For Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
The first day of biometric validation to activate the recall referendum was successful. There were all kinds of complications: rain, validation centers opening late, blocked roads, power outages, both real and fictional protests and few operational captahuellas in centers with the most voters. Henrique Capriles reported the numbers and insisted on the need for the CNE to compensate the hours lost due to power outages, as well as the urgency to transport the captahuellas to places with higher voting population. 77,557 signatures were validated this Monday, 36.7% out of the 1% required per state. We must reach this 1% of voters per state, an absurd requirement imposed by the CNE’s rectoras based on their version of the Law.
Venezuelan justice holds two records: “Most Decisions in Favor of the PSUV” and “Most Postponed Court Hearings.” This Monday, Leopoldo López, Ángel González, Demian Martín and Christian Holdack were once again taken to the Palace of Justice but, once there, they were notified that judge Evelyn Mendoza was “not feeling well,” so the hearing was postponed due to health issues. The new date for the hearing wasn’t announced.
The National Guard illegally detained Francisco Márquez and Gabriel San Miguel -members of Voluntad Popular-, when they were driving to Portuguesa state to help with the signature validation process. David Smolansky, Mayor of El Hatillo, informed that they’re held in isolation since this Sunday and have been questioned twice by the Bolivarian Service of Intelligence (SEBIN).
Ramos Allup’s retort
The National Assembly’s Speaker replied this Monday to Defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López and Nicolás. He reminded the former -who threatened him with a military trial for discrediting and insulting the Armed Forces- that civilians aren’t tried by military tribunals; that it’s nonsense to compare the Military High Command’s actions with the deeds of liberators and that it’s not the opposition who has dishonored the Armed Forces, showing a picture of Padrino López kneeling before Fidel Castro, both in sports clothing. Ramos Allup summarized the serious crimes about which the Armed Forces have remained silent: drug trafficking, murdered members of the military, corruption cases; he left this information to the minister in case he wants to write another statement..
“If the OAS is offering the chance to speak, we’ll take it (…) They think that if we don’t speak about what’s happening, the problems will go away,” Ramos Allup said before rejecting Nicolás’s invitation to dialogue, telling him to enjoy his illegitimacy: “Use whatever mechanisms you want, bring as many weapons as you like. The Assembly won’t validate crimes”. He also told him that dialogue should be the rule, but there are no conditions; that the opposition is autonomous and they can decide when, how and where to participate in a dialogue and that, when they actually decide to do that, they’ll announce it publicly and openly, but as long as the TSJ is part of the conflict, they can’t settle constitutional differences.
Delcy Rodríguez accused Luis Almagro of persistently attacking Venezuela, saying that he lacks equanimity and impartiality -which plainly violates the OAS’s Charter-, demanding his resignation as Secretary General.
Meanwhile, Luis Florido, head of the National Assembly’s Foreign Policy Committee, insists that Nicolás has broken the constitutional order and refuses to accept democratic solutions to the crisis, ratifying that there’s no dialogue between the government and the opposition in Venezuela, and demanding the mediators to tell the truth: that the crisis has gotten worse and the Executive Branch keeps violating the Constitution. The former presidents were invited by the OAS for this Tuesday’s meeting, to explain the status of the mediation supported by UNASUR.
Finally, Eladio Loizaga, Paraguay’s Foreign Affairs minister, said that Mercosur’s Foreign Affairs ministers meeting will take place the first week of July and that it’ll depend on the schedules of his Uruguayan and Argentine counterparts. Additionally, AN member Timoteo Zambrano reported that U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon, would soon arrive to Venezuela.
In the BCV
Nelson Merentes, chief of the Central Bank of Venezuela, said that the “irregular” situation in the Bank’s headquarters was quickly controlled. A guy armed with a gun and an explosive device took a hostage, caused a shootout, wounded two security guards and was killed. This is an “irregular” situation. Merentes hopes this is an isolated event. The attacker allegedly wanted to commit a robbery. But relax, they’re carrying out all the appropriate investigations. Maybe they’ll frame a municipal police officer.
This Monday, Interior minister Gustavo González López, claimed that 14 PoliChacao officers were involved as material authors -without discarding intellectual involvement- in the murder of journalist Ricardo Durán, saying that the weapon used belonged to PoliChacao since December 9, 2015 and that it was also used to murder a former Salias municipal police officer. The 7th Court for the Metropolitan Area ordered the arrest of these police officers for intentional homicide.
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