The imposed prosecutor general, Tarek William Saab, accused Luisa Ortega Díaz of allegedly embezzlement of the nation’s coffers through PDVSA contracts in the Orinoco Oil Strip project, which add up to $200 million in financial damages so far, a figure that could increase, according to Saab, so he already put together a joint operation between the Prosecutor’s Office and PDVSA to find those responsible for the embezzlement, and also asked the Comptroller’s Office to assign some of their people to verify those contracts and their fulfillment status.
In addition to embezzlement, Saab accused Ortega of criminal association, shocked by a 230% overprice found in 12 contracts with 10 companies.
Saab said that he had assigned prosecutors to investigate the treason allegedly committed by opposition leaders when they “requested financial sanctions against Venezuela,” parroting the same arguments used by Nicolás and Delcy, and promising an investigation that will include calls for military intervention, not just economic sanctions.
Before Tarek’s statements
The Inter American Commission on Human Rights expressed “deep concern for the declining separation and independence of public powers and the undermining of democratic institutions in Venezuela.” In a statement, the IACHR points out that decisions from the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) “exceed the functions of a constituent body and usurp the authority of the National Assembly, which diminishes the separation of powers and representative democracy.”
They emphasize the ANC’s discretional power to remove and appoint any authority, create and modify legislation, as well as implement decisions without due revision from other institutions or the necessary guarantees, so they reminded the State that on August 4th, prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz and her family were granted protective measures. The IACHR once again asks the government to fulfill its international obligations on human rights, restore branch autonomy and allow all sectors of Venezuelan society to participate in politics.
Yesterday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that he’s monitoring the increasing number of Venezuelans seeking refuge in other countries of the American continent: “the country faces many economic and social issues, shortages of essential products, violence and persecution,” remarking that they’re closely monitoring the situation and collaborating with the countries that are hosting Venezuelans and also with Venezuela, which has sheltered many refugees in the past.
Colombia’s Immigration head Christian Krüger, said that establishing refugee camps is the last resort for authorities to tend to the Venezuelan influx caused by the crisis, explaining that those camps are transitory measures, not definitive solutions, and that the Colombian government is working on initiatives to allow Venezuelans to settle in, rather than turning them away.
What now, Tarek?
Relatives of general Raúl Isaías Baduel were finally able to see him after 23 days of ignoring his whereabouts, and confirmed that he’s held in La Tumba, the infamous dungeon in SEBIN headquarters in Plaza Venezuela, a lair of torture that Saab ignored when he was Ombudsman, and continues to ignore now that he’s prosecutor general, of course. Andreína and Adolfo Baduel denounced that their father hasn’t seen daylight, he hasn’t been allowed to change clothes or receive medical treatment despite his issues with blood pressure since August 7th; they also explained that there’s no documentation of his transfer, so the court couldn’t know where he was. “They told my dad that he’d be treated like an inmate if he complained,” said his daughter.
Journalist Gabriela González confirmed that captain Juan Caguaripano, responsible for the assault on Fuerte Paramacay, is also being held in La Tumba.
Children’s human rights
Venezuelan female activists denounced in the OAS the abuses against the rights of minors in the country. The document they submitted mentions the articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that are being violated by the government, including those referring to life, food, healthcare, education, free speech and non-discrimination.
OAS General Secretariat adviser Gabriel Bidegain recommended the activists to go to the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN) and the IACHR’s Rapporteurship on the Rights of the Child.
Yesterday, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) gave the General Directorate for Environmental Health 95,000 treatments against malaria to support the National Program against Malaria, including key medication such as Artem, Lumef, Artemeth and Lumefan to care for children of 3 to 12 or older. The priority states are Bolívar, Amazonas and Sucre.
To the Pope
The National Assembly urged Pope Francis to call for the opening of a humanitarian channel in the country, as well as for the end of political persecution and respect for human rights: “Every new day there is a life we lose, we can’t wait,” said the letter signed by Parliament Speaker Julio Borges.
— Julio Borges (@JulioBorges) August 31, 2017
The document reiterates that the country’s experiencing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, highlights the number of children dying due to malnutrition, the levels of shortages of food and medicines and the millions of Venezuelan citizens who are fleeing the country, emphasizing that, in addition to hunger and disease, we’re dealing with political persecution and chavismo’s obsession with holding onto power despite being responsible for the current magnitude of hunger and for blocking access to humanitarian aid.
Doing our best
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos commented on the negotiation process that has taken place around Venezuela’s situation, and on his stance on granting asylum to Venezuelan victims of persecution such as Luisa Ortega Díaz, saying that Venezuela’s crisis is on schedule to be discussed with Pope Francis in his coming visit.
Although willing to grant political asylum to Ortega Díaz even though she hasn’t requested it yet, regarding the possibility of sheltering other Venezuelan dissidents, he explained that each case has its own conditions, but that Colombia “has hosted and protected political refugees.”
He regretted that relations with Venezuela have soured, but remarked that he won’t put political asylum and institutional relations at risk on the basis of his differences with Venezuela. He said that U.S. sanctions are a way of pressuring the government, restating that “democracy was destroyed in Venezuela” and that we must all do our best to restore it.
The football teams of Venezuela and Colombia met once again in the qualifying rounds for World Cup Russia 2018, and tied 0-0 in the stadium of Pueblo Nuevo, Táchira.