Each Sunday, Maduro hosts a television show called Los Domingos con Maduro [Sundays With Maduro], which he uses to make policy announcements and comment generally on issues affecting the country. During today’s show, Maduro spoke at length on a number of issues, including the National Assembly and a television series based on Chavez’s life that portrays the leader of the Bolivarian revolution in a negative light.
On the National Assembly, Maduro signalled that he may be willing to once more recognise the legitimacy of the legislative branch. Ever since the opposition took control of the National Assembly in the December 2015 parliamentary elections, the Maduro regime has threatened, attacked and outright ignored congress’ attempt to fulfil its constitutional role as a check on the executive’s power.
Maduro announced that he has asked PSUV figure Jorge Rodriguez to prepare a document that are supposed to somehow result in his office once again recognising the National Assembly as a legitimate entity. Maduro said:
In this way, there are documents that we are preparing. I know that it’s not [easy] for the opposition. Some gestures will be made tomorrow, and I stand ready to facilitate these conversations that have been happening in private in the different commissions [so that] we can reach a happy ending, beyond the political fight for Venezuela.
It is not at all clear what the nature of the document(s) Maduro referenced is.
Maduro also lashed out at Sony’s El Comandante, a television show that premiered last Monday. The show, which its creators stress is a work of fiction, borrows extensively from the life of Hugo Chavez, and portrays him in an extremely negative light. The show is banned in Venezuela.
Maduro announced that he had approved state funds for the production of a counter-show on Hugo Chavez, one that he said would tell “the truth” about the late leader. Maduro said:
We are going to invest as a state, as a government and as a Bolivarian Revolution so that the glorious history of our homeland and all of the events that we have lived will be known.
Maduro did not provide any details about the show, but he did speak on the importance of cinema in Venezuela:
We should bet on our national cinema, for national creation, for co-productions with Latin America and the Caribbean, and with all others who want to come make movies as a form of human expression.
On the level of quality that Venezuelans can expect from the films that Maduro hopes will come out of the Venezuelan movie and television industry, Maduro said:
We’re moving ahead! We will get an Oscar soon. No one will be able to stop us, not even Trump will be able to stop a Venezuelan movie from winning an Oscar.
Maduro also spoke on construction projects involving the embattled Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht to resume in Venezuela. Odebrecht is at the heart of an international corruption investigation, part of which alleges that Odebrecht bribed officials in several Latin American countries in order to secure construction projects for the company.
Unnamed Venezuelan government officials allegedly received at least 98$ million in bribes from the company starting in 2006. Maduro did not make any kind of mention of the allegations during his comments today.
Let’s finish all of the projects that Odebrecht had in the country [using] national labour. That’s all steel and cement and we Venezuelans know how to work with that.
Student Asks Maduro for Help With Crumbling School, Fainting Classmates
During today’s show, Maduro brought a student from the crowd of to a microphone so that the young woman could speak directly to him. The 16-year-old said that he attends the Benito Canonico high school in Guarenas, and when she spoke to Maduro she said:
Mr. President, the Benito Canonico [high school] needs a lot of help. We have infrastructure problems. We’ve been robbed many times. We don’t have a front gate. We need a cafeteria (…) because two years ago our cafeteria system was suspended and we don’t know him.
In keeping with the Bolivarian tradition of encouraging citizens to take direct action on the issues affecting their communities, Maduro replied:
And what have you done? You can’t just ask. You should take to the streets to conquer your rights.
Despite Maduro’s comment, the student continued by saying:
We need lights and desks because we don’t have enough for everyone. A lot of our students faint in school.
Maduro appeared moved by the student’s testimony, as he replied by saying:
I’m sorry that I had to come all this way to find out about this.
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