The government of Panama announced last night that it was sanctioning 55 Maduro regime officials and 16 companies over concerns that they are or would attempt to conduct illicit financial activities through the country’s banks, including money laundering. The measures, which come from the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, make Panama the first Latin American country to sanction Maduro regime officials.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry dated March 27, the sanctioned individuals and companies were selected because they:

… pose a high risk for laundering capital, financing terrorism and financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The list of named individuals includes most high-ranking PSUV officials, including:

  • President Nicolas Maduro
  • PSUV vice president Diosado Cabello
  • Capital District Chief and former National Guard commander Antonio Benavides Torres
  • Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) rector Socorro Hernandez
  • CNE chief Tibisay Lucena
  • Supreme Court chief Maikel Moreno
  • Minister of the Interior Nestor Reverol
  • Minister of Communication Ernesto Villegas
  • Attorney General Tarek William Saab

Unlike the sanctions levied against regime officials by Canada, the United States, the European Union and Switzerland, Panama’s sanctions do not prohibit entities in the country from conducting business with the targeted individuals and businesses. Rather, they create an obligation for Panamanian entities to “create policies and due diligence processes” to ensure that, when conducting business with the sanctioned entities, they are not facilitating illegal activities.

AP: Some PoliCarabobo Victims Buried in Mass Grave

The Associated Press reported today that some of the victims of Wednesday’s PoliCarabobo jail fire in Valencia are being buried “side-by-side” in a mass grave. According to the article, one of the graves is “three-deep”.

The article also contains some information detailing the dire state of the Venezuelan prison system:

An estimated 32,000 detainees are being kept in Venezuelan police stations that are filled far past capacity, according to A Window to Freedom, an advocacy group that monitors conditions at the nation’s jails. The jail at the Valencia police station was built to hold 35 detainees, but at the time of the fire some 200 people were believed to be inside.

Despite Venezuelan laws mandating that detainees be held for a maximum of four days after an initial arrest, relatives said many of the Valencia prisoners had been jailed for far longer, waiting to be transferred to larger facilities. Many had been imprisoned on suspicion of relatively minor crimes and had not yet gone before a judge.

All but seven of the fire’s 68 victims have been identified.

Journalist Claims 2.1 Tonnes of Gold Whisked Off to UAE

A pair of journalists claimed earlier this week that 2.1 tonnes of gold under the care of the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) left the country on Wednesday bound for the United Arab Emirates for reasons that are unknown.

The story broke first through Ronna Risquez, who tweeted on Wednesday night at 8:54 PM local time that the gold had already left the country. Below, Rizquez’s tweet:

While more than 70 people [sic] died in the flames [in the Valencia PoliCarabobo jail], Maduro’s ministers did not comment because they were busy taking out more than 2.1 tonnes of gold, transported in 57 boxes aboard and Airbus, destined to the [United] Arab Emirates…

Approximately 24 hours later, another journaled–Javier Mayorca–added detail to the story by providing the aircraft’s registration: A6-RRJ. Below, the tweet:

VARGAS [State] 2.1 tonnes of gold have left [the country] aboard an Airbus A6-RRJ to the United Arab Emirates. FAN [National Armed Force] escorted the 57 boxes in which the precious metal was stored, from the Central Bank [in Caracas] to the Maiquetia airport. Wednesday 9h

Neither one of the journalists provided any evidence for their claims.

A search of FlightRadar24.com found that the aircraft A6-RRJ is an Airbus 319-119CJ Elite, and that the airplane is registered to an airline called Rotana Jet. The airline, which has a fleet of three airplanes, is based out of the United Arab Emirates. The airline conducts charter executive flights, and has only recently began flying from Abu Dhabi to Dalma Island.

Below, a screenshot showing A6-RRJ’s registration information:

The aircraft did in fact take off from Caracas on March 28, bound first for Nassau, then Belfast, and then the United Arab Emirates, at 10:06 AM local time:

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

6 thoughts on “03.30.18: Taking Flight

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