Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro defends Clorox seizure

| September 30th, 2014 | No Comments »

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has defended the seizure of a factory owned by US-based company Clorox.

“Socialist formula: any company that’s abandoned will be taken over by the working class,” Mr Maduro said.

Cleaning products maker Clorox closed its production facilities in Venezuela last week, saying government-imposed price freezes were crippling it.

The Venezuelan authorities have accused Clorox of illegally abandoning the country and have seized its facilities.

‘Economic war’

“The legal documents in various government and judicial institutions demonstrate the abandonment of their legal and constitutional responsibilities,” Mr Maduro said.

He said the closure of the plant was part of an “economic war” being waged against the socialist government by the opposition.

He warned the working class to be “alert to this new madness”.

Clorox, which sells bleach and other household cleaning products in Venezuela, announced in a statement on 22 September that it would cease its operations there immediately and try to sell its ... Read More

Crisis económica amenaza la petrodiplomacia venezolana

| September 29th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald


La petrodiplomacia chavista, esquema de compras de lealtades de países vecinos a través de subsidios petroleros, le ha costado al Estado venezolano más de $44,000 millones en los últimos años, y aún cuando sus frutos políticos son cruciales para la estabilidad del régimen bolivariano, el colapso económico del país sudamericano han vuelto el programa insostenible, dijeron analistas.

Los subsidios que Venezuela otorga a los países de Centroamérica y del Caribe a través de Petrocaribe y a Cuba, a través del Convenio Integral de Cooperación (CIC) se están tornando difíciles de mantener para una nación cuya economía está en vías de implosión, advirtieron los expertos.

“Venezuela ya no puede seguir sustentando estos programas”, comentó desde Washington Antonio De La Cruz, director Ejecutivo de la firma de asesores Inter American Trends.

“Va llegar un momento, en los próximos meses en que ellos van a ... Read More

American Aid Props Up a Castro Ally

| September 29th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

A French court has upheld an earlier arbitration court ruling that obliges El Salvador to honor a contract it signed in 2002 with the Italian renewable-energy company Enel Green Power (EGP). The contract, which designated the French court to handle disputes, allows EGP to gain majority ownership of the Salvadoran thermoelectric private-public partnership La Geo by increasing its investment in the company.

In other words, the court told El Salvador that it may not stop EGP from bringing more technical know-how to the impoverished country and adding some $127 million to a $100 million investment in its electricity infrastructure. The Sept. 18 ruling in Paris exhausts El Salvador’s legal pathways for halting the investment, which it has been doing since 2008. But it doesn’t necessarily alter the circumstances on the ground.

A poor country devoted to blocking an infusion of capital sounds crazy until you learn that El ... Read More

Venezuelan Army Enjoys Meat to Cars Denied Most Citizens

| September 29th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Bloomberg News

Venezuela’s national parade ground at the Fort Tiuna military base presents a scene that local civilians can only dream of — stalls laden with goods and no waiting lines.

The market with everything from subsidized meat to baby strollers, along with loans, new cars and apartments, are perks provided to the armed forces as the economy contracts, poverty rises and President Nicolas Maduro’s popularity sinks to a record low.

The benefits help ensure the loyalty of the military, while siphoning reserves away from the poor who have seen wage growth fall behind inflation, according to analysts, citizen activists and academics.

Since Maduro came to power 17 months ago, the armed forces have created their own television channel, housing program and bank, the only military-owned one outside Iran and Vietnam. A third of Venezuela’s 28 ministers and half the state governors are now active or retired officers, mostly companions of former paratroop ... Read More

Bipartisan Lawmakers to Admin: Please Oppose Venezuela’s Security Council Bid

| September 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
PJ Media

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling on the Obama administration to oppose Venezuela’s effort to land a non-permanent, two-year seat on the UN Security Council.

A week ago, Reuters cited diplomatic and administration sources as saying they were resigned to Caracas securing a seat at the 15-nation table and wouldn’t oppose the bid. Venezuela is the only Latin American country in the running and needs a two-thirds vote from the General Assembly next month.

President George W. Bush led a campaign against a Venezuelan bid in 2006. That was during the reign of Hugo Chavez, but this Venezuelan bid comes after Nicolas Maduro’s violent crackdowns on peaceful demonstrators and other human right abuses.

“There should be no place for Venezuela at the UN Security Council. Nicolas Maduro and his regime have been the cause of instability in Venezuela and the Western Hemisphere region and allowing it a seat on the ... Read More

Blackout hits parts of capital, western Venezuela

| September 26th, 2014 | No Comments »

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s government says parts of the capital and seven western states were left without electricity after two generating plants had technical problems.

The blackout began at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Caracas and lasted about an hour. It caused traffic jams in parts of the capital as street lights stopped working and office buildings were evacuated, causing hundreds of people to walk in the middle of streets because sidewalks were overflowing.

Electrical Energy Minister Jesse Chacon said frequency fluctuations caused problems in “two large generating machines” in the Andean region. He said seven of Venezuela’s 23 states were affected.

The socialist country suffered major blackouts in 2012 and 2013. The administration blamed those outages on sabotage, while opponents said they were the result of government incompetence.

Click here for original ... Read More

Is Nicolás Maduro Latin America’s New Man at the United Nations?

| September 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy

Representatives of Latin America and the Caribbean have chosen the troubled government of Venezuela to represent them in the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member whose term begins next January. When the U.N. General Assembly elects new UNSC members in mid-October, Latin America’s nominee to debate matters of “peace and security” will be a country that is among the least peaceful and most insecure in the Americas. Although the region’s image may suffer as a result, at least President Nicolás Maduro’s regime will be conspicuous as its economic mismanagement collapses Venezuela’s oil-rich economy and as its repression intensifies in a desperate bid to hold to power.

The Security Council has five permanent members (France, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States) and 10 non-permanent members, elected to represent one of five regional groups of countries. Venezuela seeks to be one of two members representing the ... Read More

Under pressure at home, Venezuela’s Maduro calls for a more ‘democratic’ U.N.

| September 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Jim Wyss

BOGOTA- Addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time since taking office 17 months ago, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said it was time to make good on the dreams of his late boss Hugo Chávez and shake up the staid body.

Echoing other regional leaders, Maduro, 51, said the United Nations had been co-opted by imperialist powers and needed a dose of democracy.

“The U.N. charter is one of the most beautiful poems you can read,” he said. “But it’s turned into a document that has been thrown aside and is trampled permanently.”

“The countries of the world are clamoring for their voice to be heard,” he said, noting that the 15-member Security Council needs to be more representative.

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Maduro also used his speech to denounce the U.S. blockade of Cuba, one of Venezuela’s staunchest allies, and its continued attacks on Syria and Iraq. While Maduro ... Read More

A Contraband Crackdown Is Rattling the Border Between Colombia and Venezuela

| September 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Meredith Hoffman

Venezuelan soldiers have been on an aggressive hunt for smuggled gasoline along the border with Colombia in recent weeks, contraband that Remedio Pana, a 42-year-old indigenous woman who lives on the Colombian side of the shared border, stores in her front yard.

Pana has watched Venezuelan soldiers sprint into her border town and rough up her neighbor, and she’s heard their gunfire. But, as she explained to VICE News outside her hand-built mud home in Paraguachon, in northeast Colombia, she needs money from the illicit sale of fuel to feed her ten children.

Pana is just a tiny part of the massive contraband industry that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro blames for his country’s current shortage of food and consumer goods.

Since August 11, Maduro’s government has tried to seal the roughly 1,300-mile-long Colombia-Venezuela border by closing it at night, between 10pm and 5am, and also by deploying troops and dynamiting illegal ... Read More

Crisis in Venezuela worsening

| September 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


The lull in the street battles that raged across many of Venezuela’s cities this spring belies the violent civil conflict still threatening the country. From February to June, dozens of people died, hundreds were wounded and several thousand more were detained during conflict between protesters and government security forces.

Repression, exhaustion and disorganization have quieted protesters for the moment, but they will certainly return given the government’s failure to address the causes of the country’s polarization. With its vast oil reserves — by some measures the world’s largest — and its complex network of regional relations, Venezuela’s meltdown would be a disaster not only for its people but for the entire hemisphere.

Hugo Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, has largely clung to his controversial policies, worsening the country’s multifaceted economic, social and governance crises. Recent opinion polls show that President Maduro is losing popular support, ... Read More

Venezuela opposition names new head to fight Maduro

| September 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

By Corina Pons

(Reuters) – Venezuela’s opposition parties on Wednesday named a 56-year-old journalist and teacher to head their coalition ahead of 2015 parliamentary elections where they hope to weaken President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government.

“It was a unanimous decision to elect me, we’re all rowing in the same direction,” Jesus Torrealba said in a speech accepting leadership of an opposition movement that narrowly lost the presidency to Maduro last year and has been squabbling since.

He replaces outgoing Democratic Unity coalition executive-secretary Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, who resigned in July, and faces a mammoth task to unite moderates and radicals who differ in their views on how to oppose Maduro.

Torrealba, who was a member of the Communist Party in his youth, founded a non-governmental organization called “Neighborhoods’ Radar” and later had a program of the same name on a pro-opposition TV station to denounce grassroots problems from ... Read More

Avanza en La Haya caso contra Maduro por crímenes de lesa humanidad

| September 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald


La Fiscalía de la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI) de La Haya inició el estudio de una denuncia presentada por más de 300 diputados y senadores de España y América Latina, quienes acusan a la cúpula del régimen de Nicolás Maduro de haber cometido crímenes de lesa humanidad durante la cruenta represión de las manifestaciones de este año.

La denuncia, que también acusa al régimen de hacer uso del sistema judicial venezolano como instrumento de persecución política, atribuye al chavismo una cadena de violaciones a los derechos humanos que habrían sido perpetrados por los cuerpos de seguridad del chavismo durante al feroz represión de los manifestantes que dejó este año más de cuarenta muertos, cientos de heridos, miles de arrestos y docenas de casos documentados de tortura.

La denuncia había sido presentada en abril por los legisladores, agrupados bajo la Alianza Parlamentaria Democrática de ... Read More

A year after skipping the UN,Venezuela seeks coveted prize

| September 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Jim Wyss

BOGOTA- During the opening of last year’s U.N. General Assembly, Venezuela provided a dose of chaos and drama when President Nicolás Maduro canceled his inaugural address at the last minute and flew home, citing shadowy threats against his safety on the streets of New York.

On Tuesday, those fears seem to have vanished as the South American leader glad-handed global leaders and faced the press on the sidewalks of Manhattan.

Maduro may have reason to feel confident as he prepares to address the organization Wednesday night: Venezuela seems poised to win a seat on the U.N. Security Council for the first time since 1993.

The last time it vied for a spot, in 2006, under late President Hugo Chávez, the U.S. and others blocked the move. This time around, few seem prepared to get in Venezuela’s way. Despite questions about its human rights record and continuing crackdown on protesters, the country ... Read More

Gold Reserve Awarded $740 Million From Venezuela Takeover

| September 24th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Pietro D. Pitts and Nathan Crooks

A World Bank arbitration court ruled that Venezuela must pay $740 million to Gold Reserve Inc. (GDRZF) for taking its Brisas gold and copper project in 2008.

A three-member panel concluded the company was owed $713 million for the project, $22.3 million for interest and $4 million for legal and technical costs, Spokane, Washington-based Gold Reserve said yesterday in a statement. Payment of the award is due immediately and the company said it has commenced steps to ensure collection.

“We feel vindicated by the tribunal’s clear conclusion that the Venezuelan government acted unlawfully,” Gold Reserve President Doug Belanger said in the statement. “There are well documented procedures in place for identifying and attaching sovereign commercial assets.”

Former President Hugo Chavez nationalized assets in Venezuela’s energy and mining industries to increase state control over the economy before he died in 2013. The nation is now involved in 28 ... Read More

Venezuela’s Maduro Courts Chavez Faithful With Government Shake-Up

| September 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Time

By Girish Gupta

With the opposition posing little threat for now, Nicolás Maduro’s real challenge is keeping the left—particularly supporters of the late Hugo Chávez—united behind his leadership

“Our Chávez who art in heaven, the earth, the sea and we delegates,” began María Estrella Uribe, a red-clad supporter of Hugo Chávez at the lectern of a Socialist party convention in Caracas earlier this month.“Hallowed be thy name… Lead us not into the temptation of capitalism, deliver us from evil and oligarchy.”

The latter part of the prayer to the former Venezuelan President was answered just a few days later, when Rafael Ramírez, the country’s oil minister minister and vice president responsible for the economy, was sidelined. A longtime lieutenant of Chávez, Ramírez had lately begun pushing to overhaul the struggling Venezuelan economy. In June, on his way back from an Opec meeting in Vienna, he took a detour to London to meet ... Read More

Colombia: Venezuela Must Be ‘Constructive’ at UN

| September 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By Alexandra Olson

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday that he expects Venezuela to win a seat on the U.N. Security Council and hopes the country will play a “constructive” role on the organization’s most powerful body.

Venezuela’s candidacy won the unanimous endorsement of Latin American and Caribbean countries during a closed-door meeting in New York on July 23. That makes it likely it will muster the two-thirds majority needed to secure the seat representing the region in a secret ballot of 193 member nations at the U.N. General Assembly next month.

The seat would give a high-profile platform for the fiery, anti-U.S. rhetoric of the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro, the political heir of the late Hugo Chavez. Venezuela is almost certain to ally itself with Russia, and against the U.S., on big issues such as Syria and Ukraine.

“I hope they (Venezuela) can maintain a constructive position,” Santos said in ... Read More

Maduro is leading Venezuela to economic ruin

| September 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »

By Roger Noriega

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro made his debut at the UN General Assembly this morning, taking a brief break from his passion project back home, which is overseeing the economic collapse of an oil-rich country.

On September 16th, following months of deteriorating economic conditions, ratings agency Standard & Poor downgraded Venezuela’s credit rating into junk territory from B-minus to triple-C-plus. S&P warned investors there is a 50% chance that the government defaults on its sovereign debt in the next two years, stating, “We expect political polarization, erratic economic policy-making that exacerbates both the economy’s oil dependence and the prevailing macroeconomic inconsistencies, and weakening external liquidity to remain the main constraints to the ratings on Venezuela.” The credit rating agency also expects Venezuelan GDP to decline by as much as 3.5% this year, with inflation rising by up to 65% by the end of the year—one of the highest rates in ... Read More

Venezuela’s ‘busman’ president Maduro to make U.N. debut

| September 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

By Diego Ore

(Reuters) – Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said he will travel to New York this week for his debut appearance as president at the United Nations General Assembly despite “racist” editorials against him in major U.S. newspapers.

The socialist-run country is poised to gain a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council in 2015-16 thanks to unanimous backing around Latin America and the Caribbean.

The United States is unhappy with that but is not seeking to scupper it, diplomatic sources say.

At the weekend, though, both the New York Times and the Washington Post decried Venezuela’s probable place on the council, citing repression of opponents.

Maduro, a 51-year-old former bus driver who won an election to replace his mentor the late Hugo Chavez last year, blasted the newspapers and said he would hold his head high in representation of Chavez, Venezuela and the regional left-wing ALBA bloc.

“They treat me in a racist manner. ... Read More

Venezuela: Dangerous Inertia

| September 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
International Crisis Group

The streets of Venezuela’s major cities are now largely calm, following several months of violent clashes between opposition demonstrators, security forces and civilian gunmen that left more than 40 dead. The crisis, however, is not over. The opposition is demanding freedom for several dozen activists jailed during the unrest and an end to the threat of prosecution against more than 2,000. The underlying causes have not been addressed, and calls to restore autonomy and independence to the justice system and other key institutions have not been heeded. Living standards continue to decline due to economic recession; violent crime remains at record levels, and labour unrest and protests over poor-quality public services are often dealt with harshly. Greater international efforts are required to bring the sides back to the negotiating table, since the alternative to dialogue is likely to be further violence sooner or later.

Talks between the government and leaders of the ... Read More

Clorox Exits Venezuela After Price Freeze Hobbles Operations

| September 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »

By Craig Giammona and Lauren Coleman-Lochner

Clorox Co. (CLX), the consumer-products company that sells everything from bleach to salad dressing, is pulling out of Venezuela after inflation and government-mandated price freezes made the business unprofitable.

Clorox Venezuela will cease operations immediately and try to sell its assets, according to a statement today. The shares rose the most since 2011 after the announcement and a weekend report by the New York Post that Clorox had spurned a takeover offer from another consumer-products company earlier this year.

“This is a very difficult situation for our company,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Don Knauss said in the statement. “We are extremely proud of the men and women who did their very best to operate our business in the face of significant economic challenges. We are working to support them through this transition.”

Clorox becomes the latest U.S. company to pull back from Venezuela, where currency controls, supply ... Read More

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