Speaking at a military rally in Vargas state yesterday, Maduro said that Venezuela’s massive crime problem is part of a non-conventional war being waged against the country by her foreign and domestic enemies. However, Maduro stressed that his government was taking steps to prepare itself for what he considers to be the upcoming “process of internal commotion”.

Maduro said that the “economic war” – which he claims is the sole cause of the country’s severe food and medicine shortage – is merely the first step in this non-conventional war, a step he classified as “a softening bombardment”. According to Maduro, violent crime rates in the country, which are some of the highest in the world, form part of another stage of the non-conventional war.

As evidence, Maduro spoke about the murder of PSUV deputy Robert Serra in 2014. Serra and his partner were murdered during a break-and-enter in their home in Caracas. Maduro said:

The murder of deputy Robert Serra (…) [was] committed by a gang of para-militarized  criminals financed and under orders from a paramilitary gang belonging to Alvaro Uribe Velez out of Colombia.

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe features predominantly in the PSUV’s pantheon of Venezuelan enemies. Maduro provided no evidence to support his claims, although he did say that he had some.

Maduro also warned that Venezuela had to prepare to repel a foreign invasion, presumably by the United States. He said:

We have to prepare for an invasion. I think we’re as ready as we’ve ever been, and we will avoid it.

Despite his gloomy description of the current threats facing Venezuela, Maduro said that his government was succeeding at “protecting the people and their right to food, homes and salaries”, and that:

The country is at peace, stable – yes, under threat – but stable, whole, united in battle, with a solid democracy, active, full of liberty for a people who dream and build their own future.

MUD Worried Students Forced Into False Confessions

Oliver Blanco, the head of the National Assembly’s press office, said yesterday that authorities are currently attempting to intimidate students arrested during last Wednesday’s protests into signing false confessions to implicate Henry Ramos Allup, the president of the National Assembly, with the violence.

Blanco’s comments come on the same day that journalist Nelson Bocaranda alleged that “several students” have been forced to say that Allup and Blanco provided them with weapons and gasoline to use during last week’s protest.

Blanco said that the allegations are evidence that the national government fears the National Assembly, but that the tactic would be ultimately futile. Blanco said:

Only a desperate regime could think that Henry Ramos Allup or his team at the National Assembly can be intimidated (…) we will continue to carry on with our work to inform all Venezuelans of the National Assembly’s hard work, and pointing out those who want to stop it.

Survey: 81% Want Recall Referendum in 2016

The results of a poll conducted by Hinterlaces were released today, showing that 82.25% of Venezuelans believe that there must be a change of government this year before the country can begin to improve.

The same poll asked respondents, “Do you agree or disagree that the recall referendum against the President should take place this year?’, 81.08% answered “agree”.

The poll is the latest piece of evidence demonstrating that the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans are in favour of holding a recall referendum against Maduro this year.

The poll also suggests that Venezuelans have a deep distrust of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), the government body responsible for holding the recall referendum. When asked, “Do you believe that the CNE receives orders from the government to mount obstacles for the recall referendum?”, 76.33% of respondents answered “yes”, while only 17.83% answered “no”.

The poll sampled 1,200 Venezuelans who voted in the last parliamentary elections. It was conducted between May 18 and May 21. The poll is accurate to +/- 4.85%.

Polar Workers Ask Gov’t To Allow Them to Work

Polar brewery workers out of a job since early this month due to raw material shortages protested today in the Parque del Este area of Caracas, and asked the government to allow them to return to work.

According to the workers, the reason why Polar – the country’s largest food produce – had to shut down all of its beer production in the country is because the government is purposely attempting to starve the company to death. Polar has been a thorn at the government’s side for years, since the PSUV considers private industry to be inherently corrupt and exploitative.

Armado Lopez, one of the workers at today’s rally, said:

We don’t want anything to do with politics. We want to work. If the government gave [dollars to import raw materials] to our competition, we don’t see a reason why we’re lacking raw materials.

In late April, CAVEFACE – which represent the country’s beer brewing industry – confirmed that the only company in the country that is not receiving dollars with which to import raw materials is Polar.

Capriles: Another Protest on Wednesday

Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles called for another demonstration in Caracas on Wednesday with the hopes of pressuring the CNE to allow the recall referendum against Maduro to take place this year.

Capriles also called for simultaneous demonstrations in cities across the country. In Caracas, the march will once again attempt to reach the headquarters of the CNE in the city.

Earlier this week, the TSJ issued a ruling banning all protests in the vicinity of the CNE offices in Caracas.

On the ruling, Capriles said:

No Venezuelan has to obey the TSJ ruling against marches to teh CNE (…) we must go to the CNE as many times as is necessary.

Capriles said that the march will mark another attempt to “demand that [the CNE] abide by the people’s will”.

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

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