Attorney General Tarek William Saab suggested today that opposition politicians who continue to insist that Fernando Alban was murdered could face criminal prosecution.

Fernando Alban, a Caracas city councilor with the Primero Justicia (PJ) party, died in custody on October 8 just three days after being arrested. The authorities did not present a warrant at the time that they arrested Alban, and it was only after his death that the they announced that he had been detained in connection to the August 4 drone attack against Maduro.

Following his death, regime officials offered a series of contradictory declarations, saying first that Alban had committed suicide by jumping out of a 10th story bathroom window, and later, that he had jumped out of a window in a waiting room.

The regime’s suicide theory immediately raised flags, both for those who personally knew Alban and for observers.

Alban’s colleagues and loved ones have stressed repeatedly that his religious and personal convictions were such that he would never commit suicide. Others have raised questions regarding why, if Alban was in custody, he was in administrative part of the SEBIN’s building rather than in the jail, which is located in the basement.

During the interview today, Saab said those who believe that Alban was murdered have not provided any evidence to support their claim, an argument upends the relationship of civil society and the police, who work it is to investigate crimes. Saab said:

Those who have said the contrary [that Alban did not commit suicide] have not provided any evidence.

Saab went on to suggest, erroneously, that there is an onus on an individual making a claim that someone was murdered to name the guilty party. The attorney general also suggested that anyone who were to make such an accusation would be “making up a fact” and committing defamation. Saab said:

First, they have to give the names of the people who committed the murder. No one has dared to do this because that would be defamation, the making up of a fact.

Saab’s claim that a suspect must be named at the outset once a murder has been detected is counterfactual. In fact, it is often the case that when a murder is committed, the identity of the killer is not immediately known.

Moreover, those who believe that Alban was murdered have in fact named a group of suspects: the SEBIN agents who were with him on the 10th floor of the agency’s Plaza Venezuela headquarters on the afternoon of October 8th when he was killed.

During the same interview, Saab said that his office had launched an investigation into why Alban was left unsupervised for long enough to jump out of a window.

Maduro Promises 1,000,000 BPD for China

During a press conference this afternoon, Maduro said that he wants to send 1 million barrels of oil per day to China “rain, thunder and lightning”, a Venezuelan colloquialism that roughly means “rain or shine”.

Maduro said:

I want to stress with all my being and all of my strength that we are going to hit 1,000,000 barrels of oil per day [to send to] China.

According to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuelan oil fields produced an average of 1.197 million barrels of oil per day in September, nearly half of what they produced in 2016.

In other words, Maduro’s comments today constitutes a desire to send China approximately 84% of the country’s monthly oil production as per October’s figures.

Maduro said:

The conditions exist in Venezuela so that the great Chinese market can be filled with products made in Venezuela, quality products made in Venezuela.

Venezuela is currently experiencing the most catastrophic economic collapse in its modern history, which has resulted in chronic shortages of food, medicine and other basic necessities. The inflation rate in the country is projected to hit 1 million percent at the end of the year. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Venezuelan economy has shrunk 30% since 2013.

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

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