Emptying Out Parliament

Photo: The Guardian retrieved

Yesterday, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice replicated the formula to prosecute three National Assembly lawmakers: Freddy Superlano, Sergio Vergara and Juan Andrés Mejía.

They’re accused of the same crimes of the previous lawmakers: treason, conspiracy, instigating insurrection, civil rebellion, aiding and abetting, usurpation of functions and publicly instigating to disobey the law. The TSJ also replicated the formula according to which, in view of the flagrancy of common crimes, they’ll do away with the preliminary hearing on merits and will strip them of their parliamentary immunity with the National Constituent Assembly’s approval. Better than dissolving the National Assembly is reducing it through persecution and institutional makeup. According to the National Communications Center, 24% of opposition lawmakers have been victims of judicial persecution. Out of 26 persecuted lawmakers, 19 have been stripped of their parliamentary immunity.

With a tow truck

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of agents from the Bolivarian Service of National Intelligence (SEBIN) arbitrarily arrested National Assembly First Vice-President Edgar Zambrano, close to the headquarters of Acción Democrática located in La Florida, Caracas. Zambrano spread the news to the public with a tweet: “Let all the people of Venezuela know that at this moment, 6:35 p.m., we’re surrounded by SEBIN, we’re in our vehicle near Acción Democrática headquarters in La Florida,” he denounced. Zambrano decided not to get out of the vehicle and a SEBIN towing truck took the car to El Helicoide.

Earlier another of the persecuted lawmakers, Mariela Magallanes, was reported to be in the Italian embassy in Caracas since Tuesday night.

Answering Pence

While SEBIN arbitrarily arrested Zambrano, Nicolás spoke on a mandatory broadcast, proud of what he calls “the communal offensive,” announcing that the militia will be a part of the Food Mission in supervision and control tasks, and of CLAP box distribution. He also answered U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, cautioning him that he’s the commander in chief of the Armed Forces and deeming Pence’s offer to the Armed Forces as “a lack of honor, morals and dignity,” ordering the military to guarantee “the path to peace, harmony and constitutional legitimacy.”

A trophy for Diosdado

Diosdado Cabello announced Edgar Zambrano’s arrest to the audience accompanying him during his TV show: “A few minutes ago, one of the masterminds of the coup of April 30th was arrested,” amidst cheerful applause. “He locked himself in his car thinking that SEBIN would fall for it, they took the car with a tow truck (…) now he even has to pay the truck’s driver,” he said, adding that Zambrano had $9,000 in cash in his pocket, and that “these actions moralize our people.” He once again threatened National Assembly Speaker and caretaker President Juan Guaidó (whom he still calls “Juanito Alimaña”) and AN Second Vice-President Stalin González.

Maikel the insulted

Earlier than Nicolás, Chief Justice Maikel Moreno rejected the warning Mike Pence made this Tuesday against the TSJ, that if “they don’t return to their constitutional mandate to defend the Rule of Law, the U.S. will hold all 25 justices accountable for their actions.” According to Moreno (who didn’t spare adjectives) Pence “disrespectfully meddles and seeks to subject Venezuela’s judicial authorities to threats that are a violation of the principles of independence, self-determination and sovereignty”; that’s why he deemed the warning as an infamy, an extortion, anti-judicial, despicable and intolerable.

Moreno denounced that the U.S. wants the Judiciary to “renounce democracy and promote a coup d’état.” Fortunately, in his closing argument, he stated that the TSJ can’t be blackmailed and will never bend.

Tarek’s evidence

ANC-appointed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab said that 10 lawmakers are “publicly and notoriously” involved in the April 30th uprising and that the Prosecutor’s Office has evidence: “I have proof of Edgar Zambrano and Stalin González saying: they ambushed us.” Saab insisted that there won’t be a preliminary hearing of merits because the lawmakers were acting in flagrancy and claimed that the ANC has the authority to remove their parliamentary immunity because it’s a “supra constitutional” body. Saab refused to confirm the raids taking place in houses of opposition lawmakers and merely said: “Justice is acting against insurrectional actions.” Meanwhile, seven human rights organizations requested the investigation on the deaths of a pregnant woman and a native girl that took place on April 29th in Delta Amacuro, in an incident, believed to be an extrajudicial execution, where another native was injured and yet another survivor was arrested later. The NGOs demand that detainees be released; medical attention of the wounded native; and the end of harassment against survivors and witnesses.

Briefs and serious

  • The change of National Guard officers that guarded the Federal Legislative Palace, meant that they blocked press access on Tuesday and access for National Assembly workers yesterday, arguing that they’ll perform military security exercises.
  • Carlos Vecchio, Venezuelan representative before the U.S., denounced that his family is suffering “the attack, intimidation and threats” of military officers who prevent them from working in a farm they own in Caripe, Monagas.
  • Lawmaker Américo De Grazia denounced: “While they persecute us, National Assembly lawmakers, Maduro gives Sidor to the Russians in exchange for protection,” leaving a question: who are the real traitors?

  • General Army Commander Jesús Suárez Chourio’s loyalty found in Twitter a means of expression with testimonial videos and pictures with slogans, even in shorts. Check it at leisure.

Movements on the board

  • U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo will visit Russia between May 13th and 14th to discuss the situation in Venezuela, Syria and Ukraine, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. Pompeo spoke yesterday with his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt, and said it was disgusting for a politician to support the “murderous regime of dictator Maduro.” Meanwhile, the Kremlin asked Venezuela’s neighbors to “help persuade anti-government forces to be reasonable, and to abandon the methods to provoke a clash, such as trying to involve the army in a civilian conflict.”
  • Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell defended the offer made by the European Union’s Contact Group of a “peaceful and democratic” negotiation that ends with a call for elections, in contrast with the U.S. that, in his view, are acting like “cowboys” in the Venezuelan crisis, because they’re threatening to draw their guns.
  • Colombian Vice-President Marta Lucía Ramírez said that “Maduro’s criminal regime has many properties abroad through frontmen. We want to see the governments freezing those assets and using them to alleviate the Venezuelan migration.”
  • Last night, the Foreign ministers of Colombia, Chile and Peru, as well as OAS chief Luis Almagro, condemned lawmaker Edgar Zambrano’s arbitrary detention.

“Something’s not working in the figures shown as emblems of the Housing Mission: the announced numbers would indicate that last year alone, the government built 1,554 homes per day, 64 per hour, or 1 house per minute,” says an excellent work made by Tal Cual, titled “The Housing Mission’s numbers lack rebars and concrete,” read it when you can.

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