The PSUV governor of Carabobo state, Rafael Lacava, published a video on his Twitter account yesterday afternoon in which he spoke on the chronic water shortages that have affected the state’s two million residents over the past several months.
In the video, an upset Lacava complaints to state water authorities that his swimming pool is empty, and that people are yelling insults at him on the street over his poor handling of the water crisis. He then gives the state’s water authority 24 hours to fix the problem.
Below, Lacava’s video along with my translation:
Lacava: Hi everyone! i’m here in Quinta Carabobo [the governor’s mansion], thinking about what to do about this thing with the water here in Valencia. Here’s the pool in the governor’s house, without water. There’s no water. There’s no water! HydroCentro–gentlemen of HydroCentro. Today is Monday the 23rd. It’s 5:15 PM. I’m giving you until tomorrow night. If tomorrow night I see that there’s been no improvement in the aquaducts–the water distribution here in Valencia, Dracula’s car will come for you. I’m telling you, I’m letting you know.
I know that you’re working on this, but we need to see results because at the end of the day I’m the one who gets insulted on the street thanks to you. So, I’m asking you to fix this problem by tomorrow night at the latest.
Chronic infrastructure problems with the state’s water utility service, HydroCentro, have resulted in unreliable water service to many of the state’s residents since last year. Even residents in the state capital of Valencia, one of the country’s largest cities, can expect to go weeks without water reaching their homes.
Lacava’s reference to “Dracula’s Car” comes from a popular joke of the same name told by a Venezuelan comedian called Emilio Lovera. Lacava–an eccentric figure–has taken to using the term to describe actions conducted by his government against enemies of the Maduro regime. Lacava will sometimes threaten to “send Dracula’ Car” to arrest individuals he suspects of breaking some law.
When Lacava was running for the office of governor in November of last year, he promised that he would fix the state’s water problems within 48 hours of his election. [April 27 EDIT: This is incorrect. Lacava in fact promised to restore water service within 48 hours after a failure at a pumping station left sections of the state without water. He made this promise one month after being elected governor.]
Teen Killed While Protesting in Maracaibo
A 15-year old boy named Anderson Luis Oliveros Núñez was killed today in Maracaibo, Zulia state during a protest against the constant blackouts that have plagued the city in recent days. According to the Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social [Venezuelan Social Conflict Watch], Oliveros was shot while standing at a barricade that had been erected on a local road to block traffic in protest.
Oliveros was participating in a protest in the La Antena neighbourhood of the city when he was shot, allegedly by a motorist who drove by the barricade by which Oliveros stood.
Large sections of Zulia state have endured blackouts–some lasting as many as eight consecutive hours–over the past several days.
Oliveros is the 10th person killed while protesting in 2018 in Venezuela.
Vecchio: Maduro Already Stole the Election
Exiled opposition figure Carlos Vecchio spoke today in a series of tweets on the upcoming May 20 presidential election, saying that Maduro’s victory was a foregone conclusion given his total control over the country’s electoral mechanism.
In nine tweets, Vecchio pointed out a set of conditions that he argues have already ensured Maduro’s victory in the election. The reasons are:
- While the 2015 parliamentary election was announced six months in advance, this year’s presidential election was announced with only eight weeks advanced notice. Vecchio considers this fact a “manipulation” of the time factor to the benefit of the Maduro regime.
- While in 2015 the electoral roll was left open for several months to give as many people as possible the ability to register to vote, this year the roll was left open for a significantly short period of time. Venezuelan citizens living outside of the country were also prevented from registering to vote.
- While the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica bloc won the 2015 parliamentary election, it was banned by the Maduro regime from participating in this year’s presidential vote.
- This year’s election does not count on adequate international observers, increasing the opportunities for electoral fraud to take place and go undetected.
- Vecchio considers the current dire economic situation ripe for manipulation, saying that Maduro is able to exercise “absolute domination” over desperate Venezuelans by blackmailing them with food and social services in exchange for votes.
- The short lead-up to the election makes it impossible for all of the necessary audits of the voting machines to take place, increasing the changes that electoral fraud will take place and go undetected.
- Vecchio believes that Maduro personally chose his only serious competitor, Henri Falcon, by banning, jailing or forcing into exile popular opposition figures.
For Vecchio, these factors add up to the fact that Maduro “will not steal the election: he has already stolen it”.
Vecchio is a member of the Voluntad Popular opposition party, and has been living in exile since 2014.
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