During a nationally televised speech this afternoon, Maduro said that he was ready to engage in earnest dialogue with the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), the country’s opposition bloc, and said that the move was necessary in order to achieve “piece in our country”. As he often does, Maduro also launched into hateful rants against the MUD, accusing the organization of being led by agents from the United States and of being made up of “the devil’s parties”.
The comments come two days after the MUD signaled that it was not expecting to engage in dialogue with the ruling PSUV party over Maduro’s unwillingness to make any kind of compromise.
Maduro’s conciliatory tone was short lived, as he followed his calls for dialogue with a vicious attack on the MUD, its leadership and his supporters. Claiming that the MUD leadership is on the payroll of the United States government, Maduro said:
I have evidence of how a call from the United States led to a section [of the MUD] saying that they were not going to comply with the call from the president [of the Dominican Republic], Danilo Medina, [to take part in the dialogue]. I feel sorry for that.
Maduro did not present any evidence to back up his claim.
The president continued by saying that the MUD, which is a bloc made up of over a dozen individual political parties, was the “enemy” of Venezuela. He singled out Julio Borges, the head of the Primero Justicia (PJ) party, and Henry Ramos Allup, the head of the Accion Democratica (AP) party by saying:
Julio Borges is there, causing harm every day. Henry Ramos Allup is there, causing harm every day. And the devil’s parties and of evil [that make up] the right wing are causing harm.
Maduro also had harsh words for the Venezuelan youth who took to the streets of the country in the hundreds of thousands throughout the summer to protest against his regime, calling them violent and suggesting that they had been misled by the MUD. He said:
If the youth who were called upon by Julio Borges and Ramos Allup to [do] violence and [cause] death wanted to do politics from their ideological positions, I agree that they should do politics and get rid of their leadership [sic].
On Henry Ramos Allup–a seasoned politician who was the president of the National Assembly last year–, Maduro said:
What can we say about Henry Ramos Allup? He’s been destroying this country for 50 years. His last hours are about destruction. Destroying the National Assembly.
22 UPEL Students Released; 5 Sent to Prison
Two days ago, a military tribunal ordered the release of 27 university students who had been arrested in July for protesting against the Maduro regime at the Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador (UPEL) in Maracay, Aragua state. After more than 24 hours of uncertainty regarding whether the authorities would abide by the order or not, 22 students were finally released last night, while the remaining five were sent back to prison.
The decision to send five of the students to prison came from a civilian judge who ordered the five sent back to the 26 de Julio prison, which holds inmates from the general population. The names of the five students are: Boris Quiñónez, Kenny Colmenares, Mitchell Sosa, Alex González and Brigitte Herrada.
Brigitte Herrada, who is female, was sent to the prison even though the facility does not have a female wing.
We think that this is a joke, a dirty game that they’re playing with these young people.
Chacao’s Substitute Mayor Gives Opinion on “Violent Protest”
The substitute mayor of the Chacao, Gustavo Duque, spoke today on the protests that took place in the municipality today, namely in the form of makeshift barricades intended to block traffic. Duque explained that he considers that form of protest “violent”, saying:
Peaceful protest is welcomed in Chacao (…) we think that when [protesters] start breaking railings and blocking the way with objects, then [the protest] can no longer be considered peaceful (…) all of the Chacao neighbourhood associations agree that violent protests cannot take place in Chacao.
Duque went on to suggest that protest barricades are built “with no reason”:
When you see people come with no reason–I repeat, with no reason–and they start to break the railings on the Francisco de Miranda avenue and block the road, I consider that to be an act of violence.
Duque became the mayor of the Chacao municipality in August, after mayor Ramon Muchacho was removed from his position and sentenced to 15 months in prison for failing to obey a court order to stop protests in the municipality, primarily the barricades that Duque considers violent.
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