Honors for a Criminal

For Thursday, January 18, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Sergio Noveli

The funeral of Heiker Vásquez, leader of the colectivo Tres Raíces, took place yesterday morning in the 23 de Enero parish with gunfire. His funeral march was attended by agents of the PNB’s Special Actions Force (Faes) who stopped the traffic in several roads of the city until they reached the Eastern Cemetery. The man honored by Freddy Bernal in his audio and who was identified as chief inspector Andriun Domingo Ugarte Ferrera in minister Néstor Reverol’s official account, was being investigated, according to crime journalists, for murders, robberies and kidnappings.

Meanwhile,  families of the victims of the massacre at El Junquito haven’t been able to see their bodies and refused to sign the post mortem identification certificate.

More information

Lawmaker Delsa Solórzano led a committee to request the autopsies of the victims of the massacre at El Junquito. She explained that only relatives can decide the fate of a body, even more so if it’s subject to an investigation. She also said that the officers were summoned before Parliament for this Friday 19, in order to start investigations. Lawmaker Manuela Bolívar was mistreated by the National Guard at the Bello Monte morgue. Journalist Sheyla Urdaneta investigated Daniel Soto Torres’ profile, one of the massacre victims, revealing that he’d just graduated in mass communication from the Rafael Belloso Chacín University. The New Herald claims that the assault team that attacked Óscar Pérez had instructions not to leave anyone alive. Lisbeth Andreína Ramírez Mantilla is the name of the woman who died in the attack; yesterday, an audio was sent with her alleged last phone call and information posted on the Twitter account of Óscar Pérez’s team, claimed that Lisbeth was pregnant and that a minor was also killed in the raid. Read Amnesty International’s statement about this case.

Let’s talk economy

Sundde chief William Contreras reported that they’ve started inspecting companies to ensure that they comply with the measure to lower prices to December the same ones used in december, even though last week he’d agreed with supermarket representatives to let them sell at prices that can cover operational costs. On top of this, Carlos Albornoz, head of the National Cattle Farmers Federation of Venezuela, denounced the confiscatory decree on agricultural production in four of the country’s states, which bans transport of cattle, meat, milk and cheese from Barinas, Apure, Guárico and Cojedes.

Portuguesa’s sugar cane growers threatened to start a “technical strike” if the government won’t allow them to release sugar prices, the only solution to avoid producing at a loss. Lastly, the U.S.

Treasury Department cautioned American investors that they must be careful with Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro, since operating with this currency could violate sanctions against the Venezuelan government and entail legal risks for them.

Globovisión under censorship

Journalist Alba Cecilia Mujica, host of the show “Mujeres en todo,” was fired from the TV station after talking about Óscar Pérez’s case: “What happened [on Monday] was that they didn’t even let them say ‘I surrender’, ‘Here I am’, ‘Allow me to be prosecuted’, as it happened before with this government,” she said on Tuesday, pleading for this not to happen ever again. It’s an unjustified dismissal and another example of the censorship that conditions “private” media outlets that are already controlled by the State anyway. The journalist got the support of thousands of people for this situation, and congratulations for her work, also causing an interesting reaction from several guests to the TV station’s shows, who condemned the sanction against Alba Cecilia Mujica, refusing to attend the scheduled or proposed recording sessions. Well done!

More official barbarities

Without uttering a word about the massacre at El Junquito, the Prosecutor’s Office reported the arrest of two former PDVSA-Güiria employees for alleged acts of corruption. The National Electoral Council handed Delcy Rodríguez the list of political parties that must be revalidated as imposed by the ANC:

Nicolás said in a cadena: “If someone asked me, what would you ask of Venezuelan teachers from the bottom of your heart? I’d ask you (…) to take the construction of school farming plots as the center of your lives.” That’s how they’ll prepare children for the future and we’ll overcome oil dependency. A genius, eh?

Abroad

According to Reuters, seven high-ranking government authorities could face sanctions from the European Union starting next week, as a means to pressure the government. So far, those who could face sanctionas are: Antonio José Benavides Torres (GN); Néstor Reverol (Interior minister); Gustavo González López (Sebin) and Maikel Moreno (TSJ). The sanctions would include travel bans and frozen assets. Approving these sanctions requires the agreement of the ambassadors of the 28 EU countries.

Meanwhile, former Spanish president Felipe González – who urged the EU to impose individual sanctions against Venezuelan regime leaders – said there wouldn’t be clean elections: “Maduro won’t hand over power and, if there are elections, it’s because he’s chosen the appropriate opposition leader to face him and he won’t offer guarantees for clean elections,” he remarked.

Concerning today’s dialogue

In a letter addressed to president Danilo Medina, MUD demanded that the government explain minister Néstor Reverol’s statements.

Although several journalists say that the opposition’s delegation won’t attend today’s meeting, this information hasn’t been confirmed so far. Only Henry Ramos Allup said that AD’s representative won’t attend and lawmaker Luis Florido tweeted:

“Reverol lied to the people of Venezuela, his statements hamper tomorrow’s [today’s] meeting (…) the government must deny his words (…) A State agreement demands seriousness.”

On the other hand, advisor Colette Capriles retweeted Edgar Otálvora’s message saying:

“Fourth round of Maduro-MUD negotiations scheduled for January 18 in the Dominican Republic is suspended (no new date) for multiple reasons. Foreign ministers of Mexico and Chile not available that day. Opposition refuses to meet without international mediators.”

Literally, we’ll see what the day brings.

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