The ruling PSUV party and Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition bloc appear poised to reach a groundbreaking agreement with the hopes of restoring political stability to the country, following another day of talks in the Dominican Republic today. Today’s session ended with news from Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez saying that he was “almost 98% sure” that the talks would be successful.
The two sides have been meeting in the Dominican Republic since December of last year. Up for debate are six points:
- An end to “external violence against Venezuela”
- An end to sanctions against regime officials and regime finances
- The release of all political prisoners
- The opening of a humanitarian channel to allow aid to freely flow into the country
- Guarantees that the presidential election will be free and fair
- The restoration of the National Assembly’s full powers
Without providing any details, Rodriguez said that out of the six points, “only two still need work”.
Many opposition supporters see the talks with the PSUV as a highly controversial topic, given a widespread level of distrust in the regime’s intentions and its willingness to stick to promises. Some within the opposition–including Vente Venezuela‘s Maria Corina Machado–consider the talks to be a farce, and argue that the only way to fight the Maduro regime is through a concerted campaign of civil disobedience and rebellion.
The two sides are scheduled to meet again tomorrow starting at 9:00 AM.
32 Arrested in Oscar Perez Case
The total number of individuals arrested in connection to the Oscar Perez case has risen to 32, according to a report published by El Nacional today. The figure came from National Assembly deputy Adriana Pichardo, who said that six of the detained are civilians while 10 are uniformed members of the army. Two of the detained, Pichardo added, are direct relatives of Perez.
Pichardo said that the authorities have “looted, raided and destroyed homes” in the search for suspects related to the case, and that Perez’s relatives have been tortured while in police custody.
Perez, a renegade Venezuelan special forces officers, was killed by authorities alongside six others at a safe house in El Junquito, located in Western Caracas, on January 15. There is evidence to suggest that Perez and his six companions were executed by authorities while attempting to surrender.
Perez had been on the run from the authorities since late June.
Last week, RunRun.Es published an interactive article showing 26 individuals arrested in connection with the case. According to the article, six of the arrested individuals are suspected members of Perez’s group, while three are relatives and friends and a dozen are uniformed members of state security forces.
Regime to Start Petro Sales on February 20
The Maduro regime announced today that it would begin the sale of an in-house cryptocurrency called the Petro starting on February 20.
The launch of the Petro is likely motivated by the regime’s desire to raise funds in circumvention of U.S. sanctions on its finances. According to Reuters:
Critics have slammed the move as not only illegal but a simple debt issuance for a government overseeing quadruple-digit inflation and major shortages.
In early December, Maduro announced that Venezuela would launch the cryptocurrency in the near future. Earlier this month, he elaborated on the enterprise, saying that the government would issue 100 million Petros backed by the current price of one barrel of Venezuelan oil.
Food Truck Looting Captured on Film
The looting of a truck carrying food Porlamar, Nueva Esparta state this afternoon was captured on video. The looting took place at approximately 8:00 AM local time.
According to Noticiero Digital, the individuals who looted the truck had been waiting in line outside of a supermarket for its arrival. At the end of the video, the sound of a gunshot pierces the air as National Guard soldiers–one of them wielding a pistol–arrive on the scene to disperse the crowd.
Below, the video:
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