Brigadier General Hector Armando Hernandez was arrested by masked men last night at his home in Los Palos Grandes, Caracas. The men–who refused to identify themselves and did not present an arrest warrant–were allegedly with the General Directorate for Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM).

While details on the arrest are not clear, it is likely that Hernandez was arrested in connection with the August 4 drone attack.

Hernandez and his family recorded the moment when the DGCIM officers arrived at his home at approximately 10:00 PM last night.

In the video below, Hernandez speaks on the situation at his home last night prior to his arrest:

Hernandez: My name is Brigadier General Hector Armando Hernandez Da Costa. I’m in my home in Los Palos Grandes with my family, and the DGCIM is here without a search warrant or arrest warrant, and they want to force me to go with them. I am innocent of whatever they want to say, perversely, that I did. These young men from the DGCIM have arrived at home violently. They’re trying to break in. They’ve already sent for the tools. They’re going to arrest me, supposedly on the orders of the president of the republic.

In the video below, Hernandez tries to reason with the DGCIM officers who are standing outside of his apartment on the other side of the bars:

Hernandez: … treatment deserved by a general of the republic who has done nothing more than work for this country.

DGCIM Officer: [Unintelligible].

Hernandez: Yes but, “come with me” without any type of warrant? You’re a member of a state security service, man. You must know what I’m talking about.

DGCIM Officer: Yeah, of course I know.

Hernandez: So, then, where is the arrest warrant? Where is the search warrant?

DGCIM Officer: … you have to come out, or we’ll do this the hard way.

Hernandez: Wait just one moment. You’re telling me that you’re taking me. To where?

DGCIM Officer: To the DGCIM [HQ].

Hernandez: But why? Why don’t you serve me with a summons, and I’ll go by there tomorrow, or whenever? This can’t be like this.

In the video below, a woman inside Hernandez’s apartment speaks to the DGCIM officers outside the home:

DGCIM Officer: They’ve asked us to come get him.

Woman: Who did?

DGCIM Officer: [Unintelligible].

Woman: Who did? Who are you?

DGCIM Officer: [Unintelligible].

Woman: Hang on, why do we have to get violent?

DGCIM Officer: They’ve sent us to get you.

Woman: Who are you? You have to identify yourselves, please. Who are you?

Woman #2: This is my home, damn you! This is my house, and you don’t have a search warrant! Stop violating the constitution!

BCV Head Changes Tune on New Currency Policy

The head of the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV), Calixto Ortega, walked back some of the comments that Maduro made yesterday during a televised speech in which he announced a number of economic changes.

In particular, Ortega took aim at the claim made by the president that starting on August 20, both the Bolivar Fuerte and the Bolivar Soberano–two different types of currency–would “coexist” in the country, meaning that items would be sold and purchased using both.

Ortega explained today that the “coexistence” would in fact be more limited than that which Maduro described, since bills and coins worth less than Bs. 1,000 would not be in circulation starting next Monday.

The Bs. exists in bills of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 100,000.

Ortega explained that once the five-zero removal policy comes into effect on Monday, the Bs. 1,000 bill would be worth Bs. S. 0.01, and so on.

The president of the national bank also explained how a transaction using the two currencies might work on August 20. Starting that day, Ortega said, someone wanting to buy an item worth Bs. S. 5,010,000 would be able to do so by paying with one Bs. S. 50 bill and one Bs. 10,000 bill.

Hyperinflation, poor communication from authorities and poor implementation have made Venezuelan monetary policy notoriously difficult to track reliably.

UN: Venezuela Crisis Forces 2.3 Million from Homes

Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the United Nations, said today that 2.3 million Venezuelans have been forced to leave the country due to the ongoing crisis. Dujarric also said that 1.3 million of those who have left the country were suffering from undernourishment, and that the main reason given by the migrants for leaving the country was lack of food.

It is not clear from media over which time period the United Nations measured the exodus.

2.3 million people represents roughly 7% of the entire population of the country.

Dujarric also painted a grim picture for those who remain in the country, saying that 100,000 Venezuelans living with HIV/AIDS are “at risk” as a result of the collapse of the country’s healthcare sector.

NGO: Detained in Drone Attack Investigation Being Tortured

The Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), a human rights NGO that works with politically persecuted persons, said in a statement early this morning that some of those detained in connection to the August 4 drone attack are being tortured by their captors.

Alfredo Romero, the head of the NGO, shared a video made by some of the lawyers involved in the case early this morning. In the video, the lawyers say that one of the accused, Yanina Pernia, was “tortured, beaten and mistreated” before being brought to court yesterday. The same lawyer said that an unspecified number of defendants–of which there are seven in total–also made similar claims.

Pernia and six others were arrested in the aftermath of the drone attack of August 4, during which two of the flying vehicles carrying explosives detonated near Maduro while he was giving a speech in Caracas in an apparent assassination attempt.

Attorney General: List of Drone Suspects Hits 34

Attorney General Tarek William Saab said in a television interview today that as of today, there are 34 suspects in the August 4 drone attack. Of that number, Saab explained, 14 have already been detained.

Saab also said that “several” suspects are currently abroad, and that the Maduro regime has already forwarded their information to INTERPOL.

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

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