Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

Dirigentes chavistas añadieron votos falsos «para robar las elecciones» en 2013

| April 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
ABC Madrid-01

Por Emili J. Blasco

Las computadoras secretas de los chavistas lo indicaban bien claro. A las seis de tarde, la hora en que el 14 de abril de 2013 debían cerrar los centros electorales en Venezuela, las presidenciales las había ganado Henrique Capriles Radonski. Suya era la banda tricolor que, no obstante, al final de un proceso amañado, se acabaría poniendo Nicolás Maduro. Un sistema informático paralelo al oficial permitía al chavismo saber en tiempo real a lo largo del día la evolución del voto, así como el número de votos falsos que debía producir para girar el resultado. Eso ocurría en el marco de un proceso completamente electrónico, como es habitual en Venezuela, y con la complicidad del Centro Nacional Electoral (CNE). Gran parte de la trampa se gestionó desde Cuba.

A las diez de la mañana, Diosdado Cabello se personó en la sede ... Read More

The surreal world of Venezuela’s queues

| April 20th, 2015 | No Comments »

In Venezuela many basic goods are in short supply. The government blames America and Europe, which it says are out to destroy its economy. Others say the government has brought the problems on itself. The BBC’s Ian Pannell experienced the sometimes surreal art of extreme queuing in Caracas.

The least one can expect from a creditworthy foreign correspondent is that he or she can have a decent stab at making sense of the world. In Venezuela this is more than the usual challenge.

Here are the rough basics. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is run by a socialist government that has broadly speaking used – or misused – its vast oil wealth to benefit some of the people, some of the time and to keep itself in power.

A combination of woeful economic management – or mismanagement – and the steep fall in oil prices has left ... Read More

Venezuela receives $5 bn funding from China

| April 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
From AFP

Cash-strapped Venezuela has received $5 billion in financing from China, President Nicolas Maduro announced Sunday as his country struggles with an economic crisis.

“We just received $5 billion more in financing for development,” Maduro said in a radio and television address.

He did not provide further details on the loan from China, a major political and economic ally of Venezuela.

Plummeting global oil prices have caused huge distress for Venezuela, a member of OPEC that relies heavily on its oil revenue to keep its lumbering command economy afloat.

Inflation in 2014 reached 68.5 percent in the South American country and many basic goods are in short supply.

China is Venezuela’s largest investor and the second-largest purchaser of its oil. It has been a key ally of Venezuela since Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999.

In January, Maduro visited Beijing ... Read More

Venezuela steps up nationalist rhetoric as economy worsens

| April 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By John Paul Rathbone and Andres Schipani 

Flanked by puffy-faced generals, Nicolás Maduro unveiled a 1.2km long flag this week, swore to crack down on businesses and railed against the imperial US — even as Cuba, the Venezuelan president’s closest ally, pursued detente with Washington.

“We are going to radicalise the revolution,” Mr Maduro roared at the military rally in Caracas on Monday. “Enough with the smirks of the bourgeoisie,” he thundered from the stage.

The contrast between Mr Maduro’s fiery rhetoric and Havana’s softly-softly approach to Washington is stark. On Tuesday, the US removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terror — making it possible for Havana to obtain multilateral funding and easing financing from third country commercial banks.

Mr Maduro’s escalating nationalist agitprop — including the unveiling of Venezuela’s longest flag — comes as he faces accusations of mishandling the economy. Two years since he took office, ... Read More

Raynell Andreychuk: Venezuela on the brink

| April 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
National Post-01

By Raynell Andreychuk

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has taken pains in recent months to paint his country as the victim of economic warfare, and himself as the target of several assassination plots.

Sanctions imposed on Venezuelan officials by U.S. President Barack Obama last month prompted at least one member of President Maduro’s government to venture that the White House was preparing a military assault on the South American nation.

Most observers dismiss such statements as part of a longstanding narrative aimed at distracting popular attention from Venezuela’s real problems. Those closest to the worsening state of Venezuelans’ daily wellbeing, however, warn of severe consequences if distraction continues to trump action aimed at easing the country’s compounding crises.

Inflation in Venezuela, at 68.5 per cent, is the highest in the world, prompting hoarding and a growing black-market economy. Shortages of food, life-saving drugs, and basic goods have become facts of life. Newspapers have been forced ... Read More

Petrocaribe: a legacy that is both blessing and a curse

| April 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Andres Schipani

Shortly after the 2010 earthquake, Hugo Chávez, the late Venezuelan leader, said he would write off Haiti’s $395m debt for oil exports from his country and would continue to supply it on generous credit terms.

“Haiti has no debt with Venezuela, on the contrary, it is Venezuela that has a historic debt with Haiti,” he said. He cited Haiti’s support for Venezuela’s 19th-century revered independence hero, Simón Bolívar. Historical links between the two countries include Venezuela’s flag being designed and first raised in Haiti.

In 2010, oil prices were as high as Mr Chávez’s revolutionary fervour. Caracas could afford to supply Haiti’s energy needs by sending 14,000 barrels of fuel a day at favourable rates and lenient payment terms in return for political support. Now, oil prices have halved since the middle of last year and Venezuela’s economy is in recession, wrestling with galloping inflation and food ... Read More

President Obama’s use of farce on Cuba

| April 15th, 2015 | No Comments »

President Obama issued a “certification” yesterday under US law that Cuba should no longer be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. He states, in part, “the Government of Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.” Of course, Cuba has insisted for 30 years that it does not support terrorism, despite reams of evidence to the contrary, i.e. support for Colombian and Basque terror groups in addition to US cop-killers. So, yesterday, the president of the United States essentially certified his own gullibility.

Let’s just say that Obama’s White House is not a stickler for facts or the law. On March 9th, the president issued a detailed, formal declaration that the lawlessness in Venezuela “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security” of the United States. Less than a month later, White House advisor Ben Rhodes flatly contradicted the president’s declaration. A State Department official ... Read More

Panama VP travels to Venezuela on dollar-debt mission

| April 15th, 2015 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Panama’s vice president and foreign minister traveled to Caracas Tuesday to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and negotiate the settlement of roughly $1 billion in dollar debt owed to Panamanian companies.

Isabel De Saint Malo de Alvarado’s visit stems from a meeting between Maduro and Panamanian counterpart Juan Carlos Varela at the just-concluded Summit of the Americas in Panama City.

The visit is aimed at settling the dollar debt Venezuela owes to companies in the Colon Free Trade Zone and Panama City-based Copa Airlines, the Panamanian Foreign Ministry said, adding that Venezuelan authorities have shown full willingness to make progress in the talks.

Although no figures were mentioned, previous estimates put the debt at around $1 billion, nearly half of which is owed to Copa Airlines and the rest to companies in the Colon Free Trade Zone – the largest free port in the ... Read More

Una región que arropa la represión

| April 14th, 2015 | 2 Comments »
Felipe Trigos-01

La Séptima Cumbre de las Américas celebrada el pasado fin de semana en Panamá demostró de nueva cuenta la inhabilidad de superar la fascinación con el mito de la revolución cubana y la falta de comprensión sobre los daños que este movimiento trajo, no solo para Cuba, sino para toda la región.

Cuando líderes del hemisferio tienen la oportunidad de coincidir con Raúl o Fidel Castro en reuniones multilaterales, parecería que lo más importante en la agenda es rendir homenaje a los hermanos y aprovechar la oportunidad para la foto, quizás para no provocar la protesta clamorosa de izquierdistas que ven con ojos enamorados ‘la obra’ de los Castro, a pesar de 55 años donde se ha podido constatar la opresión, pobreza y sufrimiento que ha causado a millones que habitan la isla.

La Cumbre en Panamá, que se centraría en temas como la prosperidad y la equidad, acabó sirviendo de plataforma ... Read More

Chile’s Lagos criticizes Venezuela’s Maduro

| April 14th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos is joining more than two dozen other ex-leaders in urging greater respect for human rights in Venezuela.

Lagos complained Monday that Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro hasn’t even allowed the International Red Cross to visit jailed opposition leaders. He says that even Gen. Augusto Pinochet “allowed the Red Cross into Chile,” during his 1973-1990 dictatorship.

“When you see someone who has been held for a year in extremely harsh conditions, or when 100 people, mostly hooded, kidnap a mayor and he ends up jailed without any court order, or when the United Nations says that there are more than 80 political prisoners, then obviously human rights are being violated,” Lagos said after meeting with the wives of jailed Venezuelan opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma.

At least 25 other ex-leaders from Spain ... Read More

Obama Puts the Heat on Chavistas

| April 10th, 2015 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

By Fabio Rafael Fiallo

On March 9, U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order that qualifies Venezuela’s regime as a threat to U.S. internal security and foreign policy. The order imposes asset freezes and visa bans against seven high-ranking officials, mostly from the military and the police, for their role in violations of human rights.

Caracas’ reaction was predictable enough. The Venezuelan government and its regional allies (Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua at the forefront) swiftly dismissed the claim that Venezuela could be a threat to the United States and accused Obama of interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs. Never mind that, as emphasized by Chile’s former President Ricardo Lagos, “as regards human rights, there aren’t frontiers, and wherever such rights are violated, someone has to cry foul”. (Lagos was discussing Venezuela when he made the statement.)

Neither have all critics of Chavismo applauded Obama’s move. More than a few contend that the ... Read More

An ‘Obama doctrine’ fail: Cuba still won’t love us

| April 10th, 2015 | No Comments »
New York Post

The two men will cross paths at the Organization of American States’ seventh summit, a meeting of 35 Western hemisphere heads of state that kicks off today in Panama.

Cuba was finally invited to attend the two-day affair this year.

Because the Communist regime’s membership in the OAS has been suspended in 1962 (it only accepts democracies as members), and because in past years Washington insisted Cuba be banned from the summit, the island nation wasn’t being invited before.

But this year, the United States dropped its objections, and so Cuban President Raul Castro and Obama can be expected to hug it out like the bros they’re fast becoming.

It’s all part ... Read More

¿Puede Obama rescatar su fallida política exterior en Latinoamérica?

| April 9th, 2015 | 1 Comment »
Real Clear World-01

El presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, ha notado claramente que muchos en América Latina y el Caribe tienen una afinidad extraordinaria con el mito de la revolución cubana. Lo que aún no tiene claro es que la gran mayoría de los ciudadanos de la región preferiría vivir en el Chile construido por Augusto Pinochet que en la Cuba destruida por Fidel Castro.

Durante la Cumbre de las Américas en Panamá Obama se encontrará con una región que ha perdido la estabilidad y la prosperidad desde que asistió a su primera cumbre en 2009. A pesar de que esperaba cosechar elogios por su acercamiento con La Habana, Obama recibirá en cambio un trato hostil por parte de varios líderes latinoamericanos, quienes encabezados por Nicolás Maduro de Venezuela y apoyados por Castro están determinados en diezmar la influencia que le queda a Washington en una región de suma importancia para la ... Read More

Can Obama Rescue His Failing Latin America Policy?

| April 9th, 2015 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

U.S. President Barack Obama has clearly noticed that many in Latin America and the Caribbean have an uncanny affinity for the myth of the Cuban revolution. What he has yet to realize, however, is that the vast majority of the region’s citizens would rather live in the Chile built by Augusto Pinochet than in the Cuba destroyed by Fidel Castro.

As Obama travels to Panama this week for his third Summit of the Americas, he encounters a region that has lost stability and prosperity since the president first attended the summit in 2009. Although he hoped to harvest accolades for his rapprochement with Havana, Obama will instead be greeted by a coterie of hostile counterparts, led by Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and abetted by Castro, who are determined to sever Washington’s remaining influence in a hemisphere critical to U.S. prosperity and security.

To be fair, other OAS leaders insisted that Castro ... Read More

The 33 Venezuelan Mayors Who Face Charges (And Oppose The President)

| April 9th, 2015 | No Comments »

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has faced a rough time dealing with food shortages and spiraling inflation. As life gets tougher, his government has responded by cracking down on opposition leaders, and mayors in particular.

Several of the politicians have been thrown in prison and overall, 33 of 78 opposition mayors are facing legal charges.

Among those recently jailed is two-term Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma. At Ledezma’s private office, his wife, Mitzi, describes how masked government agents forced their way in last month, shattering a glass door.

Ledezma was hauled off to prison for allegedly plotting against Maduro. But legal analysts say his government has yet to provide any solid evidence. Mitzi Ledezma describes the raid as a kidnapping.

“They didn’t even have an arrest warrant,” she tells me. “And let’s not forget: We’re talking about the mayor of Caracas!”

That kind of job title doesn’t mean much anymore. Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party controls all branches of government ... Read More

Senior US Official in Venezuela for Meetings With Maduro

| April 9th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


A senior U.S. diplomat was in Venezuela on Wednesday for talks with President Nicolas Maduro ahead of a regional summit in which tensions between Caracas and Washington threatened to overshadow a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations.

News of the visit by State Department counselor Thomas Shannon came after Maduro announced promotions for two of the seven officials the United States sanctioned in March for alleged human rights violations and corruption.

Caracas responded at the time by ordering most U.S. diplomats posted in the Venezuela capital to leave.

Shannon flew to Venezuela on Tuesday after its leaders invited the Obama administration to send a senior official to Caracas in advance of the three-day Summit of the Americas, which begins Friday in Panama.

Shannon was expected to meet with Venezuela’s opposition coalition Thursday.

There was no immediate word on the content of the talks.

Maduro made his announcement about the promotions of two officials on Tuesday evening.

One of the promoted officials is Katherine ... Read More

Venezuela’s Maduro Takes Petition Against U.S. Sanctions to Summit

| April 9th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


In 2009, Venezuela’s late leader, Hugo Chávez,ceremoniously handed President Barack Obama a book on Latin America’s struggles with imperialism at a summit of leaders from across the Americas.

At this year’s summit, which begins Friday in Panama, Mr. Chavez’s embattled successor, Nicolás Maduro, will give the U.S. leader a gift of his own: a petition with 10 million signatures condemning an Obama administration measure that identified Venezuela as a threat to American security.

The designation was a legal prerequisite for sanctions that the Obama administration leveled last month against seven Venezuelan officials accused of committing rights abuses against antigovernment protesters. The sanctions have led Mr. Maduro, whose government is struggling with an economic recession and low approval ratings, on a campaign to rally support at home against what he has called American imperialism.

“Maduro is taking advantage of Obama’s order,” said Luis Vicente Leon, head of the Caracas pollster, Datanalisis. ... Read More

Mr. Obama’s opportunity in Panama

| April 8th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post By Editorial Board

PRESIDENT OBAMA’s move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba in December was supposed to improve political and economic conditions for average Cubans and remove an irritant in U.S. relations with other Latin American nations, which have been pushing to end the isolation of the Castro regime. Four months later — a short time, admittedly — there is no sign of those benefits. According to Cuban human rights groups, political detentions have increased: There were more than 600 in March alone. More than 50 long-term political prisoners are still being held. Several Cuban opposition leaders are banned from leaving the country, which means they cannot attend this week’s Summit of the Americas in Panama.

U.S. and Cuban officials have yet to agree on the terms for reopening embassies. But the Castro regime has nevertheless reaped some substantial gains. Raúl Castro will be welcomed to the Americas summit for the first time; Mr. Obama will shake his ... Read More

Venezuela: The Price of Revolution

| April 8th, 2015 | No Comments »

By Nathan Crooks

Venezuela has more oil than Saudi Arabia and more poverty than Brazil. As the world’s only left-wing petrostate, it hopes to light a revolutionary path to prosperity for Latin America’s poor. The country’s an economic and social mess, though, with inflation pushing 70 percent, the world’s highest rate, and a homicide rate second only to Honduras. With the price of oil falling by half in the second half of 2014, the legacy of the late President Hugo Chavez is at risk as his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, struggles to keep providing cheap oil and other subsidies to buy influence abroad and popular support at home. Citizens wait in long lines to find scarce household items from deodorant to toilet paper. Congressional elections expected later this year will give Maduro’s government its first major electoral test.

The Situation

With oil revenue accounting for 95 percent of the country’s foreign currency earnings and an economy that produces little else, the Caribbean nation of 30 million people found itself with 60 percent less cash ... Read More

Obama’s Amateur-Hour Foreign Policy In The Americas

| April 8th, 2015 | No Comments »
Investor's Business Daily

Terrorism: Seeking applause at a summit in Panama, President Obama vowed to swiftly remove Cuba as a state sponsor of terror. It just shows how his foreign policy runs — for political convenience, not national security.

As he headed off to the Summit of the Americas in Panama, President Obama tossed a tidbit for the region’s tyrants that’s expected to be a crowd-pleaser: A vow to quickly lift the State Department’s designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terror.

The move would let the communist dictatorship buy weapons from the U.S., gain dual-use technologies, end some financial sanctions and open Cuba to foreign aid.

And as for whether Cuba really was a state sponsor of terror and a threat to the U.S., well, that was secondary. Given the huge number of State Department political appointees, an independent assessment isn’t possible.

Pressure to lift the designation has come from the Cuban regime as a precondition ... Read More

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