Former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz said in an interview published today on Punto de Corte Diosdado Cabello, the vice president of the ruling PSUV party, called her on December 28 2012 to tell her that Chavez had died. While she claims that Cabello called her back some time after to say that Chavez was in fact still alive, Ortega Diaz’s comments made a splash on national media outlets today because Chavez’s official date of death is March 5, 2013.
In the interview, Ortega Diaz said that she was informed that Chavez had died on December 28 2012 by Cabello during a telephone conversation. Ortega Diaz said:
I was out of the country on December 28 (2012), and Diosdado called me: “Come back, because Chavez has died”. We bought tickets to go back to Venezuela, but after he called me to say that he hadn’t died. I’m telling you what happened, as it happened.
Ortega Diaz suggested that Chavez did in fact die on or about December 28 2012, but that his death was not made public until March 5 2013 due to infighting in the PSUV. According to the former attorney general, Diosdado and Maduro were jockeying for position as Chavez’s successor at the time.
Punte de Corte has been down all day. The head of the Marea Socialista party, Nicmer Evans, suggested today that the website was taken down either by the regime or its sympathizers in order to bury Ortega Diaz’s interview.
The details of Chavez’s death are still a matter of debate in Venezuela, since his illness and last months alive were shrouded under a veil of state secrecy. To this day, Venezuelans have not been told exactly what type of cancer claimed Chavez’s life, and the Maduro regime has even gone as far to suggest that he was poisoned.
Motta Dominguez Admits Existence of Electrical Crisis
The country’s infrastructural collapse is arguably best represented by what remains of its electrical grid. Daily hours-long blackouts plague large sections of the country as a result of chronic mismanagement, corruption and lack of funds for equipment maintenance and upgrades.
Earlier today, Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez gave a frantic press conference in which he made the rare admission that the country’s electrical grid was in crisis. Motta Dominguez, who appeared agitated when speaking to reporters, also suggested that Venezuelans might be expected to abide by an electrical rationing regime that could last anywhere from four to twelve hours as a matter of course.
Below, Motta Dominguez’ comments, along with my translation:
Luis Motta Dominguez: … six hours, four hours. It could be twelve [hours], it could be eight, it could be four. But what’s really important is that the people really know, and that it’s [the rationing] is really carried out.
We’re in a crisis right now. That’s why this is called a crisis [sic]. Do you remember the Guri [hydroelectric dam]? In other words–do you really think that the people who work there [at the power companies] want you to suffer like this? Is that what you think? No! We’re doing what is humanly possible…
In his comments to the press, Motta Dominguez referenced the Guri hydroelectric dam. The dam, which a decade ago provided as much as one third of the country’s electricity, was at risk of drying up two years ago during a drought, a fact which caused chaos on the country’s electrical grid.
Maracaibo Sees Energy Protests
Residents of several areas of Maracaibo, the capital of Zulia state, took to the streets of their city today to protest the frequent power outages that plague the second-largest urban centre in the country.
Marlene Añez, a resident of the Cañada Honda sector of the city, said during a protest today:
We want power! We want a solution. There’s no power, there’s no point [sic], no food, no gas, no water, nothing. How much longer [will we go on like this]?
At another protest, a woman expressed her anger at Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez by saying:
Woman in Black: Why doesn’t he [Motta Dominguez] come here and talk to us–and they’re asking him questions–what I want to know is, what is happening? I’m not going to swear, but if I get my hands on that punk, I’ll kill him!
Woman in White: … without power. We can’t sleep. We’re getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. We can’t make formula for our babies–I have sick relatives. How can I give them medicine? There isn’t any. We’re screwed. Others, they have everything, but we’re here like a bunch of idiots putting up with this shit.
In the Milagro Norte area of the city, protesters blocked a road by playing burning rubble on it:
Another blocked road somewhere in the city. The person that posted it remarks sarcastically that the authorities are likely to blame “the Sun for being too close” to the Earth as the cause of the power failures:
Healthcare Workers Striking in 19/24 States
The president of the Federacion Medica de Venezuela [Venezuelan Medical Federation], Douglas Leon Natera, announced today that the healthcare sector protests that began nearly three weeks ago in Caracas have now spread to 19 of the country’s 24 states.
The protests began in Caracas when nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers launched an indefinite strike to protest against the regime’s inability to alleviate the collapse of sector.
Speaking to reporters on the purpose of the protests, Natera said:
This is a protest for life, health, and even for families.
Natera said that he believed that the nascent protest movement could make a meaningful impact on the national scale, so long as “political parties do not intervene”.
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