National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup said yesterday that the opposition had a responsibility to try to sit down in dialogue with the PSUV, even if doing so makes “some get angry”. Allup made the comment by way of confirming that the MUD is still in conversation with the PSUV leadership about starting a dialogue process.

Allup said:

We must exhaust the possibility of a dialogue, even if some get angry. 92% are asking for it [the dialogue], according to some very serious polls and surveys.

Allup appeared to be speaking to sectors within the MUD as well as its supporters, who argue that the PSUV is not interested in a meaningful dialogue, and that the only solution to the country’s problems will only come by Maduro leaving office. Allup explained why he thinks that this line of thinking is not correct:

… if we refuse to dialogue a priori [in other words, “if we refuse to any kind of dialogue on principle”], then we would be handing over to the government the argument that we are violent, and that we aren’t looking for a constitutional, peaceful solution.

Last week, Allup asked the Organization of American States (OAS) for permission to speak at one of its meetings to Maduro’s outrage, who subsequently sued the National Assembly leadership for “usurpation of powers”. While the OAS has yet to provide an answer to Allup’s request, he said:

Maduro’s obsessed with me (…) but he must know that [Supreme Court] ruling or no ruling, provision or no provision, anger or no anger, if the OAS allows me to speak I will go to talk about the situation in the country.

Donkeys “Arrested” in Anti-Gov’t Protest

Yesterday, anti-government demonstrators congregated outside one of the offices of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) in Caracas to demand that the body stop deliberately slowing down the recall referendum process against Maduro. The demonstrators brought with them two donkeys, which they said symbolized the CNE and Maduro.

Below, a picture of the two donkeys:

National Bolivarian Police officers showed up to the demonstrations and promptly “arrested” the two donkeys:

It is not uncommon to hear Maduro’s detractors referring to him as “Maburro”, which is a combination of his last name and the Spanish word for donkey, which is “burro”.

Liquid Reserves Fall 49% in 15 Days

Venezuela’s liquid foreign reserves – in other words, the U.S. dollars it holds in cash – fell 49% in the last two weeks of May, down to $100 million on May 27 from $196 million in mid-May. The news comes from an economic firm called Inter-American Trends.

The firm also revealed that the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) spent $190 million in the last two weeks of May to pay for imports, while PDVSA gave the BCV only $117 million during the same period of time. The figures are significant because PDVSA brings in over 90% of all of the U.S. dollars that enter Venezuela.

Antonio de la Cruz, the executive director of Inter-American Trends, also said that PDVSA’s income has fallen an estimated $2.14 billion for the January-May 2016 period compared to the same period last year.

Venezuela’s total foreign reserves now sit at $12.118 billion, their lowest level since February 2013. These total reserves include liquid reserves, gold reserves, and something called “special drawing rights” held by the International Monetary Fund.

Allup: NA Will Swear in Amazonas Deputies, Annul TSJ Appointments

Speaking at an event in Valencia, Carabobo state last night, Henry Ramos Allup took a defiant stance against the country’s top court, the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), saying that the National Assembly would take a series of measures that directly affect the court.

First, Allup said that the National Assembly would work on passing a motion to appoint new magistrates to the TSJ, annulling the appointment of 13 magistrates made on December 23, 2015. The appointments were made in an irregular manner due to how hastily and with little vetting the outgoing PSUV-controlled National Assembly made them. Opposition critics pointed out that the move was clearly designed to stack the TSJ with PSUV supporters, since the PSUV knew that it was about to lose the National Assembly.

On the annulment, Allup said:

We’re letting that gang of thugs in the government know right now that since a few months ago the Assembly took the decision to annul the express appointment of those magistrates – after a commission headed by deputy Carlos Berrizbeitia worked on the case… we will open up a new process to name new [magistrates].

It is not exactly clear how the appointment process will look or what effect it will have, since it is extremely unlikely that the TSJ will allow its own magistrates to be removed by the National Assembly.

Allup also said that the National Assembly would go ahead and swear in three MUD deputies from Amazonas state that the TSJ disqualified from office in early January, stripping the MUD of the super-majority it won in the parliamentary elections. The TSJ originally said that it would issue a definitive ruling on the case within 90 days. The 90 days have passed, and there has been no such ruling.

On the fact that state elections for governors are supposed to take place this year, Allup said that there has not been “any sign” that the government is working to make the elections happen as scheduled.

Maduro: Venezuela Could Be “Queen of Democracy”

Maduro spoke from the 6th Asociacion de Estados del Caribe [Caribeean States Assosiation] (CSA) Summit in Havana, Cuba today, and thanked those nations that are backing up Venezuela as the Organization of American States (OAS) begins to discuss the crisis affecting the country.

On the ongoing discussions at the OAS about invoking the Inter-American Democratic Charter against Venezuela over the national government’s continued human rights and constitutional violations, Maduro said:

We are being threatened with a Democratic Charter [at the OAS]. That is disproportionate and impudent. I dare you to try it, please. Venezuela could be the queen of democracy in the continent, with a concept of democracy that is participative, cutting-edge.

As evidence of the fact that Venezuela is a democratic country, Maduro pointed out that the country has “the world record” for most elections over the last 17 years, at 20.

Maduro also said that the pressure his country was feeling from the United States was “brutal”, and vowed to “continue to build stability in the Caribbean”.

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

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