Speaking in a televised speech last night, Maduro mocked the opposition for claiming to be searching for an electoral solution to the crisis affecting the country, and said that no such solution would come until at least the 2018 presidential elections. In recent weeks, an opposition teetering on the brink of collapse has made it clear that it is attempting to convince the government to either hold a recall referendum against Maduro or early presidential elections next year.
During his speech, Maduro said:
An electoral solution? A solution to what? (…) Let no one become obsessed with elections that aren’t in the constitution.
The recall referendum is an electoral process that is clearly outlined and made available to Venezuelans in Article 72 of the constitution. While the opposition has been pushing for a recall vote against Maduro since March of this year, the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) – the government agency responsible for organizing and holding elections – postponed the process indefinitely earlier this year.
In a mocking tone, Maduro stressed that the only elections he will personally face are the ones scheduled for late 2018. Maduro said:
The [opposition] will stay at the dialogue table until they get an electoral solution. I’m very happy that the [opposition] will continue to sit at the dialogue table until December 2018.
Rodriguez: PSUV Will Comply With Agreement
The mayor of the Libertador municipality, Jorge Rodriguez, said today that the PSUV would comply with all of its promises as outlined in the five-point agreement that it reached with the opposition on Saturday. The five-point agreement includes releasing “detained persons”, a euphemism that is widely understood to mean political prisoners.
We are going to meet with each and every one of the agreements that were established during that dialogue meeting [on Saturday, November 12].
Rodriguez, who heads that PSUV’s dialogue team, also said that the government recognized the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica [MUD], the country’s official opposition bloc, as a “political force”, and urged MUD politicians to “put an end forever to the discourses of hate, racism, and misogyny”.
Lopez: Street Protests are “Irrevocable Right”
Yesterday, Leopoldo Lopez’s family marked the 1000th day of his detention with a press conference. During the press conference, Lopez’s mother – Antonieta Mendoza – and his wife – Lilian Tintori – spoke on his detention, and delivered messages from Lopez to the Venezuelan people.
During her time at the microphone, Mendoza explained that her son has spent more than half his time in prison in complete isolation. Mendoza said:
Leopoldo has been held in isolation for 548 days. Alone, without speaking to anyone. Incommunicado. That is the definition of cruel punishment according to the United Nations.
Tintori delivered a message on behalf of her husband to the Venezuelan people, saying:
We should re-start peaceful and constitutional civil protests, which are an irrevocable right. [This would be] a great movement for the defense of the constitution so that the National Assembly could declare that Maduro has abandoned his office. Let us call for a great civil movement for the defense of the constitution to support the National Assembly [so that it can] re-start the political trial [against Lopez].
According to Tintori, Lopez also heavily criticized the MUD for sitting down with the PSUV to dialogue while Venezuelans continue to suffer through the worst scarcity crisis in living memory. According to Tintori, Lopez said:
The country runs the risk of giving oxygen to a dictatorship the goal of which is to asphyxiate society. I ratify my commitment to the [MUD], but commitment does not supersede the one I have with the Venezuelan people.
Former Costa Rica President: Venezuela is a “Narco-state”
In an interview with the Deutsche Welle agency, former President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias spoke on the nature of the Venezuelan government, and argued that Maduro and his PSUV circle find it extremely unpalatable to leave power given the possibility that they may become the targets of justice were they no longer able to hide behind the Venezuelan State.
Venezuela is a narco-state. Many of its high-ranking government officers have been involved in drug trafficking, and they know what kind of future awaits them when they leave power.
Perhaps the most infamous example of drug trafficking allegations involving a high-ranking government official involves Diosdado Cabello. Last year, the Wall Street Journal published an article in which it claims that Cabello is the target of a U.S.-based investigation into the drug trade in Venezuela, and that he is suspected of playing a key role in a drug cartel that operates inside the Venezuelan government.
Arias was the president of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990, and from 2006 to 2010. He won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Central American crisis.
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