El Nacional, Venezuela’s most important remaining independent newspaper, is facing the possibility that it might be taken over by the Maduro regime as part of a lawsuit dating back to 2015. The lawsuit concluded today, with the court ruling in favour of Cabello.
During a televised interview that aired on the Globovision network earlier today, Constituent Assembly deputy Pedro Carreño said that ruling-party vice president Diosdado Cabello could in theory become the new owner of the newspaper if the company is unable to pay him damages awarded for a defamation lawsuit dating back to 2015.
Cabello sued the newspaper after it shared a story on its website that was originally published by the Wall Street Journal and Spain’s ABC alleging that Cabello was under investigation by U.S. authorities for drug-trafficking activities. Cabello reacted to the publication and sharing of the story in anger, and threatened to sue a number of publications for defamation.
In August of last year, Cabello lost his lawsuit against Dow Jones & Company–the Wall Street Journal’s parent company–after a U.S. court found that he had provided no evidence in his favour.
During the interview, Carreño pointed out that in ruling in Cabello’s favour, the court ordered the newspaper to pay him a sum of Bs. 1,000,000,000. If the newspaper were unwilling or unable to pay the damages, Carreño said, Cabello would take over the company.
Cabello is one of the most important figures in the Maduro regime. He has been named on more numerous occasions by international publications as being an active player in drug trafficking operations in the country.
Editor: El Nacional “Has Always Told the Truth”
El Nacional‘s editor, Miguel Otero, reacted to news of the lost lawsuit today by saying that the newspaper had not been formally notified of the ruling, and that it found out about it through Pedro Carreño’s televised interview.
It is totally irregular for [the court] to give Pedro Carreño the ruling before notifying out about this alleged sentence, so that he can read it out in a television program. We have not been given the sentence, and we have not been notified [that a ruling has been made]. This is something that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.
This is clearly an attack against the freedom of expression. El Nacional as a newspaper has always said the truth; it is a critical newspaper that publishes things that happen in the country, and we will continue to write about things that happen in this country, so that we can see how catastrophic things are under this government.
OAS Votes To Condemn Venezuela Election
The Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly voted today in favour of condemending the May 20 presidential eleciton that saw Maduro voted in as president for a term that will last until 2025. The resolution passed with 19 votes in favour, four against, and 11 abstentions.
The countries that voted in favour of the resolution were: Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guayana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, and the United States.
The countries that voted against the resolution were: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, El Salvador, Bolivia, and Colombia.
According to the Associated Press:
The resolution calls on member states to implement politic and economic measures “to assist in the restoration of democratic order in Venezuela.”
The document also declares that the victory of Nicolas Maduro in the May presidential election lacks legitimacy, a position already adopted separately by at least 15 countries of the hemisphere.
It is the strongest statement adopted so far by the countries of the OAS about the Venezuelan crisis since its secretary-general said in 2016 that the South American country had suffered “grave alterations of democratic order.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza lamented the passing of the resolution, saying that it could lead to a “military intervention in Venezuela”.
Machado Meets Colombian Presidential Hopeful at Border
Vente Venezuela (VV) leader Maria Corina Machado met with Colombian presidential hopeful Ivan Duque at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge today, where the two spoke on a common vision to see democracy restored in Venezuela.
The bridge has become one of the most visible sites of the Venezuelan migrant crisis, since it is the primary land link between Colombia and Venezuela. The bridge carries thousands of Venezuelans into the neighbouring country each day in search for food and other basic necessities, or a fresh start.
The meeting was witnessed by hundreds of Venezuelans who were on their way to Colombia on the bridge.
Machado tweeted a series of videos and images taken of the meeting, among them the one below:
Ivan Duque and I are united by friendship and mutual respect; and, above all else, by the commitment to dedicate our lives to save Colombia and save Venezuela!
One of the videos that Machado posted on her Twitter account of Duque speaking to the crowd can be seen below, along with my translation:
Ivan Duque: I want to tell Maria Corina that I admire her bravery, that I admire her steadfastness, and what we are with you all because we want the release of all political prisoners, because we want democracy in Venezuela, and because we want you to find a way out of this tragedy.
[To Machado] We are committed to defending liberty, to defending democracy.
Machado: We will achieve this, Ivan! We will achieve it.
Duque tweeted a similar image, and accompanied it by a call for tougher sanctions against the Maduro regime:
#Cucuta There have to be sanctions, and there has to be great international pressure to return democracy and freedoms in Venezuela @MariaCorinaYA #TheFutureBelongsToAll
Ivan Duque is running against Gustavo Petro in a run-off presidential election scheduled for June 17 of this year. Duque is a member of the Centro Democratico (CD) party, which is headed by Alvaro Uribe, who is a vociferous critic of the Maduro regime. Petro is running for the left-wing Colombia Humana (CH), and is generally seen in Venezuela as being sympathetic to the Maduro government.
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