Maduro spoke today during a televised address about the Catalan Independence vote, saying that he felt a mix of “indignation and admiration” after viewing images and videos of the violence that has marked the event.

Residents of the Catalunya region of Spain attempted to vote today on whether to declare independence from Spain in a referendum that Madrid considers illegal. As many as 800 people have been injured during the course of the day, as Spanish police stormed voting centres to prevent people from casting their ballots.

Maduro applauded the Catalan peoples’ determination to see the vote carried out, saying:

I watched how the people launched themselves into a historic political, democratic event, [and] expressed their opinion. I don’t want to meddle in the Catalan internal affairs, those of Spain or of any other country, but these are really important international events.

Maduro also said that today’s referendum vote Catalunya reminded him of the July 30 Constituent Assembly vote, and called the reaction of the Spanish authorities to the vote “brutal”.

Setting his sights on Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Maduro said:

President [sic] Mariano Rajoy has to answer to the world over what he has done to the Catalan people today.

Maduro also sent words of encouragement to the Catalan people, saying:

From here in Venezuela, I say this with all my heart (…) all of our solidarity goes to the people of Catalunya. All of our love goes to the people of Catalunya. Catalunya has the right to democracy, peace, liberty. It has rights. It has the right to tranquility. May the people of Catalunya be respected. I raise my voice in dignity–and when I say my voice I say the voice of all of us pro-independence Venezuelan rebels, democratic Venezuelans, revolutionary Venezuelans–we stand in solidarity with the people of Catalunya. We are moved [by their struggle].

Torrealba Says Guevara, Capriles Were “Punished” By Voters

In an interview that aired on the Televen network this morning, Jesus Torrealba–the former head of the MUD opposition bloc–spoke on the opposition’s current state, the regional elections and the possibility of a dialogue with the Maduro regime.

Torrealba saidout that Accion Democratica (AD), one of the largest parties inside the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) bloc, did not participate in the latest rounds of talk efforts with the ruling PSUV party in the Dominican Republic. With this fact in mind, Torrealba pointed out that AD was the big winner in the opposition primaries for the gubernatorial elections of October 15, winning 12 out of 23 candidacies.

Torrealba said:

Torrealba: There are some curious things happening in the opposition. Out of the four main parties in the opposition, Accion Democratica did not participate either in the Santo Domingo meetings [with the PSUV] or those that took place here.

Interviewer: Why?

Torrealba: We’d have to ask them. But the fact is that the party has just won 12 out of 23 candidacies [for the October 15 election]…

When asked if AD’s primary wins were evidence that opposition supporters were rewarding the party for refusing to negotiate with the Maduro regime, Torrealba refused to commit to answer. Instead, he suggested that what might be happening is that voters have rewarded AD for being open and honest, since the party has acted “with a lot more clarity” than the MUD’s other parties.

Torrealba also pointed out that high-profile opposition leaders like Henrique Capriles and Freddy Guevara were punished at the ballot boxes for their inability to carry out their promises to fight the Maduro regime to the end during the summer protests. Torrealba explained:

When you take a look at the results of the opposition primary elections, you find that those who were punished the most were Henrique Capriles and Freddy Guevara, the ones who came up with “The Exit Part 2” [in reference to their heated calls for an end to the Maduro regime over the summer]. These are the leaders who told the people that with street protests we could [remove Maduro from power], who spoke of zero hour, general strike, growing rebellion, a national uprising. These are the leaders who, 20 days after [the Constituent Assembly vote], came out and said “vote for me!”. These are the leaders who were severely punished.

It is a fact that they are upstanding young men (…) but they were put forward as symbols and spokespersons for those policies, and they were severely defeated in their states.

Maduro Set for Moscow Trip

El Universal reported today that Maduro will travel to Moscow on Wednesday to participate in an energy forum taking place in the Russian capital. The trip was announced by Russian Minister of Energy Anton Iniustin, who said that Maduro was scheduled to take part in a discussion panel titled “Oil and Geopolitics: Causes and Consequences”.

The trip has yet to be confirmed by the Venezuelan government.

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

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