ROYCE, ENGEL STATEMENT ON VENEZUELAN OBSTRUCTION OF RECALL REFERENDUM PROCESS

ROYCE, ENGEL STATEMENT ON VENEZUELAN OBSTRUCTION OF RECALL REFERENDUM PROCESS

WASHINGTON—House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) released the following statement on efforts by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the country’s National Electoral Council to block a constitutionally mandated presidential recall referendum from taking place this year:

“By blocking efforts to hold a recall referendum this year, President Maduro and the Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE) are standing on the wrong side of history. Out of an obvious fear of facing the Venezuelan ...  

Chief FARC negotiator: Peace in Colombia is difficult without amnesty

Chief FARC negotiator: Peace in Colombia is difficult without amnesty

Fighters must be given amnesty if peace in Colombia is to succeed, the rebels’ chief negotiator told CNN en Español.

“Without this law, well, it is very difficult for the guerillas to begin their movement into the peace zones or to the transitional points for normalization,” Ivan Marquez told Fernando Ramos in an exclusive interview.

Marquez said “assurances” were vital if the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were to lay down their weapons to end the continent’s longest-running war. But he ...  

Venezuela’s Regional Oil Diplomacy Cools as Crisis Looms Large

Venezuela’s Regional Oil Diplomacy Cools as Crisis Looms Large

Plagued by triple-digit inflation, political turmoil and a recession, OPEC member Venezuela has scaled back an 11-year program that allows its allies in the Caribbean and Central America to buy its oil at subsidized prices.

Latin America’s largest oil exporter has been favoring shipments to Asia and the U.S. while trimming sales to Petrocaribe, a program in which Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company, sells oil to members under low-cost financing, Mara Roberts, a New York-based analyst at BMI ...  

Socialism’s left Venezuela a ‘walking dead’ nation

Socialism’s left Venezuela a ‘walking dead’ nation

Here’s socialism at its finest: Venezuela is now forced to import oil from the United States, the devil in the eyes of the regime.

Yes, the South American energy powerhouse is still pumping 2.4 million barrels a day on its own — but that’s a million barrels below the level before Hugo Chavez took over in 1999, and down 350,000 barrels from just last year.

Worse, production in key fields has reduced the state to buying 50,000 barrels a day of US ...  

U.S. shifts Haiti deportation policy, and gives a warning

U.S. shifts Haiti deportation policy, and gives a warning

The U.S. Department of Homeland and Security has a warning to undocumented Haitians enroute to its southwestern border with Mexico — turn around. Otherwise, you will be deported back to Haiti.

After a six-year moratorium on deportations to the earthquake-scarred country, the Obama administration is resuming them, citing “improved conditions in Haiti” since the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake and “a significant increase in Haitians arriving at the Southwest border in San Diego, Calif.”

“The United States has recently witnessed a sharp ...  

Hugo Chávez’s Dream Is Dead but His Fanatics Refuse to Fade Away

Hugo Chávez’s Dream Is Dead but His Fanatics Refuse to Fade Away

The judge is shaking. Never mind that she’s sitting in her office dressed with the tasteful elegance of a jurist, a large painting of Venezuela’s national hero, Simón Bolívar, on one wall, watercolors on another. She’s just returned from an event at the Supreme Court, which should be a monument to the objective application of law. But the gathering was a political rally with singing and dancing and a fervently applauded speech about the need to emasculate the nation’s legislative ...  

Venezuela election board sinks push for Maduro referendum in 2016

Venezuela election board sinks push for Maduro referendum in 2016

Venezuela’s national election board on Wednesday dashed opposition hopes of holding a referendum this year to remove unpopular socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

If the opposition next month successfully collects 20 percent of total voter signatures requesting the plebiscite, then it “could take place halfway through the first quarter of 2017,” the board said in a statement.

The timing is crucial because if Maduro were to lose a referendum this year, as polls indicate he would because of an economic crisis, that would ...  

Obama praises the peace efforts of Colombia as ‘historic’

Obama praises the peace efforts of Colombia as ‘historic’

President Barack Obama is praising the peace accord in Colombia as an “achievement of historic proportions.” Obama says the U.S. is proud to have played a modest part in encouraging the talks that led to the breakthrough deal to end the Western hemisphere’s longest-running war.

Obama noted the deal faces challenges in implementation, including approval by the Colombian people in an October referendum. Obama made the remarks at a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. The leaders met on the ...  

Nicolás Maduro: Lacking Oil Cash and Panache, He Will Face Skeptics

Nicolás Maduro: Lacking Oil Cash and Panache, He Will Face Skeptics

Flush with oil money and political bravado, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela used his United Nations platform a decade ago to call George W. Bush the devil. Mr. Chávez’s successor as president, Nicolás Maduro, faces vastly changed fortunes before his General Assembly speech.

In some ways, Mr. Maduro must simply assure supporters that the region’s leftist shift survives. From Brazil to Argentina, left-wing leaders have fallen, and Venezuela’s Socialist-inspired revolution is struggling because of the country’s economic disaster, aggravated by the collapse ...  

Venezuela has solved its hunger problem? Don’t believe the U.N.’s numbers.

Venezuela has solved its hunger problem? Don’t believe the U.N.’s numbers.

Hunger is one of the world’s most pressing development problems. It should have been great news when the United Nations announced at the close of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that 72 countries had cut their hunger rates in half since 1990. The problem? We haven’t decided what “hunger” is, nor is there agreement on how to measure it. This means that the United Nations’ old goal of cutting world hunger in half, and its new goal of achieving ‘zero ...  

Honduran president seeks to create jobs to deal with gangs

Honduran president seeks to create jobs to deal with gangs

President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who declared war on street gangs when he took office in 2014, is now seeking to attract investment to create jobs, attacking Honduras’s gang problem from another angle.

The plan has won the support of the presidents of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, and El Salvador, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, who will join Hernandez for a meeting in Washington with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Friday.

The meeting, Hernandez told EFE in an interview, aims “to bring in private sector ...  

Lula’s ‘Clear Conscience’ And Brazil’s Inability To Explain Petrobras Scandal

Lula’s ‘Clear Conscience’ And Brazil’s Inability To Explain Petrobras Scandal

Brazil’s former rockstar president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has a clear conscience, he says, about the two federal criminal court charges he now faces. They’ve got nothing on him. He is sleeping well. Fica tranquilo.

Although Wall Street has clearly moved on from Brazil’s political drama, Petrobras is still reeling from it. On Tuesday, the same day Lula’s corruption case was accepted by courts in Brasilia and Curitiba, the ransacked oil major said it was cutting its capital expenditures by ...  

Peru brings up Venezuela crisis at U.N., Venezuela swipes back

Peru brings up Venezuela crisis at U.N., Venezuela swipes back

Peru’s president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday he is concerned about what he called the critical economic situation in Venezuela, citing shortfalls of food and medicine, while Venezuela accused him of meddling.

The comments were the latest in a series of diplomatic blows to the OPEC-member country as it suffers through a major economic crisis with food supplies depleted and triple-digit inflation.

“It is unavoidable that I mention our concern for the very critical political, economic ...  

Suriname slides into economic abyss, in shadow of Venezuela

Suriname slides into economic abyss, in shadow of Venezuela

PARAMARIBO, Suriname – It is a South American nation in crisis: Businesses are closing, food prices are soaring and hospitals are running out of basic supplies such as paper towels and bandages.

No, this isn’t Venezuela but rather nearby Suriname, a multi-ethnic former Dutch colony where the economy is in freefall amid collapsing global commodity prices and the local currency’s resulting slide against the U.S. dollar.

Life has become exceedingly difficult in this isolated country of about 540,000 people on South America’s ...  

Joe Biden will ask Venezuelan president to release jailed American, senator’s office says

Joe Biden will ask Venezuelan president to release jailed American, senator’s office says

Vice President Joe Biden will reach out to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to plead for the release of Utah resident Joshua Holt who is being held in the South American country on weapons charges, a spokesman for Sen. Orrin Hatch told Fox News Latino.

The spokesman, Matt Whitlock, said Biden will push for Holt’s immediate release. “We’re hopeful that there’s momentum,” Whitlock said.

In a video released Monday, the Utah senator said that both Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry have ...  

Two Priests in Mexico Found Dead After Being Kidnapped

Two Priests in Mexico Found Dead After Being Kidnapped

MEXICO CITY—Two priests were found dead Monday, hours after they were abducted in Mexico’s Gulf Coast state of Veracruz.

The Veracruz state prosecutors’ office said the two men were kidnapped Sunday in the northern Veracruz city of Poza Rica. Their bodies were found dumped in a field by a roadside Monday.

A third man who was abducted with them, identified as the priests’ driver, was later found alive and put under protection, officials said.

The Mexican Council of Bishops identified the dead men ...  

Venezuela’s No Good, Rotten, Terrible Meeting of the Non-Aligned Club

Venezuela’s No Good, Rotten, Terrible Meeting of the Non-Aligned Club

While New York was busy gearing up for the 70th annual U.N. General Assembly, a once-proud but now worn-out international summit was already well underway south of the border.

On Sunday, Sept. 18, Venezuela wrapped up the 17th meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, a loose international club formed in 1961 as a middle path through the Cold War polarization of the era. Originally founded by India, Indonesia, Egypt, Ghana and the former Yugoslavia, the group’s members advocated peaceful coexistence and refused ...  

Michel Temer Vows to Spend Political Capital on Reforming Brazil

Michel Temer Vows to Spend Political Capital on Reforming Brazil

Brazil’s President Michel Temer vowed to push ahead with unpopular measures to revive a troubled economy, saying his lack of electoral ambition gives him a free hand to act.

In an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York, Temer said he would spend all his political capital to shore up public accounts, expressing confidence that Congress would approve his proposals by the middle of next year to limit public spending and reform pensions. While he signaled he would be tougher on ...  

Iran’s president meets Castros in Cuba to reaffirm friendship

Iran’s president meets Castros in Cuba to reaffirm friendship

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani met with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro on Monday in Havana to reaffirm friendly ties between the two countries and express a commitment to deepening their collaboration, Cuban state media reported.

During the visit, Iranian and Cuban officials signed agreements for collaboration in the health, education and science sectors, as well as a memorandum of understanding on banking.

Rouhani, who stopped off in the Communist-ruled island on his way to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, ...  

Michel Temer: Striving for Legitimacy as Brazil’s New Leader

Michel Temer: Striving for Legitimacy as Brazil’s New Leader

Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, faces a difficult balancing act in his first speech before the General Assembly, after a bruising impeachment battle that ousted his rival, Dilma Rousseff.

That battle cast scrutiny on Mr. Temer’s challenges in strengthening a flailing economy, battling corruption and addressing growing divisiveness in Brazilian society.

Mr. Temer, a former vice president who turned against Ms. Rousseff, is expected to reassure his nation that change is coming after 13 years of governance by the leftist Workers’ Party. ...  

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About

During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.