Two days ago, National Assembly deputy (MUD) Luis Florido was detained at the Maiquetia International Airport by immigration officials on his return on an official trip to the Dominican Republic. During the detention, immigration officials took Florido’s passport and and annulled it, leaving Florido without the document.
This morning, Florido – who is the head of the National Assembly’s Foreign Commission, and whose duties require extensive international travel – attempted to request a new passport through the website of the agency in charge of issuing passports in Venezuela.
Once he made the request, however, he received a message from the website saying that he would not be issued a new passport “due to migratory restrictions”. As evidence, Florido posted a screenshot of a message he gets on the SAIME website. The message reads:
We cannot process your request [for a new passport] because we have detected a migratory prohibition. For more information, visit your nearest office.
After receiving the message, Florido travelled with a group of National Assembly deputies to the Foreign Affairs Ministry offices in Caracas to request that he be granted a diplomatic passport in order that he may continue to perform is parliamentary duties. While the deputies were hoping to meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez, the building’s head of security informed them that she was not in the premises.
The same security official told the deputies that government did not have materials for making passports. Florido said:
[The head of security] even told us that they don’t even have materials to make passports, even for the Foreign Ministry’s own staff. He explained to us that they’re waiting for the material to arrive.
It is not clear why Florido has had a “migratory prohibition” placed against him.
El Aissami Gains New, Broad Powers
Vice-President Tarek El Aissami has been handed a broad new set of powers in the Gaceta Oficial No. 41.082, which was signed on January 25 and was made public today. The decree grants El Aissami powers in 14 areas in the name of “expediency, efficiency and efficacy of public administration”.
- Approve budget overdrafts and “corrections” by the government’s ministries.
- Appoint vice-ministers as well as presidents and executive committee members of government organisations.
- Order the expropriation or “forced acquisition” of private property.
Overall, the new powers grant El Aissami access to the budgetary and financing mechanisms of the Venezuelan state.
El Aissami was named vice-president in January 4. He was previously the governor of Aragua state and Minister of the Interior. El Aissami’s name has also come up in allegations that the Maduro regime is highly involved in drug trafficking operations.
Tintori: Lopez Loses Access to Children
Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, announced yesterday that officials at the Ramo Verde military prison in which her husband has been jailed since 2014 have denied him access to speak to his children over the phone.
In a message addressed to People’s Defender Tarek William Saab, Tintori said:
They torture him every day in the Ramo Verde military prison. The treatment he receives is discriminatory and inhumane.
Tintori also says that prison officials have also recently banned Lopez from reading and writing.
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