Maduro’s Constituent Assembly convened today to take action against the country’s political opposition, as the fallout from Saturday’s drone attack continues.
The first victim of the regime’s ire today was Julio Borges, the head of the Primero Justicia (PJ) party. The Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) issued a statement accusing him of being involved in the drone attack, and ordering his immediate arrest. Part of that release reads:
Borges has not been in Venezuela for several months given the incessant persecution against him. PJ is the largest party by seats in the country’s parliament.
Less than an hour before news of his arrest order broke, Borges posted a video on his Twitter account in which he said that the regime was readying to move against him for his work as an opposition politician. He said:
Julio Borges: First of all, I want to condemn the arbitrary detention of our colleague, deputy Juan Requesens. He was kidnapped. He was taking against the law and a the constitution, and all of his human rights were violated. His family doesn’t know where he is. And, as we speak, the spurious, fraudulent Constituent Assembly is carrying out an event in which it will remove the parliamentary immunity of Juan Requesens and myself.
We’ve been accused of everything. Years ago, they accused us of wanting to bomb Caracas, and that I’d be flying the plane; that I was involved in military conspiracies; that we were selling Venezuelan currency here in Colombia; that we were trafficking people, and that we were terrorists. But this is all because we have a very clear position that has caused a lot of damage to Nicolas Maduro, because we have advocated for sanctions and for the isolation of Nicolas Maduro’s illegal debt, and because we refused to sign the anti-democratic agreement that they wanted us to sign in the Dominican Republic, so they won’t forgive us for having that position.
I want to give Nicolas Maduro a clear message: we want to see you–and you will be–out of power, in jail, for violating human rights, for destryoing democracy, and forced to repay Venezuelans everything that you have stolen.
No one wants violence in Venezuela. The only person promoting violence is called Nicolas Maduro, and that’s why we have to democratically [achieve] a change towards peace, progress and liberty in Venezuela in the short term.
I want to thank Colombia…
The Constituent Assembly–which was elected in a fraudulent election last year and is made up elusively of hand-picked regime loyalists–immediately approved the stripping of Borges’ parliamentary immunity, as well as that of deputy Juan Requesens, who was arrested last night.
The Supreme Court also ordered the trial of Requesens in its statement today. Requesens’ whereabouts are currently unknown.
Public Ministry Provides New Details on Drone Attack
The Maduro regime revealed today that it has a list of 19 individuals whom it believes were directly responsible for Saturday’s drone attack, according to attorney general Tarek William Saab. He made the announcement in a speech, key sections of which were later shared on the Public Ministry’s twitter account.
In the tweets, Saab said that three of the suspects had already been brought before a judge and accused of treason, attempted murder, sing explosives, terrorism, and damaging property.
Among Saab’s claims:
- There were six people involved in the conducting the drone attack. There were two drone teams made up of two operators each, and two spotters.
- One drone team operated from inside an office in a building near the place where Maduro was speaking. This is the drone that exploded near the presidential stand.
- The other drone team operated outside of a vehicle that was parked on a corner closer to the place where Maduro was speaking.
- The operation involved a total of 19 people.
- The operation was financed by three individuals: two in Colombia and one in the United States. One of the individuals in Colombia is a retired National Guard colonel.
None of the allegations made in Saab’s tweet have been substantiated.
The tweets were posted on the Public Ministry’s website today, August 8 2018, between 11:34 and 11:48 EST. Below, the 21 tweets along with my translation:
Attorney General [Tarek William Saab]: Three of the detained were presented before a judge last night for the attempted magnicide against President of the Republic Nicolas Maduro
Attorney general [Tarek William Saab] has reminded [Venezuelans] that the attack was perpetrated by two drones carrying explosives, one of which was operated from an office inside the Cipreses Business Centre in the Lecuna avenue.
[Saab]: This drone was operated by Brayan Oropeza and Alberto Bracho, who were taken to that site by the citizen named Yanin Pernia aboard a blue Jeep Cherokee truck
This was the drone that exploded in front of the presidential stand. [Authorities] collected a device to control an DJI unnamed aircraft in this office.
[Saab]: The second unnamed flying vehicle was operated from inside a black Chevrolet Orlando located on the corner of Curamichate.
[Saab] It was driven by the citizen named Argenis Valero, alongside Juan Carlos Monasterios, who were apprehended en flagrante.
[Saab] Two people who have already been identified were able to escape from the site, one’s job was to stand near the presidential stand and guide the drone operators, and the other was in charge of watching over the devices’ zone of operation.
[Saab]: This drone [the one that was operated by the men inside the black Chevrolet] exploded in apartment No. 22 of the second floor of the Don Eduardo Residences, causing serious structural damage to the [apartment].
[Saab]: Fortunately the evidence [that the government has] includes videos, audio and testimony.
[Saab]: After interrogating [the arrested] and carrying out several raids and investigations, we established links to 19 people directly involved in the attack.
[Saab]: The suspected financiers have been located abroad. [They are] Raider Russo and National Guard Colonel (R) Oswaldo Garcia, who live in Colombia; and Osman Delgado, who is located in the U.S.
[Saab]: The preliminary hearing took place at the [name of the type of court: Juzgado No. 1 de Control] which deals with terrorism [cases], were Argenis Valero, Juan Carlos Monasteiros and Jose Rivas were charged.
1/5 [Saab]: At the request of the Public Ministry the court allowed to proceed as it would ordinarily, given the multiple additional investigative tasks as well as those that are already practiced.
2/5 [Saab]: It also agreed to hold the three accused in detention, and to seize all of their assets and freeze their bank accounts.
3/5 [Saab]: They were charged with the crimes of treason, and attempted murder of the head of state
4/5 [Saab]: [They have also been charged with] attempted murder causing injury against the soldiers José Núñez, Benny Ortiz, Luis Molina, Darwin Moreno, Jesús Gómez, Víctor Hernández and Lizneidy Guerrero
5/5 [Saab]: As well as with using an explosive, terrorism, violent damage to property, and associating for the purposes of committing a crime
[Saab]: Jose Rivas, along with being charged with these crimes, was also charged with financing terrorism, because the business that he heads paid for the stays of those who carried out the attack
[Saab]: The Public Ministry has set a precedent before the country in a quick and diligent manner with the support of the courts and justice organizations
[Saab]: The message is clear: In Venezuela, whoever wants to enter the political arena must do so with ideas, not with these types of acts
[Saab] It is a duty and a right for Venezuela to be informed of what we are doing. Those who tried to do this have been isolated.
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