Late last night during his weekly live television show, Maduro promoted the commander-in-chief of the National Guard, Ernesto Reverol, to Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace.

Maduro announced Reverol’s promotion by saying:

I want to say “hello!” to a Major General of the National Bolivarian Guard, a patriot, a revolutionary, a Venezuelan, an exemplary officer of our National Bolivarian Armed Forces, and someone to whom I want to give all of my solidarity, my personal support as head of state, to him and to his family who have been attacked by the North American empire. I’m talking about Major General Reverol Torres. A patriot, a Venezuelan, an a personal assistant to Commander Chavez.

Less than 24 hours before his promotion, the US Department of Justice revealed that it had indicted Reverol for drug trafficking. The indictment alleges that between 2008 and 2010, Reverol organized drug trafficking operations in Venezuela and actively hindered investigations into the drug trade by, among other things, ordering the release of suspects and preventing extraditions.

Maduro also shuffled two other cabinet positions last night:

  •  Carlos Faria the new Minister of Industry and Commerce. He replaces Miguel Perez Abad.
  • Ricardo Molina is the new Minister of Transport and Public Works. He replaces Isis Ochoa.

Garcia: Reverol Promoted to Protect Him

National Assembly MUD deputy Ismael Garcia reacted to Reverol’s promotion last night by proposing that the reason behind the move was to protect Reverol from international authorities.

Garcia pointed out that the news of the indictment against Reverol just a day prior to his promotion is a coincidence that cannot be ignored. He continued by saying:

Drug trafficking is an international crime (…) the reason why Maduro acts like this is because he handed over all the power to the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. This is a way for them to protect themselves.

Garcia suggested that instead of “becoming an accomplice to a narcofuncionario [a drug-dealing official]”, Maduro should have instead ordered an investigation into the allegations against Reverol.

He also pointed out that Reverol is not the only accused drug trafficker in the PSUV. National Assembly deputy Hugo Carvajal has also been indicted for drug trafficking in the United States, and was briefly detained in Curacao last year. Carvajal was going to be extradited to the United States before Curacao yielded to Venezuelan pressure to release him.

Garcia said:

There’s the Carvajal case. He’s wanted [by] the grand jury of New York [sic] and by a court in Florida. Carvajal is accused of having brought in more than 5,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States, and now they’ve [the PSUV] have him as a deputy.

Minister “Not Surprised” By Accusations Against PSUV Officials

Minister for Women and Gender Equality Gladys Requena said earlier today that she is not at all surprised by allegations from US authorities that PSUV deputies like Reverol, Diosdado Cabello and Hugo Carvajal are actively involved in the drug trade. She said that the allegations are part of an attack against the Bolivarian revolution, and explained:

Any government official can become the victim to these attacks. This hasn’t just happened to Major General Reverol, but also with other officials. There’s a plan from the United States to destabilize the cabinet. [They] want to intervene in and affect our country.

Requena made the comments during a televised interview that aired on Globovision.

On last night’s cabinet shuffle, Requena asked Venezuelans to not speculate on what it could mean for the state of affairs in the country, saying:

Speculation is normal and ordinary, but we can’t [speculate about] these assignments. The Chief of State examines and adjusts his cabinet. It’s a natural process in the process of adaption in our homeland [sic].

Requena: Crisis Isn’t Govt’s Fault

After comparing Maduro to “the captain of a boat” and asking Venezuelans to trust all of his decisions, Requena argued that the severe socio-economic crisis threatening to tear the country apart is not the PSUV’s fault. Requena explained:

It’s true that we’ve made mistakes, but everyone makes mistakes. The crisis isn’t due do those mistakes [and] we’ve proposed solutions for the country, while the Venezuelan opposition does not have any kind of positive project to propose to the government. Julio Borges [an opposition deputy] is a vile creature [and makes] destabilization plans, and of the economic and political elites that are trying to govern the country from the National Assembly [sic].

Maduro: “Not One Cent” in Funding for the National Assembly

During his television show last night, Maduro threatened to cut off funds for the National Assembly since he considers the legislature to be “nonexistent”. Maduro said that he had spoken to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) about the National Assembly’s incorporation of the three Amazonas deputies, and that he considers the legislative body to be operating outside of the law.

Maduro said:

I’ve just had a meeting with the Comptroller General of the Republic (…) I’m meeting with teh TSJ because, since the National Assembly exists outside of the law, I as the head of the hacienda publica [I think this means “national treasury” or “all public funds”] cannot deposit funds for a nonexistent National Assembly.

Allup: Maduro’s Already Cut Off Funding

National Assembly president Henry Ramos Allup responded to Maduro’s comments on the legislature’s funding yesterday, and clarified that Maduro does not fund the National Assembly.

Allup explained:

He [Maduro] isn’t sending us funds. For example, in each committee, the deputies themselves are the ones who pay for paper and printer ink to make photocopies. This is all working without the Executive sending us funds.

Allup continued by saying:

The only thing that Maduro sends us – and with delays – is the salary for the workers which the Assembly isn’t in charge of because the Treasury makes the deposits directly into the Banco de Venezuela, and that goes directly to the workers. The Assembly isn’t in charge of that money.

Opp. Supporters Attacked in Los Teques

Opposition supporters and politicians marched in cities throughout the country today in an attempt to pressure the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) into allowing the recall referendum against Maduro to happen this year.

While the demonstrations appear to have unfolded peacefully, a pro-government group attacked a rally in Los Teques, Miranda state, resulting minor injuries to an unknown number of opposition supporters.

Below, images showing opposition supporters being attacked:Co9CtA-WIAEvEbJ

Notice the National Guard officers in the background of the picture below:

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