By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro threatened to jail a Forbes billionaire in one of the world’s most notorious prisons Sunday, during his first speech after two of his nephews were convicted of conspiring to smuggle 800 kilos of cocaine into the United States by a New York court late Friday evening.JAIL, BUT NO NEPHEWS
Maduro did not mention Friday’s conviction -- which on Monday was a Venezuelan Twitter top trending topic for the fourth day in a row -- but asked President Barack Obama to overturn a 2015 executive decision declaring Venezuela a continental security threat. Obama renewed the decision only months ago.
While not mentioning the devastating U.S. Federal court conviction of his nephews -- who used Diplomatic Passports and the Presidential airstrip to traffick cocaine -- Maduro did talk extensively about sending a frequent target of his scorn to jail.
Lorenzo Mendoza, one of Venezuela’s richest men according to the Forbes magazine, is a frequent threat of harassment by Maduro and the pace of the actions against Mendoza seems to picking up.
On November 17th, Mendoza was prevented from leaving the country for a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Ecuador in his private jet by Venezuelan authorities. And on Sunday, the President was threatening to throw him in jail. In late October, SEBIN, the Venezuelan political police who handle repression of the opposition, visibly staked agents and vehicles outside Mendoza’s private residence and main office’s in Caracas for several days. No one was arrested.
On Sunday, the attacks resumed. "The criminal big wig” is carrying out a “perverse plan” to unseat Maduro, the President charged in a childish, lecturing tone.
And then the threats got into specifics: “You know, Iris [Varela, Prisons Minister Iris Varela] just reorganized the PGV [the Venezuelan General Penitentiary, one of the world’s most dangerous prisons, which is run by jailhouse bosses empowered by the government]. You can suddenly end up in the PGV, big wig, because of your perverse plan. I will see you in the immediate future,” Maduro threatened.
Maduro is certainly reaping no tangible benefits from either messing with Mendoza or halting the recall vote against him: His popularity is at an all time low, with pollsters Datanalisis giving Maduro his lowest-ever scores Thursday, with a 19.5% approval rate, while Data Mining has his popularity at 10%.ERRATIC
Instead of talking about the New York verdict, Maduro danced, threatened, cracked jokes, and threatened again during a two hour long rambling speech in which he was sweating profusely.
Calling the President of the opposition-held National Assembly crazy, Maduro threatened that he was suing National Assembly head Henry Ramos Allup.
"The suit is ready to be introduced at the Supreme Court so that they can hold a trial for mental insanity and the instigation of hate, racism and violence," Maduro said. “That old man is crazy, but crazy to the balls,” said Maduro,using a Venezuelan vulgar colloquialism that means “completely” or “to the hilt.”