SEBIN’s Achievements

Photo: @OEA_oficial

Despite the protective measures granted by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, Romy Moreno, wife of Roberto Marrero, Juan Guaidó’s Chief of Staff, managed to see him in State Secret Police (SEBIN) headquarters at El Helicoide, 52 days after his arrest. This Monday, lawmaker Karin Salanova and lawyer Theresly Malavé denounced that lawmaker Gilber Caro has been missing for 17 days, explaining that SEBIN agents have denied his presence in any of their headquarters and that the habeas corpus they requested in court wasn’t even received, “violating his rights, without any justification and without offering official information, meaning his whereabouts are completely unknown,” said Malavé. In Barquisimeto, SEBIN agents tried to break into the home of former mayor Alfredo Ramos. His daughter denounced that he wasn’t there during the raid, which lawmaker Daniel Antequera called an “illegal and absurd persecution.”

By the way, ouster Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir was indicted yesterday for the deaths of protesters, because crimes against humanity don’t prescribe.

Official censorship

The Alfredo Maneiro Editorial Complex added another “achievement” to its record: the Zulian newspaper Panorama stopped circulating after 104 years of printed edition, but since newsprint distribution was one of the mechanisms chosen by chavismo to control information, Panorama joins a long list of newspapers that have turned digital, leaving at least 10 states in the country without printed outlets, according to NGO Espacio Público’s most recent report.

Journalist Giovanni Durán, correspondent for Vive TV, was arbitrarily laid off for commenting about power rationing in a WhatsApp group, according to the National Union of Press Workers. While VTV celebrates that TeleAragua’s renewed licence, the people of aporrea.org are calling for a protest this Tuesday because the site’s been blocked by order of CONATEL.

The parallel country

Official media outlets are trying to make the news with a “Special plan for protein distribution,” backed by truly humiliating testimonies of gratitude. They also celebrated the arrival of the second shipment with 71 tons of medical supplies coming from China “to reduce the effects of the economic blockade imposed by American imperialism,” according to regime health minister Carlos Alvarado. Meanwhile, regime interior minister Néstor Reverol said that “criminal activity has dropped by 34.7% in the first four months of 2019,” but sadly, he didn’t explain his rating method nor compared his figures with those of NGOs that work in the area.

Last night, Nicolás celebrated a meeting with United Nations representatives with whom he allegedly discussed “the progress in cooperation and the joint efforts to consolidate and refine the social protection system.” Nicolás thanked that Peter Grohmann, representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Venezuela, shared a report about the reach of UN programs in our country. Strangely, he seemed sad because Code Pink activists were evicted from the Venezuelan embassy in Washington.

The other country

General Ramón Rangel recorded a video asking the Armed Forces to turn their backs on Nicolás’ regime, accusing him of being the puppet of Cuba’s “castro-communist dictatorship.” In the video, he says: “We have to find a way to shed fear, to take to the streets, to protest, and to seek military unity to change this political system and get rid of this castro-communist yoke (…) We can’t keep saying ‘always loyal, never traitors,’ because we’re being traitors, traitors to the National Constitution.”

In addition to this statement, the Dominican Republic’s Attorney General’s Office announced that along with the Anti-Narcotics Agency, they carried out an operation to arrest “international runaway” Samark López Bello, accused of being part of a drug trafficking network. They raided two of the businessman’s villas and arrested four people; they found $25,000 and 18,000 euros, three all terrain vehicles and over 30 watches. American authorities say that López Bello is Tareck El Aissami’s frontman.

Ah, the Southern Command

Carlos Vecchio, Juan Guaidó’s representative in Washington, requested a meeting with admiral Craig Faller, chief of the U.S. Southern Command, who cautioned the Venezuelan Army last week that they must decide whether they support the people or a “tyrant”. In his letter to Faller, Vecchio says that the meeting is to discuss cooperation and planning “with the goal of alleviating the suffering of Venezuelan citizens and restore democracy,” adding that “the impact of uninvited foreign forces” is concerning, as they jeopardize Venezuela and the region. Regime vice-president Delcy Rodríguez reacted to the gesture saying: “We’ve rejected, read, an absurdity, a letter, sent by a coup-monger hiding in Washington, asking for a military intervention in Venezuela,” rejecting and condemning “this kind of submissive, compliant, docile stances,” also adding that they’re “doomed to fail.”

Russia and the U.S.

Russian Deputy Foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov once again restated the agenda that will be discussed during the meeting in Moscow between U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo and his counterpart Sergey Lavrov: “to stabilize our dialogue as much as possible and plan the steps to follow,” emphasizing that one of the main points of disagreement is Venezuela’s situation, because the parties have completely opposite stances. Although the Kremling hasn’t confirmed it yet, Pompeo is expected to meet with President Vladimir Putin, after talking with Lavrov. American Congressmen met yesterday to explain the TPS (Temporary Protection Status) for Venezuela that they’re demanding President Donald Trump to implement. They also demand an end to deportations. Russian State-owned oil company Rosneft said that Venezuela continued paying its debt with the company and highlighted that their relations haven’t violated U.S. sanctions. PDVSA has paid its debt on time, thus reducing it to $1.8 billion by the end of the first quarter of 2019, from the $2.3 billion of the previous quarter. By the way, Donald Trump announced that he’ll meet with the Presidents of China and Russia in the G20 Summit in Japan.

Other movements

  • The OAS Permanent Council approved by consensus a draft resolution condemning the violation of parliamentary immunity in Venezuela and the arrest of First National Assembly Vice-President Edgar Zambrano.

  • The Lima Group will meet on May 20th in Guatemala to continue studying Venezuela’s political crisis.
  • The European Union’s International Contact Group will send a mission to Caracas next week, according to Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who also confirmed a meeting between Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López in the Spanish embassy in Caracas.
  • The Venezuelan crisis has been one of the key points of the Americas Concort Summit held in Bogota, which would require an exclusive summary due to the amount of information and insights gathered in its first day alone, including those shared by President Iván Duque; Kimberly Breier, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; former Bolivian president Tuto Quiroga; U.S. senator Rick Scott and Colombian Immigration authorities.

After the exchange table’s first day of operation, the Central Bank announced that the exchange rate rose to Bs. 5,262, without publishing any information about transaction volumes.

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