Twelve countries issued a joint statement last night through Argentina’s Foreign Ministry expressing “deep concern” over the postponement of the recall referendum effort against Maduro this past Thursday.

Below, my translation of the statement:

Joint Statement from Member States of the OAS Over Recent Developments in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the United States of America, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay

Stressing its steadfast compromise with democratic principles and values and the defense of human rights, these signatory governments express their deep concern over the decision taken by the National Electoral Council of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to postpone the process of collection signatures from 20% of registered voters, required to activate the recall referendum.

The paralyzation of this process – which was scheduled to take place October 26-28 – along with the judiciary’s decision to ban main opposition leaders from leaving the country affects the possibility of establishing a dialogue between the government and the opposition that would allow for a peaceful solution to the critical situation that our sister nation faces.

These signatory governments stress their call to all political actors in this country to create an atmosphere of peace and move towards a national dialogue either directly or with support from facilitators, which would allow for the finding of long-lasting solutions that favour democracy and social stability while at the same time guaranteeing the respect for human rights, the separation of powers and the strengthening of institutions.

Aside from signing on to the joint statement above, the government of Canada also issued its own statement on the matter. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Dion issued a statement last night expressing Canada’s “concern” over the postponement of the recall, and said:

Canada firmly requests for the National Electoral Council to reverse its decision and allow Venezuelans to exercise their constitutional right to hold a recall referendum.

Minister Dion also said that Canada was “concerned about the arrests and detentions” of opposition supporters and politicians in Venezuela.

Cabello: “Counterattack” Only Just Begun

National Assembly deputy and PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello spoke on Thursday’s announcement of the indefinite postponement of the recall referendum process against Maduro by suggesting that the move was just the beginning of a larger offensive against the opposition.

Speaking at a PSUV rally yesterday, Cabello said that the chavista counterattack has only just begun”, and that:

We haven’t yet shown all of our cards…. this is why we told them that there wouldn’t be a recall, and they all know that (…) without action – through what justice has imposed – are saving them a lot of trouble.

Cabello also said that the PSUV would not “go to the streets” to explain to people exactly why the recall referendum has been postponed, since according to him the opposition has already begun “a great campaign” of misinformation.

Cabello Alleges “Plan Rock and Roll” Underway

Cabello also spoke on what he claims is an opposition plan to overthrow the Maduro government, called “Plan Rock and Roll”.

According to Cabello, the opposition’s plan has several steps, including:

  • October 22: Hold protests in Caracas.
  • October 29: Hold “mass protests” in every major city in the country lasting into the overnight hours.
  • November 3: The National Assembly will remove Maduro from office somehow by declaring that he is in fact a Colombian citizen and is thus unable to hold office.
  • November 5: A “symbolic, peaceful” takeover of the La Carlota military base in Caracas to ask that the army force the recalll referendum against Maduro to happen.
  • November 6: A 48-hour national strike begins.
  • November 9: Every major road in the country is shut down
  • November 10: The opposition asks for “international support” as it launches a protest straight to the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.

Cabello did not provide any evidence for any of his claims, but assured listeners that the plan was already underway.

Air Force Jets Intercept Civilian Flight

Two Venezuelan Air Force fighter jets intercepted Avianca Flight 011 en route to Bogota from Madrid last night at approximately 7:10 PM local time, according to the Colombian Ministry of Defense.

While details of the event are scarce, El Nacional reports that the Avianca flight – which was carrying 200 passengers to Madrid – was intercepted by the fighter jets as it flew over Venezuela. The jets conducted “military-style maneuvers” around the aircraft, forcing it to alter its course.

The Colombian Ministry of Defense issued a statement, and while it did not reveal any substantive details about the encounter, it does state that the Colombian Air Force Command and Control Centre reached out to the Venezuelan Air Defense Command at approximately 9:30 PM to ask for clarification on the interception.

Diosdado Cabello also spoke on the event today, calling it the result of “confusion” and that it was not the intention of the two jets to intercept that particular flight.

National Assembly To Denounce Judges Before ICC

National Assembly deputy Luis Florido announced today that the National Assembly would file a formal complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the judges involved in annulling the results of signature drives in favour of holding a recall vote against Maduro this past Thursday. Florido also said that the Consejo Nacional Electoral rectors who announced the postponement of the recall would also be named in a complaint before the ICC.

Florido said:

We are going to file before the International Criminal Court – based on the Rome Statute – concrete actions against these judges, but we will also go after the rectors from the Consejo Nacional Electoral.

The ICC is an international tribunal headquartered in The Hague that has the ability to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

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