A trio of dissident state deputies from the ruling PSUV party spoke at the National Assembly today about the harassment to which they have been subjected by the regime for their political views.
The deputies–Eduardo Labrador, Zenaida Fernandez, and Jose Vielma–all come from Zulia state, where they served as state legislators. They were expelled from the PSUV on March 19 by the president the Zulia state legislature, Angela Fernandez, who called them “traitors” for distancing themselves from the Maduro regime.
The deputies had asked for the resignation of Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez back in mid-March over his disastrous handling of the electrical crisis, which has historically affected Zulia state much more than other areas of the country. Edgar Mujica, the head of the PSUV in Zulia state, called the deputies’ request “cowardly and shameful”.
Maduro removed Motta Dominguez from his post on April 1.
Speaking at the National Assembly this afternoon, Labrador told the legislature that they have been harassed for their political position, and that they have had their offices closed and their belongings stolen.
The Zulia state deputies spoke on the occasion of the creation of a parliamentary commission aimed at finding ways to protect public sector workers from political harassment. This “Protection Commission” will work within the legislature’s Social Development Commission, and will be open to receive cases of political harassment from public sector employees.
On the plight of public sector employees, Guaido said:
Public sector workers have been persecuted. They don’t want only to protect their jobs: they want to make a contribution [to society].
Guaido: “Death”, not Socialism, Runs Venezuela
Speaking from the National Assembly this afternoon, Guaido argued that the Maduro regime is not socialist because “there is no social justice in Venezuela”.
Instead, Guaido suggested that “death” rules Venezuela. He said:
They [the PSUV] handed the country over to Cuba, to foreign interests, and what we’ve seen is death. They [the PSUV] represent death. Yesterday, fourteen states were without electrical power. This is an inefficient regime that can’t even keep the lights on because they stole Venezuelans’ money.
Guaido pointed to the anemic state of social services in the country, saying:
There are no [social] benefits. This is a most destructive government. Who can go to a hospital today?
Bloomberg: “Venezuela Imports Crude for the First Time in Five Years”
Bloomberg published an article today in which it revealed that the continued collapse of the country’s oil industry has forced the country to import crude oil for the first time in five years. According to the article, nearly a million barrels of Nigerian oil arrived in the country today after being loaded for the journey “in early April”.
The nation’s output fell below 1 million barrels a day to a 16-year low in March, amid rolling blackouts and U.S. sanctions. As the power disruption shut oil fields, pipelines and ports, bringing oil infrastructure to a halt, state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA bought a cargo of crude from fellow OPEC member Nigeria, marking the first oil import since 2014.
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