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A meeting of attorney generals of five Mercosur countries–Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay–resulted in a statement of support for the efforts of attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz, who has been leading the charge against the Maduro regime from within the Public Ministry in Venezuela.

At the end of the three-day meeting that concluded yesterday, the participants issued a statement to the effect that the Public Ministry in any country should be an independent and autonomous institution so that it may administer justice according to the principles of the rule of law.

Deputy Carreño Maintains Assault on AG DIaz, Asks for Travel Ban, Freezing Assets

National Assembly deputy (PSUV) Pedro Carreño continued his assault on attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz yesterday by filing a request before the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), the country’s top court, asking that she be banned from leaving the country and that all of her assets be frozen.

Yesterday’s move follows a motion filed by Carreño before the court on Tuesday, in which he asked that Ortega Diaz’s mental health be evaluated by a panel of medical experts.

Upon personally filing the request with the chief magistrate of the TSJ, Maikel Moreno, Carreño explained the grounds for the motion:

There are some rulings [from the TSJ] and she doesn’t recognize them, so there’s justification to send her to trial (…) That’s why I’m submitting this request with the TSJ so that we can begin the process that is outlined in the law against the attorney general. Since she lies about the country because she has lost her dignity… she’s even making up that she’s being persecuted, and we’re evaluating her conduct as that which a person takes before they flee a country.

Venezuelan law does not prohibit any citizen from leaving the country if they so wish at any time of their choosing. As the head of a public institution that is constitutionally set up to be independent, the assertion that attorney general Ortega Diaz has broken any law by speaking out against behaviour that she believes is legally suspect is dubious at best.

Gov’t I.D. Now Needed to Receive Subsidized Housing

The Gran Mision Vivienda (GMV) is a subsidized housing program that has been in place since the Chavez era in Venezuela. The program allows applicants to receive an apartment inside government-built housing complexes. In theory, anyone who met certain needs requirements could apply to live in a GMV apartment regardless of political affiliation, but that is about to change.

Maduro announced yesterday that going forward, GMV apartments will only be assigned to individuals who are registered with the carnet de la patria [Fatherland I.D.], a government-issued piece of identification that requires an individual to openly identify with the ruling PSUV party.

The new system creates the possibility that an individual or a family that does not want to become affiliated with the PSUV will be forced to make a difficult decision if they are in need of subsidized housing.

During the same address, Maduro admitted that some of the government’s social programs–called misiones in Venezuela–had become corrupt and inefficient, and that more had to be done in order to correct their flaws. Maduro said:

We have to break away from the existentialist populism [sic] into which many misiones fell. We have to recognize this mistake and recognize that many misiones fell into a routine of inertia, which consumed them and set them back. We have to recognize that some misiones fell into bureaucracy and corruption.

Critics have often charged the Maduro regime of using social programs as extortion to win votes in elections.

Almagro Condemns Recent Deaths

The secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Alamagro, spoke briefly yesterday on the recent deaths of three students who were killed while demonstrating against the Maduro regime this week.

Through his Twitter account, Almagro wrote:

We condemn the deaths of Jose Perez in Tachira, Luis Vera in Zulia, and Nelson Arevalo in Lara. Let the people of Venezuela demand democracy. It is their right.

Luis Vera died near a protest barricade in Zulia on Thursday after a vehicle struck him as the driver attempted to evade the roadblock. Jose Perez was shot in the head during a protest in Tachira that same day, while Nelson Arevalo died from “a neck injury” yesterday in Lara.


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