Attorney general Tarek William Saab asked the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), the nation’s top court, to issue a set of injunctions against interim president Juan Guaido, marking the Maduro regime’s first concrete move against the political leader since he declared himself interim president on January 23 of this year.
Speaking to reporters outside of the TSJ offices in Caracas,Saab said that he was asking the court to issue three injunctions doing the following:
- Banning Guaido from leaving the country.
- Banning Guaido from conducting real estate transactions.
- Freezing his bank accounts.
While the first and second injunctions are likely aimed and ensuring that Guaido stays in Venezuela, the second is likely meant to try to stop him from claiming control over any state assets.
Saab explained that the injunctions were necessary since Guaido is now formally under investigation by his office. Saab said:
… the Public Ministry [has opened] a preliminary investigation [against] Juan Guaido [about] the various violent events that have taken place in this country starting on January 22, which even allowed foreign countries to solicit very serious measures against Venezuela which alter the democratic order…
While Saab did not mention any “measures” specifically, the White House did levy its strongest sanctions against Venezuela yet yesterday by going directly at PDVSA, the state-owned oil firms. Those sanctions are like to have a negative impact on ordinary Venezuelans given their broad scope.
Saab went on generally about these “measures”, saying:
[These are] coercive measures, economic blockade measures that hurt not only the country but also family life.
Just hours after Saab announced the measures, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton repeated a threat he made earlier, saying that “there will be serious consequences” if Guaido is harmed.
It is not clear from Bolton’s tweet if the injunctions or the opening of a preliminary investigation against Guaido constitute harm.
Asked to comment on Saab’s announcement by reporters outside of the National Assembly, Guaido said that the threats against him were “nothing new”.
Deputy Guerra Warns of Alleged Gold Heist
National Assembly deputy Jose Guerra warned today of an attempted gold heist involving “at least 20 tonnes” of the precious metal straight out of the vaults beneath the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV), the country’s central bank.
We’ve received information that of the more than 150 tonnes of gold resting inside the vaults at the [Central Bank] offices, they’re trying to take out at least 20 tonnes of gold and take them on a plane to Russia.
A tweet from the National Assembly has quoted Guerra as saying that the information came from “workers” inside the BCV. Meanwhile, El Nacional reports that Guerra said that the airplane is currently parked in an airport in Venezuela, although it appears he did not specify which one.
Guerra’s allegations come just hours after a Boeing 777 from Moscow landed at the Maiquetia International Airport just north of Caracas. The plane landed shortly before 9:00 PM local time:
Novaya Gazeta, a Russian investigative journalism publication, reported as the plane took off to Venezuela yesterday that it was charted by a Turkish/Russian group, that it has never made flights to Venezuelan before, and that the only people on board were two crews.
National Assembly Assigns New Diplomats
The National Assembly named a new set of diplomats today in a sign that the fracture tearing the Venezuelan state in two is now working its way through the nation’s foreign relations front.
Below, a list of the individuals who were designated “representatives of Venezuela” and the respective country to which they were assigned:
- Carlos Vecchio (United States)
- Alisa Trota Gamos (Argentina)
- Orlando Viera Blanco (Canada)
- Guarequena Gutierrez (Chile)
- Homberto Calderon Berti (Colombia)
- Maria Faria (Costa Rica)
- Rene de Sola Quintero (Ecuador)
- Claudio Sandoval (Honduras)
- Fabiola Zacarce (Panama)
- Carlos Scull (Peru)
- Julio Borges (Lima Group)
Bogota has already issued a statement recognizing Calderon as Venezuela’s diplomatic representative in that country.
Maduro Visits Military Base in Aragua
Maduro visited the 42nd Airborne Brigade in a military base in Aragua state this afternoon.
While at the base, Maduro told the soldiers:
I’m one of you. I’m a foot soldier, a humble man like you. We are the same. We dream the same way. We are united by patriotism and anti-imperialism. We are united in a vision.
Maduro also said that he was creating “50 thousand popular units” to “defend” Venezuela from foreign agression. He said that the units would operate:
… in the defense of every barrio, town, city and village in Venezuela….
It is not clear from Maduro’s comments what exactly these units would look like.
In the video below, Maduro speaks to the soldiers assembled before him at the base:
In the video below, Maduro marches–and then jogs–with the soldiers on the base:
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