In a surprise move, the Venezuelan government ordered the Tachira state/Colombia border to re-open today after a similar exercise on July 10. After the July 10 opening, Tachira state governor Jose Vielma Mora assured that the event would not take place again. As of 6:00 PM local time, the Colombian government believes that approximately 35,000 Venezuelans have crossed into Colombia. The border was opened at 7:30 AM, and will remain open until 6:00 PM tomorrow.
The re-opening of the border was originally scheduled for tomorrow, but the news caused hundreds of Venezuelans to start camping out at the two bridges connecting Tachira state with Colombia starting this morning. Vielma Mora announced the re-opening by saying:
We’re not going to put up any kind of barrier. It’s no problem. If you want to cross, you can cross… I don’t have a problem with that.
Last Sunday, over 35,000 eager Venezuelans took the opportunity to enter Colombia to shop for food, medicine and other basic necessities, all of which have become very difficult to find in Venezuela.
Maduro ordered the border with Colombia closed last August as part of a plan to solve the scarcity crisis in the country, which the national government argues is partially caused by Colombian paramilitaries and speculators who send Venezuelan products into Colombia.
Mobile Plans Set to Skyrocket in August
CANTV, the state-owned telecommunication company, announced earlier today that its internet plans and prices would change starting on August 1. Virtually all plans will see drastic price increases.
Below, a list showing the increases effective August 1 for a select number of CANTV’s internet plans:
ABA 6 Megas (Unlimited 6 Mbps)
- Old price: Bs. 535.71
- New price: Bs. 4,452.38
ABA 8 Megas (Unlimited 8 Mbps)
- Old price: Bs. 616.07
- New price: Bs. 5,958.09
ABA 10 Megas (Unlimited 10 Mbps)
- Old price: Bs. 687.50
- New price: Bs. 7,791.66
Cabello Mocks Opposition, Recall Process
PSUV Vice-President and National Assembly deputy Diosdado Cabello mocked the Venezuelan opposition and the recall referendum process against Maduro from an event in Aragua state earlier today, saying that “there is a referendum scarcity” [“hay escasez de referendum”] for the opposition.
Cabello used the word escasez, which literally means “scarcity”. While not grammatically incorrect, the unusual use of the word given the context was most certainly meant to allude to the scarcity of food, medicine and basic necessities affecting the country.
They [the opposition] don’t want dialogue. They put conditions on the dialogue (…) so there will be no dialogue, because there won’t be a referendum here. There will be no referendum in 2016, and there won’t be one in 2017, either. There won’t be a referendum, because they haven’t done what the Constitution and the law say, and we won’t let them get away with it.
Cabello also reiterated a statement made by vice-president Aristobulo Isturiz earlier this year that the 2004 recall referendum against Chavez only took place “because Chavez wanted it to”, seemingly in support of the idea that it is the President of the Republic’s prerogative to decide whether or not referendums can take place.
Cabello, who is known for his own brand of inflammatory and threatening rhetoric, continued by saying:
There won’t be a referendum in 2016. Get that in your heads. There won’t be a referendum. There’s a referendum scarcity for you because you’re lazy and ill-intentioned. Do you know what we will have in 2016? More revolution, more socialism, more Bolivar on the streets, more Chavez on the streets, more people on the streets.
Cabello Threatens Amazonas Deputies
Cabello also spoke about the National Assembly’s intentions to re-instate the three deputies from Amazonas state who were removed from their seats by the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) earlier this year. The deputies’ case has been sitting idle at the TSJ all year, meaning that the entire state of Amazonas lacks representation at the national legislature.
Earlier this week, National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup said that the legislature would move ahead and re-instate the deputies next week.
Cabello issued a warning about the move, saying:
Now they’re saying that they’re going to re-instate the Amazonas state deputies that aren’t deputies (…) If you [the Amazonas deputies] re-join [the Assembly] and take on functions that you are not authorized to take on, you are committing a crime, and you don’t have parliamentary immunity so the most likely event is that you will end up in jail because on the whim of two or three people.
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