Yesterday morning, a contingent of 100 military and police offices blocked the access to the Federal Legislative Palace, headquarters of the National Assembly, preventing lawmakers from holding a discussion about the prosecution of ten of their peers for the events on April 30th.
Serias intimidaciones de parte de los funcionarios de la GNB al personal administrativo si no entregamos las llaves de las oficinas y del palacio. No tenemos instrucciones de la junta directiva para cumplir su exigencia
— Roberto Campos (@robertocs72) May 14, 2019
“With the excuse that there’s an explosive device in the building, they took over the Federal Palace,” said lawmaker Manuela Bolívar, who denounced “a policy to weaken the Assembly.” Others deemed the action as an attempt to intimidate and kidnap the legislative body. “It’s a lie to prevent Parliament from holding session,” said lawmaker Jorge Millán.
“We’re going to insist”
The government blocked YouTube when the press conference started but caretaker President Juan Guaidó called for a Parliament session this Wednesday: “We’ll try to hold session again (…) They want to shut down the Assembly, but they haven’t managed it. Not only that, we’ve made progress. Just four months ago, nobody imagined that we could achieve this alternative. We’re going to insist. The Federal Palace belongs to Parliament and to the people.” Guaidó denounced the Palace’s takeover, saying that chavismo can only persecute and strip immunities, attempting to shut down the National Assembly. “The regime is crumbling,” he said and added: “If we’re all kidnapped today and Parliament is shut down, what are they going to solve tomorrow? Can the Armed Forces answer me? Will they be able to produce food? Is there going to be electricity?” He said that the persecuted lawmakers have support, Guaidó said that they’ll keep advancing. Meanwhile, lawmaker Carlos Paparoni asked Venezuelans to remain on the streets: “This won’t frighten us. None of us is willing to abandon the fight,” he said.
The Supreme Tribunal’s Plenary Chamber announced its decision to include the following lawmakers to their prosecution list: Carlos Paparoni, Miguel Pizarro, Franco Casella and Winston Flores; they applied the same format used against the ten previous lawmakers, the alleged flagrancy of the crimes committed, the same charges and again demanded the National Constituent Assembly’s decision on the rest of the process.
— TSJ Venezuela (@TSJ_Venezuela) May 14, 2019
Alertamos al Mundo la persecución contra los Diputados Legítimos. Se suman a la lista de perseguidos @Miguel_Pizarro, @CarlosPaparoni, @francocasella y @wfloresvp por su compromiso con el cese de la usurpación. #ANPorVenezuela
— Asamblea Nacional (@AsambleaVE) May 15, 2019
All lawmakers are being tied to the events of April 30th and so they’re accused of treason, conspiracy, instigating insurrection, civil rebellion, aiding and abetting, usurpation of functions, public instigation to disobey the laws and hatred. Lawmaker Jorge Millán cautioned in the morning that TSJ justices “only hold session to persecute the National Assembly.”
Since it has no power to strip lawmakers of their immunity, strictly speaking, everything the ANC does against them is illegal. The ANC politically persecutes lawmakers, violating their rights, and that’s how we must read Diosdado Cabello’s delighted comments: “They say that this (The ANC) is a farce, but in practical terms, what are the farce’s results?” and then he reviewed the whereabouts of the lawmakers they charged on May 7th, mocking Edgar Zambrano’s imprisonment, their colleagues taking refuge in embassies, the exile and even the alleged tension problem of former AN Speaker Henry Ramos Allup, for whom he recognized that “there are no diapers” in the country. He admitted that there was no explosive device in the Legislative Palace and claimed that they don’t need to strip substitute lawmakers of their immunity. Cabello said that María Corina Machado and Andrés Velásquez will face similar processes but “they’re not lawmakers and have no immunity.”
#VIDEO 📹| Presidente de la ANC, @dcabellor: Franco Manuel Casella Lovaton y Winston Eduardo Flores Gómez no requieren allanamiento de la inmunidad parlamentaria porque son diputados suplentes #RespetoConPueblosDelMundo pic.twitter.com/PpymIelDjL
— VTV CANAL 8 (@VTVcanal8) May 14, 2019
#VIDEO 📹| Presidente de la ANC, @dcabellor: ¿Dónde está De Grazia? se fue para una embajada y es uno de los más bocones de la oposición. ¿Dónde está Calzadilla? Huyendo…#RespetoConPueblosDelMundo pic.twitter.com/wJ14En33V4
— VTV CANAL 8 (@VTVcanal8) May 14, 2019
Cabello “stripped the immunity” of lawmakers Freddy Superlano, Sergio Vergara, Juan Andrés Mejía, Miguel Pizarro, Carlos Paparoni, Franco Casella and Winston Flores. Last night, the Mexican government announced that lawmaker Casella took refuge in their embassy.
On their knees once again
In a mandatory broadcast commemorating the 73th anniversary of the Navy Corps, Nicolás and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López repeated many of the messages that they’ve been using since May 1st, which means this was just an attempt to boast their control over the military world. Padrino López claimed: “Those who seek to enter the conscience of the Venezuelan soldier are mistaken again. They miscalculated again and they failed again,” adding that they’d reward their brothers in arms who “have faced pure fascism, the worst violence of oligarchies,” and he was talking about the incidents of April 30th in Altamira. Nicolás had the gall to say: “Venezuela in the 21st century has risen with its own model for a new society, it’s broken the chains that made us depend on imperialism once,” do I need to add more of this speech?
Let’s talk about human rights
The practices of repression against the civilian population carried out by the chavista regime could constitute crimes against humanity, said Amnesty International on Tuesday in a report where they ask the International Criminal Court to expand their investigations on our country. Extrajudicial executions, deaths caused by excessive use of force, arbitrary and mass detentions are some of the practices included in AI’s report “Hunger for justice: crimes against humanity in Venezuela,” saying that these procedures “constitute crimes against humanity as they’re part of a strategy of systematic and general attacks against people considered dissidents,” executed by “state agents or third parties that had at least the acquiescence or consent” of the authorities. The report highlights the protests that took place between January 21st and 25th, 2019. In those days alone, at least 47 people died in 12 of the country’s 23 states in the context of protests, “all of them with bullet wounds” and later adds that over 900 people have been arbitrarily detained all over the country, including children and teenagers.
From the Russian city of Sochi, U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said that in a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, he demanded that Moscow cease support for Nicolás, which his interlocutor refused. “It’s time for Nicolás Maduro to leave, he’s brought nothing but misery to the Venezuelan people. We hope that Russia’s support for Maduro will end,” said Pompeo. Lavrov claimed that “a democracy can’t be built by force.” Pompeo said that the U.S. stance is that Venezuelans must be the ones to choose their leaders. Lavrov accuses the U.S. and Guaidó of resorting to the threat of a potential military intervention, which, in his opinion, “has nothing to do with democracy.” But the result of the meeting with President Vladimir Putin was different, so unexpected that he told Pompeo that he hopes to mend relations with the U.S.: “A few days ago I had the pleasure of talking with the President of the United States over the phone,” said Putin, adding that he got the impression that Trump was leaning towards “restoring the ties for the joint resolution of problems that represent a mutual interest for us,” and that he’s said many times that he’d like to “fully restore relations,” so he hopes for the creation of the necessary conditions to that effect. Not a tune you like, Nicolás.
[Amplía] El presidente ruso, Vladimir Putin, declaró este martes que quiere "restaurar totalmente" las relaciones, actualmente tensas, entre Washington y Moscú, en el marco de una visita del secretario de Estado estadounidense Mike Pompeo #AFP pic.twitter.com/UxMcYH6Q5U
— Agence France-Presse (@AFPespanol) May 14, 2019
Prof. Ángel Álvarez (@polscitoall on Twitter) analyzed our “stalemate” with César Miguel Rondón, saying that “April 30th was a mistake, an offside move, probably because those who were negotiating were exposed”; that in Venezuela, “there’s no other power capable of stopping the abuse; the only power Guaidó has is the people, and they’re not organized or driven (…) It’s very likely that street protests and demonstrations will continue, but if the leadership is in prison, rallying power declines,” asking the leadership greater organization to move “on the territory where they’re strong and with their own resources.” We go on.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.