Following threats of intervention by PSUV vice-president and National Assembly deputy Diosdado Cabello, authorities raided the Mercado Mayorista de Valencia [Valencia Wholesale Market] in Valencia, Carabobo state earlier today.

Carabobo state governor Francisco Ameliach announced through Twitter that “more than one thousand” soldiers were involved in the raid, which took place under the command of the National Guard. The raid netted 90 tonnes of “hoarded” products.

Jose David Cabello, Diosdado Cabello’s brother, announced the conditions under which the allegedly hoarded products were found:

We’ve been here since 2:00 AM in the Libertador municipality [of Carabobo], specifically in the municipal wholesale market, where we found approximately 90 tonnes of merchandise in storage, the owners of which have yet to show themselves.

While the authorities claim that the merchandise was being hoarded, this fact is not at all clear since large markets – as is the target of today’s raid – presumably maintain products in stock for sale.

Last night, Diosdado Cabello spoke from an event in Carabobo state in which he called for the authorities to raid the market. Cabello said:

We have to end the anarchy that exists in the markets here thanks to the bachaquero [speculators] mafias. Desde a primera fila hasta la bandera [literally, “from the first row to the flag”; I think this means “everyone”] says that we have to intervene at the wholesale market. That is an order.

CNE: MUD “Lying” About Recall Reality

Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) rector Tania D’Amelio said in a radio interview yesterday that the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) was “lying to the people” about the recall referendum. While D’Amelio did not explicitly indicate exactly what the the MUD had lied about, it is likely that she was refering to the timeline of the referendum, since the opposition has been insisting since it launched the effort in March that it could take place this year.

D’Amelio said:

They [the opposition] have lied, and they’ve created expectations that aren’t true.

She continued by saying that the opposition was “planting hatred” in people’s minds regarding the recall referendum against Maduro, and that if the opposition “really wanted to push for a recall referendum”, they should have done so earlier in the year.

Allup: CNE Showing “Not Even Slightest Sign” of Interest in Elections

At a press conference earlier today, National Assembly president Henry Ramos Allup appeared to reply to D’Amelio’s comments, saying that the CNE was never at all interested in holding a recall referendum anyway, and that it seems unlikely that it will hold gubernatorial elections that are scheduled for this year.

Allup said:

 At this stage, the Electoral Power [the CNE] should have already asked for funds for both the gubernatorial elections – as is outlined in the constitution – as well as the recall referendum.

Allup also stressed that the opposition is only interested in a peaceful solution to the crisis affecting the country, which is why it continues to push for the recall referendum.

Allup: Deterioration Will Continue As Long as PSUV Rules

Speaking at an event in Coro, Falcon state earlier today, Allup told supporters that “as long as [the PSUV] is in power, things will continue to get worse”, and urged the crowd to continue to demand peaceful change in the country’s leadership.

Allup said:

In every state, the common denominator of all problems is the scarcity of food and medicine, as well as the high cost of products that you do find.

Allup also explained that the country was spared the widespread scarcity of basic necessities from which it suffers today throughout the Chavez era because oil prices were at historic highs during his presidency. Still, he pointed out that other oil-rich countries “are still afloat” because they all put some of their oil earnings aside for rainy days, and referred specifically to Norway’s sovereign wealth fund.

23 Taken Hostage in Prison Mutiny; Prisoners Demand More Inmates

Inmates at the Penitenciaria General de Venezuela [Venezuelan National Penitentiary] (PGV) in Guarico have been in control of the prison since Monday. The mutinous inmates are demanding that 3,000 more inmates be transferred into the prison, and took 51 people hostage, including 42 prison staff.

RunRun.Es reports that the reason the inmates are demanding that more prisoners be brought into the prison is to increase the pool of victims for the racketeering networks that exist in Venezuelan jails. Prisons in Venezuela are typically headed by a pran, an inmate who runs the prison as a fiefdom by overseeing illicit activities and collecting protection money from other inmates.

Late last night, after a period of negotiation with the authorities, the inmates released 23 hostages. The release came after the authorities transferred 1,380 more inmates into the prison.

El Nacional reports that the pran at PGV is a man known as “Franklin La Guaira”. While the man is not currently incarcerated, he entered the prison willingly in order to escape capture from the authorities.

The mutiny at PGV came at the same time as Minister of Penitentiaries Iris Varela commented on the existence of pranes in Venezuela’s prisons. On Tuesday, Varela said:

There are no pranes in the prisons. I don’t know of any and I’ve never encountered one (…) there are no organizations among inmates that involve ranks and privileges.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com
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