The international community continues to react to Maduro’s presidency, which officially began the 2019-2025 term with a highly contentious ceremony on January 10.

Earlier today, Argentinian president Mauricio Macri met Jair Bolsonaro, his Brazilian monologue, and the two discussed the situation in Venezuela. Speaking to reporters after their meeting in Brasilia, Macri said:

We stress our condemnation of the Nicolas Maduro dictatorship. We do not accept this mockery of democracy (…) the international community has realized [that] Maduro is a dictator who seeks to perpetuate his power with fake elections, [and by] jailing opposition [figures, and] taking Venezuelans into a desperate situation.

Maduro won the country’s last presidential elections–held on May 20 of last year–amid a sea of protest over the irregularities that marked them. Leading up to the election, the Maduro regime banned popular politicians and political parties from running, while election day was mired with accusations of voter fraud, intimidation and other issues. As a result, dozens of countries reacted to the vote by saying that they did not recognize Maduro as the winner.

The meeting in Brasilia comes a day after United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a telephone conversation with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and spoke, among other issue, the situation in Venezuela.

Robert Palladino, a spokesperson at the Secretary of State, confirmed the conversation via a tweet shared earlier today:

The telephone conversation follow a statement from Pompeo that he posted on Twitter, which reads:

Arreaza Meets UN Chief, Condemns “Intervention” From Int’l Community

Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza met with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The purpose of the meeting was for Arreaza to raise concerns of foreign “intervention” in Venezuela in person.

Arreaza shared a message on the meeting, saying:

We thank UN Secretary General [Antonio Guterres] for the cordial, respectful and warm meeting held minutes ago in his office in [New York City]. We told him about President Maduro’s indomitable commitment with peace, multilaterlism and the Agenda 2030.

Caracas Court Orders “Rogue” SEBIN Agents Detained

A Caracas court has ordered a group of SEBIN agents detained today in connection with Sunday’s arrest of National Assembly president Juan Guaido. The ruling came from Caracas’ Sixth Control Court, and includes twelve officers from the regime’s political police force. The detained officers are:

  1. Ildemaro José Rodríguez Mucura
  2. Argenis Jesús Flores Molina
  3. Waleymi Wilkerin Abab Rivas
  4. Ronald Caballero Urbina Urbina
  5. David Caballero García
  6. Eisten José Flores Molina
  7. Ángel Nicanor Figueira Verdú
  8. Víctor Manuel Herrera Freitas
  9. Joshwad Pietro Vitulano
  10. Luis E. Saavedra Mendoza
  11. Yosbel Adelso Rodríguez Villegas
  12. José Jesús Escobar Colina

Shortly after Guaido was detained, regime spokesperson Jorge Rodriguez said in a televised statement that the agents that conducted the operation had acted on their own, and that Guaido’s arrest had not been sanctioned by the proper authorities.

The unprecedented statement from Rodriguez fueled speculation that an internal power struggle had played out, with one regime faction ordering Guaido’s detention and another ordering his release.

The twelve officers stand accused of abusing their powers, kidnapping, and conspiracy.

Opposition Rallies Draw Large Crowds

Over the past several days, the Venezuelan opposition has been holding open-air town hall meetings called cabildo abierto [literally “open council”] throughout the country. The meetings are political rallies where local leaders give speeches before crowds of supporters.

The meetings have been drawing the largest crowds of anti-government demonstrators since the 2017 protest movement.

There were two cabildo abierto meetings today: one in the Baruta neighbourhood of Caracas, and the other in Valencia, the capital of Carabobo state.

A video from the meeting in Baruta:

Below, two images from the crowd in Valencia:

The size of the crowds at this events suggests that the nationwide protest that the opposition has called for January 23 will attract large numbers of protesters.

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

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