Today is National Police Day in Venezuela,and Maduro marked the occasion by preceding over a graduation ceremony for National Bolivarian Police officers.

Below, an image of Maduro at today’s graduation ceremony:

I congratulate the 3,610 officers from the [National Bolivarian Police] who are finishing their high-quality studies today at the [National Experimental Security University]. We will achieve quality Security and Public Protection services with efficiency and efficacy. Let us go into Battle against crime!

During the graduation ceremony, Maduro gave a speech in which he unveiled a new national security initiative called Gran Mision Cuadrante de Paz [roughly, “Great Peace Quadrant Mission:”]. According to Maduro, the initiative seeks to “build a system of public security” to tackle crime in Venezuela.

In Venezuela, government initiatives and programs are often given names that include the term Gran Mision [“Great Mission”] as a rhetorical tool to suggest their scope and importance.

While Maduro’s description of the initiative was vague, he suggested that it is the culmination of other security initiatives that his regime has deployed. Maduro said:

I think that after experimenting with these policies, the time has come to create and resume a great new mission, all of the security initiatives–and let no one deviate, and let everyone know where our main efforts will be. I’ve made the decision to create a great mission connected to security, the Great Peace Quadrant Mission for the People, where we will work as never before, with the experience that we’ve gained, to build a public security system for our people.

While Maduro was vague on the details, he did say that the initiative would involve dividing the country into “peace quadrants”, and that doing so would be the first step towards the complete and undeniable success of the initiative. He said:

… we will be invincible. I dream with a country of citizen peace, of absolute security, and we can achieve this to leave a better country for future generations.

Maduro also appeared to suggest that the initiative would involve setting up a system that would allow citizens to call the police when needed. He said:

When a neighbour goes out to work at midnight and he has to travel on difficult paths, he should have immediate communication with the peace quadrants so that he can count of the police forces.

Maduro Launches Murky Threat Against Univerisities

During the same speech, Maduro said that every university in Venezuela had to be aligned with the Plan de la Patria 2015 [Motherland Plan 2025], which is a roadmap that the regime has created for the country for Maduro’s second term as president. In this framework, Maduro explained, no university should offer degrees that do not directly aid in the “development of the country”.

Maduro said:

Every university has to be connected to the Plan de la Patria 2025. There can be no university graduating people in fields that have nothing to do with the development of the country, fields that have nothing to do with economic, industrial, agro-industrial, agricultural, health development, among others. I will insist on this a lot.

Maduro did not specify what he considered to be a field that contributed to the development of the country.

IMF: Scope of Venezuelan Crisis “Difficult to Exaggerate”

Maurice Obstfeld, an economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said today that it was “difficult to exaggerate” the scope of the Venezuelan crisis, given that the country’s economy appears to be in a state of “collapse”.

Obstfeld made the comments during a press conference. He did not provide any figures to illustrate his claims.

During the press conference, Obstfeld admitted that the IMF’s figures on Venezuela might not be entirely accurate, since the organization has “not had a relationship [with Venezuela] in over a decade over their economic policies”.

Obstfeld followed up by saying that the IMF expects the Venezuelan economy to shrink “in the double digits” over the next few years, and that its hyperinflationary crisis would continue and be matched only by that which gripped Zimbabwe in 2008-2009, and Weimer Germany in the early 1920s.

Minister Varela: Maduro “First to Suffer” Due to Economic Crisis

Minister of Prisons Iris Varela appeared on the Sunday interview show Jose Vicente Hoy yesterday afternoon, and spoke on a number of issues.

Valera spoke in glowing terms of Maduro’s tenure as president, saying that there was “nothing more” that he wants than to “cement the happiness of our people”. The “difficult situations” affecting Venezuela, Varela said, also affect Maduro most of all. She said:

The economic situation that is caused by the blockade [sic]–everything that happens affects us all. Who doesn’t suffer from the situation in the country? The first one to suffer is the president of the Republic, because it’s his responsibility.

Varela’s full interview can be found here.

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

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