One Less Criminal

Photo: La FM retrieved

Eduardo Manuitt, former chavista governor of Guarico State, was arrested this Wednesday in Costa Rica and accused of the crimes of deprivation of liberty, threats, coercion and torture, according to Walter Espinoza, director of the Judicial Investigation Bureau (OIJ). Manuitt was arrested along with his son Carlos, his brother Alberto Martínez, and Costa Ricans José Francisco Villalobos and Juan Aguilar. Espinoza explained that the investigation against Manuitt started in April, 2019, when he and his associates filed a complaint for the alleged robbery of five heads of cattle in Costa Rica and hours later, they broke into nearby farms “and threatened their owners with firearms (…) to extract information from them.” The OIJ has reports of arbitrary detentions, tortures and threats. In Manuitt’s arrest, the authorities confiscated firearms, vehicles, documents tied to the complaint and an apparently forged Salvadoran passport. In Venezuela, Manuitt was protected by Chávez when he was accused of human rights violations in 2005.

High-tech attack

Nicolás blamed the United States for the general blackout that started on Monday, July 22nd, which he hadn’t mentioned until now. Of course, following the script of his variety show, first he spoke of the military drills that will take place on August 30th, and then said: “Two days ago we once again suffered a high-tech electromagnetic attack (…) It’s not the first. We’ve suffered dozens of attacks these past four months (…) American imperialists are desperate but they haven’t defeated Venezuela and they won’t,” and he was as bold as to claim that the emergency has already been overcome; I wonder if he verified that against what’s happening in Zulia, Merida or Lara. But don’t worry, Nicolás said that in the next few hours, he’ll show results of the investigation and diagnostics of this attack, because “the priority was reconnecting, recovering and stabilizing.”

State terrorism

The board of the Venezuelan Association of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and Similar Professions (Aviem) denounced the harassment and persecution against engineer Winston Cabas and his family, carried out by state security bodies, which included the arbitrary detention of his son Arnaldo José Cabas Sarabia. Although Aviem demanded the immediate end of the persecution against Cabas and his family, last night on his VTV show, Diosdado Cabello said that there’s an open investigation against the engineer: “I demanded opening an in-depth investigation of this gentleman’s statements. He has a big mouth, just like Reinaldo Díaz,” and then he rejected that the opposition disregarded the regime’s complaint about the electromagnetic attack, saying that in 2008, “the United States were protecting themselves from something similar.” Engineer Cabas issued a technical and qualified opinion about the collapse of a public service and now they want to use him as a scapegoat. Later, Cabello also blamed caretaker President Juan Guaidó and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio for the blackout.

The non-country

  • Regime Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López deplored Venezuela’s re-entry into the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR). He said that this evidences the anti-patriotism of its promoters, along with their fixation with foreign interventionism. Just so you know: Venezuela left the TIAR in 2013, which means that Hugo Chávez was anti-patriotic too, eh?
  • Cabello also talked about this topic and cautioned that the state will take any necessary actions against “the traitors” for re-entering the TIAR: “What does the TIAR change for us? Nothing, because we’re willing to be free, TIAR or no TIAR,” he said.
  • Unlike Nicolás, Diosdado did answer to the ultimatum about the “short term to leave power,” issued this Tuesday by a White House spokesman, he said: “We fear no one, we take nobody’s threats, because we’re willing and decided to be free, sovereign and independent.”
  • Luisa Ortega Díaz wrote a tweet about her meeting in Geneva with High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, “giving her several cases related to systematic human rights violations in Venezuela,” as if she could ignore her personal responsibility in serious violations whose damage can still be felt. Titanium face.

A bit of economics

This Wednesday, the process of taking orders for the Citgo Holding 2024 bond with a 9.5% coupon for $1.3 billion, managed by the Jefferies Group investment bank, had a high demand. This demand over the “Guaidó Bond” brings an important support to the caretaker government, meaning that the market understands that CITGO will remain in the hands of the board appointed by Juan Guaidó. Meanwhile, Spanish oil company Repsol keeps reducing its capital exposure in Venezuela: by the end of the first half of 2019, it’s 393 million euros, almost 14% less than it had by the end of 2018. Repsol said that they’re taking measures to continue operating in the country, including receiving crude as debt payment, provisions for risk or reversible decline, and admitting that their daily production has dropped.

Movements on the board

  • The United States is studying sanctioning Russia for supporting Nicolás and plans to impose new measures to pressure for his ouster in the next few hours. Elliott Abrams, special envoy for Venezuela, defended sanctions to pressure for regime change and anticipated more penalties against Havana: “While [negotiations] are ongoing, if you want them to succeed, you need to increase pressure on the regime to compromise. And European sanctions would have a great impact,” said Abrams.
  • The Draft Act that sought to provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) against deportation for thousands of Venezuelans residing in the United States failed this Tuesday in the House of Representatives. Republican Mario Díaz-Balart, one of the sponsors, said that they’ll seek a new vote during a normal debate that doesn’t require a two-thirds support.
  • Cuba and Russia rejected U.S. punitive policies against Venezuela and restated their support for Nicolás. From Havana, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that conflicts in Latin America are solved through peaceful methods and without the use of force, underscoring that the contacts between the regime and the opposition must generate dialogue, without imposing conditions so that the people can decide their own future. Oh well, ok.

The events in honor of Simón Bolívar for the 236th anniversary of his birth, replicated chavismo’s worn and empty script: no one who destroys a country can honor freedom. Stop hoisting flags and go away already. You already did too much damage.

 

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