The Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), the country’s supreme court, issued a ruling today banning protests in the vicinity of the headquarters of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) in Caracas. The ruling appears to be a response to repeated calls by the opposition for supporters to demonstrate outside the CNE offices to demand that the recall referendum against Maduro take place.
The ruling comes as a response to a filing by CNE workers, who asked the TSJ to implement the measure. According to the filing, the CNE workers have been “exposed to risk” by the opposition’s calls to protest near their place of work.
The ruling calls on the respective heads of the National Bolivarian Police and the National Guard to take the necessary steps to ensuring that no protests take place near the CNE building.
The full ruling can be found here, in Spanish.
The ruling comes at the same time as Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles hints at more protests to come. Capriles sent the following message out earlier today through his Twitter account:
Stay tuned for announcements on new mobilizations in favour of the constitutional right to the recall. It’s everyone’s daily homework!
Opp. Party Offices Vandalized, Robbed
The national party headquarters of the COPEI opposition party was broken into and robbed during the overnight hours in the El Bosque neighbourhood of Caracas. An unknown number of delinquents made away with televisions and computers.
The president of the Chacao Municipal Council, Roberto Garcia, said that the building acts as the primary office of COPEI‘s president.
The event follows an attack by vandals on the headquarters of the Accion Democratica (AD) and Voluntad Popular (VP) opposition parties in nearby Vargas state. Vandals scribbled insults on the facade of the buildings housing the parties’ offices in the state.
Below, images of the graffiti:
Some of the messages read: “murderers”, “damn you”, “dirty rats”, “get out, AD rat”, “corrupt”, and “traitors”.
Maduro Oversees Military Execercises
Maduro is in Vargas state today overseeing military exercises. He spoke on the importance of the Venezuelan solider at the event, saying:
The decision to fight and defend this land at the cost of our lives must serve as a very clear message for the world’s empires that want to conquer our sacred land, Venezuela. They must know that this land has one owner only: the people of Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez.
The people of Venezuela are the only owners of this land, and this land will never again be enslaved or be anyone’s colony. Free, sovereign, independent, happy to build social happiness, the people’s happiness.
Below, some images of the event.
Maduro raises a fist in the air. On his right is First Lady Cilia Flores:
The people pictured below are likely members of some kind of militia group:
Another militia group ready for inspection:
Maduro greeting a militia soldier. Behind him stands Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz:
Amphibious assault vehicles on display:
Capriles: “Dialogue” Only To Set Referendum Date
Yesterday, Capriles spoke on the upcoming dialogue moderated by Spanish ex-president Jose Luis Zapatero to reporters at an event in Miranda state. When asked what he thought the dialogue should be about, Capriles said:
The dialogue should be, in my opinion, about setting a date for the recall referendum. I have no interest – none – in sitting down to talk to Maduro, nor with anyone else from this cadre.
Capriles said that while he told that Zapatero that he was “always” willing to sit down and a dialogue, he was clear to explain what he meant by the word:
The dialogue is the recall.
Capriles also said that it was impossible to sit down and talk to the government as long as it continues to jail opposition figures, and said that Venezuelans do not have the ability to engage in constructive, respectful political dialogue “because the government destroyed it”.
Capriles: Maduro Prefers Coup Over Recall
Yesterday, El Pais published an interview with Capriles in which he spoke about the recall referendum efforts against Maduro. Capriles said that he was worried that Maduro’s stubborn clinging to power in the face of widespread discontent with his presidency could result in a “military insurrection” to force him out of office, and that he believes divisions inside the armed forces could facilitate that.
Below, a select sample of some of the questions and answers in the article:
El Pais: The last demonstration in Caracas ended with incidents [including] several arrests. You speak of infiltrators, but it is undeniable that inside the opposition there must be radical groups. How can hatred and strong emotions be controlled?
Capriles: We have to isolate these groups. Those who want a recall do not want violence. If there are players whose agenda includes violence, they’re over there and we are over here. Legal responsibility is extremely personal. This isn’t a school where we’re watching over kids. We’re calling for a peaceful solution. If some actors want violence, let the full weight of the law fall upon them.
El Pais: Could we see a repeat of the 2014 [violent protests]?
Capriles: The government isn’t in the condition to do what it did in 2014. In a scenario where the government becomes more radical as it did in 2014 would mean its downfall. Anarchy would sweep them away.
El Pais: At the end of Wednesday’s demonstration, you said “some of us were here, and we were missing others”. Do you feel supported through this process?
Capriles: There is much more unity within el cambio [literally, “the change”, meaning “the opposition] than in the government, despite all the noise. We’ve achieved getting everyone to talk about the recall. Everyone (…) there is unanimous support, either due to conviction or interest. A recall means exiting through the back door. Maduro prefers a coup over a recall, because a coup would make him the victim, it would perhaps give him another opportunity. The recall means “Goodbye forever!”. There is no death in politics, but it would be very difficult to not say goodbye to politics if the people recall you. That’s why there’s so much resistance.
The full interview can be found here, in Spanish.
Gov’t Announces New Electricity Rationing Hours
The Ministry of Electrical Energy has announced a new schedule for electricity rationing in the country. The new schedule will take effect starting tomorrow.
Oil Prices Rice for 5th Straight Week
The average price of oil for 2016 is currently sitting at $28.70 per barrel, down from the average price of $44.65 in 2015 and $88.42 in 2014.
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