National Assembly president Julio Borges spoke today on Maduro’s relationship with the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, and suggested that the relationship between the two would spell the “destruction” of Venezuela’s military.

According to Borges, Maduro’s increasing reliance on the army to remain in power is placing the military in a position where it must constantly violate Venezuelan and international human rights law. This situation has intensified, Borges said, given Maduro’s recalcitrant push towards a “Communal Constituent Assembly”, a mechanism found nowhere in Venezuelan law with which Maduro likely seeks to create a new custom-built Constitution.

Borges said:

Having armed paramiltiaries, giving away rifles and having a constituent [assembly] to change the constitution undemocratically has as its goal the destruction not only of democracy in the country but also the destruction of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces.

Borges also stressed that a majority of army officers would like to see a change in government, reflecting the trend among the general population in Venezuela.

At the same time, Borges made it clear that the opposition did not want the army to “switch” sides: rather, what the opposition wants is for the army to fulfill its constitutional duties and serve the nation, not a particular political group. Borges said:

We don’t want the Armed Forces to switch over to the opposition. We want the Armed Forces to switch over to the Constitution, that fulfills its duties to the Constitution.

Article 328 of the Constitution states that the National Armed Forces are an organization “with no political orientation”, and that it cannot engage in any kind of “political partisanship”. However, the principle is routinely ignored.

Borges also said that the regime’s increasing use of military tribunals to try civilians arrested for protesting is also playing a part in the eventual destruction of the army. According to the Foro Penal Venezolano [Venezuelan Penal Forum], at least 208 civilians have been brought up before military tribunals since the first week of April, a move that is against both Venezuelan and international law.

Guanipa: Maduro Has “Put an End” To Chavez’s Legacy

National Assembly deputy Tomas Guanipa gave an interview to La Verdad published today in which he said that the ongoing protests have placed a significant amount of pressure on the Maduro regime, which he takes as evidence for the continuation of the effort.

Guanipa said that “a good chunk” of PSUV deputies in the National Assembly would like to see elections happen in the country, suggesting cracks in the monolithic facade that the ruling party has built for itself. Guanipa stressed that the reason why Maduro does not want to have elections in the country is because he would certainly lose them. Guanipa said:

There is noting worse for a politician than to be fired through a vote.

On the effect that Maduro has had on Hugo Chavez’s legacy, Guanipa said:

I think that Maduro has put an end to Chavez’s legacy, and with the image that people had of Chavez. I’ve been in barrios [poor neighbourhoods] of Caracas where santeros have [images of] Chavez with a halo, with candles. It’s been a few years since his death, and I don’t remember who it was who told me that they were chavista but not madurista. You don’t even hear that anymore. I think that people resent Chavez for having left Maduro as president. Maduro is destroying the very important political capital that Chavez had built. Maduro put an end to Chavez’s image.

When asked if he, as an opposition politician, feared arrest, Gaunipa said that the Maduro government was “desperate” and that it was capable of anything. La Verdad also asked Guanipa if he thinks that Maduro sleeps soundly at night, to which Guanipa replied:

No way! You can tell on his face that he doesn’t. I’m sure that I, having been threatened, sleep better than he does because among other things my conscience is clean. His isn’t.

Another Sit-In Scheduled for Tomorrow

The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) has announced another plantón [sit-in] around the country for tomorrow. During a sit-in protest, demonstrators gather in a central location–usually a busy intersection–and sit or stand on the road.. The last time that the opposition conducted this type of protest April 24

In Caracas, the lockdown will take place in 14 locations, with smaller, isolated demonstrations also expected to take place.

Tomorrow marks the 45th day of continuous protest against the Maduro regime.

Chief of Staff Melendez Booed Out of Paris Restaurant

Presidential chief of staff Carmen Melendez was booed out of a restaurant in Paris, France today by a crowd of angry Venezuelans who yelled insults at her as she was escorted out of the premise by police officers. Melendez becomes the latest target in an increasingly common sight across the world: Venezuelan expats finding high-ranking former and current PSUV officials to insult them.

Below, a video from the scene:

In recent weeks, Twitter users have been posting the personal information–including home addresses and telephone numbers–of regime officials and their relatives living abroad with the goal of confronting them.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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