In an end-of-the-year television interview, Maduro spoke at length not only about 2019 but also about his vision for Venezuela’s future in 2020.
Among his announcements was the assertion that starting this year, Venezuelan oil would be sold in Petros, a regime-built cryptocurrency, in order to circumvent United States sanctions against the country’s oil sector. Maduro said:
We’re going to sell Venezuelan oil in Petros. We’re already selling Venezuelan iron and steel in Petros. We already have contracts signed for the sale of oil, steel, iron, [and] aluminum, and we’re going to sell part of our gold production in Petros.
A search of Venezuelan news sources did not yield any reports of the country selling any of its resources in Petros.
Maduro also spoke on the parliamentary elections, which are scheduled to take place this year. The president predicted “high participation” rates in the vote, and said:
I can tell you that the Bolivarian forces [the PSUV] will win a great victory, [and that] we will win back the National Assembly.
The last election to take place in the country was the May 2018 presidential vote. Such was the level of discontent and disillusionment in the country’s electoral system that the election saw the lowest turnout in the country’s history, with a mere 46.08%. In contrast, the previous presidential election (in 2013, following Chavez’s death) had a turnout of 79.68%.
The full interview can be seen here.
Guadio Calls for “Correction” of Strategy in 2020
Two days ago, opposition leader Juan Guaido posted a video message on his Twitter account laying out his vision for 2020, and thanking all of those who supported him throughout the year.
In the video, Guaido argued that the Maduro regime suffered “the weakest moments in its history” in 2019, and that as a the result the year would be remembered as the beginning of the end of the dictatorship.
Acknowledging that more work has yet to be done, Guaido thanked the international governments and organizations that have recognized his government and briefly conceded that a “correction” of strategy was needed in 2020. He said:
Of course, there’s more to be done. We’ve got to make corrections, add [more supporters], and re-double our efforts…
Guaido did not specify what corrections he thought are necessary for the opposition strategy this year.
Personal Project: Aircraft Database
I launched a personal project yesterday: an open database of aircraft linked to the Venezuelan government, its officials, officials and other VIPs. The database, which can be accessed and edited by anyone, can be found here.
Some of the aircraft on the database are privately-registered, but under suspicion of being connected to individuals with ties to the regime. For example, some of their privately-known aircraft have taken off and landed at the La Carlota military airbase in Caracas, which would necessitate special permission from the authorities.
Another one of the aircraft in the database is YV3016, a jet that is painted to look like a passenger aircraft from Conviasa and that is registered to the company, but that is actually used by top-ranking regime officials to travel the world.
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