Maduro spoke at a campaign rally today in Guarenas in which he voiced confidence in his victory in the May 20 presidential election.

During his speech, Maduro made use of the word maduro, which aside from being his family name means “mature” in Spanish. Maduro said:

Today, as president, I am more mature than ever. I am readier than ever. I feel that I am a president of the people. Moreover, everything that I learned from Chavez, my great teacher, I have learned from you who have been a great teacher during these years of struggle, and you have not abandoned me even one day during these past five months.

Maduro went on to explain how he feels that the catastrophic collapse of the country’s social, economic and political fabric that he has presided over during the past several years has prepared him for his next term. He said:

This is why I feel hardened, ready. And if you go out an vote in masse and make me President of the Republic for the 2019-2025 term, I swear on my life that I will not abandon you, that I will not fail you, that I will take this country to a stage of greatness, of new hope, towards a horizon of peace and prosperity. I swear.

In what appears to be a common theme in his campaign, Maduro implored Venezuelans to not abandon him at the polls on May 20. He said:

I am asking you to not let me know. Do not abandon me in this battle.

Oil Production Continues to Plummet

Endemic corruption and years of infrastructure neglect and brain drain continue to take a toll on the state-run PDVSA oil firm, as the company’s April production numbers slipped to a 30-year low.

According to S&P Global Platts, Venezuela produced 1.41 million barrels of oil per day in April, down from 1.49 million barrels per day in March. That is the lowest oil production number Venezuela has ever achieved in the 30 years that Platts has been tracking the measure.

Once a world leader in oil exploitation, PDVSA is now a shell of its former self. Following the 2002-2003 general strike, Chavez fired nearly 20,000 PDVSA workers, beginning an era at the corporation in which political loyalty to the regime was valued over knowledge and expertise. According to the National Assembly, at least $11 billion dollars were embezzled through PDVSA between 2004 and 2014, with the money going to regime figures rather than to research, development and infrastructure.

PSUV Official Loses Control of Crowd, Leaves Stage in Anger

Jacqueline Faria, a high-ranking PSUV official and former cabinet minister, was captured on camera storming off a stage yesterday in frustration after losing control of a crowd at an event in Caracas.

According to NTN24, the event was a protest staged by workers from the Caracas municipality about the government’s CLAP food distribution system. According to the protesting workers, they have not received their CLAP boxes recently even though they have already paid for them, and the quality of the little food that they do receive is poor.

In the video below, a striking worker shows Faria what is probably poor-quality food from the CLAP system. A man then takes the microphone and asks for the media to leave the area, presumably out of a fear that the crowd may be turning against Faria. When the crowd rejects the request, Faria takes the microphone and repeats it before storming off the stage as the increasingly hostile crowd grows more and more unruly.

Below, the video along with my translation:

Woman in Blue: [Showing Faria a container] Look, this is the food we’re eating here in Venezuela… [unintelligible]…

Man in Red: Look, the comrade [Faria] is asking me to get the press out of here. Do you agree that we should get the press out of here?

Crowd: [In unison] No!

Man in Red: The people rule. The working class rules.

Faria: Hi comrades, how are you? This area belongs to the Capital District [of Caracas]. This is where we work. The press can be out there on the street, but they can’t be in our work places.

Man in the Crowd: Why not?

Faria: Because–wait a minute, wait a minute–the other thing is that this is right-wing press.

Man in the Crowd: Who cares?

Faria: This is a right-wing press–[Crowd: No! Who cares?]–that is here to… it’s here to abuse us. They’re against our government. Is that what you want?

Crowd: [Unintelligible yelling]

Man in the Crowd: Why is Venezolana de Television [a state-owned TV channel] here, then?

Crowd: [Unintelligible yelling]

Faria was Minister of Communication in 2014 and 2015, and head of the Capital District from 2009 to 2014. She was also Minister of the Environment from 2005 to 2007.

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

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