The chief of the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), Maikel Moreno, spoke today at the headquarters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on the importance of international justice.

Moreno participated in an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute, the international legal document that engendered the ICC. During his speech, Moreno spoke on the importance of the ICC and called on the organization to work towards being independent, efficient and transparent.

Moreno’s speech is noteworthy both because he is prohibited from entering the European Union, and because Venezuela is currently the target of an ICC preliminary examination that may determine whether the Maduro regime has committed crimes against humanity.

Below, an image of Moreno (centre, with green tie) standing among a group of individuals at the ICC headquarters in The Hague today:

Beatriz Becerra, the vice-president of the European Parliament’s (EP) sub-comission on human rights, has already filed a formal request demanding that the EP why Moreno was allowed to enter the jurisdiction in spite of the sanctions against him.

Legislator: 50% of Zulia Businesses Closed due to Energy Problems

National Assembly deputy Nora Bracho, head of the legislature’s Administration of Services Commission, said yesterday afternoon that 50% of businesses in Zulia state have been forced to close due to the chaos caused by the frequent, hours-long power outages affecting the country.

Bracho explained that the power outages, combined with the lack of “water, gas, ATMs, internet, [and] telephone [service]”  have wreaked havoc on the state’s commercial sector.

During a speech at the National Assembly, Bracho dared Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez to visit the state and witness for himself the effects of the chronic power failures. She said:

See for yourself how Zulia residents suffer, [since] they have to stay in tin-roofed homes when it’s 30… degrees, without being able to turn on a fan.

Years of neglect and corruption have pushed Venezuela’s electrical grid to the point of collapse. Zulia state has been particularly hard-hit by the electrical crisis since it receives only 10% of the power that it needs to function, leaving its approximately 5 million residents to languish in the daily blackouts.

Four Police Officers Accused in Death of Teen During Protest

Yesterday, 13-year-old Evelio Rodriguez was shot and killed during a protest in San Felix, Bolivar state. Rodriguez was allegedly not part of the protest, which was taking place in response to the lack of water and electricity in the city.

Citing police sources, Reuters reports that state authorities have determined that four police officers who were at the scene “controlling the [protest]”.

According to Reuters, Rodriguez’s family members claim that he had been sent out to buy food for dinner when he came across the protest. At that time, the police arrived on the scene and began firing their weapons. Rodriguez was struck by a bullet on the left side of his torso, and died later in hospital.

Evelyn Rodriguez, Evelio’s sister, told Reuters:

Mi mom sent him out to buy casabe [a tortilla made from cassava] for dinner. We had no idea about the commotion outside. We did not know that they were protesting.

I still don’t believe that it happened. We were really close, and now we’re doing really badly. I only want justice. How can they shoot people?

A neighbour told the news agency that once word reach the community from the hospital that Rodriguez had died, the neighbourhood “got fired up and burned down the police office”.

The four accused have been arrested.

TV Personality Announces Sister’s Death on Twitter

Sergio Novelli, a television personality and household name in Venezuela, announced this afternoon that his sister had died due to lack of access to medicine for an undisclosed medical condition. Novelli suggested that his sister, Joanna, had died during a seizure, and that he was sending her medicine from outside of Venezuela, where he resides.

Novelli, whose career spanning across television and radio began in 1989, also lamented that he would be unable to travel to Venezuela for his sister’s funeral out of concern that he would be arrested by the regime.

Below, Novelli’s tweets:

Today was my family’s turn. My little sister Joanna has gone to God. He knows the reason why. And I will not argue with that. But unfortunately, the shortage of medicine in Venezuela contributed to this happening. She had gone 10 days without taking any anti-convulsive [medicine].

She was about to receive a new dose, but it was too late. Unfortunately [we] can do little from afar. I will not able to travel to the country, because I don’t know if I will be allowed to leave. God is with us, with the whole family. I love you, my Joa! Forever!

I say goodbye even though I know that we will soon see each other again my Joa!

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

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