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Enzo Scarano, the former mayor of San Diego, Carabobo state, was handed a 15 year ban on holding public office by the Comptroller General. Scarano learned of his ban via a letter from the Comptroller General, which does not appear to explain exactly why he has been banned.

Scarano reacted to the news by saying that the move was clearly aimed at “removing me from play” since Scarano is a relatively prominent opposition figure. Scarano had been the mayor of San Diego for nine years when he was arrested and sentenced to one year in prison over his alleged inability to quell the anti-government unrest that was taking place in the city in March 2014.

Scarano also said:

I’ve been in prison. I was unable to hold office for a year but I’m still here. I don’t need an office to continue my work.

This is the second time that Scarano has been officially banned from holding office. After his release from prison, Scarano was banned from running for the 2015 parliamentary elections through a ban that lasted one year.

It is not clear exactly why Scarano has been banned from holding office, causing the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) to call the ban “arbitrary”.

Peruvian Gov’t Calls Rodriguez’s Insults “Unacceptable”

Earlier today, Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez called Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski “a dog” during a televised meeting in Caracas in relation to comments that President Kuczynski made last week. Speaking an event at Princeton University on February 25, President Kuczynski said:

[The U.S.] doesn’t spend a lot of time on Latin America because it’s like a friendly dog sleeping on the carpet. However, the case of Venezuela presents a big problem.

Rodriguez also made reference to an event that was not referenced at all in the media in which she apparently had a confrontation with President Kuczynski. Rodriguez said:

I told him: you are a coward. I’m telling you that from all the way over here. Mr. Kyczynski, you are a coward who dared to soil the memory of president Chavez. Es poco hombre hablar de los muertos [literally, “Only small men speak of the dead”; akin to, “You should be ashamed for speaking ill of the dead”].

Peruvian Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna reacted to Rodriguez’s insults today by saying:

I regret and reject the comments by the Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister because they are insulting and unacceptable, and we will let her know that.

“Tocuyito Bank” Story Takes Surreal Turn

Last Tuesday, Banesco (the largest private bank in the country) denounced the fact that inmates in the Tocuyito Prison in Carabobo state had somehow managed to open a “bank” inside the prison using marketing material designed to make the prison bank look exactly like a Banesco branch. News of the bank came via a journalist named Alexandra Belandia, who shared pictures of the establishment on her Twitter account.

On Saturday, agents from the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN) visited the prison, and reported that the establishment was not an illegitimate Banesco branch but rather a Banesco-themed pizzeria. The agents took pictures of the establishment showing the inmates’ bizarre choice of decoration did in fact include the use of the Banesco name, advertisement materials and colour schemes, but that the establishment was in fact a pizzeria.

Below, the images that the SEBIN released showing the bank-themed pizzeria inside the Tocuyito prison:

 

In the picture below, the sign suggests that the “pizzeria” is much more than that. The sign reads “lasagna and desserts”:

Today, Belandia released a video taken inside the establishment showing it operating as a bank. In the video, the pizza-related decorations and signs are completely invisible. A table present in the SEBIN pictures is also gone. A group of men can be seen waiting to be served. None are eating pizza.

During the video, the man recording can also be heard saying that he’s “at the bank”.

Below, the video:

The video was recorded between November 2016 and January of this year.

United Airlines Modifies Houston-Caracas Route for Crew Safety

United Airlines announced yesterday that it was modifying its Houston-Caracas to include a stopover in Aruba on the inbound flight to Caracas. According to the airline, the purpose of the stopover is to allow for a crew change, and that the crew that flies to Caracas must return to Aruba “immediately” in order to avoid having to spend the night in Venezuela.

The measure means the end of the Houson-Caracas direct flight, and comes into effect on April 4.


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