The drug trafficking trial of Efrain and Francisco Flores continued today in a New York City courtroom, bringing to light new details about the life of Maduro’s nephews.
Today, the jury heard an audio recording in which Efrain apparently bragged to an undercover DEA informant about his experience in the drug trade. The recording was one of several that the prosecution played today. In the recording, Efrain says:
I’m 30 years old. I’ve been doing this work since I was 18.
The DEA informant who recorded the audio, a man named Jose Santos Peña, took the witness stand today to provide his account of the undercover operation that eventually resulted in the Campos’ arrest in Haiti last November.
In another secret recording, Efrain says that he wants to start the work of smuggling cocaine into the United States “immediately”, while in another Efrain can be clearly seen wearing latex gloves and handling a packet of cocaine. Santos testified that Efrain then asked one of his bodyguards for a knife in order to inspect the drugs.
Santos was a drug dealer for 30 years and spent most of that time working in Mexico before becoming a DEA informant. The defense is using Santos’ past in order to attempt to disqualify his testimony in the eyes of the jury.
Maduro, John Kerry Chat Over the Phone
US Secretary of State John Kerry called Maduro last night in order to talk about the relationship between Venezuela and the United States in light of the transition towards the Trump administration next year.
According to a government press release, Maduro asked Kerry to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory on Tuesday, and asked that the Obama administration leave “a positive agenda” with Venezuela for Trump to take over in the new year.
Maduro: Opposition “Jinxed” Clinton
Maduro offered some thoughts on the results of Tuesday’s presidential election in the United States today, particularly his view on the reason for Hillary Clinton’s defeat.
During a televised, Maduro suggested that the Venezuelan opposition was responsible for Clinton’s defeat, saying:
Look at how they jinxed Hillary Clinton. The Venezuelan right wing started supporting her and they jinxed her.
It is not exactly clear what exactly Maduro meant with the word “support” since neither the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) nor its leaders had an official position on the election in the United States.
Hopes for Early Presidential Elections Dwindle
During the same speech, Maduro dashed hopes that the MUD and the PSUV were in the process of negotiating early presidential elections to be held next year as opposed to 2018 which is when they are next scheduled to take place.
Maduro said that he in fact did not desire to be in power: rather, his desire was with defeating the “economic war” he claims is being waged against Venezuela. Maduro said:
I’m not obsessed with an election and this position, as some in the opposition are.
At the same time, Maduro said that Venezuelans would be able to decide if they wanted him to stay in 2018, as opposed to next year in early elections or through a recall referendum.
October Inflation Climbs 19.1%
The inflation rate for the month of October was 19.1%, putting the total rate of inflation from January 1 to October 31 at 525.4%. The annualized rate (from October 2015 to October 2016) is now sitting at 755.9%.
While the October inflation rate was lower than those for August and September – 26.9% and 21.6%, respectively – a source inside the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) told El Nacional that the decrease in the rise of inflation for October has to do with a drop in consumption.
The same source told the newspaper that the BCV believes that the inflation rate rose at an accelerated rate in the first half of the year given the fact that imports were still entering Venezuela “at very elevated prices”.
The source also said that the BCV expects that there will be an “unprecedented” rise in the inflation rate over the next few weeks, given the fact that the Bank continue to print money despite anemic production and import rates.
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