National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup spoke today about the imminent PSUV lawsuit seeking to put an end to the recall referendum process, which is expected to be filed before the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) tomorrow.
Allup holds a pessimistic view of the proceedings, and claimed that he has knowledge that the TSJ has already begun work on a ruling(s) that would essentially spell the end of the recall referendum against Maduro. Allup explained:
… the government’s law firm [the TSJ]… is cooking other rulings to give the power to the [Consejo Nacional Electoral] to put a stop to the recall, and in that same decision – or another – the TSJ will say that in order to maintain order throughout the nation they will suppress the right to it, as if the recall could cause a commotion.
Allup said that Venezuelans had to “get ready for anything”, and said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the CNE suspended the recall for any number of reasons.
Yesterday, Maduro announced that the government would bring a lawsuit before the TSJ tomorrow seeking a ruling that would cancel the recall referendum against him.
He also stressed the importance of holding the recall given the intensity of the crisis affecting the country:
Every day there are protests, unrest, and looting, because people want to eat and the government either steals food or leaves it to rot.
Protests Planned for this Week
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles asked today for the approximately 610,000 Venezuelans whose signatures were not validated by the CNE to march on Thursday in a show of defiance against their disenfranchisement.
Capriles made the call at an event in Caracas earlier today. He was accompanied by National Assembly MUD deputy Delsa Solorzano, who said:
Today, those of us who cannot verify our own signatures will become agents for change.
Like that of Capriles, Solorzano’s signature was not validated by the CNE, meaning that she cannot take part in the next step of the referendum process, which is scheduled to take place on June 20-24.
The CNE excluded signatures based on a number of criteria. Below, a list of some of the signatures that the CNE rejected, along with the reason:
- 100,000 rejected because the person signed in a state other than that in which they reside.
- 50,000 rejected due to spelling errors.
- 26,000 rejected because the form they were on contained spelling errors (there are 10 signatures per form).
Maduro: Recall Will Be Next Year “Even If Requirements Met” in 2016
Maduro said yesterday that even if all of the requirements to hold the recall referendum against him were fully met, the actual vote would not take place until next year. Maduro said:
If the requirements are met, the recall referendum will be next year, period.
If the recall happens his year and Maduro loses, there must be a presidential election to replace him, which would almost certainly mean the end of PSUV rule in Venezuela and possibly that of the Bolivarian revolution.
If the recall happens next year, vice-president Aristobulo Isturiz would replace Maduro, leaving Venezuela in PSUV hands until at least 2019.
MUD Deputy: CLAP Hampered By Corruption
National Assembly MUD deputy Tomas Guanipa spoke on a television interview broadcast on Televen earlier today on the government’s CLAP initiative. Starting earlier this year, the national government announced that local committees made up of community members would distribute plastic bags full of food door-to-door to Venezuelans in an attempt to mitigate the scarcity crisis.
Guanipa said that the CLAP system is weighed down by the fact that it has become a site of tremendous corruption. Guanipa explained:
The CLAP have become clans made up of government supporters. We’ve got testimony that we’ve shown the National Assembly [showing that] those bags are handed out at the discretion of PSUV members. [They] want to force you to sign a form, they take a picture of you with your little bag that is supposed to last a month but only has two kilograms of rice, two kilograms of flour, some little bit of cooking oil and a small package of coffee.
Guanipa also said that CLAP members are also prone to stealing from the food bags in order to re-sell the items on the street at a profit.
Disappointment, Frustration Mounts Over CLAP
El Nacional published an article two days ago that shows how some of the supposed beneficiaries of the CLAP door-to-door food program have been disappointed and frustrated by the system.
The article outlines how residents of the La Quebradita II neighbourhood in the western part of Caracas became excited on June 11 at the news that a CLAP committee was going to service their community. They had been waiting for over a month to receive the service from the CLAP.
Maritza Gutierrez, a resident of the area, told El Nacional how her excitement immediately turned to disappointment as soon as she saw the work of the CLAP:
They told us to come down because they were going to sell the bags – finally! But no, when we got there what we found was people walking away with just three products, and they told us that we had to wait until next month so they can sell us [bags] again. What do they want us to do, eat a kilogram of pasta, flour and milk for the whole month?
Harold Martin, who was also at the CLAP distribution event in La Quebradita II, said:
They say that this is a bag of food, but they won’t even give us a plastic bag. You have to buy it to put whatever they sell in it. This would make any Venezuela indignant.
The newspaper writes that while a resident could walk away with powdered milk, corn flour and pasta for Bs. 104, the plastic bags themselves cost Bs. 50.
Corinta Garcia complained that CLAP that serviced her community refused to sell bags to individuals, and would instead limit each family to one bag:
In some apartment buildings there are families [where each individual members] filled out the form requesting that they sell them a plastic bag. But now they’re telling them that they can only order one bag per apartment.
El Nacional also spoke with a woman who only identified herself as Margot, a member of the CLAP and of the Unidades de Batalla Bolivar-Chavez, a civilian militia. Margot admitted that while the CLAP system was experiencing some hiccups, she was hopeful that the national government would listen to their suggestions to improve the service:
We’re a big neighbourhood, and they’re [the government] are sending us the products correctly. They told us that this is what they had. We’re asking Minister [of Nutrition] Rodolfo Marco Torres for food to be distributed equally so that people can walk away satisfied with their food bags. We’re writing up a document so that the minister will listen to us as the CLAP from La Quebradita II. We want each bag to have three [packs of] corn flour and rice, two [bottles of] cooking oil, and more food.
Video Show Brutal Repression in
EDIT: There is some confusion regarding where exactly the video below was taken. It appears that the video below was shot in Cariaco, Sucre state, a town which is east of Cumana. A 21 year-old man named Luis Josmel Fuentes was killed in the shooting. The picture below, taken in the aftermath of the events shown in the video, shows bullet casings for pistols and assault rifles:
A video posted to social media yesterday apparently shot in
the Cariaco neighbourhood of Cumana Cariaco, Sucre state yesterday shows authorities firing what appear to be rubber bullets point-blank at a crowd of unarmed protesters.
The video can be seen below:
The residents were allegedly out on the street protesting the lack of food.
Some of the officers – which appear to belong to either the National Guard and the National Bolivarian Police – are clearly carrying assault rifles and pistols. It’s not clear from the video if the shooting that is heard is coming from these lethal weapons, less lethal weapons like rubber bullets, or both.
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