Photo: Correio da Venezuela, retrieved.
Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.
- Hipólito Abreu, Transport minister, announced an administrative investigation against TAP Air Portugal, the airline that caretaker President Juan Guaidó used to return to Venezuela. According to Abreu, the plane didn’t comply with aeronautical regulations like the fumigation certification of CSTKS equipment or effective identification of travellers. He insists there were unauthorized items on the flight and asked for an investigation against the airline, saying he presented these claims before the International Civil Aviation Organization, which could impose sanctions and suspensions. Delcy Rodríguez confirmed on Twitter that the airline had been suspended for 90 days. This action contributes to chavismo’s goal of local isolation.
- The Portuguese airline said they don’t understand the reasons why the Venezuelan government suspended their activities for 90 days and assured that they comply with the legal and safety requirements the authorities demand. A source said to EFE that it’s a measure that hurts passengers. TAP didn’t even have the right to reply and explain in order to avoid the suspension. Nicolás’s government also accused Portugal of not acting upon the serious situation and the safety risks caused by the alleged irregularities on the flight. Portuguese Foreign Minister, Augusto Santos Silva, said in a press conference in Brussels that the accusations are “maneuvers” to distract from the attacks on Juan Guaidó upon his arrival to the country.
- Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya talked about Venezuela after the EU Foreign Affairs Council and says that they support the efforts made by the EU Special Envoy for Venezuela Enrique Iglesias, who will reveal what the next steps in supporting the resolution of the Venezuelan situation are. González Laya reiterated their rejection of the attacks on Juan Guaidó and his family and the regime’s intimidation maneuvers. She added that the Spanish government will seek to generate the conditions for free, transparent and democratic elections, ending by stating the need for coordination of all instances relevant to the case (International Contact Group and Lima Group) for another dialogue process.
- The Spanish Foreign Minister also said that she doesn’t know about the information published by Vozpópuli newspaper, which reported 40 suitcases taken from the plane Delcy Rodríguez took to Spain to a Venezuelan Embassy vehicle. Spanish Transport Minister José Luis Ábalos also denied the information and the accusations that the suitcases carried “gold bars.” She pointed out Nicolás’s ironic tone about it, saying that some media used it without context. Ábalos encouraged the Spanish opposition to move on, since the meeting at the airport has already been investigated and that there will be other opportunities to clarify what happened there.
- Deputy Ismael León was taken to the Hospital de Clínicas Caracas for a cardiovascular checkup, before surgery for an umbilical hernia. León is a political prisoner of Maduro’s regime, who has been on house arrest since January 23rd.
- Romy Moreno, wife of former chief secretary of the National Assembly Roberto Marrero, said she hasn’t been able to contact her husband. She asked human rights organizations to ensure Marrero’s precautionary measures are enforced.
- NGO Espacio Público said that after the power failures in several states, with partial blackouts in many areas, NetBlocks verified interrupted access to the internet in at least five states after 7:15 p.m.
- Freddy Bernal said that intelligence services in Táchira detained 14 members of terrorist group Los Rastrojos and managed to destroy their logistics apparatus. He said they confiscated weapons, phones, explosives, 20 vehicles and 22,200 lts. of gas. Bernal didn’t explain how they managed to hoard all that inside the country. Once more, we face a chavista officer taking on a role that doesn’t correspond to him, because such a large, delicate security operation is up to Nicolás’s Interior and Defense ministers.
- Venezuelans residing in the U.S. with foreign exchange student, cultural or student visas will be able to request a Carta de No Objeción starting Wednesday, February 19th, said Gustavo Marcano. This letter will help said residents to change their immigration status.
- Juan Guaidó said the Lima Group will meet on February 20th, in Ottawa, Canada, with the goal of executing the agreements made on his international tour.
- Maduro’s government delivered a note of protest to the French European and Foreign Affairs Ministry, because of Ambassador Romain Nadal’s presence at Maiquetía for caretaker President Juan Guaidó’s arrival to the country.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin, appointed diplomat Sergei Melik-Bagdasarov as the new Russian ambassador in Venezuela, after Vladimir Zaemskiy, who held the post for over ten years.
- ICC’s Fatou Bensouda says that the fact they received the accusation presented by Jorge Arreaza against the U.S. because of the economic sanctions doesn’t automatically imply that there will be an investigation.
- Swiss authorities confirmed that the family of former Spanish ambassador to Venezuela, Raúl Morodo, has million dollar accounts in the country, which have been active for years. Judge Santiago Pedraz demanded the information, because he’s investigating a corruption scheme with international commerce transactions, money laundering and fiscal crimes from the Morodo family against Pdvsa. The judge will be demanding precise information about the accounts to Switzerland and expects documents and summaries from at least a dozen banks, registries and public notaries in Panama, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The Morodo case reveals a money laundering scheme with two fronts: the Morodo family, who received at least 5.4 million (between 2008 and 2014) as payment from Pdvsa for consulting, and the front with Juan Carlos Márquez Cabrera with his partner Carlos Prada and their wives. Márquez Cabrera hung himself the day after he was detained in Barajas and declaring before judge Pedraz. He was the person who signed, for Pdvsa, the fake consulting contracts, favoring Alejo Morodo and approved the payments.