Speaking during a televised speech that aired earlier today, Maduro accused the U.S. embassy in Caracas of orchestrating “terrorist” activities in the country. Maduro said that the terrorist plan would come into effect in the coming days, and called on all security bodies to place themselves in “maximum alert” in preparation for the alleged imminent attacks.
Without actually providing any evidence, Maduro said:
I have evidence right here in my hands. The United States embassy is behind a terrorist conspiracy against peace in our country. They want to activate [the terrorist conspiracy] in the next few days in order to blackmail our homeland, but I’m telling you that October will be a month of peace.
Don’t say later that I didn’t warn you beforehand [about the imminent attacks]. I’m calling on the Attorney General and the Public Ministry, on People’s Defender Tareck William Saab [to go on] maximum alert against these conspiracies and terrorist acts that are being prepared for these next few days in October.
Since coming to power in 2013, Maduro has alerted Venezuelans to dozens of coup, assassination and other violent attempts against him in Venezuela, yet has never produced convincing evidence for even a single one of his claims.
Cabello: Homicide Charges Coming for Leopoldo Lopez
PSUV vice-president and National Assembly deputy Diosdado Cabello said on his weekly television show yesterday that the families of some of the people killed during the violent protests of 2014 are seeking to have Leopoldo Lopez formally charged with homicide for their relatives’ deaths.
The relatives have introduced or are about to introduce a lawsuit before the courts to charge him [Lopez] with the homicide of the 43 people that this murderer caused…
Lopez, the leader of the Voluntad Popular [Popular Will] (VP) opposition party, is currently one year into a nearly 14-year prison sentence for his alleged role in the 2014 protests. While Lopez was initially charged with homicide over three deaths that occurred during violent protests in Caracas on February 12 2014, but that charge was eventually dropped due to lack of evidence.
If Cabello’s allegations regarding the motion are true, it is not at all clear how the Public Ministry might proceed with the relatives’ complaint. While some of the 43 victims of the 2014 violence died at the hands of civilians, many were killed by state security forces and government supporters, including Adriana Urquiola and Geraldine Moreno. Moreover, Lopez was imprisoned on February 18 – just six days after the start of the protests – making the argument that he was somehow directly responsible for the deaths that happened months after his arrest extremely difficult to make from a legal and logical perspective.
Cabello: Maduro And I “Closer Each Day”
Speaking at an event in Monagas state earlier today, Cabello addressed rumours that he may be lining himself up to replace the wildly unpopular Maduro in the event of a recall loss or resignation. Cabello said that he and Maduro “grow closer each day”, and attempted to dispel the idea that he and the president do not get along.
How many times has the right-wing said that Maduro and I are fighting? Maduro and I grow closer each day building this homeland.
Cabello is arguably the most powerful figure inside the PSUV and is widely recognized as a kingmaker and possible successor to Maduro. However, he is universally disliked and has approval ratings in the low single-digits, possibly as a result of his harsh speaking style and personality and highly-publicized allegations of his involvement in the drug trade.
PDVSA Looks to “Complex Financial Engineering” to Stay Afloat
Reuters published an article today in which it claims to have seen a document from the state-owned PDVSA oil company outlining the company’s drive to issue $4.7 billion in debt securities to contractors in a bid to keep its head above water. Citing an internal PowerPoint presentation it claims to have seen, Reuters suggest that the move might involve 63 companies PDVSA owes money to, including Halliburton and Weatherford.
A debt security is an agreement between two parties that one will repay the other a given amount of debt at a certain time with interest. In this case, PDVSA owes companies $4.7 billion, and by issuing debt securities it hopes that the companies it owes this money to will agree to be repaid at a later date – typically years into the future – with interest. Reuter‘s source claims that if the move goes ahead as PDVSA would like, it would be able to postpone repaying the debt for three years plus a one year grace period.
The Reuters article calls this move part of an increase in PDVSA’s reliance on “complex financial engineering to make ends meet” given the continued low oil prices.
The same article also claims the following:
Wall Street sources also have said major banks have grown concerned about doing business in Venezuela due to corruption accusations surrounding PDVSA and U.S. investigations into high-ranking Venezuelan officials.
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