El Nacional reported today that a woman received expired pasta in her CLAP bag, which was sold to her by the Venezuelan government through a subsidized food program. Under the CLAP system, small bags or boxes of basic food items are delivered directly to communities and sold to residents at subsidized prices in an attempt to supplement supermarkets and alleviate the chronic scarcity crisis in the country.

The woman, whose name was not revealed by the newspaper, said that she noticed that the pasta bag had text blacked out with marker. When she erased the ink, she noticed that the blacked out text was the pasta’s expiration date date: March 30, 2012.

Images of the expired pasta can be found here.

The CLAP system has come under intense criticism since it was implemented last year. The quality of the food contained in the bags is suspect, and the bags/boxes are often not even available.

Last month, former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz alleged that Maduro is personally profiting from the food shortages in Venezuela and the CLAP system, since she claims that Maduro owns a company that supplies food for the CLAP system in Mexico.

Del Pino Blames Gas Shortages on “US Aggression”

Minister of Oil Eulogio del Pino blamed “United States aggression” for gasoline shortages that have been affecting large sections of the country over the past week. The gas shortages even affected Caracas earlier this week.

Through a press release, Del Pino said:

We are guaranteeing the supply of gasoline to the entire country, even though we are experiencing a worst-case scenario due to the United States aggression.

Del Pino blamed a “United States blockade” for preventing PDVSA ships from unloading gasoline in Venezuela, although it is not exactly clear what he meant by the comment.

The Venezuelan oil industry has been steadily collapsing for years. Corruption and disrepair have turned PDVSA into a sinking ship. Oil production at the state-owned company has been steadily declining since 2014.

UN Expert Set to Visit Venezuela to Speak to MUD, PSUV

Alfred de Zayas, an independent legal expert at the United Nations, will travel to Venezuela some time in November to “listen to both sides” in the ongoing political dispute between the ruling PSUV party and the opposition MUD bloc. Zayas made the announcement during a press conference yesterday, during which he pointed out that he will become the first UN representative to visit the country with that task.

Zayas explained that he asked permission from the Maduro regime to visit Venezuela after receiving information from both sides on the ongoing crisis, much of which was contradictory. By visiting the country, Zayas said that he hopes to “see the situation for myself”.

Capriles Lays Out Case for October 15 Vote

Speaking at a rally in Maturin, Monagas state earlier today, Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles laid out the case to opposition supporters for voting in the October 15 regional elections, a topic that has fiercely divided the anti-regime forces.

Capriles reminded the crowd that abstention was in fact an option for voters in democratic countries, but that Venezuela was no such country. Capriles said:

In a democracy, abstention is an option. Silence is a form of speech in democracy. But this country is not a democracy. [Venezuela] is facing the dictatorship of the 21st century [a play on the chavista slogan calling the Bolivarian Revolution “the socialism of the 21st century”], and in a dictatorship we must vote. In a dictatorship, we must participate in electoral processes and defeat them.

Capriles also addressed the fear that the Maduro regime will simply steal the gubernatorial elections, as it did the July 30 constituent assembly vote. Capriles said:

If they want to commit fraud, we’ll have to force them to do it, which will only weaken them in the end.

Participating in the October 15 gubernatorial election has divided the opposition, with some arguing that doing so will only lend legitimacy to a dictatorial government that will, one way or another, manage to win the vote. This is the position of Maria Corina Machado, who withdrew her Vente Venezuela party from the opposition bloc over the matter.

A growing majority of Venezuelans–as many as 68% according to a recent poll–believes that the opposition should participate in the elections, regardless of what the Maduro regime does in response.

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

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