The Maduro regime freed seven bank officials after holding them in detention for 20 days. The seven are the remaining banking executives left behind bars out of a group of eleven who were arrested during a raid on the offices of Banesco in Caracas on May 3.
At the time of their arrest, the Maduro regime claimed that the Banesco executives were part of unspecified “criminal action” inside the institution. Following the arrests, the Maduro regime took over the bank for an initial period of 90 days.
The seven released executives were dropped off by the authorities to the Banesco headquarters in Caracas, where they were welcomed by the institution’s president, Juan Carlos Escotet.
Banesco issued a statement following the release of the executives via a spokesperson, who said:
On behalf of the 11 [released executives] and their families, and of the more than 7,000 employees and the Banesco board of directors, we wish to thank everyone who helped to return calm to our organization.
11 Army Officers Arrested on Treason Charges
La Patilla reported today that 11 army officers have been arrested on charges of treason and instigation rebellion. Among the 11 officers are six lieutenants, one captain and the lieutenant colonel. The ranks and identities of the remaining three officers is not known.
The website also reports that the military tribunal that is processing the officers did not allow them to retain private defense lawyers, and were instead assigned their legal teams by the court.
According to La Patilla, at least some of the officers were members of the Unidad de Operaciones Especiales (UOPE), a special forces unit.
U.S. Retaliates, Expels Two Venezuelan Diplomats
The White House retaliated in kind today in response to yesterday’s expulsion of the ranking U.S. diplomat in Venezuela and a staffer by ordering the removal of two Venezuelan diplomats from the country.
The United States Department of State announced today that it was expelling the Venezuelan charge d’affaires in the country, Carlos Ron Ramirez, as well as the head of the country’s consulate in Houston.
The move comes in response to Maduro’s expulsion of the top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela, whom he accused of being part of a “military conspiracy” against him, along with an embassy staffer.
In announcing its retaliation today, the U.S. Department of State called Maduro’s expulsion “unjustified”.
G7 Issues Statement on Presidential Election
The G7 issued a statement today on the May 20 presidential election, saying that it was an illegitimate process meant only to help cement Maduro’s dictatorial grip on Venezuela.
Below, the statement:
We, the G7 Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union, are united in rejecting the electoral process leading to the May 20, 2018, Presidential election in Venezuela.
By failing to meet accepted international standards and not securing the basic guarantees for an inclusive, fair and democratic process, this election and its outcome lack legitimacy and credibility. We therefore denounce the Venezuelan Presidential election, and its result, as it is not representative of the democratic will of the citizens of Venezuela. The Venezuelan government has missed the opportunity for an urgently needed political rectification.
While the regime of Nicolas Maduro solidifies its authoritarian grip, the people of Venezuela continue to suffer human rights abuses and serious deprivation, causing increasing displacement which is affecting countries throughout the region.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela and call on the Maduro regime to restore constitutional democracy in Venezuela, schedule free and fair elections that can truly reflect the democratic will of the people, immediately release all political prisoners, restore the authority of the National Assembly and provide for full, safe and unhindered access by humanitarian actors.
We remain committed to supporting a peaceful, negotiated, democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela and to support the Venezuelan population through humanitarian assistance.
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