Sunday, May 15, 2016

State of Emergency Decree

This week president Maduro decreed a new “State of Constitutional Exception and of Economic emergency” in order to, according to the Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, “protect the people from the constant attacks by the international right, allied with the axis of imperial power.”

“This new decree is to defeat the coup, the economic war, to socially stabilize our country and to face the current national and international threats against our country. (…) Venezuela is in this moment under international threat. Today (…) there was a conspiracy meeting against Venezuela (in which Colombian) ex-president Álvaro Uribe has asked for the intervention of international armies against Venezuela,” said Maduro.

The emergency decree has not yet been published and its details are unknown. However Maduro explained that it will extend for another 60 days the already existing economic emergency decree, only now the executive will have “wider political powers.”

According to REUTERS, U.S. intelligence officials warned this week that “one ‘plausible’ scenario would be that Maduro’s own party or powerful political figures would force him out and would not rule out the possibility of a military coup. Still, they said there was no evidence of any active plotting or that he had lost support from the country’s generals.

But REUTERS also quotes the official's concern about accusations by the Venezuelan government of U.S.-aided conspiracies against the country: “The officials appeared to acknowledge that Washington has little leverage in how the situation unfolds in Venezuela, where any U.S. role draws government accusations of U.S.-aided conspiracies. Instead, the administration of President Barack Obama wants "regional" efforts to help keep the country from sliding into chaos.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Maduro links opposition to criminal gangs

President Maduro has said that after “two days of combat” the police killed two criminal gang leaders known as “El Picure” and “El Topo.” He also said that opposition leaders have links to the criminal gangs that operate in the south of the country.

El Topo was the main suspect behind the Tumeremo massacre in early March. Maduro said that the opposition deputy Américo De Grazia should be investigated because of the timing in which he denounced the massacre. “The people arrested are talking, and there are more than one right-wing deputies [involved.] There was one deputy writing on twitter on real time at the same time the massacre was happening,” said Maduro referring to De Grazia.

Before Maduro, Interior Minister Gustavo González López had already declared that the opposition had links with El Topo and his criminal gang. “We discovered that there are links with political groups of the right in Bolivar state.” According to González López El Topo’s gang was part of an opposition plot to affect the “Mining Arch,” the government’s latest mining project, and to “link the Venezuelan state to situations of violence.”

Deputy Américo De Grazia was the first to report that a massacre had occurred near the mining town of Tumeremo. He answered the recent government accusations by claiming that the Interior Minister is trying to justify the Mining Arch and its negative effects on the environment and the people of the region.

Since the first reports came out about the Tumeremo massacre, the government has made similar accusations against De Grazia and other opposition leaders. Ruling party’s governor of Bolivar, Francisco Rangel Gómez, first denied that the massacre had ever occurred, but then said that it was “all part of a political game-play by the right that is receiving funds from illegal mining in the area.”