“Kidnapped by SEBIN”

For Friday, August 10, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

That’s what read on the paper his fellow lawmakers put on Juan Requesens’s seat. With the presence of 20 members of the diplomatic corps accredited in Venezuela, the National Assembly’s extraordinary session condemning Requesens’s kidnapping concluded by declaring that “the ANC’s illegitimate decision to strip lawmakers Juan Requesens and Julio Borges off their parliamentary immunity, in accordance to article 138 of the Constitution” was nonexistent, as well as indicating the criminal responsibility of Nicolás, the TSJ justices involved, the members of the “illegitimate and fraudulent” ANC and the rest of involved authorities according to article 200 of the National Constitution. They restated that Requesens’s arrest is illegitimate and deemed it an “enforced disappearance,” so they demanded his immediate release, calling it a political detention. They also demanded that no international body or government recognizes the Prosecutor’s Office’s measure. The 48-hour period established by Law for lawmaker Requesens to be taken before court elapsed at 9:00 p.m. this Thursday. Since his arbitrary detention, he’s been isolated, neither his family or his lawyers have been able to see him. This enforced disappearance incriminates every official and authority involved.

In favor of Juan

Rafaela Requesens denounced that his brother was kidnapped and said that “Venezuela’s fate is freedom and democracy (…) this fate of this corrupt and murderous regime is behind bars,” asking for Venezuelans to become her brother’s voice.

Alfonso Marquina explained that in a country with a working justice system, authorities don’t show evidence on mandatory TV broadcasts. Juan Andrés Mejía denounced the use of public resources to spread a discrediting campaign against Requesens, saying that they have no evidence against him. Delsa Solórzano reported that they denounced this case before the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and she also denounced all the abuses committed by chavismo in this process, telling Nicolás that they want him alive “so he answers before justice,” calling the ANC “an unconstitutional sham.” The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference issued a statement urging the government to end repression and reminding the Republic Moral Council of their obligation to protect citizens’ human rights and investigate the liabilities of officials who violate these rights.

Losing Citgo

Through a legal action filed by Canadian company Crystallex, an U.S. federal judge authorized the seizure of Citgo Petroleum Corp. to satisfy the Venezuelan government’s debt with this company. Crystallex seeks to collect a compensation of $1,4 billion for the expropriation made by Hugo Chávez in 2008, shutting down their gold extraction operations. This ruling could unleash a dispute among Venezuela’s many unpaid creditors ($150 billion owed to creditors!) to take control of the country’s only seizable asset. The U.S. Judge Leonard P. Stark’s full decision is expected to be revealed in the next few days; meanwhile, the likelihood of PDVSA losing control of a valuable asset increases, although the decision can be appealed before a higher federal court. The saddest part? Crystallex is a pioneer of the environmental destruction in Bolívar state, in that aberration called Orinoco Mining Arc.

Other voices

Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela said Nicolás’s accusations against former president Juan Manuel Santos are irresponsible: “On the one hand, we condemn violence, but on the other we also condemn the use of these baseless accusations,” said Varela, who expects an investigation to see if there was indeed an assassination attempt. Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo pledged “all the support and solidarity” for Julio Borges in view of the threats and accusations he’s received from the government; in addition to condemning the abuses against Borges and Requesens; which must’ve somewhat bothered Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, after his statement on VTV about “the interest of cooperating with investigations” allegedly shown by Colombia’s representative with whom he met to request Borges’s extradition. However, Borges said to AFP: “I feel safe in Colombia, I feel grateful. [The government’s] actions are politically and legally nonexistent,” calling the drone flight a “smoke bomb created to threaten and repress.” Lastly, Chilean lawmaker Jaime Bellolio said that Saturday’s incident “has served as an excuse to increase cruelty, inhuman treatments and human rights abuses against people who dissent from the dictatorial regime.”

Amazing chavismo

Minister Néstor Reverol announced that there are new people involved and also new arrests for the drone flight: “most of them are part of Vente Venezuela’s resistance group,” he said and with the same solvency, he clarified that lawmakers Requesens and Borges were stripped off their parliamentary immunity because they were linked by the statements of some detainees and alleged evidence, placing them as “financiers”. 25 people are now being investigated, but so far only three have been taken before court and yet, they claim they’ve respected due process. Reverol showed how the drones were flown and asserted where the people involved had been arrested thus far: in Barinas, Portuguesa and Caracas, in addition to saying that there are raids in Lara, so there might be further arrests. Meanwhile, Minister Jorge Rodríguez said that the government activated all diplomatic and judicial mechanisms to extradite the people allegedly involved in the drone flight, but he wasted no time to promote the transport census, which will continue this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Let’s talk Human Rights

  • Amazonas and Bolívar are the two states most affected by the Orinoco river’s historic flood, which has left over ten thousand people affected, damaged houses and lost belongings. Civil Defense in Bolívar reported that the Orinoco river’s level in Ciudad Bolívar is very close to red alert, while in Amazonas, the risk of land and communicational isolation is much higher.
  • After getting threats, officials of the Housing and Habitat Ministry evicted Limbania Ramírez from her home at Ciudad Tiuna (Caracas), because her husband joked about Saturday’s incident on a neighbor WhatsApp group. She was accused of badmouthing Nicolás and selling cash.

  • Inhabitants of the Sorocaima slum (Km 0, Pan American freeway,) protested for the murder of two minors during a raid of the Operation for People’s Liberation (OLP). To dissolve the protest, the National Guard used tear gas and pepper spray.

  • SUDEBAN reported that from Friday, August 17 until Monday, August 20, banks won’t be operational to facilitate the monetary reconversion process, which kicks off that very Monday.

Many of us are wondering: Where is Juan Requesens? Even though we don’t know that, last night (11:00 p.m.) SEBIN officers carried out four raids: in Caracas, in the homes of Julio Borges and Juan Requesens; in Táchira, in the homes of Julio Mora and Jorge Mora, both councilmen for Cárdenas municipality.

 

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