The national government revealed today that six high-ranking executives at the Creditcard point-of-sale terminal company have been arrested in connection to the nation-wide outage that affected machines throughout Venezuela for much of the afternoon on Friday. The outage shut down point-of-sale terminals in supermarkets, restaurants and stores around the country, leaving Venezuelans who are increasingly relying on paperless transactions unable to complete purchases well into Friday night.
Maduro and other PSUV officials reacted to the outage by claiming that it was part of an attack by the country’s enemies who are bent on destroying the Bolivarian Revolution.
Without providing any evidence, Maduro said on Friday night that he had been warned by an unnamed source that the outage would take place, and sent the SEBIN – the country’s political police – to raid Creditcard’s offices in Caracas on Friday night.
On Friday, Maduro said:
I am denouncing a cybernetic war against transactions in Venezuela, which forms part of the economic war on Venezuela.
So far, only the names of four out of the six arrested executives are known. El Nacional reports their names and positions as:
- Victor Gago Couty, executive president.
- Geraldine Abreu, executive vice-president of operations.
- Jose Maria Montañez, vice-president of infrastructure.
- Laurentzi Bilbao Rangel, systems executive vice-president.
The individuals are accused of sabotaging their own company, although the exact details of the chargers are not yet clear.
National Assembly deputy (PSUV) Hugbel Roa spoke on the case, qualifying the suspects as terrorists and suggested that they be charged with treason. Roa said:
These are terrorist actions and they should be qualified as treason against the homeland. [They should get] the maximum sentence. It can’t be that these people — not only them, but all the agents that are carrying out the economic war — there’s an ongoing financial coup d’etat. Now, coups aren’t conducted with the armed forces.
Venezuela Calls for MERCOSUR Meeting, Is Ignored by Member Nations
Venezuela was formally suspended from the MERCOSUR regional trade bloc on December 1. Venezuela’s official response to the suspension has been an unconventional one: ignore it.
Today, Venezuela found itself in the awkward position of attending a meeting of an organization to which it no longer belongs, and the organization responded resolutely. The meeting that Venezuela called for at the MERCOSUR headquarters in Montevideo, Uruguay was not attended by a single member state, with only the Bolivian delegation attending the meeting.
The meeting was called for by Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez on November 30 to discuss the country’s looming suspension.
The Venezuelan ambassador to MERCOSUR, José Félix Rivas, spoke on the refusal of member states to attend today’s meeting, saying:
Unfortunately, we have to say that the absence [of the organization’s member states] once again demonstrates their [refusal to observe] the norms and laws of MERCOSUR…
Leaked Letter Shows Vatican’s Discontent with Maduro
Yesterday, details of a letter from the Holy See to Maduro leaked to the media, showcasing the Vatican’s discontent with Maduro and the PSUV during the dialogue process.
According to La Patilla, a letter from the Vatican to Maduro – with copies sent to the MUD – dated December 2 makes the following demands:
- That the government take immediate steps to allow food and medicine to enter the country.
- That the two sides agree to an “electoral schedule”, presumably for either a recall referendum against Maduro or early presidential elections.
- That the National Assembly be given back all of its powers as outlined in the Constitution.
- That all political prisoners be released.
La Patilla also reported that the letter ends with the following:
The Holy See reserves the right to make this letter public if it deems it convenient to do so.
This morning, the head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, Jesus Torrealba, confirmed the legitimacy of the letter, saying:
I must confirm the a letter from the Vatican exists. This letter was written to Nicolas Maduro, with copies sent to Jorge Rodriguez, Ernesto Samper, Marin Torrijos, Manuel Fernandez, and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
Torrealba did not provide any details about the letter, since he claimed that the Vatican asked for its contents to be kept confidential. However, he did suggest that the letter pointed to one particular reality:
If the talks are in danger it is because Mr. Nicolas Maduro Moros is not fulfilling anything that he agreed to. His speech violates every condition of mediation.
The leak comes two days before the PSUV and the MUD are scheduled to meet in what might be the last set of talks during this round of dialogue between the two sides.
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