The country’s largest opposition parties–Accion Democratica (AD), Primero Justicia (PJ) and Voluntad Popular (VP)–issued a joint statement this morning condemning the Constituent Assembly’s decision against them yesterday. As it stands, the Constituent Assembly’s approval of a measure yesterday would force the three parties to undergo a complex validation process before participating in next year’s presidential elections.
In the statement, the parties argued that the decision is a naked attempt by Maduro to “design” a docile opposition that would exist in name only for the purposes of giving the country a thin veneer of democratic governance.
Maduro’s dictatorship is trying to design a convenient opposition, as is the case in Nicaragua. This will not put an end to the struggle that our organizations are taking part in in search for clean, transparent and truly competitive elections, without political prisoners or persons banned from running, [elections] in which Venezuelans can elect and decide our future democratically and not simply participate in a controlled voting event under a dictatorship.
(…) the regime has, once again, made it clear that it is not concerned with the pain or the suffering of a people who are oppressed and tormented by hunger and poverty, and is instead concerned only with remaining in power at any cost and through any means necessary.
The Constituent Assembly’s decision stems from a call made by Maduro on December 10 to ban any party that did not participate in the December 10 elections from participating in next year’s presidential vote. VP, PJ and AD did not participate in the December 10 municipal vote out principle, believing that the vote would be rigged.
Cabello: I Ordered Cancellation of Children’s Flight to Peru
Last week, Venezuelan authorities prevented a charter flight carrying 130 children to reunite with their parents in Peru from leaving the Simon Bolivar International Airport after allegedly finding that four of the minors’ travel documents appeared to contain “irregularities”. Rather than allowing the flight to take off minus the four suspect minors, the authorities cancelled the entire flight and annulled the children’s passports.
The flight had been organized by an NGO called Union Venezolana en Peru [Venezuelan Union in Peru] (VUP) with the hopes of ensuring that the children would be able to spend Christmas with their parents in Peru.
Last night, PSUV vice-president Diosado Cabello said that he was responsible for ordering the cancellation of the flight. Speaking on his weekly television show, Cabello said:
I’m going to tell you a story. Someone who works in the [Simon Bolivar] airport called me and told me that there were some people with a chartered flight that was taking 130 children from Venezuela, and I ordered that flight cancelled. I called the vice president [of Venezuela], he called the attorney general, and they ordered and investigation. The results: the [travel] permits were illegal, false, crappy.
Four adults who were accompanying the children were arrested and subsequently charged with a range of crimes, including fraud and human trafficking. None of the accusations have been proven.
Cabello’s comments are telling because they display the arbitrary nature of the regime’s legal system. By Cabello’s own telling of the story, he ordered the flight cancelled simply on a whim.
El Nuevo Herald: Maduro May Be Negotiating Exit
El Nuevo Herald published an article today suggesting that Maduro be be negotiating an exit from Venezuelan politics on the condition that he be granted amnesty from any future prosecution.
According to the article, “three sources familiar with the effort” have confirmed that Venezuelan media magnate Raul Gorrin is spearheading an initiative that would see Maduro and other high-ranking PSUV officials step away from power on the condition that they would be allowed to live out the rest of their lives in peace.
Gorrin is the owner of the Globovision television network, and is widely viewed as a friend to the Maduro regime. In 2014, the city of Miami declared Gorrin persona non grata over his close ties to Maduro and other PSUV officials.
El Nuevo Herald claims that Gorrin is attempting to establish himself as an intermediary between the White House and Caracas using Ballard Partners, a prestigious law firm based in Miami. It is not clear how successful Gorrin has been in his efforts so far.
[Gorrin] has insisted that the solution to the problem in Venezuela is a negotiated solution (…) He said that Maduro would be willing to resign, but only if he could do it in such a way so that he would not lose his prestige.
The newspaper claims that Gorrin has also expressed that Maduro has envisioned losing the 2018 presidential election and accepting defeat only if he and other “key” government officials were spared any ramifications for the damage that they have caused to the country and to the people of Venezuela.
The article ends with the following paragraph:
El Nuevo Herald could not establish whether Gorrin has authority to speak on behalf of Maduro, but the sources said that the businessman acted as if he did.
60% of Venezuelans Say 2017 Was Worst Year of Their Lives
A survey conducted by the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello has found that 60% of Venezuelans classify 2017 as the worst year of their entire lives.
According to the same survey, an astonishing 60% of respondents said that a family member or close friend left the country this year “for political or economic reasons”, while 62% said that a relative was not able to access medicine this year when needed.
The survey also found that 63% of respondents said that they or a close friend or relative had been the victim of a robbery in the past 12 months, while 48% said that they were forced to sell property this year in order to pay bills or emergency expenses.
The survey was conducted via telephone between November 1 and 13. With a sample size of 1,027, the survey has a 96% confidence level and is accurate to within +/- 4%.
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