The European Parliament announced today that it would no longer participate in the May 20 presidential election in the capacity of an observer, citing the vote’s lack of “credibility [and] transparency”. The news came via an press release issued by the organization today.
According to the release, the organization will no longer send officials to witness the May 20 vote, and forewarned that some of the parliament’s deputies may decide to travel to Venezuela to take part in the election. Any deputies that do, the release clarifies, would be acting on their own accord and would not represent the European Parliament.
Critic of the Maduro regime claim that the result of the May 20 presidential vote are a given due to the fact that the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), the institution in charge of holding elections, is a blatantly pro-Maduro body that has falsified electoral results in the past to the benefit of the regime. The CNE has also banned popular opposition parties and politicians from participating in the election, some that regime critics argue further demonstrates the farcical nature of the May 20 vote.
Legislators Draft Document in Support of Nicaraguan People
A group of National Assembly legislators have drafted a document expressing their solidarity with the people of Nicaragua and their struggle against the government of President Daniel Ortega.
Over the past week, 25 protesters have been killed by Nicaraguan state security forces while demonstrating against an unpopular set of reforms to the country’s social security system. Since the protests began on Wednesday, the ire of the demonstrators has at times turned towards the cult of personality that President Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, have built around themselves over the 10 years in which they’ve been in power.
Yesterday, President Ortega announced that he was scrapping the social security reform.
The National Assembly deputies left their document with the Nicaraguan embassy in Caracas. Part of the document reads:
The violent acts that are happening in Nicaragua make us Venezuelans relive the darkest days of our recent past. [These are] repressive bodies attacking citizens in defense of a government that is remaining in power through force.
Today, we join the international community in issuing an unequivocal rejection of the violence unleashed on the Nicaraguan people, who are voicing their discontent with their country’s current government which you [the embassy in Caracas] represent.
Colombian Migration Official: Guerrillas Recruiting Venezuelan Migrants
Colombia’s El Pais published an interview today with the country’s western region migration director, Dario Daza, in which he spoke about the recent influx of Venezuelans into the country. In the interview, Daza said that 14,133 Venezuelans settled in Cali last year, and that 4,258 have done so so far in 2018.
When he was asked what Venezuelans have to do to legally work in Colombia, Daza responded by mentioning that the Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (National Liberation Army)–a leftist guerrilla group–is actively recruiting Venezuelan migrants into its ranks. Daza said:
[If we don’t give Venezuelans legal work permits], then they will see many legal work opportunities closed off to them, and as a result, they could be come problem citizens in our society. This is where they could easily begin to commit crime, or become victim to criminal organizations. This is already happening with the ELN. This armed group is recruiting and offering salaries to Venezuelans at the border, according to a report by the Army.
Daza provided no further details to his comment.
The rugged terrain that covers much of the Venezuelan-Colombian border has been home to different guerrilla organizations over the past several decades. The border’s fluidity has often facilitated the flow of these groups from one side of the divide to the other.
Just five days ago, the Venezuelan military dismantled an ELN radio transmitting station that the group had set up in Apure state.
NGO: 233 Political Prisoners Currently in Regime Jails
The Foro Penal Venezolano [Venezuelan Penal Forum] (FPV) provided an update to the number of political prisoners currently in regime prisons, revealing the figure to be 233.
Through his Twitter account, FPV head Alfredo Romero revealed that while three political prisoners were released during the past week, eleven more were arrested.
The FPV provides regular updates on the number of political prisoners in Venezuela. The organization also provides legal services for victims of regime persecution.
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