Transparency International released its 2016 corruption perceptions report today, and ranked Venezuela as the 10th most corrupt nation on the planet. Venezuela ranked 166/176 countries.

Below, the bottom 10 countries in the report:

  1. Somalia
  2. South Sudan
  3. North Korea
  4. Syria
  5. Yemen
  6. Sudan
  7. Libya
  8. Afghanistan
  9. Guinea-Bissau
  10. Venezuela

Venezuela under Maduro earned the distinction of being the most corrupt nation in the Americas, followed by Haiti and Nicaragua. The report summarizes Venezuela’s performance in the following way:

Venezuela, with a score of 17, is the lowest scorer in the region. Last year saw hundreds of thousands of citizens protesting against the government.

Transparency international broadly defined “the lower-ranked countries”, including Venezuela, in the following way:

The lower-ranked countries in our index are plagued by untrustworthy and badly functioning public institutions like the police and judiciary. Even where anti-corruption laws are on the books, in practice they’re often skirted or ignored. People frequently face situations of bribery and extortion, rely on basic services that have been undermined by the misappropriation of funds, and confront official indifference when seeking redress from authorities that are on the take.

Cabello Speaks on Workers’ Role in Chavez Mythos

National Assembly deputy and PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello spoke today of his vision for public employees during his weekly television show Con El Mazo Dando. Cabello suggested that anyone who works for the government or even benefits from a government program through his or her work should not only refrain from speaking poorly of Hugo Chavez, but that they should stop others from doing the same.

Cabello said:

If you work at the Ministry and you have a little office, you should put up a sign [that says] “You can’t speak ill of Chavez here”. If you are a taxi driver – one of those who [received a taxi] from the Transport Mission [a program that gave away taxis], you should put up a sign that says “You can’t speak ill of Chavez here”.

Cabello also spoke on the surprise protest that briefly shut down the Francisco Fajardo highway in Caracas yesterday, saying:

Capriles is so nice. That guy knows how to throw a surprise. Now, what would happen if someone who was in their car gets out and surprise [the protesters] there with kicks? There were just four pelagatos [roughly, “idiots”] there.

What happens if someone gets out of their car and says, “Why are you blocking the way? Is it only because you want to be president and are feeling frustrated that Nicolas [Maduro] is going to stay here?”.

Jaua: Venezuelans “Have No Right to Abandon the Revolution”

Minister of Education Elias Jaua said in a radio interview this morning that while the PSUV was open to hear criticism from Venezuelans, they could not “abandon the revolution” because they had no right to do so.

Jaua said:

Criticism from the people is necessary, but people do not have a right to abandon the revolution (…) we cannot stray from the revolutionary path.

Jaua also said that the underlying current underneath all of Maduro’s policies is to build a society of equals:

[Maduro is trying to build] a socialist society, full of humanity and without sectarianism.

16 Students Arrested for Protesting in Cumana

A group of sixteen students were arrested today during a peaceful protest in Cumana, Sucre state today while they stood on a road demanding that the Maduro regime allow elections to take place. The students belonged to a youth organization affiliated with the Primero Justicia opposition party.

Below, and image of the students prior to their arrest:

El Nacional reports that the students were subsequently released, but that they must present themselves before a judge on Monday.

Vargas Bridge Collapse Was Four Years in the Making

The collapse of the Guanape II bridge in Vargas State yesterday that left eight people injured and the main road connecting the cities of La Guaira and Macuto had been foreseen for at least four years, according to an article published by El Nacional today.

According to the article, National Assembly deputy Jose Manuel Olivares called the bridge’s deplorable state of repair “a ticking time bomb” in a news article published on April 24, 2013.

The bridge’s poor state was also the topic of state media reports on July 28, 2014, at which time La Verdad de Vargas – a state newspaper – published an assessment that declared that the bridge “was about to collapse”. Similar stories also ran in the newspaper in 2015 and 2016.

Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that the bridge was suffering from severe disrepair, Vargas state governor (PSUV) Jorge Luis Garcia Carneiros suggested today that the bridge collapsed due to sabotage from the opposition. He provided no evidence for his claim.

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