National Assembly vice president Freddy Guevara is currently taking refuge inside the Chilean embassy in Caracas, following the stripping of his parliamentary immunity by the Maduro regime two days ago. Guevara entered the embassy some time yesterday and requested assistance, given “imminent threats against his safety”.
Aside from being the vice president of the National Assembly, Guevara is also the national coordinator of the Voluntad Popular (VP) party and a popular opposition figure. Guevara was stripped of his parliamentary immunity as the Maduro regime moves to consolidate its power and crack down on opposition figures who called for and helped organize the anti-regime protests that took place earlier this year.
The Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Guevara is under its protection in Caracas, citing its “humanitarian tradition”.
Guevara becomes the latest in a number of persecuted figures to take refuge inside the Chilean embassy in Caracas. Earlier this year, five magistrates appointed by the National Assembly to the Supreme Court fled into the embassy after Maduro threatened to have them arrested. The five individuals were eventually able to escape Venezuela, presumably with the help of Chilean embassy staff.
Journalist “Disappears” After Receiving Threats for His Work
A journalist by the name of Jesus Medina disappeared on Friday at approximately 6:00 PM, just days after he denounced the fact that he was being threatened for some recent work he carried out regarding the Tocoron prison. Medina is believed to have been kidnapped, although it is not clear at this moment by whom.
Medina was able to send one last message to a friend via WhatsApp at the time that he was kidnapped. The message can be see below:
Although Medina’s message is severely misspelled, it is evident that he attempted to write “me agarraron urgente“, which translates into English as “they’ve got me, emergency”.
No one has heard from Medina since he sent the message.
The Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Prensa de Venezuela [National Venezuelan Press Workers’ Syndicate] (SNTP) has asked attorney general Tarek William Saab to speak on the disappearance, but he has not yet responded.
Late this afternoon, officers with the regime’s political police–the SEBIN–told the SNTP that Medina was not in El Helicoide, the force’s headquarters and prison in Caracas.
Goiocoechea Running for Mayor
Just hours after being released after spending over a year in prison, it was announced today that Yon Goiocoechea is running for mayor of the El Hatillo municipality in Caracas. Goiocoechea will be the candidate for the Avanzada Progresistas (AP) party, one of a minority of opposition parties who have decided to participate in the December elections.
At the end of last month, the country’s largest opposition parties all announced that they would not participate in the mayoral elections, given the compromised state of the country’s electoral system.
Malaria Deaths Spike
The number of Venezuelans dying from malaria jumped 117% from 2015 to 2016, from 69 deaths to 150. On a longer time frame, the number of malaria deaths in 2016 was 525% higher than it was in the year 2000.
The figures come from the Observatorio Venezolano de Salud [Venezuelan Health Watch] (OVS), an NGO that tracks health statistics in the country. According to the OVS’s numbers, the number of malaria deaths per year remained relatively stable from 2000 to 2012, fluctuating by 10-20 cases per year. However, the data clear shows a spike starting in 2013.
OVS said that the malaria epidemic is going to get worse, a fact that will likely pose a health risk to neighboring countries.
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