National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup said today that Libertador municipality mayor Jorge Rodriguez has become the de facto spokesperson for the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), given his daily public statements on how the electoral body should handle the matter of the recall referendum against Maduro.
Just yesterday, Rodriguez spoke during a televised speech on the second step of the recall process: collecting signatures from 20% of the electorate, which is approximately 4 million people. Rodriguez said:
In the event that this gigantic fraud is allowed to continue (…) we will demand that since president Nicolas Maduro was elected in one day, the collection of [20% of] the signatures must take place in one day.
The CNE has yet to announce how long the second step of the recall process will take. However, it allowed a full month for collecting 197,721 signatures needed to complete the first step.
On Rodriguez’s continued involvement in a process that – at least on paper – should exclusively involve the CNE, Allup said:
The shame of the [four CNE rectors] is so great that they won’t even speak. They have instead submissively accepted Jorgito [a common nickname for people named Jorge; literally means “Little Jorge”] as the spokesperson for the CNE.
Torrealba: Rodriguez’s Statements “Pathetic”
The head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, Jesus Torrealba, categorized Rodriguez’s call for the collection of the 20% of signatures in one day as “pathetic” during his radio show, La Fuerza es la Union.
Torrealba spoke directly to Rodriguez, saying:
I get it. You think that you can skip steps and rules as you want (…) you are part of a political project that has been absolutely defeated. No one supports you as mayor, nor Maduro as president.
Food Prices Continue Unchecked Rise
The price of the basic nutritious food basket – a collection of food items needed to maintain a healthy, balanced diet – rose again in May, hitting Bs. 226,462.17. The calculation is based on the the food requirements for a family of five.
The increase marks a jump of 817.1% from May 2015, 22.5% higher than the month prior.
The minimum monthly salary in Venezuela is Bs. 15,051,15, which means that a Venezuelan family of five needs to earn 15 times the monthly minimum in order to eat properly. The price of an average worker’s lunch is Bs. 1,700.
The figures – which are released regularly by the Centro de Documentacion y Analisis Social de la Federacion Venezolana de Maestros – also show that the average difference between government-set prices and black market prices is 2,885.5%. The figure means that if a shopper is unable to find a basic necessity (such as milk, sugar or eggs) at government-set prices in supermarkets, their only recourse is to buy them off street sellers at astronomical premiums.
PDVSA Production Continues Nosedive
The president of the Federacion Unitaria de Trabajadores Petroleros de Venezuela [Federation of Venezuelan Oil Workers] (FUTPV), Eudis Girot, said in a television interview today that the country is producing only 2.4 million barrels of oil per day, down a full million barrels per day from 2008 levels.
Girot said that Venezuela’s oil industry is in a state of “abandon”, and he blamed PDVSA head Eulogio del Pino for “bleeding the country”. Girot also said that oil workers earn only Bs. 3,200 per week, adding:
The labour situation is sad, critical and shameful. The salary isn’t even enough to buy a carton of eggs.
Girot also said that while the workers he represents “believe in the institutions of the state”, he called on the Maduro administration to conduct an audit of PDVSA in order to ascertain the reason for the organization’s apparent slow descent into abandon.
PSUV, Allies Seeking Abolition of NA
Didalco Bolivar, the head of the PODEMOS party, revealed today that the PSUV and its allies has begun talks with the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) with the goal of somehow abolishing or otherwise dismantling the National Assembly. The action is being undertaken jointly by the Gran Polo Patriotico (GPP), an alliance of political parties that includes the PSUV.
[The GPP has asked that the TSJ] abolish the National Assembly for usurping power, violating the constitution, [and] betraying the homeland when it comes to foreign policy.
Bolivar also said that there would be more news on this initiative next week.
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