The Ministry of the Interior, Justice and Peace has ordered the takeover of police forces in the five states won by the opposition in last Sunday’s gubernatorial election, a move that signals the increasing hostility by the Maduro regime towards the opposition governors-elect. The affected states are Nueva Esparta, Anzoategui, Merida, Zulia and Tachira.
The takeover measure was released via the Gaceta Oficial N. 41.259 dated Wednesday, October 18. Bizarrely cites human rights violations and other criminal activities by police officers as the justification for the intervention.
The order is given to begin the takeover of police forces due to the massive and continued participation of its officers in the violation of human rights, criminal networks or activities that undermine constitutional order.
Up until last Sunday, the ruling PSUV party was in control of each one of the five states whose police are now being intervened. It is not clear how or why the Ministry of Justice determined that the police forces in question have engaged in “massive and continued” human rights violations and other crimes over the past six days.
El Universal reports that Caracas has already assigned “takeover committees” to the five opposition-controlled states, and that they have been given the task to conduct extensive audits of the police forces and their members. The committees have been given broad powers to fire officers and carry out “administrative restructuring” as they see fit.
The intervention measure will be in effect for 180 days, at which point it can be extended.
The Maduro regime has not attempted to hide its contempt for the five opposition winners in Sunday’s gubernatorial election. After the winners refused to be sworn in by Maduro’s Constituent Assembly in an unprecedented ceremony, Maduro suggested that he would order new elections in the opposition-controlled states.
National Assembly Embarks on International Tour to Denounce Election Fraud
Julio Borges, the president of the National Assembly, announced today that he would embark on an international tour in the coming days to denounce the fraud that took place in last Sunday’s gubernatorial elections. Borges said that he would be joined by other, as-of-yet unnamed opposition deputies in the trip that will see the legislators take evidence of electoral fraud to the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the European Union.
Borges also said that the parliamentary mission would attend a meeting of the Lima group–12 nations committed to restoring democracy in Venezuela–that is scheduled to take place in Toronto, Canada this coming October 26.
Borges made the announcement by saying:
The National Assembly and the [opposition] will go on a campaign inside and outside Venezuela with the goal of denouncing the fraudulent process that were the regional elections that happened on October 15 in Venezuela.
Defying years of polling data and all other expectations, the ruling PSUV party won an impressive 18 governorships in the October 15 vote to the opposition’s 5.
The election was mired by widespread allegations of institutionalized fraud, including the sudden and unexplained changes in voting centres. Three days after the vote, hard evidence in the form of official government audit forms surfaced showing that the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), the regime body in charge of overseeing elections, had manufactured votes for the PSUV candidate in Bolivar state, who went on to win that contest.
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