Jesus Torrealba, the head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, said in an interview that aired this morning on Televen that Venezuela is currently undergoing a “social explosion” [estadillo social], given the intensity and frequency of protests in the country. Torrealba said that on any given day, about ten to twelve small Caracazos happen in cities and towns around the country, with frustrated citizens either taking to the streets in protest or looting supermarkets and other establishments.
Speaking on the government’s repeated, brazen abuses against Venezuelan law and its continued attempts to delay the recall referendum process against Maduro, Torrealba said:
A justice system that hands out revenge instead of justice does not need to justify itself. They can grab on to whatever nonsense they want – anything that [Libertador municipality mayor] Jorge Rodriguez said, and with that pretext they [the Supreme Court] can involve themselves in the recall referendum process to continue to delay it. All I have to say to them is this: [in reference to the 1989 Caracazo] remember Petare, remember Catia. Remember that hunger does not wait. Remember that the lack of medicine does not wait. Remember that the people are indignant.
When asked by the show’s host, Carlos Croes, if he feared widespread social unrest, Torrealba said:
Look, I think the widespread social unrest is already happening (…) I’m convinced that the social explosion isn’t something that’s going to happen: it is happening (…) What is the government waiting for? (…) Give yourselves the opportunity to allow this situation to end peacefully at the voting booths, because if there are elections you will lose them, but if there are no elections you will lose it all.
La Patilla Highlights Failed State Food Producers
La Patilla published an article yesterday in which it provided some figures that demonstrate how 12 state-owned companies corn flour companies have been producing meager quantities of the Venezuelan staple.
The website points out that the largest privately owned producer of corn flour is Polar Enterprises. Polar operates three corn flour factories in Venezuela. Those three factories produced 50% of all the corn meal produced in Venezuela in 2015: 615,000 tonnes.
By comparison (and according to official figures), the 12 state-owned corn flour factories produced 24,164 tonnes of corn flour last year. The figure represents 13.4% of all corn meal produced in the country. Together, the twelve factories have a production capacity of 163,410 tonnes per year.
In other words, 12 state-owned factories were only able to produce approximately 4% as much corn flour as three Polar factories did in 2015.
La Patilla points out that public sector labour disruptions mean that the state-owned plants operate on an average of 22 days per month. The worst performing of the twelve factories was the Valle de Guanape plant in Anzoategui state, which produced only 495 tonnes of corn flour in 2015, which is approximately 2.7% of its production capacity.
The national government argues that the economic crisis in Venezuela is caused by an “economic war” waged against it by the PSUV’s enemies, including Polar Enterprises.
National Guard Disperse Hungry Shoppers with Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets
Earlier this afternoon, hundreds of people flocked to the Unicasa supermarket in the Bolivar avenue in Porlamar, Margarita Island.
Below, a video of the crowd and the line outside the supermarket:
At some point, the crowd grew impatient, at which point the National Guard dispersed it with tear gas and rubber bullets.
El Nacional reports that the crowd began to protest, and demanded food. At that time, the National Guard began to disperse the crowd.
Below, a video showing the crowd dispersing, along with my translation:
Woman Recording: Those are rubber bullets for sure. Run! Those are the people who voted for Chavez and Maduro, those motherfuckers! They need to be beaten! Run, run damn you! Everyone’s going to get beaten now. Let’s see how they do now.
Below, a picture from the scene:
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