El Nacional published an article today in which it provides some detail on eight of the thirteen corporate entities targeted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s sanctions against vice president Tarek El Aissami. The sanctions, which came into effect on Monday, prohibit El Aissami from entering the United States and freezes any financial assets connected to United States financial institutions.

The exact value of El Aissami’s assets in the United States is not known, but just his properties in Miami, Florida were estimated to be worth “tens of millions of dollars” by a U.S. official.

El Nacional points out that eight of El Aissami’s thirteen known properties are located outside of Venezuela. The newspaper published images from Google Maps showing the location of El Aissami’s eight foreign properties.

Five of the eight entities have addresses in two office buildings in Miami, Florida. The others are linked to addresses in the British Virgin Islands, England and Panama.

Below is a list of the eight foreign corporate entities connected to El Aissami targeted by Monday’s sanctions along with their addresses and an image of the property:

Address: 80 SW 8th Street Suite 2000
Miami, FL 33130

Address: 1425 Brickell Ave
Miami, FL 33131

Address: 281 Waterfront Drive
Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Address: 7 Welbeck Street
London, UK  W1G 9YE

Addres: Ph Ocean Business Plaza (Torre Banesco) 24-08
Calle Aquilino de la Guardia y Calle 47
Panama City, Panama

CONATEL To Block CNN YouTube Channel

Yesterday, the Comision Nacional de Telecomunicaciones [National Telecommunications Commission] (CONATEL) removed CNN from Venezuela’s airwaves in response to a report that aired on the network last week linking the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq to a corrupt operation that sold passports and other documents to the highest bidder. CNN responded by saying that it would make its Youtube-based service free for Venezuelan users so that people in the country could still have access to the network.

Today, CONATEL reacted to CNN’s move by signalling that it would block the CNN YouTube channel through Venezuelan internet service providers, meaning that no one accessing the channel through the internet from Venezuela will be able to watch it.

The measure was confirmed by CONATEL director Andres Eloy Mendez, who said:

Our head of operations is talking to internet service providers to block the channel.

At the same time, Mendez praised the level of freedom of expression enjoyed under the Maduro regime, saying:

We were faced with the necessity of having to make this decision, but we will never again be able to say that there is more freedom of expression in Venezuela than there is now.

He also explained that the reason why CONATEL blocked CNN in the country was because it had aired a report exposing corruption in the Maduro regime and critical of the situation in the country “during family viewing hours”:

They talked about everything that they thought [was true] about the passports. They talked about the crisis in Venezuela in a systematic manner during family viewing hours, which violates the law of social responsibility on radio, television and electronic media.

It is not clear at this time if the measure will include, either in the immediate or long term, blocking the CNN website entirely.

CNE Pushes Back Party Re-certification Program By Two Weeks

The Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) announced today that it would push back the start of a process to re-certify the country’s political parties by two weeks. The process, which is scheduled to run for ten weeks and was originally slated to begin on February 18, will now begin on March 4.

The process was widely criticised when it was announced on February 7 as Kafkaesque set of hurdles the purpose of which was to disqualify political parties from running in elections with the ultimate goal of decreasing political competition in the country and strengthening the PSUV’s choke-hold on power.

News of the postponement came via a press release from the CNE, part of which reads:

The re-scheduling of the process of certification [for political parties] will help facilitate the logistical efforts of the 59 political organisations that must participate in the process, the start of which was scheduled for February 18.

The CNE has yet to announce the date of regional elections that should have taken place last year, but which it also postponed for no clear reason back in October.

TSJ Rules Against Lopez Appeal

The Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), rejected an appeal today by Leopoldo Lopez’s legal team that sought to have the leader of the Voluntad Popular (VP) party released from prison. With the ruling, the TSJ closes the door on the last legal recourse in Venezuela that could have spared Lopez, who has been incarcerated since 2014, much of his 14-year prison sentence.

Lopez was sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison on September 10, 2015 for his role in the 2014 anti-government protests.

16 Killed, 50 Injured in Bus Collision in Carabobo

Sixteen people were killed and another 50 injured when a bus collided with a cement mixer near the Agropatria area of Carabobo state. The collision happened on the Güigüe – Valencia highway. The cement truck and the bus collided head-on.

Bus Robbers Thrown Off Bride by Victims

A group of riders whose bus was targeted by a pair of robbers overpowered their attackers and threw them off a bridge on a highway near Valencia, Carabobo state.

The event happened at approximately 8:30 AM yesterday near the Bella Florida neighbourhood in the south of Caracas. El Universal reported the event, saying:

Authorities confirmed that the victims [of the robbery], the majority of whom were women, punched and subdued the two robbers.

One of the robbers, a 24-year-old man, was killed by the fall, while his accomplice, 33, survived and was taken to hospital.

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