, leaving out the humble citizens who are denied access to food because they are not signed up with that party.
Maduro launched the home delivery initiative earlier this year. Called the Comites Locales de Abastecimiento y Produccion [Local Production and Supply Committees] (CLAP), the organizations delivers bags of food to anyone signed up for the service and sells them at government-set prices.
Guerra called the initiative ultimately futile, because:
… this will not put an end to the lines. Moreover, it breeds corruption, because the leaders of the PSUV can ensure they get food along with their relatives, and then distribute whatever is left.
Pharmaceutical Association: Medicine 85% Scarce
Freddy Ceballos, the head of the country’s pharmaceutical industry, Federacion Farmaceutica Venezolana [FEFARVEN], said today that the government “does not care” about the dire medical situation in Venezuela, which he claims has reached a scarcity level of 85%.
Ceballos placed the blame for the crisis squarely at the feet of the national government, which it claims continues to play with people’s lives through a failed currency control system that has shown itself to be utterly incapable of meeting the country’s medical needs. Ceballos explained:
Cancer and hemophilia don’t wait for [the government] to assign dollars. We have to find a way to revert this because Venezuelans are dying. This is a violation of human rights.
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