Maduro hinted today that his government would issue a decree with a response against the Lima Group over the bloc’s recent statement in which it rejected his government and called for his resignation. Maduro said that he considered the statement “an aggression”, and that the decree would come from his Constituent Assembly, a legislative body of hand-picked regime loyalists.
On the nature of the decree, Maduro said:
They [the Constituent Assembly] are preparing an devastating decree on this issue.
Maduro took particular issue with the Lima Group statement’s ninth point, in which the Lima Group sides with Guyana in a long-standing border dispute with Venezuela. In an attempt to brush aside the statement, Maduro referred to the Group as a “cartel”, likely due to the word’s connections with drug trafficking. Maduro said:
What do we care that the Lima Cartel does not recognize Venezuela’s institutionalization and constitucionalization [sic]? We don’t care about that at all.
Maduro also stated that he has the support of the “immense majority of countries”, a counterfactual claim given that only a small number of countries–including China, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Syria, and a mere handful of others–formally recognized the May 20 presidential election.
The president also claimed that the Constituent Assembly’s statement would be issued tomorrow.
Zerpa Opens Up in Second Interview to EVTV
Christian Zerpa, the chief electoral judge at the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Supreme Court, TSJ), opened up in a news conference today about the inner workings of the top court. Zerpa defected with his family to the United States over the weekend citing an unwillingness to participate in Maduro’s January 10 inauguration.
During the press conference–which he held in Orlando, Florida–Zerpa asked “forgiveness from the Venezuelan people” for having helped to perpetuate the Maduro dictatorship in power, and called TSJ chief judge Maikel Moreno “a criminal who uses his post for economic gain”.
Zerpa explained that Maduro dictates many of the TSJ’s decisions, and that he was concerned for the safety of Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez, the former chief of the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (National Bolviarian Intelligence Service, SEBIN), the regime’s feared political police.
Gonzalez Lopez was removed from his position in late October under a shroud of secrecy, and has been out of the national spotlight since then. On his current whereabouts, Zerpa said:
We haven’t heard from him since October. We don’t know if he’s in hiding, or imprisoned, or dead for refusing to hand himself over to the SEBIN. He’s not someone that I trust because I don’t agree with what he did int erms of human rights, but if he’s alive, the government should prove it, or he himself should re-appear.
Zerpa also claimed that he is not wealthy, and that he was forced to sell his “cars… and even some bottles of whisky” to gather enough money for his defection.
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