National Assembly president Julio Borges said in an interview that aired on the Globovision television network earlier today that he believes that the Maduro regime should allow general elections at the national and regional levels in order to offer some glimmer of hope of a solution for the worst crisis to hit the country in the modern era.

For Borges, the PSUV cannot continue to rule Venezuela if there is to be a chance for the country to recover. Speaking specifically on last week’s cabinet shuffleBorges said:

These are the same people who have taken Venezuela to have the highest homicide rate in the world, the highest inflation rate in the world, the highest scarcity rates in the world, the highest corruption rates in the world.

According to Borges, the National Assembly could play a “stellar role” in the development of legislation that would help the country overcome the crisis, but that the PSUV’s attempts to destroy the legislative branch are making the task difficult.

On Maduro’s leadership style, Borges said:

Maduro is not governing through the Constitution. He’s governing outside of the Constitution. He does whatever he feels like, instead of doing what the Constitution says…

Borges also spoke on the failed dialogue with the PSUV that made headlines at the end of last year and put an end to a campaign of massive streets protests against the government. Borges said that the opposition was “willing to do anything” to solve the crisis in the country, but admitted:

… the way in which the dialogue was handled did not work.

More Charges in PDVSA Bribery Case

CNN reported on Friday that the bribery case involving Venezuelan businessman Roberto Rincon and the state-owned PDVSA oil company appears to be widening, as more charges have been laid related to the case.

The latest accused is a man named Juan Jose Hernandez Comerma, who authorities claim bribed PDVSA officials between 2008-2012 on behalf of Abraham Jose Shiera Bastidas, another Venezuelan caught up in the scandal.

Rincon and Bastidas were accused last year of paying more than $1 billion in bribes to PDVSA officials in exchange for contracts with the company. Shiera pleaded guilty in March 2016, and Rincon followed in June and later received a 13-year prison sentence.

According to CNN:

Comerma allegedly paid for hotel rooms in Miami and New York for PDVSA official Alfonzo Elizer Gravina, as well as other bribes. In court documents prosecutors cite emails between the two men, including one where Comerma told Gravina, “I take care of you.”

Maduro Increases Minimum Salary to Bs. 40,638

In yet another sign of the out-of-control inflation paralyzing the country, Maduro announced an increase to the minimum monthly salary today for the second time in less than three months.

The new minimum monthly salary is now Bs. 40,638.15, up from Bs. 27,091, a figure that had been in place since November 1. Maduro also decreed an increase to the cestaticket, which is an amount of money deposited into an individual’s account at the end of every month that can only be used to purchase food products. In total, the increase to the minimum monthly salary and the cestaticket means that Venezuelans will now earn a total of Bs. 104,258.15 per month.

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