President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro has accused groups working within the United States of attempting to destabilize his government and even direct physical harm.
Tensions ignited last week when RT reported that the United States denied the entrance of the Venezuelan presidential aircraft to fly over Puerto Rican airspace. President Maduro was on his way to China. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States; therefore, requests are made to the State Department. It is unclear why the airplane of a head of state was denied entrance, but the United States quickly detracted its position after a furious response from several Latin American leaders.
This week President Maduro did not attend meetings at the United Nations General Assembly amidst reports of great dangers to his person. On his return trip from China President Maduro received intelligence of provocations awaiting him in New York. The Venezuelan president stated: “When I got into Vancouver I evaluated the intelligence which we received from several sources. I decided then and there to continue back to Caracas and drop the New York trip to protect a key goal: safeguarding my physical integrity, protecting my life,” as was reported by Al Jazeera.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson denied any plot against the Venezuelan president in U.S. territory and said: “It was his decision not to come. There were no obstacles in his journey.” Ms. Jacobson reiterated that the U.S. wishes to have a good productive relationship with Venezuela. However, President Obama has yet to recognize the election results that brought Nicolas Maduro to power last April.
Photo courtesy of Panorama.co.ve
The situation at the National Prison of Maracaibo, also known as the Prison of Sabaneta, is gruesome and bone-chilling. The confrontation between two gang leaders began at noon on Monday leaving 16 inmates dead. However, it is not the death toll which is alarming but the way the bodies have been found. One body was found dismembered and another had its heart ripped out.
The inmates are well armed with weapons of every caliber. There has been a long history of corruption within the Venezuelan correctional system and guards have been known sell weapons to the convicts. After 15 years in power the leading political party (PSUV) has been unable to curve violence in the country. The Minister of the National Prison System, Iris Varela, and member of the status quo, has not accepted any responsibility at the policies in place. Instead, she has laid the blame on the policies previous to the revolution of 1998, also known as the Fourth Republic.
Ms. Varela stated: “These prison littered with corruption, firearms, violence, disrespect for life, and which makes a profit out of human misery, are prison inherited from the Fourth Republic, and it’s a vice we are combating.”
After 15 years of combat there seems to be no progress at the front.
The incident came to a halt after the gang leader, Edwin, also known as El Mocho, who initiated the conflict asked to negotiate with Ms. Varela directly and agreed to give-up his weapons. His only demand was not to be transferred to another prison.
On Wednesday morning seven buses arrived at the prison to move inmates to another facility. The National Prison of Maracaibo is a coed prison and 290 females along with 280 men were removed.