Photo: El Nacional

Another Blackout in Half the Country

They blamed an attack, as usual, and it affected internet connection in half the country. Meanwhile, the AN analyzed the events in Cepella and Petare and declared Maduro’s agreements for PDVSA void

  • At 3:41 p.m., we had a power blackout in the states of Miranda, Aragua, Carabobo, Guárico, Zulia, Táchira, Mérida, Anzoátegui, Sucre, Monagas, Nueva Esparta and the Capital District. It severely affected internet connection in over half the country. Delcy Rodríguez said that the “national electric system suffered an attack on its transmission lines at Troncal 765, merely hours after the failed terrorist incursion attempt against Venezuela.” Some areas were already in the dark and didn’t even know about the event. Later, she reported that there’s six new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 367 cases in the country. Four of the new cases are in Nueva Esparta and two in Bolívar state. 
  • AN deputies debated about the massacre at the Los Llanos Penitentiary Center (Cepella). Deputy María Beatriz Martínez said that it was caused by repression of a protest and general indifference before a mass escape: inmates have no food, there’s inequality among prisoners with some who are privileged and others are mistreated. She said there’s reasonable doubt about the amount of murdered and injured inmates, assistance to families wasn’t universal, some families got the bodies, others only got death certificates or decomposing corpses, which justified burials in mass graves. Deputy Martínez asked the AN to launch an investigation and requested cooperation from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, commissioner Humberto Prado and the Interior Policy Commission. They said it was 47 dead and 76 injured inmates. 
  • The National Assembly condemned the increase of violent acts amid the pandemic and accused Nicolás’s regime of allowing possession and illegal use of weapons and  explosives by criminal gangs and paramilitaries who are way too loyal to chavismo.  Delsa Solórzano said that it’s necessary for the regime to be complicit, in order for criminals to have weapons, which proves that chavismo lost control of security and that they don’t have a plan to protect citizens. She emphasized that there are no ongoing investigations of murder cases carried out by colectivos. José Gregorio Hernández said that the country has had over 16,500 violent deaths and there are over 60 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, which makes us one of the more violent countries in Latin America. 
  • The National Assembly approved an agreement declaring void all of the decisions and contracts made by Nicolás and by “usurped authorities in PDVSA” with Iran and any other government, since management of those companies is exclusively competence of PDVSA’s ad-hoc board, appointed by the caretaker government. Deputies also condemned the “irregular incursion of planes carrying unknown load” that have arrived from Iran, which they consider “isn’t in line with the international relations we’ve kept with sister nations in the continent and Venezuelans’ right to a healthy, strong oil industry.” The AN authorized the Finance commission to open an investigation to “detect, analyze and prove the use of the international gold reserves deposited in the Banco Central de Venezuela for payments for equipment and specialized technicians for an unknown purpose.” By the way, the Islamic Consultative Assembly approved the Iranian monetary reform which would replace the rial for the toman, at 10,000 rials per toman. 
  • ANC-imposed ombudsman, Alfredo Ruíz, decided to make an appearance to say that the ministry and the CICPC are conducting an investigation of the Cepella massacre. He commented on the events of Vargas and Aragua saying that “Only security bodies can be armed,” after seven days of open fire in the José Félix Ribas slum, a war between rival gangs, videos of armed paramilitaries in the 23 de Enero acting with impunity, Nicolás clapping for a “fisherman with his hierro” for being the symbol of the Bolivarian fury. Come on! 
  • Journalist Javier Ignacio Mayorca reported that until Tuesday afternoon, 17 people from the Gedeón Operation had been taken to Sebin Helicoide, including two former American military men, Airan Berry and Luke Denman.
  • On Tuesday afternoon, there were reports of attacks between illegal groups over control for the “alternative” passageways (commonly known as trochas) in the Colombia-Venezuela border, near the Simón Bolívar International Bridge. One person was injured. 
  • Communications minister Jorge Rodríguez says he has evidence tying president Juan Guaidó to the failed coup attempts of May 3rd and May 4th. He didn’t show the evidence, just expanded on Nicolás’s version from Monday night and said that they had known about this operation since mid-April, because it derives from the operation of alleged camps in Colombia they denounced on March 25th. He mentioned all the same facts he already said, reiterating that Robert Colina Ibarra, AKA Pantera, directed one of the camps and said: “It’s clear that Colombia is using its soil to plan, organize, train and provide logistics to everyone who wants to execute acts of violence and aggression against Venezuela.” His story was full of details like the late arrival of the larger high-speed boat due to an engine malfunction and the rivalry between Sequea and Pantera because Pantera was apparently close to Clíver Alcalá Cordones. There’s also betrayal, with Iván Simonovis allegedly agreeing to cut Alcalá from the plan and putting Sequea in command, making Pantera the victim of a coup within his own plan. 
  • According to Rodríguez, the mission of the group who traveled by boat with Pantera (12 people on board) was disembarking in Vargas, attacking DGCIM and SEBIN headquarters, Miraflores Palace and then going after Nicolás, Diosdado Cabello, Tareck El Aissami and Delcy Rodríguez. He said the boats left from the estate of a drug dealer known as “Doble Rueda,” in la Guajira. The boat with Sequea, Baduel, two Americans and 47 other people would disembark with the aid of José Alberto Socorro, AKA Pepero. Funnily enough, Socorro was mentioned in 2016 in the trial against the narco-nephews in the U.S.; Rodríguez said that when Pantera disembarked, he opened fire against officers and that’s why six of his accomplices fell. Whenever you can, watch Juvenal Sequea’s testimony in social media accounts controlled by the state. 
  • Donald Trump denied U.S. involvement in the failed incursion in Venezuela, led by former Green Beret Goudreau: “I was just informed. This has nothing to do with our government,” said Trump. A few hours later, a spokesperson said: “There’s a large campaign of disinformation carried out by Maduro’s regime, which makes it hard to separate facts from propaganda.” The U.S. called Maduro’s regime and Cuban propaganda accusations of a coup a “melodrama.” 
  • There are over 3.5 million cases of COVID-19, 251,932 deaths and over one million recovered patients in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. America is entering the most critical point of the pandemic. The U.S. remains the epicenter, with 1.1 million cases and 69,000 deaths. In Latin America, the figures keep increasing: 250,000 confirmed cases, and over 14,000 deaths. There’ve been 7,921 deaths and 114,715 cases in Brazil. Peru has had 50,000 cases and 1,444 deaths. Mexico has 26,025 confirmed cases and 2,507 deaths. Colombia extended its quarantine until May 25th, with 8,613 cases and 378 deaths.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.