The National Assembly executive, comprised of president Julio Borges and vice president Freddy Guevara, arrived in France today for the first leg of a diplomatic tour of Europe. The pair were received in Paris by French president Emmanuel Macron, who held a meeting with the Venezuelan delegates at the Elysee Palace.

Guevara replaced human rights activist Lilian Tintori on the trip, who was originally set to accompany Borges. Tintori was prevented from boarding her plane out of the country on Friday by the authorities.

Borges spoke to reporters briefly after the meeting, and said that President Macron had expressed support for the opposition-controlled National Assembly, a body that the Maduro regime has successfully subverted through the Supreme Court and the National Constituent Assembly. Borges and said:

Macron expressed total support for the National Assembly (…) which [Macron believes] must become a meeting point and the solution for the country’s problems.

Borges and Guevara were also greeted by members of the French Senate. Below, pictures of that meeting:

La Patilla has pictures of the meeting with President Macron here.

Ortega Diaz: Maduro Didn’t “Change”, He Simply Never Governed

Former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz spoke in a radio interview on Colombia’s W Radio in which she made a number of statements regarding the Maduro regime, its nature and its past and ongoing involvement in criminal activities.

During the interview, Ortega Diaz asserted that Maduro has not undergone any type of fundamental change in leadership style since coming to power in 2014: rather, “he’s simply never government Venezuela”, Ortega Diaz said.

The former attorney general also said that she had “all of the evidence”, including “testimony and documents”, personally linking Maduro with the Odebrecht corruption scandal. Maduro was first implicated in the corruption scheme in the testimony of a witness in the Odebrecht case back in May of this year, who claimed that Maduro had personally given her dirty money while he was Chavez’s minister of foreign affairs.

Ortega Diaz fled Venezuela fled Venezuela last month after being removed from her position in early August over her outspoken criticism of the Maduro regime and its authoritarianism. Ortega Diaz, who was attorney general from 2007, began publicly speaking out against the regime on March 31.

When asked during the interview why she had not spoken out sooner, Ortega Diaz said:

I’d been raising concern about the government’s actions for some time. There’s lots of fear in Venezuela.

Maduro to Speak at United Nations Human Rights Meeting

El Universal reported today that Maduro will travel to Geneva in the coming days to speak at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council scheduled for next Monday, September 11.

The news came via communication between the Council and Venezuela’s diplomatic mission in Switzerland, which notified the United Nations of Maduro’s wish to speak at the organization.

The Maduro regime has become synonymous with systemic human rights abuses, including the mass arbitrary arrest and torture of political dissidents. Just last week, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations released a report outlining the gross human rights violations committed by the regime as part of Maduro’s desperate attempts to remain in power at all costs.

Lara Governorship Candidate Tells Lurid Tale

Carmen Melendez, a PSUV candidate for the governorship of Lara state, told a crowd of supporters this afternoon a grim anecdote indicative of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

Melendez–who is an admiral and was briefly Minister of Defense three years ago–told the crowd at a PSUV event in Barquisimeto about a conversation that she’d had with a woman. According to Melendez, the woman told her that while she had lost 10 kilograms due to the chronic food shortages in Venezuela, she was happy to have done it because she had simultaneously gained “15 kilograms of consciousness”, suggesting that her faith in the PSUV had been renewed through the hardship.

Below, Melendez’s comments along with my translation:

Carmen Melendez: … we have enough human talent and enough prepared people and enough entrepreneurial people and a people who have lived through difficulties. As a teacher in Carora told me: “Admiral, it doesn’t matter. We are a people who resist. I’ve lost 10 kilograms, but I’ve gained 15 kilograms of consciousness, because no one can trick me!”

Back in February, the National Survey of Living Conditions found that 75% of Venezuelans had lost an average of 8.6 kilograms as a result of the widespread food shortages in the country. The same study found that 32.5% of Venezuelans eat only two or fewer times a day due to the difficulties in finding food.

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

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One thought on “09.04.17: 15 Kilograms

  1. Pingback: 09.06.17: Berlin | In Venezuela

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