Following the mutiny at the El Helicoide prison in Caracas on Monday afternoon, two of the detention centres’ inmates have been transfered by the authorities the Penitenciaria General de Venezuela [Venezuela General Penitentiary] (PGV), a prison in San Juan de los Morros, Guarico state.

The newspaper reported today that the two inmates are Reggie Andrade and Fred Mavarez, both former members of the Chacao Municipal Police. Initially, the authorities did not reveal where the two men were being taken.

Alfredo Romero, the head of the Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), said in a message posted on Twitter that state security forces are now “apparently in control” of the prison, and that the mutiny appears to be over.

Mavarez’ removal from the prison was confirmed by National Assembly deputy Delsa Solorzano, who said in a Twitter message that Mavarez was taken out of the prison “handcuffed and [placed inside] an SUV” headed to an unknown location.

Both Mavarez and Andrade were arrested on June 20, 2016, and accused of murder. On August 8 of 2016, a judge ordered their immediate release, but the authorities simply refused to comply by the order and have kept the men in detention. Gonzalo Himiob, one of the directors of the FPV, called the transfer to PFV “inexplicable”, since the men should have been released from prison nearly two years ago.

El Helicoide has been engulfed in turmoil in recent weeks, and has been under the control of its inmates on two occassions since mid-May following mutinies at the facility.

The prison is run by the regime’s political police, the SEBIN. The prisoners are routinely submitted to human rights abuses including torture, and has been described by inmates as “hell on earth”.

Switzerland Sanctions 11 More Regime Officials

The government of Switzerland sanctioned eleven Maduro regime officials in response to their role in the dismantling of “democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela”.

The sanctions came from the State Secretariat for the Economy (SECO), and include vice president Delcy Rodriguez and former vice president Tareck El Aissami.

According to the SECO sanctions page, there are a total of 18 Maduro regime officials under sanctions by Switzerland. The eleven individuals who were added to the sanctions list on Tuesday are:

  • Delcy Rodriguez (Vice-President)
  • Elias Jaua (Minister of Education)
  • Freddy Bernal (Head of the CLAP Distribution Network)
  • Ivan Dala (Head of the Military Counterintelligence Directorate [DGCIM])
  • Jesus Suarez Chourio (Commander of the National Bolivarian Army)
  • Katherine Harrington (Deputy Attorney General)
  • Sandra Oblitas (Rector at the National Electoral Council)
  • Xavier Moreno Reyes (Secretary General of the National Electoral Council)
  • Socorro Hernandez (Rector at the National Electoral Council)
  • Tareck El Aissami (Vice President of the Economy and Minister of National Industry and Production)
  • Sergio Marcano (Inspector General of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces)

The named individuals are now prohibited from entering Switzerland, and all of their assets in that jurisdiction are now frozen.

Turkish Airlines Setting Up in Venezuela

Maduro announced today that Turkish Airlines will set up offices in the country, as Caracas and Ankara continue to build economic ties.

Speaking on his talks with Turkish officials during his recent visit to the country, Maduro said:

We’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to air interconnection. We’ve made progress in the plans that we’re going to cement during this visit to have Turkish Airlines set up a base of operations in Venezuela for all of their operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, which makes us feel optimistic.

Maduro has been in Turkey all week, where he attended the swearing-in ceremony of president Recep Erdogan on Monday.

Maduro also said that he had “great faith in the relationship between our countries”, and that he was eager to work together with Turkey in the future given what he considers to be its position as “an important emerging power in the world”.

Maduro posted the following message on his Twitter account earlier today:

Today, Turkey and Venezuela walk towards prosperity and development, we cannot lose this opportunity. We have met all of the conditions to walk together towards the happiness and well-being of our people. Long live the relations between Turkey and Venezuela!

Late this morning, he posted the following message:

I want to thank the people and the government of Turkey, their warmth and their hospitality ratify our mutual will and commitment to work for the development of the potential of our nations. We’ve identified the basis for deep union and cooperation.

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

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