Primero Justicia (PJ) was one of the six parties fighting to retain its official status this weekend, as Venezuelans visit polling centres around the country today to add their signatures to their party’s supporter list. The other parties involved in the weekend’s proceedings are Fuerza Liberal; Vanguardia Popular, Unidos Para Venezuela, Gente Emergente, Movimiento Republicano, and Cuentas Claras.
The party renewal process is taking place under the direction of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE). Opposition and PSUV-allied voices alike have denounced the process as being designed to eliminate political parties in the country as the Maduro regime takes Venezuela further down the path of dictatorship.
Miranda state governor and PJ leader Henrique Capriles accused the CNE earlier today of deploying “Operation Turtle” on the weekend’s proceedings. “Operation Turtle” (Operacion Morrocoy) is a Venezuelan expression used to describe when the government deliberately drags its feet in the conduct of a process in order to slow it down with the hopes of having that process fail.
Capriles said that the CNE had removed the machines used to sign in favour of one’s political party from Baruta, Chacao, Sucre, and Valles del Tuy “when they saw that there were lots of people in line”. Capriles also said that massive blackouts in Falcon and Vargas states knocked the machines in the state offline for a prolonged period of time.
Capriles’ announcement was followed by one from National Assembly deputy Tomas Guanipa, who said that “paramilitary groups” had “sabotaged” the signature-collecting process in the San Bernardino and 23 de Enero sectors of Caracas.
Despite these difficulties, Capriles also said that PJ had surpassed the 50% mark in terms of signatures needed to remain an official party in 18 of the country’s states, putting it on track to achieve the total goal by the end of tomorrow.
Confusion as SUNDDE Takes Over Bakery
El Nacional published an article today in which it describes events its reporters witnessed at the Pan House bakery, the latest casualty of the ongoing “Bread War” in Caracas.
The newspaper notes that it observed a line of people formed outside of the establishment, a common site in a country that is gripped by the worst food scarcity crisis in its modern history. A SUNDDE worker named Daylimar Rodriguez came out of the bakery and told the people lined up:
No one can line up here. That’s not allowed. Everyone needs to sit down and wait for the bread to come out.
On Monday, Maduro announced a new set of regulations for Caracas’ bakeries. One of the new rules includes the banning of lines forming outside of establishments.
Right now, I’m putting out bread every thirty minutes. I’m putting out baguettes and French bread, and I sell it at regulated prices. To avoid re-selling, I don’t sell to anyone younger than 16 and I don’t let the same person buy bread more than once. I’ve been here since 7:00 AM so I know who’s bought and who hasn’t.
Gilberto de Abreu, the bakery’s owner, said that in order to meet the taxing new regulations his employees have had to work double shifts. He also said that the problem of bread scarcity is rooted in the lack of raw material:
Yesterday they brought us twelve sacks [of flour], which will only last us a day. I don’t know when we’ll get any more.
The “no line-ups allowed” regulation also appears to be causing fear and confusion among shoppers who, faced with high demand for bread and low supply, cannot avoid but to line up. A shopper named Rosa Mirabal said:
We don’t want to line up, but if we don’t line up we don’t know who get here first, and when the bread comes out there’s chaos.
Maduro: Lot’s of People “Talking Nonsense”
Maduro spoke to a crowd near the Miraflores Palace in Caracas today and angrily lashed out at people he claims are “talking nonsense” and not providing any viable solutions to the country’s problems. Maduro said:
There are lots of people talking crap and nonsense, and they don’t help at all. There are lots of them around here. Some of them dress up nicely (…) they have marketing managers (…) but it’s all nonsense, buddy, all nonsense. And you can’t build a homeland with nonsense. You could a homeland by forging a powerful ideology, a powerful education and producing, with your hands, and working every day.
Maduro also said that he was investigating “how much money” is involved in “the Bread War”, although it’s not exactly clear what he meant. Maduro said:
These things that we’re finding in the bakeries — it’s a war. We’re investigating how to see how much money is underneath all of this.
On the evil minds behind the so-called Bread War, Maduro said:
They’re hiding bread from the people. That’s a mortal sin. They’re going straight to hell, the ones who practice the ideology of re-selling, stealing, looting from the people. Straight to hell.
Maduro Sends English Message to Trump
The Miami Herald shared a video today in which it shows Maduro attempting to communicate a message to United States President Donald Trump during a speech in Caracas last week.
Below, the video:
Maduro: Mr. Trump, open your hair. Don’t let them got to you, Mr. Trump.
In another video, Maduro can be seen looking to Foreign Affairs Ministry Delcy Rodriguez in the crowd, who appeared to be telling Maduro what to say.
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