The president of Venezuela’s largest private bank, Banesco, refuted a assertion made by PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello last night that the regime was purchasing the bank through his Twitter account. Escotet’s tweet reads:

Just as I said in 2014, you cannot sell your children. Even my grandchildren know that. @Banesco is not for sale. Today more than ever, I’m betting on Venezuela.

Escotet’s comment quickly put to rest fears that the sale of the bank was imminent, which is what Cabello said last night during his weekly television show. Cabello made headlines throughout the night after he announced live on television that negotiations for the sale of the bank would take place this week, and that Escotet had approved the sale of the institution for approximately $3.5 million.

It’s not clear why Cabello reported the fictitious sale of the bank. He has yet to issue a reply to Escotet’s comments.

MUD, PSUV Resume Talks

The Mesa e la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition bloc and the ruling PSUV party have resumed talks in the Dominican Republic today as part of an initiative to bridge the gap between the two aides and bring a peaceful resolution to the country’s political crisis.

Prior to the meeting between the two sides, the MUD held a workshop to “fine-tune the last few details” that the coalition wanted to bring to the dialogue table. Below, an image of that meeting:

The leading MUD representative at the talks, National Assembly deputy Luis Florido, posted a pointed critique of the Maduro regime on his Twitter account earlier this morning, accusing Maduro of being interested “only in staying in power”.

Suggesting that the regime has so far negotiated with the opposition in bad faith, and reiterated the opposition’s demands: the opening of a humanitarian channel to allow the flow of aid in Venezuela, guarantees for free and fair elections, the release of all political prisoner, and a reversal to judicial and/or administrative disqualification of opposition politicians.

Senator Rubio Weighs In On Talks

Florida senator Marco Rubio weighed in last night on the MUD-PSUV talks by suggesting that they were futile, since any agreement reached could in theory be nullified by Maduro’s Constituent Assembly. Rubio also pointed out that, contrary to what the Maduro regime claims, the Venezuelan opposition does not have the power to force Washington to lift sanctions against regime officials and its finances.

Rubio made his comments in a Twitter thread, which you can read below:

There is a sizable Venezuelan diaspora community in Florida, concentrated primarily in the Weston and Doral.

Four Killed in Merida Looting

The food riots that marked the beginning of 2018 continued today, claiming the lives of four individuals in Merida state.

According to El Nacional, the municipalities of Caño La Yuca, El Pinar Tucaní, Palmarito and Arapuey all experienced significant unrest today, as residents protested against the lack of food and looted establishments in the area.

One of the deceased was 23-year-old Manuel Alberto Oria Marquez, who was shot while attempting to break into a truck that was presumably carrying food at a toll booth in Caño La Yuca. An unnamed 17-year-old was also killed during the unrest in Arapuey, while a 23-year-old empanada salesman named Arturo Lino Volcanes Guillen was shot and killed during a looting spree, which also claimed the life of 26-year-old Elizabeth Sierra.

Venezuela is currently experiencing the most dramatic food shortages in its modern history. In recent weeks, the shortages have resulted in spontaneous eruptions of looting sprees and other unrest throughout the country.

Videos Show Hungry Mob Stopping Vehicles In Search of Food

A pair of videos circulating on social media tonight appear to show a desperate crowd of people pouring onto a highway and stopping vehicles in search of food. The videos were allegedly recorded earlier today on the Cagua-Bella Vista highway in Aragua state.

Below, the videos:

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

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