Late last night, the Maduro regime released two political prisoners: Yon Goicoechea and Delson Guarate. Both men are members of the Voluntad Popular (VP) party, and had been in prison for over a year for their political activities on fictitious charges.
Goicoechea was arrested on August 29 of last year by agents from the SEBIN, the regime’s political police. The regime claims that at the time of his arrest, Goiocoechea was carrying “explosives and detonators” which he was presumably going to use in an anti-government terrorist campaign. The regime’s allegations were never substantiated in court, and Goiocoechea was simply left to languish in prison.
Guarate was the mayor of the Mario Briceño Iragorry municipality in Aragua state when he was arrested by SEBIN agents on September 2 of last year. Guarate, was accused of “environmental crimes”, as well as undefined terror-related charges. Because Guarate never appeared before a judge the case never developed. Last month, Guarate began a hunger strike after his preliminary hearing was postponed for a 10th time.
Guarate suffers from diabetes and hypertension, and the state of his health while in detention was a constant concern for his family, who claims that he lost 20 kilograms over the past year.
Goicoechea posted the following message on Twitter this morning. The image shows Caracas in the background:
Venezuela, everything has an end, anything can be overcome. I am with my family today. Tomorrow I will speak to the country. God is with us.
Guarate shared a more succinct message on his Twitter account last night:
Goicoechea and Guarate are but two victims of a common regime tactic that hinges on fabricated charges and administrative delays that often result in defendants spending months or years behind bars without every seeing a judge. There are currently approximately 389 political prisoners still in Venezuela prisons.
S&P, Fitch Downgrade Venezuela
S&P Global Ratings downgraded Venezuela’s rating yesterday from CCC to CCC- in an apparent reaction Maduro’s announcement on Thursday that he was ordering a restructuring of the country’s foreign debt effective immediately. The announcement was riddled with contradictions and provided virtually no detail on the measure, a fact that evidently affected investor confidence in Venezuela.
Fitch Ratings also downgraded Venezuela yesterday, from CC to C. In a statement, Fitch said that it views Venezuelan default as “probable”, and singles out United States sanctions targeting the country’s ability to access and navigate finance as a factor in its decision.
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