Venezuelans are starving amid economic crisis, food shortages

Venezuelans are starving amid economic crisis, food shortages

Venezuelans reported losing on average 24 lbs in body weight last year and almost 90 percent now live in poverty, according to a new university study on the impact of a devastating economic crisis and food shortages.

The annual survey, published on Wednesday by three universities, is one of the most closely-followed assessments of Venezuelans’ well being amid a government information vacuum and shows a steady rise in poverty and hunger in recent years. …

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Mexico’s Pro-Business Candidate Wants to Double Minimum Wage

Mexico’s Pro-Business Candidate Wants to Double Minimum Wage

Presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya is pledging to more than double Mexico’s minimum wage as he looks to extend a rally in his support that’s put him within striking distance of the leftist front-runner in this year’s election. …

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Colombia Asset Seizures Raise Doubts About FARC Peace Deal Compliance

Colombia Asset Seizures Raise Doubts About FARC Peace Deal Compliance

Authorities in Colombia have seized properties linked to the FARC guerrilla group whose estimated value adds to evidence that the now-demobilized rebels under-reported their assets, contravening part of a 2016 peace deal meant to provide reparations for victims.

Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office announced in a February 19 press release that it had arrested several individuals in connection with an alleged scheme to launder hundreds of millions of dollars over two decades through a chain of small supermarkets tied to the Revolutionary ...  

Venezuela’s Main Opposition Parties to Boycott Presidential Vote

Venezuela’s Main Opposition Parties to Boycott Presidential Vote

Venezuela’s main opposition parties say they will shun this year’s presidential elections, claiming the vote has been rigged to guarantee a victory for President Nicolas Maduro.

Justice First, the country’s largest opposition party, announced on Tuesday that it would not be participating in April 22 elections. “We won’t help out a dictatorship that only cares about maintaining power on the backs of the Venezuelan people and their suffering,” the party said in a statement. …

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Harsher sanctions needed against Venezuela, targeting oil: OAS chief

Harsher sanctions needed against Venezuela, targeting oil: OAS chief

Sanctions should be stepped up against Venezuela’s leaders and oil sector in response to the country’s repressive political climate, the head of the Organisation of American States (OAS) said on Tuesday. Under President Nicolas Maduro, “dictatorship has become more tyrannical” and the suffering of its 30 million people has increased amid dire shortages of food and medicine, said Luis Almagro. …

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Brazil’s lower house greenlights security intervention in Rio

Brazil’s lower house greenlights security intervention in Rio

Brazil’s lower house early on Tuesday approved a decree that authorizes the federal government to intervene in security in the crime-plagued state of Rio de Janeiro, sending the bill to the Senate for final approval. The measure, which passed with 340 votes in favor, 72 against, and one abstention, allows the army to take over command of police forces in the state. …

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Venezuela’s Opposition Coalition Likely to Boycott Presidential Vote

Venezuela’s Opposition Coalition Likely to Boycott Presidential Vote

Leaders of Venezuela’s opposition coalition appeared likely on Monday to decide on a boycott of the April presidential election, believing authorities have rigged it for President Nicolas Maduro and his ruling socialists.

Maduro, the 55-year-old successor of Hugo Chavez, is seeking re-election in the April 22 vote despite his unpopularity and a crushing economic crisis. But critics say the election is a farce, with Maduro’s main rivals barred from standing and a compliant election body bound to favor the socialists. …

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Venezuela Is Jumping Into the Crypto Craze

Venezuela Is Jumping Into the Crypto Craze

It was a surreal scene in an increasingly surreal country. Three prominent cryptocurrency proponents turned up at a forum at Venezuela’s central bank in late December, extolling the virtues of digital tokens as a way for the beleaguered country to fix its broken economy. Even for a government known for magical thinking, the idea was pretty rich: By starting the world’s first sovereign cryptocurrency, Venezuela could overcome its dire economic problems, from soaring inflation to cratering economic growth and perhaps ...  

Head of OAS anti-corruption mission in Honduras resigns

Head of OAS anti-corruption mission in Honduras resigns

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The head of the Organization of American States’ anti-corruption mission in Honduras said on Thursday he would resign over a lack of support from authorities in the Central American country and clashes with OAS leadership.

“With great regret and after deep reflection, I announce my resignation,” Juan Jimenez, a Peruvian, wrote in a post on Twitter explaining the reasons for his departure.

Jimenez, who previously served as minister of justice in Peru, also attributed his resignation to differences ...  

Colombia says increasing number of Venezuelans involved in ELN attacks

Colombia says increasing number of Venezuelans involved in ELN attacks

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia on Thursday said an increasing number of Venezuelans were taking part in attacks by Marxist ELN rebels and in criminal activity, as hundreds of thousands of migrants flee over the border to escape a humanitarian crisis at home.

Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said he had expressed concern to his Venezuelan counterpart General Vladimir Padrino in a telephone conversation, and that they had agreed to meet to coordinate security plans at the border.

Villegas said Venezuelans had ...  

Brazil Army to Take Over Security in Rio de Janeiro Amid Violent Crime Wave

Brazil Army to Take Over Security in Rio de Janeiro Amid Violent Crime Wave

RIO DE JANEIRO—Brazil’s military is expected to take over public security duties in Rio de Janeiro, where violent crime has soared amid a fiscal crisis in the state government and a deep recession in the oil sector.

Rio Governor Luis Fernando “Pezão” de Souza traveled to Brasília Friday morning to sign an agreement with the federal government that would put an army general in charge of security in the state, people familiar with the matter said. President Michel Temer is expected ...  

Exclusive: Mexico foreign minister heads to Caribbean to win over Venezuelan allies – official

Exclusive: Mexico foreign minister heads to Caribbean to win over Venezuelan allies – official

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s foreign minister will travel to Jamaica, Grenada and Saint Lucia in March, a Mexican official said on Thursday, as part of efforts to erode Venezuela’s oil-based influence in the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, Cuban diplomats will visit Mexico in March to discuss the regional impact of the crisis in Venezuela, the official said. The Cuban embassy in Mexico City said the trip was not yet confirmed but that the two countries have regular bilateral meetings. Still, there are ...  

Markets Play Dangerous Game by Ignoring Rising Mexican Leftist

Markets Play Dangerous Game by Ignoring Rising Mexican Leftist

With five months to go in Mexico’s presidential campaign, the leftist firebrand Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has mounted a sizable lead in most polls. And yet, the country’s business and financial elites seem unimpressed.

Eighty-five percent of those C-suite executives surveyed by Banco Santander last month said Lopez Obrador will be defeated in July’s vote just as he was back in 2006 and 2012. This confidence explains why Mexican markets have held up so well as Lopez Obrador — who has ...  

Venezuela: Defiant President Nicolas Maduro vows to attend Summit of the Americas

Venezuela: Defiant President Nicolas Maduro vows to attend Summit of the Americas

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has responded with defiance at being declared unwelcome at the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Peru. Earlier this week, the Peruvian government said he was not welcome to attend.

Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro reacted angrily to the center-right Peruvian government’s announcement this week that he would not be welcome to attend the Summit of the Americas in Lima this April 13-14. Maduro claimed the move was a sign of intolerance on the part of right-wing ...  

Maduro warns Trump not to ban Venezuelan oil

Maduro warns Trump not to ban Venezuelan oil

President Nicolas Maduro sharply warned Trump on Thursday not to ban Venezuelan oil from the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that the United States was considering a ban to pressure Maduro to adopt democratic reforms.

The oil embargo would be “one of the biggest mistakes in international politics that @realDonaldTrump would commit,” Maduro tweeted Thursday after a press conference. He added: “The oil embargo is an illegal measure in light of international law, [and] an inconvenient ...  

Stunning new details in first medical report on US personnel in Cuba

Stunning new details in first medical report on US personnel in Cuba

U.S. personnel at the embassy in Havana who’ve experienced a rash of symptoms from mysterious “health attacks” appear to have suffered “widespread brain network dysfunction,” but there’s still no answer about the cause, according to a new peer-reviewed medical report.

The report, published Wednesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first of its kind on the question that has vexed U.S. officials for over a year now, with 24 Americans suffering from medically-confirmed symptoms, according to the ...  

Peru Withdraws Venezuela’s Invitation to Regional Meeting

Peru Withdraws Venezuela’s Invitation to Regional Meeting

LIMA, Peru — Peru, the host nation for a summit meeting of leaders in the Western Hemisphere, has withdrawn its invitation to President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela over his government’s plan to hold an early presidential election.

Foreign Minister Cayetana Aljovín of Peru said Tuesday that Mr. Maduro was no longer invited to the Summit of the Americas in April.

The move follows a recent announcement by Venezuela’s pro-government election officials to hold a presidential election on April 22 without reaching an ...  

Cuba prepares to end dual currency system

Cuba prepares to end dual currency system

For more than two decades, Cubans have used a unique dual currency system to protect a fragile economy, but with just weeks of his mandate remaining, President Raul Castro has signaled much-delayed change is finally coming.

Plans to scrap the divisive system were first mooted in 2003 as part of a series of market-oriented reforms introduced by Castro, who is due to step down in April.

Now, after years of delays, authorities on the Caribbean island are finally expected to bite the ...  

‘I don’t have a happy ending’: Venezuela’s misery is deepening — and spilling over its borders

‘I don’t have a happy ending’: Venezuela’s misery is deepening — and spilling over its borders

Venezuela’s deepening turmoil has spurred mass migration to the rest of the region, and now countries straining to deal with arriving migrants are taking steps to address the influx.

On February 8 in Cucuta, a border city that has become a hub for migrants, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced stricter migration controls and the deployment 3,000 security personnel to control hundreds of crossing points along the countries’ 1,370-mile shared border.

A new migration unit will also patrol public areas where displaced ...  

Venezuela’s economy is so bad, parents are leaving their children at orphanages

Venezuela’s economy is so bad, parents are leaving their children at orphanages

“Would you like to see the little ones?” asked Magdelis Salazar, a social worker, beckoning me toward a crowded playground.

We were at Venezuela’s largest orphanage, just after lunch. The yard was an obstacle course of abandoned children. A little chunk of a boy, on the cusp of 3, sat on a play scooter. He was called El Gordo — the fat one. But when he was left here a few months ago, he was skin and bones.

He zoomed past a ...  

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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 radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. 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, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

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 policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.