The tenuous dialogue between the PSUV and the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) appears to be on the bring of collapse once more as news broke today that PSUV negotiators failed to show up to two talks scheduled for last night, apparently in protest of the National Assembly calling attention to last week’s conviction of first lady Cilia Flores’ nephews for drug trafficking.
The head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, announced the apparent breakdown in the process by saying:
The government, in an irresponsible manner, has frozen the dialogue process by not attending two meetings that were scheduled for last night.
Torrealba also said that it was possible that the MUD would also walk away from the negotiating table, and that he would make an announcement regarding the MUD’s official position on the breakdown later this evening.
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles was the first to break news of the PSUV’s no-show at last night’s scheduled talks. For Capriles, the failure of the PSUV to attend last night’s meeting is definitive proof that the Vatican-backed dialogue effort has failed. Capriles said:
Maduro walked away from the so-called dialogue table. He never [kept up his end of the deal]. This is now evidenced before the world. He even laughed at the Pope.
In a series of tweets, Capriles derided the national government for its role in the creation and continuation of the Venezuelan crisis, and made reference to the Flores case. In one tweet, Capriles said:
The government won’t allow ships and airplanes carrying food to come here, but they will allow airplanes carrying drugs to fly out of the presidential hangar.
The reference to the presidential hangar comes from one of the many revelations aired during the Flores trial. Last week, the jury that would eventually convict Efrain and Francisco Flores heard and undercover recording of Francisco bragging about using his personal connections to Maduro – by way of his aunt, who is Maduro’s wife – to use runway #4 at the Maiquetia International Airport to fly drugs out of Venezuela. On paper, runway #4 is reserved only for flights on official government business.
Maduro Ignores Rebuff, Pledges Support for Dialogue
After meeting with former Spanish prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, the de facto head of the dialogue effort in Venezuela, Maduro gave a speech at the Miraflores Palace in which he simultaneously failed to address the PSUV’s rebuff of the dialogue process last night and pledged his continued support for the process.
… the most important thing is that the dialogue talks will continue to advance. December is coming. [The dialogue] will continue to be consolidated and we will meet January, February and March with a really strong dialogue.
Guanipa: Dialogue Walk-Out “Shameful”
The secretary general of the Primero Justicia opposition party, Tomas Guanipa, called the PSUV’s reason to withdraw from the dialogue process “shameful”, and reiterated that the reason for the move from the government had to do with yesterday’s discussion of the Flores case in the National Assembly. Guanipa called the excuse “the worst” that the government could possible have given, and said that the PSUV may simply have been looking for any excuse to stop the dialogue.
Guanipa explained by saying:
In the face of national and international pressure, and in the face of what it means to follow through with your word and make it a reality, the government prefers to kick the dialogue [away] with the excuse of a debate to which Venezuelans have a right, which is to know if [runway #4] was used for drug trafficking or not, and if these people [Efrain and Francisco] were really given diplomatic passports.
Maduro Admits PDVSA Corruption, Announces Overhaul
In a rare move from a president who has rarely admitted to errors with the way that the PSUV operates, Maduro admitted today that PDVSA has corruption problems, and announced a re-structuring of the state-owned oil company.
Maduro said that “infiltrators” – a term that suggests opposition supporters or any one of a wide range of enemies of the country – are purposely engaging in corrupt acts inside PDVSA with the goal of destroying the company.
On the overhauling of PDVSA, Maduro spoke in his usual broad language, revealing virtually no concrete information on the measure. Maduro made the overhaul announcement by saying:
Today, I’ve started – with lots of strength, because we cannot fail – a third state of nationalist, popular, revolutionary, chavista and profoundly socialist transformation when it comes to efficiency and efficacy. We are prepared for a third stage for PDVSA so that it can be superior. A powerful national and international PDVSA.
Maduro also said:
I’m declaring an absolute restructuring and a change of course for PDVSA in order to defeat corruption and the bureaucracy (…) I ask for everyone’s collaboration so that the working class can take charge of PDVSA.
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