Constituent Assembly president Delcy Rodriguez caused furor in the country yesterday with comments she made regarding the political future of Venezuela. Speaking from the national legislature yesterday afternoon, Rodriguez said that the PSUV would never leave power in the country.

Rodriguez said:

When we talk about political power, [to] those who want to take over political power again we say that they will never again return. We will never hand over political power.

While the level of brazenness exhibited by Rodriguez through her comments is not new, it is relatively rare for regime officials to so blatantly display their authoritarian tendencies. Most notably, Maduro has made similar comments only a handful of times, as he did during a speech in 2016 during which he called for a rebellion were the PSUV ever to lose power:

If some day the oligarchy does something against me and manages to take over this [Presidential] Palace, I’m ordering you to one way or another declare yourselves in rebellion and go on an indefinite general strike.

The head of the Accion Democratica (AD) party, Henry Ramos Allup, reacted to Rodriguez’s comments today by bringing up the topic of the upcoming May 20 presidential election. Using his typical colourful lexicon, Allup said:

Why have elections, then, if you’re not going to hand over power, Delcy? Just go ahead and tell that worthless Maduro, that good-for-nothing, that he shouldn’t hold any stupid elections and that he should just stay there [in power] until the people of Venezuela push him out of Miraflores [the presidential palace].

Senator Rubio Tweets on Venezuela

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted twice about Venezuela late last night. Rubio foreshadowed the arrest of PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello and vice president Tarek El Aissami by agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency after calling them both “drug kingpins”, and suggested that the White House might levy more sanctions against the Maduro regime.

Below, the tweets:

Both El Aissami and Cabello have long been suspected of being high-level players in the regional drug trade.

El Aissami has long standing connections to a convicted drug trafficker named Walid Makled Garcia, who once called El Aissami a “friend” who would do “whatever favor I needed” to facilitate his trafficking operations. In February of this year, the U.S. Treasury Department placed financial and travel sanctions on El Aissami, claiming that he played a “significant role” in drug trafficking in the region. Cabello was accused of being a drug trafficker in 2015 by Leamsy Salazar, a former personal bodyguard of Hugo Chavez who fled Venezuela and is now living in asylum in the United States.

Rubio represents the state of Florida, which holds the largest Venezuelan diaspora population in the United States, and often speaks on the Venezuelan crisis.

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

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