President Maduro has confirmed that an unspecified number of directors of the drugstore chain Farmatodo have been arrested for “conspiracy”.
He said the managers were being held at the intelligence police (SEBIN) installation. “They are several conspirators,” said the president, “owners of shops that I have under arrest at the SEBIN. I have asked the public prosecutor’s office to speed up the charges so they can be held and to stop them from sabotaging the Venezuelan people with that stores chain. We caught them red handed.”
Maduro explained two forms in which these managers were supposedly sabotaging: “There are two possibilities: one is sabotage, they have 10 cashiers in the store but they only put 3 to work. It’s like a guerrilla tactic. Wherever we find these types of irregularities, we will act according to the law. The second option [of sabotage] is that these stores receive the products but have not distributed them for a month, since December.”
“I went there driving with Cilia [Flores], lieutenant Escalona, a basic security team, I went out to see with my own eyes how we have deflated [desinflado] the economic ambush. I saw the store and I sent Ernesto Villegas and the team of the Economic High Command, and he found irregularities,” said Maduro.
He also repeated the claim that the “international right” is planning a coup d’état against his government and mentioned US vice-president Joe Biden as the head of the conspiracy: “I call on the people and the military patriots to be alert because there is a coup d’état that they want to organize from the international right against my government.”
On Friday Maduro revealed that a group of “repentant” private business owners had secretly told him that the economic war is real: “They have told us secrets, the ones who Venezuelan and are repentant, some of them have told us ‘you are right about the economic war’. They have given us information. (…) ‘This was planned since 2013’ they said, ‘you were able to neutralize it in 2014 but it has been reactivated. There is a lot of money behind this,’ they told us”
He then gave an apparent warning of what has happened today: “Private sector owners, draw the line, you are either with the Fatherland and collaborate with the economic stability (…) or face the legal and constitutional consequences that we will take. (…) Sooner or later we will get to you. We know everything.”