Reports from Venezuela: Busting the myths spewed by Luisa Ortega Díaz on the BBC
Busting the myths spewed by Luisa Ortega Díaz on the BBC
BBC had the chance to interview Luisa Ortega Díaz, Venezuela’s prosecutor general, a privilege few –if any- independent media get these days. Had we had the chance, there were many other questions we would have liked to ask. But the few things she said left us in awe, and itching for a fact check.These are a few of the things that Ortega Díaz claimed … that don’t pass the smell test:
1. Ortega Díaz: “no hay ninguna cacería de brujas ni contra el alcalde de San Cristóbal ni contra nadie. No es un problema de cacería de brujas, es un problema de justicia de acuerdo a la Constitución y a la ley”. (Transl: There is no witch hunt against the mayor of San Cristóbal or against anyone else. It’s not a problem of hunting witches, it is a matter of justice according to the Constitution and the laws.)
On February 24, 2014, Maduro claimed that 27 municipalities were affected by violent protests in the form of barricades, the so-called guarimbas.
By April 1, Rafael Ramírez said that only 18 municipalities were affected during the last 48 days of protests, and a mere 2 or 3 remained mired in protests.
On the interview with BBC, Ortega Díaz said that the violence had been “downsized to just two municipalities in the country”.
However, 23 of 76 opposition mayors have open court cases on issues related to the protests. These mayors took office for new terms a mere three months ago.
Two opposition mayors are behind bars: Daniel Ceballos and Enzo Scarano both sentenced in record time for –allegedly- defying an order from the Supreme Tribunal requiring them to dissolve the guarimbas. Ramón Muchacho, the mayor of Chacao, has not been charged but has received multiple threats from Nicolás Maduro himself.
There is also a noticeable double-standard. After the murder of Adriana Urquiola in Los Nuevos Teques, Municipio Guaicaipuro in Miranda state on March 24th, Maduro blamed the incident on Capriles and Polimiranda for not been able to control de guarimbas. But, what about the mayor of Guaicaipuro, Francisco Garcés, who happens to be a member of Psuv and former member of Chávez’s cabinet? It seems as though when the protests happen in an opposition municipality, they blame the mayor, but when it happens in a government municipality, they blame the opposition state governor.
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