The foreign affairs minister of the Dominican Republic, Miguel Vargas, said today that the Maduro regime and the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition bloc have reached “consensus” on six key points ahead of a highly-anticipated set of talks scheduled to take place on the island starting on December 1.

While Vargas did not specify exactly which points he was talking about, he did qualify them as being “the most important”, a description that narrows down the possibilities.

MUD representatives have stated on a number of occassions their demands for the ruling PSUV party. Those demands include the release of all political prisoners, the appointment of a new electoral body, the creation of safeguards to guarantee a free and fair presidential election in 2018, and the opening of a humanitarian corridor to allow for the flow of food and medicine into the country.

Vargas also confirmed that the talks next weekend will include the participation of the foreign affairs ministers of Chile, Paraguay, Mexico, Bolivia and Nicaragua. The participation of regional countries was also one of the demands made by the MUD for the talks to take place.

The MUD delegation will be headed by National Assembly president Julio Borges.

Ortega Diaz Partially Acknowledges Role in Creating Maduro Dictatorship

Former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz acknowledged publicly for the first time her role in creating the Maduro dictatorship in a statement posted on her Twitter account yesterday evening. While the acknowledgement was largely indirect, it constitutes the most open admission of guilt by Ortega Diaz for helping to strengthen the regime.

Before becoming an outspoken critic of the Maduro regime in March of this year, Ortega Diaz served faithfully as attorney general first under Chavez and then under Maduro. Ortega Diaz held that position from 2007 until August of this year, when she was removed from her post and forced to flee the country. For nearly a decade, Ortega Diaz wielded her power to brutally repress the country’s political opposition.

In the statement posted on her Twitter account yesterday, Ortega Diaz said:

I am taking responsibility for the errors that did not allow us to stop the authoritarian wave that swept over our institution and the country’s constitutional order in time.

The statement does not specify exactly which “errors” Ortega Diaz referred to. The statement does not differentiate between these “errors” and any deliberate behaviour that Ortega Diaz engaged in as attorney general that aided with the cementing of the Maduro dictatorship, as was the arrest, prosecution and detention of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, for example.

The message ends in a hopeful tone:

We must be strong, and I am sure that they [the regime] do not have much time left. The only thing that they cannot take by force and steal from us is the hope that we will recover that which have all built together (…) I am sure that those of us who are on the side of good will triumph and come out ahead.

Carabobo State Has Been Without Water for 21 Days

The entire state of Carabobo has been without water for 21 days now, following a catastrophic fire at the Pao La Balse I pumping station on November 6. Following the fire, Carabobo governor Rafael Lacava estimated that it would take anywhere between four to six months to repair the station, but vowed to restore water service within two weeks.

The main newspaper in the state, El Carabobeño, published an article today in which it covered the plight from some of the state’s residents.

The article points out that water trucks are now charging Bs. 700,000 per load to drive into neighborhoods to allow residents to draw water from their tanks, but that the figure is prohibitively expensive for many, as is buying water bottles.

The article tells the story of a woman named Carmen Luisa Alvarado, who turned her personal vehicle into a “transport truck” which she uses to take water to her home up to three times away from the home of a person she knows who still enjoys intermittent service.

Hidrocapital, the state water company, says that limited pumping has resumed to select areas of the state, but the newspaper points out that communities have yet to see reliable service restored.

Carabobo state is one of the most populated in the country. It is home to approximately 2.250 million people.

UN Expert Visits Venezuela on Fact-Finding Mission

Alfred de Zayas, an independent expert with the United Nations (UN), is expected to arrive in Venezuela today on a fact-finding mission to take stock of the human rights situation in the country. De Zayas is expected to remain in Venezuela until December 8.

El Nacional reports that de Zayas is also expected to collect information regarding “regional commercial cooperation, governance, [and] social welfare” in the country.

In a press release, de Zayas said that his trip would result in an official report that will include recommendations for improving conditions in Venezuela. The release partially reads:

Threats to human rights and development cross borders in today’s globalized world, and I will recommend ways to strengthen relations to overcome obstacles to the fulfillment of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights in the region.

After finishing his trip in Venezuela, de Zayas will travel to Ecuador to carry out the same duties there.

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

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