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In a televised speech broadcast earlier today, Maduro lashed out against the National Assembly, saying that it was no longer “politically valid” and that Venezuelans had come to expect nothing good from the legislature.

Maduro also said that it was “only a matter of time” before the National Assembly “disappeared”, although he did not specify what he meant by the comment.

Speaking on the National Assembly’s vote on the state of exception he decreed last week, Maduro said:

The National Assembly lost its political validity. It’s only a matter of time before it disappears. I’m sure that they will reject the [state of exception] decree (…) they want to destroy the economy (…) [They are] a little bit crazy and desperate.

Maduro also said that a United States Boeing 707 E-3 Sentry aircraft had violated Venezuelan airspace on May 11 and May 13, presumably for espionage purposes. Maduro explained:

They are used by the United States for communications for armed groups in war zones, or to incapacitate government or army [communications]. These airplanes have lethal technical capabilities.

The E-3 Sentry – also known as AWACS – is a command communications aircraft in use by the United States and NATO forces.

During the same speech, Maduro spoke on the planned demonstration tomorrow to the headquarters of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) in Caracas. Maduro said that while the right to peaceful protest exists in Venezuela, it has limitations:

Anyone who wants to can demonstrate here, but you know that there are plans to turn those marches in Caracas into insurrections. They [the opposition] cannot impose an insurrection on the country. If they want to march, they can march in Chacaito or Altamira…

Referring to opposition demonstrations in the west of the city – where the one tomorrow is supposed to take place – Maduro said:

Whenever they enter Caracas, people die.

Maduro also said that the negative media attention he has been receiving, particularly from Spanish newspapers, is actually a sign of his popularity. He also suggested that if he were to run for president in Spain, he would win.

Maduro: Venezuela “Not Obligated” To Hold Referendum

Speaking on the efforts to hold a recall referendum against him, Maduro classified it as “an option, not an obligation”, and then clarified:

We are not obligated to hold any kind of referendum in this country, and there are rules for activating one.

He stressed his belief in the idea that the opposition wants “a coup d’etat, foreign intervention, and economic war”, and said that the economic crisis in the country was unlikely to be resolved either this year or the next.

MUD Calls for Recall Against Rodriguez

National Assembly MUD deputy Juan Guaido has put forward a proposal before the national legislature to initiate a recall referendum against the mayor of the Libertador municipality, Jorge Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has been a dominant fixture on Venezuelan media over the last several days for claiming that the opposition failed to collect enough signatures for the referendum on Maduro and that they committed fraud, despite the fact that the signature-verification process has not yet started. Rodriguez has also stated bluntly that no recall referendum would take place.

Guaido, who is the president of the National Assembly Subcomission on Electoral Matters and Politic Rights, also said that neither Rodriguez nor any of the PSUV leadership should have access to the signature forms. Guaido said:

They can only be a part of this as witnesses.

The process of verifying the signatures falls squarely within the powers of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), the body that regulates and oversees elections in the country.

Guaido said that Rodriguez appears to be deliberately “deflection attention” with his inflammatory comments, specially given the fact that the CNE has yet to verify the signatures.

On recalling Rodriguez, Guaido said:

It is absolutely valid to recall a mayor who threatens public employees and [leaves] Caracas abandoned.

National Assembly Set to Reject Decree

The National Assembly was set to vote today to reject the decree declaring a state of exception in the country.

Prior to today’s parliamentary session, MUD deputy Julio Borges made it clear that the opposition-controlled legislature would definitely vote against the decree:

The National Assembly will reject this decree, and we will continue to insist on another route for the economy of the country.

Torrealba: Maduro Officially Becomes Dictator

The head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), Jesus Torrealba, took to Twitter this morning to talk about Maduro’s declaration of a state of exception throughout the country last week, a move which grants him virtually unlimited powers.

Torrealba said that through the measure, Maduro seeks only one thing:

Maduro seeks to govern by decree, to dictate decrees; that is to say, to govern as a dictator.

For Torrealba, the declaration of the state of exception is definitive evidence that Maduro has no regard for the rule of law:

[The day Maduro announced the decree] will be remembered as the day that the Maduro government made a definitive break from the Constitution, and became a government of force.

On the wide-reaching powers the decree grants Maduro, Torrealba said:

The state of exception decree seeks to give more power to those who have made us poorer.

Aporrea: Cabello “Disconnected from Reality”

Aporrea.org, a long-time bastion of support for the PSUV, published a scathing article today which claims that PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello is “disconnected from reality”.

The article, which was written by Mariano Crespo Colina, argues that Cabello’s public statements in recent weeks show a total lack of appreciation for the profound crisis that is affecting the country.

Part of the article reads:

[For Cabello], the crisis we suffer through is purely fiction. The long lines that get longer each day, the shortage of basic foods and hygienic products, the galloping inflation which is in competition for being the highest in the world, the destitution suffered by the chronically ill to find medicine is only an illusion, the product of imaginative and surrealist minds. They are a fictitious fantasy.

Colina takes particular issue with comments Cabello made yesterday on Jose Vicente Hoy, a television show that airs Sundays. The show’s host, Jose Vicente Rangel, asked Cabello is the recall referendum could end the same way that last year’s parliamentary elections did for the PSUV: in a historic defeat. Colina points out Cabello’s answer:

Diosado says, “no”, completely ignoring the fact that the causes that generated the results in the parliamentary elections continue to linger and are even stronger now…

Guarenas Residents Protest Over Lack of Food

Residents of the city of Guarenas, Miranda state took to the streets today to protest over the lack of food in supermarkets.

Dozens of residents marched down a local road together:

Shortly before the noon hour, National Guard soldiers arrived on the scene:

By the late afternoon, the city saw increased National Guard presence:

 

Liquid International Reserves Down 73% in Three Weeks

The Inter American Trends firm released figures today showing that liquid international reserves at the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) fell 73% between April 10 and May 12. The fall places current liquid reserves at $196 million.

The firm also said that the BCV spent $376 million in the first weeks of May to pay for imports. At the same time, the state-owned oil company PDVSA sold $40 million to the BCV, partially recovering some of its cash.

Liquid reserves are important because they represent the cash that Venezuela has “on hand”; that is, readily accessible.


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