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Caught On Tape: Caracas Mayor, Who Live-Tweets His Arrest, Detained In His Office By Maduro Police

Three hours ago, when the NY Fed trading desk was patting itself on the back for another day without hitches or major glitches in the "market" (except for that HFT-snafu in the USDCAD of course), one person was live-tweeting his arrest.  The person is Antonio Ledezma, who is not only the mayor of Caracas but the leader of Venezuela's, and around 5:20 pm local time, he was taken to the intelligence service’s headquarters in Caracas after the local police broke into his office and arrested him.

Mi oficina pretende ser allanada en este momento por varios policias del régimen, torre Exa, el Rosal.

— Antonio Ledezma (@alcaldeledezma)


The moment of the arrest when over a dozen "intelligence police" agents stormed the mayor's office was captured on video.

Así sacaron al alcalde

de su oficina exclusivo

— Carmen A. Rengifo (@CarmenAndreaRG)

Officers fired in the air and hit Ledezma before taking him away without a warrant, according to Congressman Richard Blanco of Ledezma’s Alianza Bravo Pueblo party, who was present when police arrived, to reporter.

This is latest in a long series of arrests by the embattled and desperate leader of Venezuela, whose nation as we warned in November, was crumpled in a smoldering heap of record-wide CDS driven by plunging oil prices, and whose default is now just a matter of time.

Bloomberg adds that Caracas has seen sporadic street protests this month as opposition-affiliated students try to commemorate last year’s rallies against President Nicolas Maduro, which left 43 people dead. Maduro is seeking to distract voters from economic problems ahead of congressional elections expected later this year, Diego Moya-Ocampos, a London-based political analyst at consultancy IHS Inc, said in a telephone interview.

“It’s clear that the government is no longer tolerating anything that could generate a situation of protests like last year,” Dimitris Pantoulas, an independent political analyst, said by telephone from Caracas.

Hence the increasingly more aggressive "pre-crime" crackdowns on any potentially threatening opposition figures.

As for Maduro, just like Turkey's own prime minister, the soon to be overthrown leader served up the usual rhetoric an hour after Ledezma's arrest, when in a televised address he talked about meeting Fidel Castro in Cuba on Tuesday and criticized what he called an “economic war” against his government, without mentioning the arrest of the mayor of the country’s capital. In recent speeches, he has called Ledezma a “vampire” who seeks to overthrow the government.

Maduro will continue raising pressure on the opposition this year to shift the political debate away from shortages and 69 percent inflation, said Moya-Ocampos.


“This is part of the government’s brutal crackdown to neutralize the opposition ahead of elections,” he said.

Ledezma, who began his political career in the corn-producing heartland in central Venezuela in early 1970s, has criticized Maduro for his handling of the economy and the detention of Lopez, who is jailed at the Ramo Verde military prison outside the capital. Ruling party lawmaker Julio Chavez earlier in the day called for Ledezma and former opposition lawmaker Maria Corina Machado to be jailed, saying that they “should be in Ramo Verde accompanying Leopoldo Lopez” for fomenting a coup.

For now, such sporadic episodes of utter banana republicanism are relegated to the fringes of the developing world, and especially the oil exporters, where the existing - often authoritarian - rulers are rapidly losing control with every passing day that oil trades below their breakeven cost. Should the oil plunge resume, the only silver lining is that the true comedic genius of Maduro will be on public display every single day as he desperately tries to distract from the utter socialist collapse of his country, much to the terror of his fellow countrymen.