Photo: El Carabobeño, retrieved.
- The National Assembly voided the contracts between PDVSA and Rosneft Trading S.A, where 49.9% of Citgo Holding INC was offered as collateral to the Russian company. Deputy Elías Mata said that the contracts violates Article 150 of our Constitution (which establishes that public interest contracts must be approved by the National Assembly); the AN also condemned the situation of political prisoners, whose basic rights are constantly violated, highlighting the cases of Roberto Marrero, Gilber Caro, Juan Requesens and Ismael León. The Comptrollership Commission announced an investigation on the so called Operación Alacrán, three months after Voluntad Popular condemned chavismo’s bribing of opposition deputies. Deputy José Pratt said they’ll determine who received money and favors.
- The debate about the events in Barquisimeto and what’s being called a “murder attempt” against caretaker President Juan Guaidó, resulted in a call for marching towards the Federal Legislative Palace on March 10th. Guaidó said that he’ll keep traveling throughout the country and that he understands citizens’ fear.
- Tarek William Saab, prosecutor general imposed by the ANC, said that they detained 21 members of two organized crime gangs, kidnapping and extorting in Zulia and Apure. They didn’t mention the ambush against press workers and opposition members in Barquisimeto. Not a word about the FAES shootings on the Francisco Fajardo highway, either.
- National Guard officers found an aircraft in a clandestine landing strip in Falcón. They think it was used for drug trafficking; the Airspace Defense Commander Juan Teixeira, assured the Armed Forces stand strong in their fight against contraband (?).
- On his TV show, Diosdado Cabello, justified attacks by colectivos and armed groups against opposition events, accusing the opposition of creating a crisis.
- While Manuel Quevedo, Nicolás’s oil minister, tours Vienna, oil workers protested outside PNUD headquarters to request a negotiation with the government, to get the benefits owed to 9,200 people since 2007. Additionally, PDVSA’s restructuring committee, appointed by the regime, said that Oscar Aponte, director of PDVSA lubricants division, was arrested on corruption charges, being involved in contraband and charging commissions for contracts. The cherry on top: Vladimir Padrino López tweeted a call to action for Productive Workers Committees, grassroots organizations and “combat groups” to join the militia in defending the oil industry. Oh, PDVSA.
- Freedom House (FH) published its report about democratic freedom in the world: Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua are the three lower ranked American countries, with support from authoritarian governments like China and Russia.
- Conatel met with internet providers in the country to discuss the installation of an IXP. Andrés Azpúrua, member of the Internet Society Venezuela, explained that in a country where there’s censorship, surveillance and abuse of infrastructure for cyber attacks, installing an IXP is a delicate matter, because it’s a tool that enables suppliers’ networks interconnectivity, making local traffic more efficient, but opening the possibility of more control and surveillance. The opacity with which Nicolás’s government has handled this project, backed by CAF, also worries the experts in the field; without independent actors participating, it’s unlikely that there’d be transparency in the process and investments truly reach their potential and internet rights are respected. What would be good news in other countries instead raises alarms in Venezuela.
- The SNTP said that Táchira State police detained journalist Bleima Márquez when she was working by the San Cristóbal bus terminal. They only let her go after watching what she had recorded, which is illegal.
- According to Donald Trump, our humanitarian crisis is because “of poor concepts and bad people.” In his estimation, it’s incredible what has happened to “beautiful Venezuela,” and he said they’ll support us until the very end. He insists about supporting people suffering in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua and their legitimate fight for freedom. “We’ll keep going until we become the first completely free hemisphere in the history of mankind.”
- Juan Guaidó said that in the meeting Duque and Trump held today, viable possibilities to solve our crisis were discussed and there are options on and under the table: “There are issues we should start implementing, building the capacities we need to generate a new outcome, having a solution for the conflict Venezuela is going through.”
- Former Spanish president Felipe González said that he doesn’t know any other socialism but the one establishing the defense of democracy and liberties as a priority. “We talk about 21st century socialism with proposals that already failed in the 20th century, so it’s a regressive utopia.” He highlighted chavismo’s way of stealing from the country, the destruction of our productive apparatus and the “absurd egalitarian vision of nationalizing and destroying everything.” González invited people to turn their back on ideology and judge what’s wrong: “A tyrant is a tyrant” and it’s necessary to “fight for the defense of liberties.”
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