During a speech last night, Maduro doubled down on the ongoing dialogue with the official opposition bloc, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD). Amid ongoing demands from some of the more radical elements of the opposition to withdraw from the talks, Maduro said that he would not allow the opposition to leave the dialogue table.
Maduro said that he was going to “institutionalize” the dialogue, although it is not clear exactly what he meant by this. It is likely that he meant that he was planning to make the dialogue a permanent fixture in the country’s political landscape. Maduro said:
Just as I forced them to sit down to talk, they will not [be allowed] to leave. That’s a dialogue that will be institutionalized in 2017, 2018, and 2019 (…) I will not allow them to leave the dialogue table. I will not allow it. You know I can do this [force them to stay].
They don’t have morals. They don’t have a plan. They only dedicate themselves to economic warfare and exploiting the effects of the economic war so that one day, a flowery red carpet will spring up along the Urdaneta Avenue [which runs through the center of Caracas to the Miraflores Palace, the seat of the executive], [and that] the right-wing will march along to national applause to power. Keep believing that!
Gov’t Considers “Regulating” Social Media
Andres Eloy Mendez, the head of the Comision Nacional de Telecomunicaciones [National Telecommunications Commission] (CONATEL), the government agency in regulating telecommunications in Venezuela, said yesterday that the organization was considering ways to “regulate” social media.
Mendez made the comments during an interview with the VTV network yesterday, but he refused to provide any concrete details about the plan. Mendez only said:
This issue of social media has to be regulated [sic]. [Social media] requires regulation mechanisms.
Mendez assured listeners that these regulations would “not be different” from those present in other countries, but he did not explain exactly which countries he referred to. Given the wide range of social media regulatory regimes – from totalitarian bans as in the case of North Korea to more relaxed regulation such as in the United States – Mendez’s comments have sparked widespread fears that the Maduro government will be moving to censor social media use.
People’s Defender: Barlovento Massacre Victims Had No Criminal Backgrounds
People’s Defender Tarek William Saab spoke on the case that the media has called the Barlovento Massacre: the killing of twelve residents from Barlovento, Miranda state some time in the last month during a security operation in the area that took place in mid-October.
Saab said that nine of the twelve bodies have been positively identified, and that the victims did not know each other or have any connection with one another.
On rumours that the victims were perhaps known criminals, Saab said that none of the victims had a criminal record, and continued:
As [People’s] Defender I would like to clarify false news, namely those from people who aren’t at all qualified to speak on the matter, who say that these citizens were members of a gang.
At the same time, the mayor of the Libertador municipality and high-ranking PSUV figure Jorge Rodriguez spoke on the case, saying:
The government guarantees the human rights of the victims of this case.
Torrealba Facing Calls to Leave MUD
Henrry [sic] Henriquez Machado, the coordinator of the Vente Venezuela (VV) opposition party for Carabobo state, said today that the head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, should step down over the “failure of the dialogue”.
For Machado, Torrealba’s insistence on keeping the MUD at the dialogue table with the PSUV despite the government’s demonstrated unwillingness to make concrete concessions to the opposition bloc is evidence that he can no longer effectively lead the coalition.
The VV party is headed by Maria Corina Machado, who is one of the most outspoken opposition figures in the country. VV has historically been opposed to dialogue efforts with the PSUV given their demonstrated track record as failures.
Food Truck Looted in Maracaibo
A video posted on Twitter today shows a truck carrying food being looted by hunger motorists on a road, allegedly in Maracaibo, Zulia state.
Below, the video:
There was no additional information accompanying the video.