After being confronted by a large crowd of hostile protesters, Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles finally managed to leave the Santiago Mariño airport in Porlamar, Margarita Island after four hours of tense standoff. Capriles arrived in Margarita yesterday in order to take part in a religious festival.

Shortly upon landing, Capriles and others in his party took to Twitter to denounce the presence of a crowd of government supporters, some of whom were hooded. While images from the scene do not appear to show conclusive evidence that the crowd was armed, Capriles and others on the scene said that some of the men carried firearms.

In images shared through social media last night, the pro-government crowd appeared to crowd the exit of the terminal, presumably in wait for Capriles and his party to exit.

Capriles was accompanied by National Assembly deputies Jony Rahal and Richard Fermin.

Upon exiting the terminal shortly after midnight, Capriles shared the following video on Twitter:

Capriles: Good evening, friends. It’s — can you turn on the light for a second, please? Let me see if… — it’s 12:09 AM, and we’ve managed to get out. Thank you to everyone for your concern and for having kept an eye on this. We’ve made it out It’s 12:10 AM. We were kept there for four hours by armed groups. We are going to document all of this. What the Maduro government has done here is very serious [because] it happened in an airport. The consequences that this has for anything that has to do with security regulations… everything that we’ve had to go through over the past four hours. This isn’t about me: this is about all of the other people who were there, who had to be taken to another gate, and who had to live through all of this for four hours. Thank you to everyone. We’re on our way now.

The image below shows the scene that Capriles arrived at when he landed in Margarita: a large crowd of demonstrators, some of them hooded, waiting for him to exit the terminal:

Note that the picture above shows two National Guard soldiers (in green hats).

Gov’t Gives 120 Days to Register Drones

The Instituto Nacional de Aeronautica Civil [National Civil Aviation Institute] (INAC) announced today that Venezuelans will have 120 days to register their drones with the organization in order to create a registry of the flying platforms.

The announcement was made by the head of INAC, Jorge Luis Montenegro, who said:

With this registry we hope to know what type of flying vehicles we have in the country. It’s also important to regulate them. We have to remember that it’s an areal system that is piloted from a distance, and for that reason has certain limitations, including flying near airports or certain buildings.

Montenegro explained that upon registry, drone operators will receive a type of license which they must have with them any time they fly their drones.

Jurisdictions around the world are still coping with how – or if – the increased affordability of ease-of-use of drones should necessity some type of regulation.

Today’s announcement comes just three days after a man named Alejandro Puglia was arrested for allegedly flying a drone to take pictures and record video of the opposition march on Caracas last Thursday. In late October, INAC issued a ban on drone flights in the country until September 5, presumably in order to prevent opposition supporters from taking pictures of what turned out to be the largest demonstration in the country’s history.

Algeria to Pick Up Venezuelan Slack, Sell Oil to Cuba

Days after news leaked that Cuban leader Raul Castro had formally requested that Russia provide the island nation with oil given Venezuela’s anemic oil production, El Nacional reports that Algeria will provide Cuba with the commodity.

The oil deliveries will be conducted through Sonatrach, the Algerian state-owned oil company. Algeria will deliver 515,000 barrels of oil to Cuba in October, with subsequent shipments of unknown quantity expected in November and December.

Since Chavez’s election in 1998, Venezuela has been Cuba’s main oil provider. However, the 2014 drop in oil prices along with sickly production figures from PDVSA – the Venezuelan state-owned oil company – have forced Cuba to look elsewhere for crude oil.

Tintori: Recall in 2017 “a Trap”

Opposition figure Lilian Tintori – Leopoldo Lopez’s wife – spoke in an interview on Vladimiar a la 1 on a number of issues, including ongoing recall referendum efforts against Maduro.

When asked if she agreed with Maria Corina Machado’s statement yesterday that the recall could only take place this year, Tintori said:

Of course I support what Maria Corina Machado said. Having the recall next year would be a trap.

If the recall is held this year and Maduro loses, a presidential election the opposition would most likely win would take place. If the recall is held next year and Maduro loses, however, the PSUV would remain in power until 2019.

Tintori also explained that she believes that Venezuela is witnessing the last days of the Maduro government, and that the increase in political repression in the country is evidence of that fact:

Dictatorships in their last stages are always very dangerous. That’s why we’re calling for peace and calm.

Maduro Scolds Reverol on T.V.

Speaking at a televised event last night announcing a series of reforms for the National Bolivarian Police (NBP), Maduro had harsh words for Minister of the Interior Ernest Reverol. In his remarks, Maduro suggested that the NBP was often seen as ineffective, and urged the organization to take a more active role in crime prevention and response.

Below, a video showing Maduro’s comments to Reverol:

Maduro: … and start building a new police [force]. A police that is connected to the community. And that the plans for security and patrols – within the framework of the 911 [I’m not sure what this is in reference to – perhaps a decree or the article of a piece of regulation] and in the framework of peace – be made perfectly, and that you each assume them.

Minister [Reverol], I don’t want to see this anymore: a National Bolivarian Police officer standing on a street corner for one, two, three days, wasting time. No! That officer has to be there doing their duty for themselves and for the homeland! Doing his duties!

Maduro promoted Reverol to Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace on August 3, barely 24 hours after the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Reverol alleging that he has highly involved in drug trafficking.

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

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