A National Assembly session scheduled for today almost did not take place after the legislature’s surrounding area awoke this morning to a heavy National Guard and National Bolivarian Police presence. The National Guard deployed mobile walls to the roads leading to the National Assembly, making vehicular traffic impossible. The picture below shows one of these mobile wall units deployed near the La Hoyada subway station in Caracas this morning:
Power to the National Assembly building was also cut off in the early morning hours just as the first deputies began to arrive for the day’s session. Power was restored by the time the session began at 10:30 AM, although it is not clear if that is because the Assembly resorted to its internal power generator.
Gov’t Supporters Hurl Insults, Objects at Arriving Deputies
The situation at the National Assembly was made all the more chaotic due to the fact that a group of government supporters congregated in the building’s surroundings in the early morning hours in order to protest today’s session. The government supporters hurled insults and objects at opposition deputies as they filed into the building, and clashed with National Guard soldiers stationed there to protect the deputies.
Below, images of part of the government crowd clashing with National Guard troops at the National Assembly:
La Patilla published an article with more pictures from the scene, which you can find here.
PSUV Deputies Walk Out of National Assembly Session
Prior to the start of today’s National Assembly session, all PSUV deputies in attendance walked out of the building in protest.
PSUV deputy Francisco Torrealba explained that the reason that the PSUV walked out was that there was no quorum at the time that the session was set to start. Quorum was met shortly after, as tardy deputies finished filing into the Assembly, allowing the session to take place.
Torrealba also said that the PSUV deputies would instead walk to the nearby Miraflores Palace:
We’re going to Miraflores Palace to defend and support out brother Nicolas Maduro peacefully.
The Miraflores Palace, which serves as the seat of the national government, became the focus of national attention yesterday after the opposition promised to march there en masse on Thursday unless Maduro restored constitutional order in the country, presumably by allowing the recall referendum and regional elections to take place.
Dramatic Video Shows Moment Miranda Police Officers Were Shot
Last night, a Miranda State Police officer named Jose Alejandro Molina Rodriguez was killed in the Las Minas areas of San Antonio de Los Altos, Miranda state. The officer was participating in crowd-control activities in the area when the group of which he formed a part was shot at. A cameraman who was with officer Molina’s group captured the moment in which the officers were shot.
WARNING: The video below is graphic. It shows a group of police officers on the ground after having been shot. The video shows an officer – presumably Molina – dying on the ground.
In a speech delivered earlier today, Maduro blamed Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles for the death of officer Molina. Maduro said:
Who killed [Molina]? Hatred. Intolerance. Blind violence. And who is planting these things? [Henrique] Capriles Radonski. He is responsible for this death. That’s what I’m letting the public know, because he is the one who is calling for an assault on the Miraflores Palace. That’s one more death tied to you. That’s what I’m telling the whole country.
Cabello: Gov’t Will Take Over Any Business That Participates in Strike
National Assembly deputy and PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello announced this morning that the “the workers and the army” would take over any business that took part in the one-day national strike planned for tomorrow.
Cabello made by the announcement by saying:
I talked about this with the president. Any business that shuts down will be taken over by the workers and by the army. We’re not going to allow any shenanigans here.
Cabello explained that the takeovers would be conducted for the purposes of preventing ordinary citizens from suffering through the acts of “these crazies”, referring to the opposition.
Yesterday, the opposition proposed a one-day national strike for tomorrow.
PSUV Deputies File Lawsuit Against National Assembly Before Supreme Court
PSUV National Assembly deputy Hector Rodriguez – the leader of the government faction at the national legislature – announced today that the PSUV had filed a lawsuit with the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) against the National Assembly, asking that the country’s top court rule on the “illegality and unconstitutionality” of the legislative branch.
In an interview with Globovision, Rodriguez said:
As long as the National Assembly does not respect the rulings from the TSJ, the constitutional order and democracy, its actions will not have any type of legal validity.
It is not clear exactly what type of action the Rodriguez hopes that the TSJ will take against the National Assembly, since the TSJ already ruled on September 5 that the legislature was in contempt and thus all of its acts moving forward would be null.
Maduro Increases Minimum Monthly Salary to Bs. 27,091
Maduro announced an increase to the minimum monthly salary today, to Bs. 27,091. Today’s salary increase marks the fourth time this year that the minimum monthly salary has gone up in Venezuela, and will go into effect on November 1. The previous minimum monthly salary was Bs. 22,576.
While salary increases are frequent in Venezuela, their net effects are null given the country’s out-of-control inflation rate. Venezuela has the highest inflation on the planet, and is estimated to hit at least 700% by the end of this year.
Maduro made the announcement by saying:
I want to announce before the country and the working class that as part of my promise to protect the workers’ salary, I have decided to activate the fourth salary increase for this year starting on November 1 to coincide with the holiday season for the workers.
At the unofficial exchange rate – which is the rate that is the most accessible to the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans – today’s increase means that a Venezuelan worker earning the minimum salary earns approximately US $20.03 per month.
SEBIN Surrounds Polar HQ, CEO’s House; Cabello Calls for Arrest
Officers from the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional [National Bolivarian Intelligence Service] are currently surrounding the headquarters of Polar Enterprises, the country’s largest private company, as well as the home of Polar’s CEO, Lorenzo Mendoza.
El Nacional reports that the SEBIN has said that the officers have been deployed for “security” reasons, although it is not at all clear exactly whose security is at stake.
Polar has long been a thorn at the side of the PSUV, which relies heavily on an ideological pillar that paints private businesses as corrupt and inefficient. Polar’s continued success despite the country’s difficulties has always presented itself as a black eye for the government.
Earlier this afternoon, Diosdado Cabello gave spoke at a public event in which he called for Mendoza’s arrest, saying:
Why don’t they lock up Lorenzo Mendoza, since he’s calling for a national strike tomorrow?
Maduro has often threatened to nationalize Polar. The SEBIN action today has caused concerns among opposition circles that the national government is getting ready to finally take over the company if it decides to participate in tomorrow’s general strike.
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