Vice President Maduro warns against provocations and destabilization

Vice President, Nicolas Maduro urged the leaders of the opposition “to condemn violence” after right-wing groups rioted in Tachira state last weekend following the Supreme Courts decision to allow President Hugo Chavez to begin his term whilst receiving medical care in Cuba.

Maduro said that “We have information that more violence is planned” and said “we cannot allow anyone to inflame this country”.  He added that Venezuela “does not imprison anyone for their ideas”  but that violence is not acceptable. He labelled what happened in Táchira at the weekend as “intolerable” and said that differences over the decision of the Supreme Court should be expressed without resorting to violence or damaging  public facilities. Maduro also explained that there are “wild and desperate groups sabotaging the electrical system” following certain blackouts on Sunday.

The governor of Táchira State, José Gregorio Vielma Mora, reported on Tuesday that organized criminal gangs and paramilitaries are training students of the Catholic University of Táchira and the University of the Andes to create violence and unrest there and subsequently elsewhere in the country.

He explained that the recent violence in Táchira was “was very well coordinated…with the intention of destroying public and private facilities. …They had 9 mm pistols waist, four of them ” and some had “mortars with nails and screws”. He said “we talking about criminal gangs fully armed, very well-trained and qualified to cause chaos”.

Vielma Mora also said some “political actors” are paying money to people ” trained in violence”.  He criticized Leopoldo Lopez, a leader of the Popular Will party for planning further violence in Táchira saying he visited it this week “to do what they know to do, to create chaos and disorder”.

The governor of Táchira said that authorities have identified 40 students who participated in violent actions and emphasized that two students from the Catholic University of Táchira left the country for Colombia.