The Venezuelan government unveiled yesterday its yearly Holy Week transit and safety initiative, aimed at facilitating travel throughout the country during the holiday. As a majority-Catholic country, Venezuela hosts religious observances throughout Holy Week, and workers as well as children typically have at least Holy Thursday and Good Friday off.

This year, the government has called its Holy Week initiative the “Plan Semana Santa por al Paz 2018” [Holy Week for Peace 2018 Plan]. The initiative was announced by Minister of Transpiration Carlos Osorio, who spoke on the impacts he hopes the plan will have on travel to churches in Caracas. He said:

We have determined an area that is going to allow everything that is the Holy Week operation [sic], from the spiritual and ecclesiastical point of us, [by] providing road services to visit the seven temples, which is something that we will do with a deployment from the different places in the Metropolitan Caracas Area.

Osorio also said that he hoped that the plan would benefit even those who are not religious:

[The Plan] is a massive deployment in support of the people who, during this Holy Week, is going to enjoy time with their families, be they participating in religious activities or in beach and fun activities.

El Pais: Regime Corruption Siphoned $49.2 Million Into European Bank

Spain’s El Pais published an article today in which it claims that Diego Salazar, a cousin of former PDVSA head Rafael Rodriguez, has stashed $49.2 million into an Andorran bank from “consulting” work he did as an intermediary between Caracas and foreign companies.

According to the newspaper, Salazar charged large sums of money to “Asian multinational companies” for access tot he upper echelons of the Venezuelan oil industry.

The newspaper claims to have access to documents showing conclusively that Salazar had 11 accounts between 2007 and 2014 in the Banca Privada d’Andorra (BPA), a bank that has been under investigation by authorities in recent years for money launderingEl Pais claims that the documents show how much money Salazar charged for his services, and which clients paid for them.

According to the newspaper, one of Salazar’s clients was Sinohydro Corporation, a Chinese state-owned hydroelectric construction company. Salazar and the company signed a contract that would allow the company to participate in five lucrative construction projects in Venezuela.

Salazar is currently in detention in Venezuela, after he was arrested by Venezuelan authorities in December of last year over allegations of money laundering and corruption.

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

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