Metropolitan Mayor and political prisoner Antonio Ledezma arrived in Madrid on Saturday after escaping custody. He flew to Spain via Colombia, saying that he felt free and that he’d soon start travelling around the globe to “contribute from exile to extend the hopes of Venezuelans to topple this regime.” He met with Spanish president Mariano Rajoy, who vowed to keep working to find “a fully democratic solution” for the political crisis currently plaguing Venezuela which, in his view, must include the release of political prisoners and the holding of “certifiably democratic” elections.
After playing down Ledezma’s escape on Friday, Maduro’s regime wasn’t too happy about this meeting with Rajoy and Foreign minister Arreaza deemed it “an unfriendly act,” saying that the Spanish government’s support for the mayor is just one more example of the long list of assaults and meddling committed against the people and the bolivarian government. The incident re-ignited the diplomatic conflict between the two nations, which had already been gaining traction in recent weeks.
Today’s report includes Ledezma declaring he received help from the militaries to escape, and earlier, Ignacio Benítez, head of the condominium of the building where Ledezma lived, was taken by security forces. He’s held isolated at El Helicoide. He could be indicted for allegedly helping Ledezma escape. The security guard was also arrested. Two more innocent scapegoats for the regime.
According to MUD electoral expert and former CNE board member Vicente Díaz, the opposition’s demands are roughly the same ever since the botched negotiation attempt in 2016: respect for the current Constitution, which is a moot point with this government; the release of all political prisoners and attention to the economic crisis.
Meanwhile, AN Speaker Julio Borges pointed out that the focus of these talks will be recovering “free and fair elections” and the opening of a humanitarian channel. It’s all about presidential elections in 2018, of course, the remaining demands are there just to fill the gap.
The December meetings will be held in the Dominican Foreign Ministry’s Conventions Center. It’s still unclear who’s going in representation of the opposition, aside from Borges himself and lawmaker Luis Florido, who heads Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The government’s delegates will be Communications minister Jorge Rodríguez and his sister, ANC chairwoman Delcy Rodríguez.
Crimes against humanity
Santiago Cantón, former executive secretary of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), said he hopes OAS member states will take action if their experts find that crimes against humanity have indeed been committed in Venezuela: “In case there have been crimes of this nature, it’s important that they’re sanctioned. We have seen it in the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, the impunity for human rights violations in Latin America is astounding.”
The OAS has been carrying out hearings on this matter, an unprecedented proceeding for the institution. The process will be long and may lead to no formal indictments, as regime members may never set foot in The Hague. Anyway, we’re hoping this achieves something. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, said OAS chief Luis Almagro should be denounced before the International Criminal Court for conspiring against Venezuela instead of president Nicolás Maduro. A half-hearted, meaningless statement, to be sure.
Yesterday, GN officers posted in Aldao bridge, Calabozo, Guárico state, arrested two men transporting 88 packs of cocaine. The report came from Lt. Col. Edisson Miquilerana Marcano, who said that there are checkpoints all over the country’s roads at the ready, to detect any irregularity related to drug-trafficking, cattle rustling, stolen vehicles or people wanted by the country’s security forces and courts. Perhaps the people transporting those drugs weren’t at all related to the brass… Right?
The Coalition of Organizations for the Right to Health and Life (Codevida) called for a march today in Caracas, to demand the opening of a humanitarian channel to tackle medicine shortages in Venezuela.
Mañana #20Nov acompáñanos a exigir una medida humanitaria para Venezuela.
Responsabilizamos al gobierno nacional de condenarnos a morir por privación sistemática de medicinas. Es su obligación garantizar el derecho a la salud y la vida #EmergenciaHumanitaria pic.twitter.com/03HJDTISZm
— Codevida (@codevida) November 20, 2017