The FBI Boards the Plane

  • Emtrasur’s Venezuelan-Iranian plane will stay in Argentina, as ordered by federal judge Federico Villena, who agreed to do so after a request by the U.S. He made the decision after Prosecutor General Cecilia Incardona supported the request by the U.S. that will keep the plane in Ezeiza, despite Maduro’s anger. FBI investigators boarded the plane on Thursday to do the inventory requested by U.S. federal judge Harvey. Villena authorized U.S. officers to manage the requests to take custody of the plane and allowed a mechanical inspection. Villena said the U.S. request was handed down through Justice Minister Juan Martín Mena, and it’s being treated as a separate file to the main charges against the crew. Venezuela isn’t part of this transaction, so they won’t be able to appeal. 
  • It’s the worst outcome for chavismo. The seizure of the plane was requested because of the unauthorized transfer between Mahan Air, an Iranian airline sanctioned because of its ties with terrorist organizations and Venezuelan company Emtrasur. Paraguay revealed ties between the crew and the criminal organization that murdered Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci in Colombia. In March, the plane was in Ciudad del Este and the cre met with Federico Santoro Vasallo, who’s in the business of drug trafficking and money laundering. His boss, Sebastián Marset Cabrera, has been accused of being the mastermind behind Pecci’s assassination. 
  • On Thursday, a group of AN deputies, the president of CONVIASA and Emtrasur workers took a document to the Argentinian Embassy to demand the plane and crew return to Venezuela. 
  • “A group of mercenaries, paid by the American government, idiots from Primero Justicia (…) Clowns that have taken it upon themselves to attack my brothers at Caracas Metro,” said Nicolás because he didn’t like the young politicians’ idea to decentralize a collapsed service he destroyed. 
  • Russian Ambassador to Colombia Nikolay Tavdumadze confirmed that Venezuela installed Russian radars on the border. He assured these radars can be used to “protect from foreign invasions” and tried to justify it by saying that there are foreign military bases in Colombia, too. 
  • Nicolás appointed Félix Plasencia as the new ambassador to Colombia. So far he had been the Foreign Minister, the Ambassador to China, and Minister of Tourism and Foreign Commerce. 
  • Workers of the health, education and public sectors and retirees protested against ONAPRE’s new rules and to demand better working conditions. They protested in several states. Chavismo organized a counter-protest with public workers that support Nicolás, even when their salaries aren’t enough to survive. 
  • The Coallition for Democracy and Human Rights introduced a measure for lawyer Jecson Cariel García, who was arrested on August 6th in Táchira. He was allegedly moved to Caracas but nobody knows where he is. 
  • The Confederación de Sordos de Venezuela denounced the difficulties disabled children and teenagers endure to get their identity documents, from lack of materials and lack of  information in accessible formats, to discrimination by public workers. 

Venezuelan oil production dropped 98,000 barrels compared to June, according to the OPEC report. It’s a 13% drop but chavista propaganda says that Venezuela is registering important economic growth and that inflation will decrease by December. 

  • The president of PDVSA’s ad hoc board, Horacio Medina, said that companies and assets abroad controlled by the caretaker government are protected and emphasized that dividends have been used to pay off the debt acquired by chavismo. 
  • However, organizations like Gente del Petróleo, Unapetrol and Veneamérica, expressed their concern regarding the possibility of losing CITGO and other assets because of the delays in approving the budget destined to pay lawyers abroad, in charge of the National Assembly (2015) and its Delegate Commission. 
  • The U.S. Department of Justice said that Argentinian citizen Luis Fernando Vuteff, Antonio Ledezma’s son-in-law, and Swiss citizen Ralph Steinmann, have been accused of conspiracy to launder money. Between 2014 and 2018, they used a bribe scheme to launder money, around 1.2 billion dollars from PDVSA. 
  • Ronald Soto, councilman of political party Un Nuevo Tiempo in Zulia, was shot on August 10th near a church where he was the pastor. He had been receiving threats to extort him. 
  • Benigno Alarcón said that a Norwegian delegation is in Venezuela. “Being here will give them a more realistic vision of the possibilities of a political agreement that the government doesn’t really want today,” tweeted Alarcón.
  • Four women and a teenager who traveled to Trinidad and Tobago under false pretenses and were sexually exploited managed to escape and return to Venezuela, where they denounced what had happened to them. Prosecutors carried out an investigation that allowed to arrest four people who were part of the human trafficking network that took them.

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.