Ok Diario, a Spanish news publication, claims to have gained access to documents that provide irrefutable evidence that the Maduro government paid the leader of the Podemos party in Spain $272,325 in 2014 though a shell company registered in the Grenadines Islands.

The publication claims that the money was deposited into an account belonging to Pablo Iglesias for “consulting work for the social development of the country”.

The documents that Ok Diario has show that the payment to Iglesias was ordered by Rodolfo Marco Torres, who was then the Minister for the Economy in Venezuela. The transaction was made through the Euro Pacific Bank.

Ok Diario also reports that “one of the people responsible” for the payment was Carlos Erick Malpica Flores, whom the journal reports was allegedly implicated to be involved in the drug trade by his two cousins, Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freities. The Flores cousins are related to First Lady Cilia Flores, and are currently awaiting trial in the United States for allegedly attempting to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the country.

Malpica Flores became the treasurer of PDVSA, the state-owned oil company, shortly after Maduro became president in 2013.

Iglesias is at the centre of a scandal, since he is alleged to have received millions of dollars from the PSUV for his political activities in Spain. Spanish law prohibits political parties from receiving financial assistance from foreign entities, and Spanish authorities are investigating the claims.

Venezuelan Hospitals Running With 5% Of Necessary Supplies

The Federacion Medica Venezolana [Venezuelan Medical Association] announced today that the country’s hospitals can only count on 5% of the medical and other supplies they need to operate at an acceptable level.

Douglas Leon Natera, the president of the federation, said that unless the national government accepts humanitarian aid from international sources, the situation in the country’s hospitals was sure to deteriorate further.

Natera also said that the supply scarcity also affects food for patients, and pointed out that:

In the Hospital JM de los Rios, they don’t even have milk for children.

Maduro Orders El Picure Cremated

Maduro has ordered the body of Venezuela’s most wanted criminal – Jose Antonio Tovar Colina (a.k.a. “El Picure”) to be cremated, after authorities killed him in a shootout on Monday in Guarico state.

El Nacional reports that the president’s office contacted Colina’s relatives, and told them that if the family agreed to have the body cremated, the government would cover all the expenses. The family has agreed.

This morning, some of Colina’s relatives went to the El Junquito cemetery to retrieve his remains, but found that they were not there. The relatives are now at the Bello Monte morgue in Caracas hoping to find out what happened to Colina’s body.

Caracas Hit By Blackout

Western sectors of Caracas were affected by a blackout in the early morning hoursEl Nacional reports that the El Paraiso and San Martin areas of the city were affected.

The newspaper also report that another blackout affected the Altamira Sur area and lasted through the night, while the Hospital General Doctor Jose Ignacio Baldo in the Algodonal neighbourhood of the city has not had electrical service for more than eight days.

Maduro: OAS Should Go “In the Trash Can of History”

Maduro gave a speech last night in which he lashed out once more at the Organization of American States, saying that it should be relegated to the “trash can of history”. Maduro made the comments on the same day that Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez attended a meeting of the OAS to talk about the situation in Venezuela.

In the televised speech, Maduro said:

Everything with UNASUR – nothing with the OAS. That’s what I’m saying. The OAS should go in the trash can of history, and UNASUR [to make] new history.

Rodriguez gave a “warning” to the OAS’ 34 member states yesterday not to suspend Venezuelan from the organization, despite mounting pressure from the Venezuelan opposition and the international community to do so. Article 21 of the OAS’ Democratic Charter allows the body to temporarily suspend any member nation that is found to have undergone “an unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order”.

The OAS has only applied Article 21 once in its history: against Honduras in 2009, when a coup d’etat ended in the overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya.

“Popular Tribunal” Wants To Hold National Assembly Accountable

Yesterday, National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup spoke to a group of pro-government protesters who claimed to form part of “popular tribunal” looking to render judgement on the National Assembly.

The five protesters marched to the National Assembly building, where they demanded to speak to Allup. Allup met the protesters, who handed him with a document, the contents of which are not exactly clear.

Allup told reporters that the protesters had the right to peacefully voice their opinions, and commented on the novelty of the group. Allup said:

They know that there’s no judiciary in this country (…) I interpret this as anxiety and desperation, because these people are also the victims of a judicial system that works for the executive branch, which leaves 95% of all crimes unpunished.

Allup also clarified that the “popular tribunal” is looking to hold all National Assembly deputies accountable, even those belonging to the PSUV.

Venezuelan NGOs Take Stand Against PSUV Human Rights Projects

At least 42 Venezuelans NGOs in the field of human rights and civil society issued a press release on Monday condemning the national government’s human rights initiatives as lacking independence, with the end result of “institutionalizing discrimination as a state policy under a human rights discourse”.

The press release singles out the creation of the Consejo Nacional de Derechos Humanos on April 3, 2014 as particularly problematic, since it frames anti-government protests as acts of “fascism” and “terrorism”, and blames the Venezuelan right wing for promoting them. The NGOs point out that the fact that the Venezuelan government’s primary human rights initiative frames the opposition in this way is evidence that the body cannot be impartial.

The NGOs also leveled criticism at the Truth, Justice and Reparations Commission, which the national government created on April 12, 2016 with the goal of addressing the 2014 protests. The press release points out that this body is headed by 17 individuals, all of whom are either high-profile members of the PSUV or otherwise heavily connected to the organization. The press release says that it is unacceptable for Maduro to have suggested that the addition of four opposition deputy to the body would have created a “balanced” commission.

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