On Monday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro chaired a meeting with the national leadership of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) from the Humboldt Hotel, at the Waraira Repano National Park in Caracas, to report on the events developing in recent hours in which the National Anti-Corruption Police arrested various officials, businesspersons, deputies, and presidents of institutions for their alleged involvement in corruption. President Maduro asked the Venezuelan people to give him their full support “in these difficult, bitter, but necessary, unavoidable hours of the fight against mafias and corruption.”
During the televised event, President Maduro informed the country that he personally has directed the investigations, and that he offered, during the same meeting with the high political command and the PSUV bureau, all the information on the corruption mafias entrenched in the judicial, economic, and political sector of Venezuela, exposed in recent hours.
“We have gone for everyone,” President Maduro said. “We must ensure that the truth prevails and that our people know the truth.” He said that nothing and no one will prevent these mafias from being dismembered and punished. He guaranteed that he would get to the root of these mafias.
“We are going to fully cleanse PDVSA of this infection, of these people who steal from the people,” stated the president. “Restructuring measures at the highest level” will be taken, he said, which have already begun within the oil industry. He also referred to the resignation of Tareck El Aissami as oil minister: “he has ratified his status as a revolutionary militant and indicates that he will cooperate in the entire investigation. I have decided to accept his resignation to facilitate the whole investigation.”
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Maduro also referred to the “mafias that became entrenched” in the National Superintendence of Cryptoactives (Sunacrip). Joselit Ramírez, who was president of the aforementioned agency, is among the detainees, as is PSUV deputy Hugbel Roa. According to the newspaper Últimas Noticias, the former is being held for the disappearance of three billion dollars from the sale of Venezuelan oil, sent to Venezuela in crypto assets as a way to evade illegal US sanctions. The second is accused of alleged corruption schemes inside PDVSA, according to local media.
Maduro also mentioned the cases of judges arrested for “selling sentences to favor drug traffickers, paramilitaries, and criminals.” He thanked the magistrate and president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Gladys Gutiérrez, for her support in cleaning up these mafias. According to the media, so far, judges Cristóbal Cornielles (president of the Caracas Criminal Judicial Circuit) and José Maximino Márquez García (4th anti-terrorist judge) have been detained for this case, allegedly involved in the release of an individual accused of supplying weapons of war to the criminal organization Tren del Llano. The arrest of judge Jorwis Bracho Gómez was also reported.
In the case of the mayor of Las Tejerías, Pedro Hernández, President Maduro said that “his direct links with the gang of the criminal and murderer, Carlos Enrique Gómez Rodríguez, also know as El Conejo, have been fully verified.” President Maduro recalled that officials went to that town to respond to the tragedy that occurred on October 8 and 9, 2022, due to the copious rains which left more than 50 dead. President Maduro expressed his shock that the mayor, after working closely with national authorities, turned around and dealt with El Conejo.
“The punishment has to be exemplary”
“Our revolution was born as a response to the moral decomposition of the Fourth Republic and as an alternative to demoralization by the model of capitalism dominated by oligarchies,” said President Maduro. He noted that the Bolivarian Revolution remains committed to providing an alternative to this corruption.
He reiterated that it has cost a lot to produce each dollar in the midst of the illegal sanctions imposed by the United States government, and “giving birth to resources” to recover health and education has cost a lot of work and sacrifices. Likewise, it has been very difficult to obtain assets for the workers, including Christmas bonuses and special bonuses, to “defend their income as much as possible,” as well as to maintain the construction of houses, while these “entrenched groups” try to steal everything they can get their hands on.
For this reason, “the punishment must be exemplary,” emphasized the head of state.
Maduro asked the people to remain united and alert, and to provide their full support “in this ethical, spiritual, and moral battle.”
Call to public officials
Maduro recalled the very strong words against corruption that he issued on February 15, when he attended the anniversary of the television program Con El Mazo Dando. That day, he had just left a meeting concerning corruption, and he issued strong warnings. He hoped that what was said at that time would serve as a warning but, President Maduro said, “the bandits” continued with “their extravagant life, with their immoral actions.”
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“No official is given a power to use it for the benefit of business groups, mafias or on a personal level,” President Maduro said. “The power we have does not belong to us.”
Support in the fight against corruption
President Maduro mentioned that the Expanded High Command of the Revolution, in the private meeting, extended his full support to this fight against corruption. The vice president of the party, Diosdado Cabello, echoed Maduro’s statements in a brief presentation: “The fight against corruption does not put us on the defensive, it puts us on the offensive. One is not a Chavista who wears a red shirt but allows this type of attitude.”
President Maduro added that “we are in the transition from a corrupt capitalist society to a socialist society, of solidarity, of the culture of equality and sharing.” He called for party members and Venezuelans not to lower their guard, to unite “the force of grassroots organizations” to fight against banditry and corruption.
Guaidó and the right
The head of state also said that former deputy Juan Guaidó “should have been behind bars for a long time. I ask for justice against those bandits, against those who requested the sanctions that have done so much damage to our country. I ask for justice against that corrupt far right.”
“I thank the people of Venezuela for accompanying me in these difficult, bitter, but necessary, unavoidable hours of the fight against mafias and corruption. We, with morality and justice, will get ahead again,” concluded the Venezuelan president.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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