By Sammy Paola Martinez.
In only one month, the government of Nicolas Maduro denounced an operation that, supposedly, planned to overthrow it, has persecuted members of NGOs and opposition political leaders, and has also arbitrarily decided against the Parliament and its directive. All these strategies were implementing to avoid talking about the possibility of a transition in Venezuela, said U.S. Ambassador in this country, James Story.
In an interview with El Pitazo, the diplomatic official insisted that Maduro avoids a negotiation process that would allow for political change in the country, propose in the framework of the transition document presented by the government of Donald Trump last March 31.
“Things like the arrest of (Venezuelan businessman) Franklin Duran, who worked with Chavez, with Maduro, and now seems to be involved or not in Operation Gideon, and the decisions of the Justice Supreme Court, all that is to delay the central conversation,” Story said.
On May 25, the first Iranian ship with fuel arrived in Venezuelan waters to try to cover the national demand due to the collapse of the refineries and the oil industry. According to Story, this imported gasoline demonstrates the government’s inability to manage the resources.
“We don’t know who this gasoline is for, which will probably last four or five weeks; whether it will be given to the person who has a national ID card, whether it will be for buses or enchufados (nickname to people connected to Maduro regime) or whether it will come on the black market. We also don’t know what’s inside those boats, and that worries us a lot. Why does he have to use gasoline from Iran when there is an industry in Venezuela” he explained in a remote interview from Bogota, Colombia. Venezuela has six refineries in-country and sits atop the largest oil reserves on the planet.
He took the opportunity to clarify that the U.S. ships in the Caribbean have the mission of blocking the passage of cocaine from South America to the U.S., so he ruled out any attempt to prevent the transit of the five Iranian ships bound for Venezuela.
On the other hand, Story assured that he does not handle information about the alleged criminal accusation that the U.S. Justice Department is preparing against Cilia Flores because it is linked to the case of her two nephews, who are serving an 18-year sentence for drug trafficking.
Parra, the boss of nothing
Almost six months after politician Enrique Ochoa Antich introduced an appeal for the Supreme Justice Court to decide which directive of the Assembly was valid for the period 2020, the Constitutional Chamber decided that deputy Luis Parra was the president of the National Assembly, even though it has not yet been proven that he had the quorum to be elected as such and that the session did not take place following the Rules of Procedure and Debate of the Parliament.
The decision forbade the holding of virtual sessions if they are not called by Parra, who is accused by the opposition of committing acts of corruption. It also warns that anyone who fails to comply with this measure may be arrested, thus threatening the majority of the legislative body and its leader, Juan Guaido.
In the opinion of Story, who had been serving as chargé d’affaires since 2018, and was appointed ambassador earlier this month, Parra “is not the boss of anything” and it is clear that the one who continues to lead the legislative power is Juan Guaido, and the more than 100 deputies elected in 2015.
He does not know if this sentence implies Guaido’s imprisonment, but he indicated that nothing that the general prosecutor appointed by the constituent assembly, Tarek William Saab, or Maikel Moreno, president of the Supreme Court, does is within the Constitution.
Finally, Story referred to the help they have given to Venezuelan migrants. He recalled that the United States has allocated $856 million to assist them, under the management of his government, and international organizations.