President of the National Assembly Julio Borges along with other members of Parliament to Fuerte Paramacay visited the Deputy Gilber Caro who’s held by the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin) in its structure near Valencia( state of Carabobo) since Wednesday. Borges did not exclude the possibility that the next National Assembly meeting will take place in the city of Valencia, so that the whole Parliament will be able to express the closeness to Caro for his detention.
The Party for Democracy (PPD) today voted its candidate for the presidential elections of 2018. At the voting session, participated by 400 councilors who have chosen unanimously, the 92.6% of the vote was for the former President Ricardo Lagos, who was confronting Deputy Jorge Tarud. The President of the PPD Gonzalo Navarrete expressed satisfaction for the results of the voting. Now Lagos must face the candidates of the other parties who are forming the coalition “Nueva Mayoría” before he can be an official candidate in the presidential elections of 2018.
Remigio Ceballos, Commander of the Operational Strategic Command of the National Armed Forces, said during an interview with the Venezuelan National Television that on Saturday there will be civic-military exercise across the country involving about 115,000 people and almost 600 military means including aircraft, ships and armored vehicles. The operation was planned from December 28 and is part of a broader program to train civilians to defend the nation from imperialist danger and grow the pro-Bolivarian feeling.
Francisco Martinez, President of Fedecámaras, has widely criticized the economic policy of Maduro’s government. Primarily Martinez recalled that the 50% increase in the minimum wage is a problem for small and medium sized companies which are not able to absorb the cost and risk of closure, also the criminalization of private property that the government continues to do prevents the formation of efficient private companies that increase production rates of the country. The low rate of production generates a general poverty that forces the government to increase more and more often the minimum wage, creating an inflation process that devalues the currency. Finally Martinez has also lashed out at CLAP because the country to grow should not subsidize the ‘public industry but the private one.
It is gale around the current coalition that leads the government, which has chosen Senator and former TV presenter Alejandro Guillier, member of the Radical Party, as a candidate for the presidential elections of 2018. Paulina Núñez and Eduardo Riquelme, President and Vice President of the National Renewal movement, have sharply criticized the choice of Guillier that although it is a name that has a cult following among voters is accused by the leaders of the NR of lacking of electoral program, unlike the other candidate of the government coalition that the former President Ricardo Lagos, however,reputed too old by the voters. Riquelme ended the speech recalling how the social-economic situation in Chile had improved in the four years of Sebastián Piñera presidency, that the current leadership of NR would be persuaded to run again in 2018.
President Maduro during an interview with the National Television hoped that 2017 is the year of the Local Committees for Supply and Production, or CLAP, created by the government in 2016 with the objective of minimizing the food crisis by delegating the management of resources to the local committees with charge of organizing and redistribute the production. In 2017 Maduro would like the CLAP to become an example of fair and sustainable economy. For this purpose has announced that it has allocated the sum of 9.936 billion Bolivars for the construction of shops for CLAP and also the President recalled that 2017 will be the ‘year of dialogue between government and opposition, after a 2016 fraught with tension, finally seems to register a more relaxed climate between the government and its opponents. Ultimately, Maduro also mentioned that soon the army will be involved in a series of exercises defined by himself: “anti-imperialist”.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, said in a message to the nation that the fuel price increases are not a government decision. In fact, he recalled that Mexico depends for about 50% of its fuel needs from the importation and that in the last year the price of oil has increased by approximately 60% . For these reasons now fuels in Mexico are more expensive. Peña Nieto said that mantaining the price of fuel artificially low would be an enormous cost to the government coffers, that would paralize all the services that with difficulty the federal government is trying to expand for the citizens. Finally, the President has announced further cuts in public spending that will be given mainly by salaries cuts of higher levels state and federal employees.
Alfredo Rada, Vice Minister for the coordination with social movements, denied in an interview on national television, ATB, that the Senator of the Department of La Paz, Fidel Surco, has been elected as the new Vice-President of the MAS. On Tuesday Surco informed the press about his appointment as Vice President of MAS, yesterday there has been a meeting of MAS in Cochabamba , presided by Evo Morales, in which he would have to choose the new Vice president but has not been possible due to the embarrassing situation created by Surco. Rada ,during the interview ATB, specified that Surco acted on its own initiative and in any case his figure is not compatible with that of Vice-President, for the internal rules of MAS the new Vice will have to come from a Department other than La Paz and will be a woman.
Congressman Jorge del Castillo Gálvez, a member of the Aprista Party, a center-left political party, said that will present the amendments to the current law on public procurement in the National Accord forum meeting of January 5. The proposals of the Aprista Party are aimed at rationalizing expenditure for public works. Gálvez said that it would be necessary for each project presented -that was successfully developed- to avoid the phenomenon of the disproportionate increase of the construction costs. Also the Aprista proposal provides a lowering of the public funding commensurate with the degree of the project execution.
The Colombian Congress approved the Amnesty Law for the FARC yesterday, now will only be signed by the President of the Republic Manuel Santos to enter into force. The law provides not only the opportunity for FARC guerrillas who set up political crimes to benefit from the amnesty but also stipulates that the state agents and the guerrillas may submit to the judgment of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, a court that judges each case of amnesty demand of those individuals who are not included into the category of political criminals. During voting for the approval of the law, in the Senate, the representatives of the opposition party, the Democratic Centre, left the room to protest against an agreement that they never supported.