Photo: El Oriental

After the raids in the homes of lawmakers Juan Requesens and Julio Borges in Caracas, and of councilman Julio Mora in Táchira, Minister Jorge Rodríguez announced on Twitter that at noon, he’d offer “new findings” about the drone flight, adding: “A confession, no need for evidence, they say.” 63 hours of lawmaker Juan Requesens’ enforced disappearance had passed, after he was arbitrarily arrested by SEBIN officers, Rodríguez showed a video allegedly extracted from lawmaker Requesens’ interrogation, without the presence of his lawyers and without taking the detainee before court.

What did Requesens say?

Arbitrarily arrested late on Tuesday, August 8 and isolated since then, the lawmaker introduces himself and establishes August 9 as the date for the recording, then says: “Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Julio Borges who asked me the favor to help a person cross from Venezuela to Colombia. The person is Juan Monasterio. I got in touch with him through messages. I was in San Cristóbal. I immediately wrote to Mauricio Jiménez, immigration supervisor. I asked him for the favor and he immediately got in touch with Monasterio to help him cross from San Antonio (Venezuela) to Cucuta (Colombia). I was in San Cristóbal, I had no physical contact with Juan Monasterio, I only fulfilled the request through messages.” In summary, Requesens admits that he facilitated a contact for a person allegedly involved in last Saturday’s incident. A detail: the Constitution establishes in article 49 that “no person can be forced to confess guilt of testify against himself.”

From financier to accomplice

The Communications Minister claimed that the degree of lawmaker Requesens’ involvement is of necessary accomplice, contradicting (a frequent practice in him) the statement issued just this Thursday by Minister Néstor Reverol, who said that the investigations showed that lawmakers Borges and Requesens had worked as financiers. In any case, Rodríguez’s role was interpreting the “evidence” (being the same person who denied the National Guard’s stampede) and that’s why he claimed that Requesens confessed his complicity and denounced that he did it on Julio Borges’s orders: “What else is Julio Borges going to say now, that Requesens is lying?”, he said, and then added that they have records of an “infinity” of meetings between Borges and former President Juan Manuel Santos, which according to him, helps establish Santos’s responsibility in the drone flight.

What else did Rodríguez say?

He said that the government requested a red alert against Julio Borges because he’s considered to be the mastermind behind the alleged assassination attempt, so he called him “murderer”. He also said that there are 19 detainees and they’re looking for 18 more; that they have more evidence as logistical support for the “assassins”; that they’ll start showing the representatives of political groups that supported the action; that they demand that the Colombian government extradite Rayder Russo and Mauricio Jiménez Pinzón. They also demand that the United States extradite Osman Delgado Tabosky. There’s a strange detail: one of the drones “was remotely triggered from the U.S.,” and notably, he refused to answer the question about the judicial decision regarding Citgo.

Denigrating

After the press conference, a video started making the rounds, showing lawmaker Juan Requesens naked, following instructions to face the camera and the turn his back on it, covered with what seems to be feces. The video was first shared by @AlbertoRodNews, who claimed that it was sent by “angry SEBIN officers,” an unlikely theory. Sharing it only contributes to humiliate the lawmaker, breaking his integrity, as if accusing him of an assassination attempt wasn’t enough, after violating his constitutional and procedural rights, not to mention the prerogatives he should enjoy as a parliamentarian. Requesnes didn’t confess to any crime in the video shown by Minister Rodríguez, but with this second video, SEBIN did show the serious violation of a lawmaker’s human rights. The second stage of offense against Requesens was that after five hours of waiting in court, without any explanations, in continued violation of due process, his preliminary hearing was postponed and he was taken back to SEBIN El Helicoide, without allowing his lawyers to see him or to access his file.

Briefs and serious

  • Maracaibo suffered another blackout and Minister Luis Motta Domínguez blamed it on “an induced event,” denouncing the fire in an oil depot in the Rafael Urdaneta Bridge, between columns 21 and 23. Without explaining what’s wrong with military custodians who don’t do the jobs, Motta Domínguez said that he’d cautioned about more “attacks” against the national electric system. Journalist Sheyla Urdaneta (@surdaneta on Twitter) said that this is the ninth blackout in Maracaibo since December 2017.
  • Juan Carlos Escotet said that during the first 90 days of Banesco’s takeover, they had to address hundreds of requirements of the National Unit of Finance Intelligence, the Administrative Board and SUDEBAN. Calling Banesco the “Pan corn flour of Venezuelan banks,” he said that he wants to talk with the ruling clique, and he thinks this second phase of the takeover will be quick and short. Notably, he criticized the Banking Association of Venezuela for lacking a solid stance.
  • This Friday, the price for each black market dollar was Bs. 4,910,623 and Bs. 5,991,448 for each euro. Remember that the minimum wage is Bs. 3,000,000.

Abroad

  • Yesterday, Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo made President Iván Duque’s decision to pull out of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) official. By the way, Colombia hasn’t received the request to extradite lawmaker Julio Borges, but Holmes said that if they receive it, it’ll be studied.
  • The nomination of Chilean former President Michelle Bachelet for the post of High Commissioner for Human Rights, was approved by the UN General Assembly. Bachelet thanked Guterres’s trust and confessed she was profoundly honored.
  • The European Union demanded an exhaustive and transparent investigation about the drone flight and “expects the recognition of the National Assembly’s constitutional powers, including the full respecto for its prerogatives regarding the parliamentary immunity of its members.” Foreign Minister Arreaza denounced the EU’s “irrational rhetoric” in his protest note.
  • The Brazilian government condemned lawmaker Juan Requesens’ imprisonment and the arrest warrant against Julio Borges, remarking “the Venezuelan State’s international obligations with representative democracy.”

Why believe a government that lies regularly? Why believe Jorge Rodríguez after so many discrepancies found in the statements of other official spokespeople? An alleged assassination attempt demands an independent and autonomous investigation, without Executive involvement, without this eagerness to make a show with what should be evidence and without this obscene need to rub the nonexistence of public power independence on our faces.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. “This Friday, the price for each black market dollar was Bs. 4,910,623 and Bs. 5,991,448 for each euro.”

    What is the source of these exchange numbers? They are so precise, down to the single bolivar. Dolar Today has much lower numbers: Bs. 4,101,273,51 and Bs. 4,691,118,67 but even more precise down to the centavo.

    Also, in the first world, the Euro is about 14% higher than the USD, so Nako’s numbers overprice the Euro whereas DT rate is about right.

    • Many of those sites are calculating the value based on either the total amount of Bs in existence (a number the BCV has) between the amount of $ in the economy or in the state’s reserves.

      Other pages go from the value of the bitcoins against the Bs, then divide between the value in $s of a bitcoin and so on.

      While other sites call to the chavizta-owned exchange houses in the frontiers and ask.

      https://twitter.com/MonitorDolarVe/status/1027964397745045505

      The surpising thing now is that prices are jumping ahead now in dollars, a pack of a corn-flakes-like cereal went from 50 cents past week to above 3$ yesterday, which was from 1.500.000 Bs to 12.000.000 Bs.

      Venezuela is ratcheting its way into becoming the most expensive country to live in the whole continent as the enchufado honchos continue to control the economy trying to use poverty as a weapon against the citizens.

      • Thanks, Ulamog. I have noticed that the Aporreans seem to have given up on the fantasy that they could stop inflation by closing down the Dolar Today web site. Or at least that is no longer a constant topic of their screeds. This “drone attack” thing has definitely bought Maduro some relief from being criticized by the Aporreans, but I don’t expect that to last one they go back to being miserable socialists.

        What is the volume/weight of the Corn Flakes packet you mention? If 0.5 kilos, that is close to US price (but still under unless some sort of “deal”). Are those imported, or made at the expropriated plant that was subject of article(s) on CCS site a few months ago?

        • 300 grams, about 0,3 kilos, so a whole kilo of those would cost now about 10$ (40.000.000 Bs)

          The cereal is the one made by the Alfonso & Rivas company, which initially was a cheaper option than the ones made by Kellog’s, then their prices were stabilized by mutual competition, but now that A&R has the monopoly, the prices are skyrocketing.

          I actually believe that the drone thing was real, because there’s actually people that wants to get rid of maduro and the big honchos by any means, heck, there’s people in the very highest ranks of chabizmo that wants to off maduro, if not, why weren’t diosdado, delcy and tarek present in the act?

          • 0,3 kilos for $2.50 US is about same as US pricing, depending on the market. If they have to import the corn and sugar, I would expect US prices, since virtually free Venny labor is offset by shipping and graft.

            “there’s people in the very highest ranks of chabizmo that wants to off maduro, if not, why weren’t diosdado, delcy and tarek present in the act?”

            If you’re thinking this, so are the Maduros. But, such a lame ass effort …

          • They’re not “chavistas and maduristas”, they’re all “chavistas”, the thing is, that since they’re all criminals, they naturally want to gut each other to avoid sharing the loot.

            So what I thought yesterday was happening, the prices are raising to “international levels”, all while the bulk of the people barely make a whole dollar a month.

            The famine is gonna get really ugly soon…

  2. Everyone knows the Chavistas are engaged in a game of political charades with all these charges, but the game is slowly coming to a close because, unlike Cuba and Somalia and other nations, Venezuela cannot stay as is indefinately sans funds. For some years now the Chavistas have transferred assets to Citgo to shield them from creditors, but as we know, a judge recently said a Canadian creditor owed over a billion could tap Citgo for payment.

    https://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/Analysts-Only-a-matter-of-time-before-Venezuela-13147054.php

    While this might take a while, the judgement (on appeal from the Chavistas) opens to the door to all Venezuela assets (not sure if this includes oil exports etc) and those in the know expect a feeding frenzy soon.

    One of the big miscalculations was that the Chavistas – who know no more about modern financial goings on than a jackass – is that they could game the international financial system, that they could simply never be accountable for 150+ billion they borrowed, burgled and squandered. Verily, the notes come due.

    • $150 billion is a sizable default, nearly as much as Jeff Bezos’ net worth, but nowhere near Greek level (I think was around $400 billion in 2014).

      Too bad Venny Trader is not chiming in. Maybe we will hear from him if/when CCS publishes an article about the Citgo situation.

      • Don’t worry… no matter what happens to him financially, you can count on him expounding epically on his great fiscal acumen. Because that is how the internet works.

        • Yes, he was quite the authority on “they wont default, and even if they do, they will pay in the long run”

          Maybe he’s right. The long run is a long time. (Yes, I know, we are all dead in the long run).

      • I don’t think you are including the money owed to China. I am sure the Chinese think that their secret dealings with Chavismo give them a prior claim ahead of much of the $150bn, although probably no claim over the carcass of the Venezuelan treasury is worth much.

        • Bernard, you may well be correct. I was just repeating the amount stated in the above-linked Houston Chronicle article.

          I may be wrong, but I believe the “plan” (hope) of the remaining bondholders is that somehow the IMF steps in and, in effect, bails them out for a huge windfall. Sort of like the EU did for the banks in the 2008-09 financial meltdown. This means their plan relies on regime change to a government that the IMF will lend to – which would presumably also mean the US would lift all financial sanctions. If you believe that the bond market is not being manipulated by regime insiders, then the “odds” of this happening are baked into the present trading pricing.

  3. Mr. Crispen nailed it. Whether a manufactured crisis or not, they’re using it to silence and intimidate what little remains of the opposition.

  4. MRubio, oppo will soon be as rare as a Himalayan snow leopard I imagine.
    Hope the garden and chickens are doing well. Did the hogs ever get delivered to you?

    • Tom, the garden and chickens are doing great. I ate the first fried okra I’ve had more years than I can remember. Thanks John!!!

      We’ve been getting the run-around on the hogs though.

      First guy made a really decent offer of 20 million bs per animal, but we weren’t ready….and with chickens and a garden back there, no way was I going to give hogs free range. By the time we were ready, he’d already sold them….don’t blame him, he needed the funds.

      Second guy had sold all of his animals about a week before I stopped at his place. 50 million bs each one, sold about 40 animals in total. Won’t have more ready until November.

      Third guy, the police chief next door, for whom I’ve done plenty of favors and whose man-in-charge of his place used to run my ranch, told us via his manager, 50 million per hog. I’ve called the manager a few times asking for the bank info to wire the funds but he’s never produced them. I won’t call again.

      Fourth guy, a neighboring farm owner and buddy of mine, had two males he said I could buy but didn’t give the price. Since they’re at least a couple of months old, I told him I’d buy them AFTER he castrated them and they were healed. He’s not called back. I should probably call him.

      Fifth guy, a regular customer here, tells my woman two days ago that he’s got one group of 4 males, one month old, not castrated. No price. I told her we’d do the surgery here if he’d give us a decent price. Drove over there yesterday to see the hogs and he tells me the night before that the sow had killed 3 of the 4 but that he had another sow who was within a day or two of delivering. The story about the sow killing 3 of the 4 sounded like bullshit to me. Don’t know what the game was, but I don’t like being bullshitted so I’m not going to call him back.

      First guy sent his kid over yesterday saying he had two hogs he needed to sell, about 30 kilos each, male/female, male not castrated. Wants 180 million for the pair. 30 kilos is a good-sized animal but getting a bit large to remove the testicles. Haven’t called him back.

      So, in answer to your question, no, we’ve not had the hogs delivered to us. LOL.

      I think a big part of what’s going on is that with inflation raging the way it is, people either don’t want to part with an asset that will only gain in value or they’re afraid to set a price. Can’t say I blame them.

      The good thing is that my woman, who originally wanted only 2, now wants to buy 4. For me, the cleanup of 4 is not that much more difficult than the cleanup for 2. The bad thing though is that we’re at the cusp of the point in the year when people will decide to hang onto their animals for December which is the traditional season for obtaining the best prices.

      Wish we’d been ready by June.

      • Sounds like if you want hogs it’s down to nut cutting time! Lol. I hope you find some that will fill the bill for you.

        Fried okra is the best! I am sure you enjoyed every bite of it. I would think it would thrive in the tropical climate of Vz.
        If memory serves I think it originated in Africa . Love fried okra….can’t stand boiled okra! Lol

          • And speaking of John, he sent me the special salt I need to make pickled okra AND the seeds of dill……those plants soon to be large enough to harvest and use in the process!!!!!

            John, if you’re reading this, I sent an email earlier. Crystal and her mom were headed to Caracas, had car trouble in Barcelona, spent the night and have returned to Maturin. They’ll make another try once the car checks out.

      • “…people either don’t want to part with an asset that will only gain in value or they’re afraid to set a price. ”

        That’s the problem with hyperinflation, also there’s the infamous 5-zero snip in less than a week, so the prices are expected to jump even more.

        Sometimes that “problem” can be circumvented by asking the price in dollars and the “exchange rate used”, I used to do that for some providers in my workshop because they were in the same vein of “I can’t give you a number right now if you aren’t buying today, dude”

    • Another Gringo, yeah maybe you are right. Lol. You still doing the Pacific island thing? Any progress in the house in Wyoming (or Baja Montana)? Any chance it will be done before the site gets snowed in?

      • Our WY contractors are on Hawaiian time. We may get a chance to at least move in before winter. I just visited the site, and it is gorgeous this time of year. Sadly, the entire western half of North America is on fire and the air is really smokey between the Pacific and the Rockies. But, wasn’t too bad in Western Wyoming.

        Some irony in the above conversation. Our island is overrun by pigs. More pigs than people, and they are very destructive and have no predators other than local hunters. Problem is that the hunters are not allowed to sell the meat to the public because FDA regulations require pigs to be slaughtered in a federally approved/inspected slaughterhouse and that is too much capital to overcome. So, while it’s good to have hunter friends that drop you off some of their hunt for your BBQ (fisher friends also valuable), the pigs are taking over. We had a huge flood out here in April (more than 40 inches of rain in 24 hours) and our neighborhood has been cut-off to tourists since then. Pigs starting to hang out in the open. And some people feed them like pets. Uggh.

  5. Wow! They have the same problem in eastern Oklahoma, South Texas, Arkansas, and other places as well. They are so bad that wildlife personnel and private hunters use helicopters to hunt them down. They must breed like rabbits. I hope you get to move in to the new house before the snow gets too deep.

    You are right…the western states are burning up (or down) this summer.

    • Mrubio.. why need to castrate male hogs?

      Flavor. The meat stinks if the animal is not castrated…….or at least has a much stronger flavor that most folks don’t like. They also fatten nicely without the nads.

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