Fire destroys most voting machines in Venezuela’s main elections warehouse
UNTV News • March 9, 2020 • 348
Venezuela’s elections council said on Sunday (March 8) that a fire over the weekend destroyed most of the voting machines stored in its main warehouse in the capital, Caracas, potentially complicating parliamentary elections scheduled for this year.
Nearly 50,000 voting machines and almost 600 computers went up in flames as a result of the fire that broke out on Saturday (March 7), said elections council chief Tibisay Lucena.
She did not elaborate on how many voting machines were still available for use, or how the incident would affect future elections. Lucena said she had asked state prosecutors to look into the cause of the blaze, which did not cause any injuries.
The South American country’s elections have come under heavy criticism since President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was widely dismissed as rigged in his favour, leading dozens of governments around the world to disavow his government in 2019.t.
Venezuela holds elections this year for parliament, which is currently controlled by the opposition. Maduro’s adversaries are demanding that the country instead hold a new presidential election, and have not yet said whether they will participate in the legislative election. A date for that vote has not been set. (REUTERS / VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT TV)
(Production: Efrain Otero, Johnny Carvajal, Paul Vieira)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday (June 29) ordered the European Union envoy to leave the country, hours after the EU announced sanctions against several officials loyal to the socialist leader.
The EU subjected 11 officials to financial sanctions, citing their actions against the democratic functioning of Venezuela’s National Assembly.
The European bloc earlier this month said a decision by the South American nation’s Supreme Court in May to ratify an ally of Maduro as president of the National Assembly was illegitimate. Opposition leader Juan Guaido was the rightful congressional president following his election by the majority of members in January, not the court-approved Luis Parra, the EU said.
Parra was among those named in Monday’s sanctions, along with Franklyn Duarte and Jose Gregorio Noriega, who were named as vice-presidents of the assembly in the May court ruling.
Maduro gave the EU envoy, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, 72 hours to leave the country after the sanctions were announced.
“A plane can be loaned to her to leave,” he said during an appearance on Venezuelan state TV.
Maduro also said his government was reserving diplomatic action in the case against the Spanish ambassador in Caracas, Jesus Silva, whom he said was “an accomplice of the criminal and terrorist Leopoldo Lopez, as published in the Wall Street Journal, for the plan to assassinate me, to assassinate the country’s top military and political leader.”
Last week, the U.S. newspaper published a report citing sources close to the opposition leader Lopez, indicating that he had come into contact with several security firms for an armed action in Venezuela. (Reuters)
Caracas – Venezuela’s president said Sunday that arrest warrants had been issued against those involved in an allegedly foiled extremist conspiratorial attack against his troops, which he accused opposition leaders and the United States of spearheading.
Nicolas Maduro spoke at the National Assembly and said the operation, which he claimed was uncovered Saturday and planned by leaders Juan Guaido and Leopoldo Lopez as well as the US, was aimed at attacking military outposts countrywide and averted by his intelligence team.
“On Friday evening, judicial and prosecutorial orders were issued to capture those involved in this bloody conspiracy,” Maduro said as he took part in a ceremony at the assembly, comprised only of Chavez supporters, to commemorate the Venezuelan Constitution’s 20th anniversary.
“Leopoldo Lopez, a fascist, psychopathic monster, who in 20 years has been behind all coup attempts and violent acts. He carries violence in his blood. He is a mental patient of violence… and also a thief,” the leader said during the celebration.
The alleged conspiracy was announced by Jorge Rodriguez, Communications Minister, who reported security agencies had dismantled an extremist plan headed by Lopez, Guaido and the Colombian Government headed by Ivan Duque. Fearing arrest, Lopez has since May sought refuge at the Spanish ambassador’s residence in Caracas.
According to Rodriguez, the operation’s participants intended to attack two military headquarters and carry out violent actions in six states.
Maduro said the alleged attacks were going to take place “in several cities in the country to cause a military and public bloodbath, as well as to shadow and shower Christmas and the festivities of the Venezuela’s people this 2019 in blood.”
He said that they managed to detect and stop the plan “thanks to civil, police and military cooperation.”
Maduro also said the foreign ministry received a Friday call from James Story, the Chargé d’Affaires for the Venezuela Affairs Unit at the US Virtual Embassy, whom Maduro accused of being the “conspiracy officer.”
According to the Venezuelan leader, Story called the vice-minister, Carlos Ron, during a confusing Friday incident involving substitute legislator Yanet Fermin, also accused by Rodriguez of being involved in the plot. He said several police officers appeared at her home but that she was finally not arrested. EFE-EPA
Venezuela wants peace instead of wars, said President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with the China Central Television (CCTV).
His remarks came amid escalating tensions at the Venezuela-Colombia border that started in February when Venezuela cut its diplomatic and political relations with Colombia.
He said he placed the nation’s army on an orange alert on Tuesday to safeguard domestic peace rather than wage war against other countries.
“I issued an orange alert to mobilize the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) for military drills from September 10 to 28, because we want neither armed conflicts, nor wars. We want peace, and any country that is eager for peace should prepare to defend itself,” the president said.
In response to the domestic political crisis, Maduro said the international community is making efforts to help the Venezuelan government resume dialogues with the opposition led by Juan Guaido, and the Venezuelan government is having extensive contacts with other oppositions in the meanwhile.
“We will continue our dialogue with all the options open for the dialogue,” he said.
When talking about the recent petition signature events organized by the Venezuelan people to oppose U.S. sanctions, Maduro said what the United States is doing is nothing but interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
He said that U.S. President Donald Trump covets resources in Venezuela and touts “Monroe Doctrine”, a 19th century strategy to rule Latin America for Washington’s political and economic purposes.
“The sanctions against Venezuela imposed by the Trump administration are totally unjustified. They’re interventionist policies seeking subversion. The United States is trying to control our country. Latin America belongs to Latin Americans, but Americans consider they’re the only Latin Americans, and all countries in South America, Central America and Latin America should serve their interests, business and power of the United States,” Maduro said. (REUTERS)
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