Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez gave a speech today from the Fuerte Tiuna military complex in Caracas today in which he talked about the military’s role in the Bolivarian revolution. The speech comes as the country prepares for a military drill scheduled to start tomorrow called Accion Integral Antiimperialista Zamora 200 [Anti-Imperialist Integral Drill Zamora 200]., which will see active duty and militia forces rehearsing an “imperialist invasion” of Venezuela.

On the eve of the drill, Padrino Lopez said:

Internal order must always be protected (…) the promise of the Armed Forces is with the homeland, with the people of Venezuela, with her independence. Anything that goes against any of that, against the peace, against democratic institutions, is an enemy of the homeland.

Padrino Lopez also made clear that the National Bolivarian Armed Forces were ready to take on any challenge to the Bolivarian revolution, saying:

We are capable of protecting, of guaranteeing obedience to the constitution with an indoctrination [sic], a capacity [sic], preparation and equipment that meets universal standards. Today, Venezuela can say that it has reached universal standards when it comes to re-establishing public order by protecting… our men, who are also human beings.

Turning his attention to the National Guard – the institution that typically represses protests in the country – Padrino Lopez briefly addressed the widespread condemnation that the Guard has received for its systemic violation of the human rights of peaceful protesters. Padrino Lopez said:

The [soldier] who [violates human rights] must face consequences. They [the National Guard soldiers] have to be aware that respect for human rights is one of the State’s policies.

Cabello Lawsuit Reaches Important Stage in Spain

PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello’s lawsuit against a trio of Venezuelan news organizations for defamation reached a new stage today in a Spanish courtroom, as a Madrid judge heard evidence from two of t he players in the case.

In August of 2015, Cabello launched a defamation lawsuit against El NacionalTallCual and La Patilla after the websites disseminated information originally published by Spain’s ABC. The Venezuelan news outlets reported on a story first broken by ABC that claimed that Cabello was involved in drug trafficking operations. According to ABC, that information came from an interview it conducted with Leamsy Salazar, who was once the head bodyguard for Hugo Chavez.

Today, ABC‘s director, Bieito Rubido, and the journalist who interviewed Salazar and wrote the original article, Emili Blasco, testified before a judge that they had reported true and accurate information based on the interview with Salazar, and that they had adhered to the principles of journalistic integrity throughout the writing and publication process of the article.

Today’s courtroom session in Madrid came from a request from lawyers from TalCual, who wanted documentation to prove that the information that they re-published from ABC was not defamatory in nature, but rather a reflection of an objective truth that was accurately reported.

At the hearing, Rubido told the judge:

Our professionalism is beyond doubt. Our colleague Emili Blasco is our correspondent, and his sources are absolutely reliable.

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