Plane Loaded With Guns and Headed for Venezuela Has Links to Alex Saab

Rifles, shotguns, handguns, ammo and lots of cash were found inside; Healthcare workers are still direly affected by COVID-19

The aircraft, registration YV 3441, was captured and both of its pilots were detained.

Photo: JetPhotos

  • Yesterday, August 18th of 2020, we found out that the U.S. Customs in Florida captured a plane on August 15th heading for Venezuela, and loaded with 82 firearms (assault rifles, shotguns and semi automatic handguns), ammo and over $23,000 in cash and checks. The two pilots, Gregori Méndez and Luis Alberto Patiño, are being charged with smuggling and unlawful possession of weapons, and both men are linked to companies associated to Álvaro Pulido, Alex Saab’s partner on the CLAP conglomerate and other crown jewels of corruption in Venezuela.
  • On Twitter, Delcy Rodríguez said that they registered 895 new cases of coronavirus in Venezuela this Tuesday, for a total of 35,697 cases they’ve admitted to. Rodríguez also reported nine deaths, for a total of 297 deaths they’ve admitted to. 
  • Amnesty International denounced that while the number of daily COVID-19 cases increases, the authorities fail with their measures to protect the population, especially health workers. The government behaves in a totally irresponsible way, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s director for the Americas. 
  • Radiologist Alexander Chang, doctor at Caracas’ Vargas Hospital, died of COVID-19, he was only 35 years old. A video published by the National Assembly assured that Venezuelan healthcare personnel have “30 times more chances of getting the virus than regular citizens and 11 times more risks of dying from coronavirus.” 
  • The AN approved an agreement to thank the joint declaration of support for the democratic transition signed by 32 countries, as did the EU, the Lima Group and the International Contact Group, where they express their concern for the “elections” in December. They also approved an agreement rejecting the illegal closing of our borders, decreed by Nicolás five years ago. They said that our borders’ conditions are the consequences of decisions that have allowed free transit of international criminal groups. The agreement explains how 22,000 Colombian citizens were deported by force, how Constitutional guarantees and international treaties were violated and how new points of corruption and illegal economic activities were born. Deputies recommend creating a new Law of Borders with Brazil, Colombia and Guyana, to establish policies and coherent practices. They exhorted the UN delegation to visit the Venezuelan border. During the debate about the crisis of the oil industry, deputies assured that only a national emergency government could allow the rescue of PDVSA. 
  • The president of the CNE imposed by the TSJ, Indira Alfonzo, reported that the deadline for inscription of candidacies has been extended for seven more days (until August 26th), saying that it won’t affect the next steps in their electoral deadlines. The TSJ imposed a board of authorities on the Tupamaro party, hours after the party declared, alongside other parties in the chavista-leaning group Polo Patriótico, that they were withdrawing their support for Nicolás. Now, they called themselves Alianza Popular Revolucionaria. As it already happened with Acción Democrática, Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, the TSJ authorized the new imposed board on a party that had been an ally to chavismo to use their logo and card on the ballot: Nicolás’s efforts making a tailor made electoral offer, includes all enemies. 
  • OAS secretary general Luis Almagro reiterated that he won’t send an observation delegation for the electoral process, because the standards of a free, fair and transparent election aren’t met. Nicolás should probably check the map on The Economist, with 70 countries that have postponed elections because of the pandemic: “As postponing an election isn’t authoritarian in itself, celebrating them can contradict democratic principles,” said Almagro’s text. On the other hand, Henrique Capriles Radonski said last night that “the priorities for all political leaders today isn’t an electoral process with all the irregularities we have denounced, the priority has to be helping people during the pandemic however we can.” Nicolás is the only one who doesn’t get it. 
  • Nicolás’s regime signed a new agreement with the Turkish government to build houses and a hospital, because they’re cynical and have bad memory: chavismo hasn’t finished the construction of 14 hospitals, why would this one be any different? 
  • Turkish Foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, met with Jorge Arreaza and Delcy Rodríguez and repeated he brough medical supplies. To pay them back, Turkish Airlines would be the first airline with permission to operate again when the restrictions are lifted. It’s a door to Europe. 
  • Chavismo lies, it doesn’t matter when you read this. Yesterday, Dante Rivas took to Twitter to “answer” questions of troll accounts, just to reinforce the idea that sanctions caused the country’s crisis: “Refineries are like F16 planes, American technology that ended in scraps because the empire blocked the sale of parts to keep them running,” tweeted Rivas. He doesn’t even know how refineries operated. 
  • Yesterday, in the Alto Prado neighborhood in Caracas, an abandoned dog, with his bones showing and other health complications was identified as Thor, one of four dogs that have been political prisoners in Venezuela. Thor, and its partner Arpa, were two “prisoners” in El Helicoide for over a year and a half, when the DGCIM detained their owner, Colonel García Palomo and took him with his dogs, for use as torture devices. It happened before, with other dogs called Oso and Bambam, a golden retriever that was tortured and cut into pieces on April, 15th, 2018, in front of his owner, EMT Alonso Mora, detained in the Ramo Verde military prison. Thor was abandoned after his absurd captivity. We don’t know where Arpa is.
  • August, 15th, 2015 is the date that Colombia is using to mark the beginning of the migratory crisis that has made 1.7 Venezuelans move to Colombian soil: “It’s been a very difficult process, no country is ready for this, but we must highlight the generosity of the Colombian people and the Venezuelans’ resilience,” said the director of Colombian Immigration, Juan Francisco Espinosa. He provided more data, saying that around 99,000 Venezuelans have returned because of the pandemic.

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.