The mayor of the Libertador municipality, Jorge Rodriguez, filed a lawsuit before the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) in Caracas today calling for the nation’s top court to put an end to the recall referendum process against Maduro. The lawsuit alleges that the opposition bloc committed fraud when it collected nearly 2 million signatures in favour of the referendum, which Rodriguez argues should invalidate the entire process.
Shortly after handing in the paperwork, Rodriguez said:
This is a great fraud against the Constitution. It’s unbelievable: 605,415 fraudulent and defective signatures. The MUD has altered the rights of Venezuelans. It violated the rights of millions of chavistas who support Maduro.
Rodriguez did not explain exactly which rights he believes have been violated, or how clerical errors can possibly be construed as malicious intent to commit fraud.
Rodriguez also called on all Venezuelans to log onto the website of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) to see if their identities were “usurped” and used to sign the recall petition.
Faria: Capriles Forgot to Stamp is Fingerprint
Jacqueline Faria, a member of the PSUV committee in charge of overseeing the recall referendum process, explained today that the reason why the signature of Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles was invalidated was because he did not stamp his fingerprint alongside it as per regulation.
He put his name, his I.D. number, but not his fingerprint. That’s why his signature doesn’t count.
Guevara: Civil Disobedience Of Recall Stopped
National Assembly MUD deputy Freddy Guevara said today that if the TSJ or some other government body either suspends or cancels the recall referendum, Venezuelans will have no choice but to invoke Article 350 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which reads:
Article 350: The people of Venezuela, true to their republican tradition and their struggle for independence, peace and freedom, shall disown any regime, legislation or authority that violates democratic values, principles and guarantees or encroaches upon human rights.
The article establishes Venezuelans’ ability to engage in civil disobedience against any authority that violates democracy or human rights.
Guevara also said:
We are sure that despite all of these obstacles, we can defeat [the government] (…) I hope he [Maduro] would reflect and understand that he must provide a political solution for this crisis.
Minister: Venezuelans Are Hungry Only “For Peace”
Minister of Agricultural Production and Land Wilmar Castro Soteldo said in a televised interview broadcast on Globovision today that there is enough food in Venezuela to feed everyone. Soteldo did concede that there may be some distribution issues to iron out:
I believe and I am convinced that we have enough food in this country to feed the population. What we have to do is distribute it in an adequate manner.
Soteldo said that even though was the worst month of the year when it comes to food issues, he maintained that Venezuelans are eating more than “normal”:
There’s a problem of consumption. We have a country that used to eat less than 1,300 kilocalories and we’ve moved up to 3,300 kilocalories. We’re taking about, on average, 1,050 grams per person daily. Now we’re in a phase of 900 grams per person; from a caloric point of view, above normal levels.
He also said that while there is in fact hunger in Venezuela, it’s not for food:
There’s a hunger for peace, for justice. Our people are still eating. It’s still getting its intake — not in the volumes of the times of bonanza during our friend Chavez (…) but I’d say that the people are making important efforts to maintain their diets.
Soteldo also said that his office was working on a plan to feed “soy and yellow corn” to feed chickens and pigs in order to make sure they are eating a “balanced” diet.
Video Shows Looting in La Urbina
A video uploaded to YouTube over the weekend shows several different angles of a looting incident that took place at a bakery in La Urbina, Caracas on June 9.
The looting began suddenly at around 4:35 PM local time. The video shows a mob of looters entering the store leaving confused shoppers in shock.
Below, the video:
Child Murdered In Food Line
A four year old child is dead after two men on a motorcycle approached a line outside of a Mercal supermarket in Guatire and opened fire on the people waiting there. Eight other people were injured.
The shooting happened at the Mercal in the El Rodeo sector of Guatire.
It is not known why the men fired on the line of shoppers.
Capriles Meets Macri
The governor of Miranda state, Henrique Capriles, met today with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires to discuss the Venezuelan crisis.
The meeting comes after the Argentinian government angered the Venezuelan opposition at a meeting of the Organization of American States two weeks ago. At a meeting that might have resulted in concrete diplomatic action against the Maduro government, Argentinian Minister of Foreign Relations Susana Malcorra said:
The problems facing Venezuelans must be resolved by Venezuelans without foreign intervention.
The Venezuelan opposition took the comment as a sign that the Macri administration – which had previously been openly opposed to the Maduro government – was softening its stance.
The Argentinian Cabinet Chief, Marcos Peña, denied the claims:
There has been no change [in attitude towards the Maduro government]. I think that we can be accused of many things, but not of having been a political force or a government that has supported the Venezuelan government.
Venezuelan Oil Production Falls 120,000 BPD in May
A report filed by Venezuela before OPEC has revealed that the country produced an average of 2,370,000 barrels of oil per day in May, down 120,000 barrels per day from April.
Venezuelan average production per day has been steadily decreasing since 2014, when it reported having produced 2,683,000 barrels of oil per day.
The full OPEC report can be found here.
TSJ Declares Health Emergency Law Unconstitutional
The TSJ struck down a National Assembly law that sought to alleviate the health crisis in the country on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
The law that was struck down is called the Ley Especial Para Atender la Crisis Nacional de Salud [Special Law to Address the National Health Crisis], which was approved in early May. The law recommended that the national government seek international aid to help with the chronic shortage of medicine and medical supplies in the country.
The TSJ ruled that the law violated Articles 138, 152, 153, 154, 155, 226, 236.4, 236 and 247 of the constitution, and that it generally “usurped the power given to the President of the Republic” when it comes to acting in the name of the nation.
The full ruling can be found here, in Spanish.
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