Gustavo Rodriguez, the head of the Metropolitan Caracas workers’ union, told Union Radio today that the approximately 6,000 city workers who were unceremoniously fired by Maduro’s Constituent Assembly on December 20, after the assembly approved a motion to erase the Caracas Metropolitan District from the map.

The workers were not given advanced warning of the measure, and found out that they had lost their jobs when news of the motion’s approval broke in the media that day.

Rodriguez said today that the Constituent Assembly had acted “without mercy” against the workers and their families, and that they have yet to receive their last paychecks and Christmas bonuses. Rodriguez said:

We [the workers] are defenseless because the government is not answering us. From a labour perspective, we’re imprisoned. No one’s speaking to us.

Rodriguez also said that the Constituent Assembly told the union that it would provide an update regarding the unpaid wages some time next week. He added:

What happens in the meantime? We workers don’t have enough money even for bus tickets. We’re on the streets because they left us on the streets. President [Maduro] talks about labour stability, and today the city’s workers are without work.

NGO: 2018 Begins With 214 Political Prisoners

The Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), a local human rights NGO, marked the beginning of 2018 by pointing out that there are currently 214 political prisoners languishing in regime prisons. The announcement was made by Gonzalo Himiob, one of the FPV’s directors, who also said that the organization had sent the list of political prisoners to the Organization of American States.

On December 23, Maduro’s Constituent Assembly announced that it would be releasing 80 political prisoners in the coming days under “substitute measures”, which likely means house arrest. Over the next 24 hours, the regime released forty-two political prisoners, but has not released any more since then.

Florida Governor Calls Venezuelan Crisis “Unacceptable”

Florida state governor Rick Scott spoke on the Venezuelan crisis today through his Twitter account, calling it “unacceptable”. Scott made the comments in reaction to a Reuters article covering the pork protests that marked the end of 2017 and claimed the life of a pregnant woman.

Below, Scott’s tweet along with my translation:

The food shortage in Venezuela is completely unacceptable! Maduro and his gang of killers must leave power immediately. Florida continues to stand firm alongside the Venezuelan community in demanding absolute freedoms and democracy.

Florida is home to what is likely the largest Venezuelan diaspora community in the world. According to a 2012-2016 population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 120,750 Venezuelans living in the state of Florida, although the actual figure is likely higher given the severity of the country’s social and economic collapse over the last two years.

Due to its significant Venezuelan population, the state has taken a harsh stance against the Maduro regime. In August of last year, the Florida government announcement that it would refrain from investing state funds in companies linked to the Maduro regime.

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

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