Venezuela says it will quit Organization of American States

Venezuela says it will quit Organization of American States

CARACAS, Venezuela — Faced with growing criticism from its neighbors over a slide toward authoritarian rule, Venezuela announced Wednesday it will quit the Organization of American States, the hemisphere’s oldest regional alliance.

The move comes after OAS member states voted Wednesday to convene an emergency meeting of their top diplomats to discuss the worsening humanitarian crisis and deadly political violence that have convulsed Venezuela all month. At least three people were killed in fresh protests Wednesday, including a 20-year-old student struck ...  

Cuba weathers storm in Venezuela but future looks uncertain

Cuba weathers storm in Venezuela but future looks uncertain

HAVANA – Refineries have gone dark. Gas rations have been slashed for hundreds of thousands of state workers. Construction materials are nearly impossible to find.

But Cuba’s hotels and restaurants are packed, major U.S. airlines are adding flights and government stores are full of frozen American chicken and U.S.-made candy. So far, Cuba is weathering the storm as Venezuela’s economy craters and protesters fill its streets to denounce Cuba’s greatest socialist ally.

A much-feared return to Cuba’s post-Soviet “Special Period” of food ...  

Venezuelan authorities rely on arbitrary arrests, jailing, to silence critics, says Amnesty International

Venezuelan authorities rely on arbitrary arrests, jailing, to silence critics, says Amnesty International

Venezuelan authorities are increasingly rounding up and even torturing innocent people in a brutal crackdown on complaints about the government and deteriorating living conditions in the beleaguered nation, according to a new report by Amnesty International released Wednesday.

The report, titled “Silenced By Force: Politically-Motivated Arbitrary Detentions in Venezuela,” said it found “serious human rights violations that Amnesty International has observed in Venezuela, some of which constitute crimes under international law.”

Warrantless arrests, a biased judicial system that acts on unproven accusations ...  

How Venezuela’s Revolutionary Dream Descended Into Chaos

How Venezuela’s Revolutionary Dream Descended Into Chaos

With inflation rampant and many basic goods in short supply, Venezuelans are furious at their government. Violence at protests in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, turned deadly, and the country is in a deep political and economic crisis that shows no sign of abating. And this is much more than a sudden collapse: Venezuela was set on this disastrous course nearly a decade ago. The Conversation

In December 2006, the then-president, Hugo Chávez, won re-election by a hefty margin. Emboldened by his ...  

Ecuador fines media for not publishing a story

Ecuador fines media for not publishing a story

Ecuador has fined seven media companies for not publishing a story that it deemed of public interest. The state’s media watchdog said the press had a duty to cover a story about the supposed offshore dealings of opposition politician and recent presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso.

The investigation was published in an Argentine newspaper in March. The watchdog and the media companies have accused each other of censorship. Appeals are under way.

The ruling was made against newspapers El Comercio, La Hora, Expreso ...  

Social justice in Cuba? No racism? #FakeNewsCuba

Social justice in Cuba? No racism? #FakeNewsCuba

It ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you. It’s what you think you know that just ain’t so … Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige paraphrasing Mark Twain.

It’s called fake news. For decades, Cuba has promoted a false narrative regarding its revolution. A receptive media have dutifully perpetuated this lie and Americans remarkably suspend all critical thinking regarding Cuba, accepting this deception categorically.

What Americans think they know about Cuba just ain’t so. Here’s the #FakeNews:

Cuba is a socialist country. Wrong. ...  

Venezuela’s asset seizures raises concerns for other sectors

Venezuela’s asset seizures raises concerns for other sectors

Venezuela’s seizure of a General Motors auto plant has created concerns that assets in other sectors of the economy could be seized by authorities.

GM last week announced it would cease operations in the South American country after claiming a General Motors Venezolana (GMV) plant in the industrial hub of Valencia was illegally seized.

“The seizure was granted and enforced in total disregard of GMV’s right to due process, causing irreparable damage to the company, its 2,678 workers, its 79 dealers (the ...  

What the Trump administration can do in Venezuela to hasten Maduro regime’s demise

What the Trump administration can do in Venezuela to hasten Maduro regime’s demise

By Roger F. Noriega

4/24/2017

As a popular uprising in Venezuela enters its second week, opposition leaders, regional diplomats, United States policymakers, and the country’s deeply-divided security forces can help rescue the country from the doomed regime of Nicolás Maduro.

Maduro is weaker than ever. One reason is that unrest has spread to the poorest neighborhoods that were once the stronghold of Hugo Chávez. The most ferocious street fights have been in poor areas, where well-armed pro-regime militants, called “colectivos,” used hit-and-run tactics ...  

Fears of military-grade weapons in wrong hands amid Venezuela unrest

Fears of military-grade weapons in wrong hands amid Venezuela unrest

Experts and U.S. policy makers have reportedly expressed concerns over the possibility of criminals in Venezuela acquiring part of its own military-grade weapons amid civil unrest.

Venezuela decided to arm civilians to defend the country’s socialist government. But the lack of control under Nicholas Maduro’s regime have sparked fears that some of weapons, including countless modern assault rifles and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, may fall into the hands of terrorists or criminal groups, the Miami Herald reported Monday.

Military documents obtained by el ...  

Los últimos días de Maduro en Venezuela

Los últimos días de Maduro en Venezuela

Por Roger F. Noriega

Mientras un levantamiento popular en Venezuela entra en su segunda semana, líderes de la oposición, diplomáticos regionales, legisladores estadounidenses y las profundamente divididas fuerzas de seguridad venezolanas pueden ayudar a rescatar al país del moribundo régimen de Nicolás Maduro.

Maduro está más débil que nunca. Una de las razones es que los disturbios se han extendido a los barrios más pobres que alguna vez fueron el bastión de Hugo Chávez. Las peleas en la calle más feroces han ...  

Former Brazil Central Banker Says ‘Political Clouds’ Slow Growth

Former Brazil Central Banker Says ‘Political Clouds’ Slow Growth

Brazil’s corruption scandals are casting a cloud over the political landscape that’s preventing a full-fledged economic recovery, former central bank chief Arminio Fraga said.

It would be unheard of for a recession to be this extreme and not be followed by a large rebound, “but right now it feels like a small bounce,” Fraga, a partner at hedge fund and private equity firm Gavea Investimentos Ltda, said in an interview. “The only reason we don’t have a strong rebound is because ...  

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro threatens opponents in bizarre video while playing catch

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro threatens opponents in bizarre video while playing catch

As Venezuela faces a political crisis, shortages of food and medical supplies as well as ongoing violence, President Nicolás Maduro took to Twitter Saturday issuing a bizarre warning to his political opponents saying “justice will come” while playing catch in a park.

“We are here warming up, warming up for good games and good surprises that are coming,” Maduro said as he throws a baseball to a lawmaker. “Later, don’t say I didn’t tell you. We are getting ready.”

In the clip, ...  

Armed Civilian Bands in Venezuela Prop Up Unpopular President

Armed Civilian Bands in Venezuela Prop Up Unpopular President

CARACAS, Venezuela — The bikers thundered up in a phalanx of red jackets and dark clothes, some with faces covered, revving motorcycles before a thousand protesters in Caracas. They threw tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd. Then, witnesses say, they pulled pistols and fired.

Someone fell. Carlos Moreno, 17, lay sprawled on the ground, a pool of blood around his head.

“His brain matter was coming out,” recalled Carlos Julio Rojas, a community leader who witnessed the fatal shooting in Venezuela’s ...  

Colombia’s FARC concealing weapons despite deal, intelligence analysts say

Colombia’s FARC concealing weapons despite deal, intelligence analysts say

BOGOTA – Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces Colombia (FARC) are concealing vital components of their arsenal, according to intelligence analysts, including sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles they agreed to surrender in a peace deal signed with the Colombian government last year.

In the agreement, FARC committed to turn over its stocks of weapons and explosives within the first six months of 2017 in exchange for immunity from prosecution, political representation in Congress and other concessions from the government.

So many in the country ...  

This May Be Venezuela’s Tiananmen Square Moment

This May Be Venezuela’s Tiananmen Square Moment

Venezuela is no stranger to protests, but the recent uprisings have rocked the country and stirred questions about the nation’s future.

This past week, the “mother of all protests” has seen upward of two million Venezuelans take to the streets demanding an end to the notoriously corrupt Maduro regime.

Beginning on what would be the 207th anniversary of the country’s independence from Spain, frustrated Venezuelans have taken to the streets demanding change. So far, three Venezuelans have been killed in the marches, ...  

Secret meeting at Mar-a-Lago raises questions about Colombia peace and Trump

Secret meeting at Mar-a-Lago raises questions about Colombia peace and Trump

President Donald Trump quietly met a pair of former Colombian presidents last weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, thrusting his administration into an ugly power struggle in Latin America that threatens to undermine the country’s controversial peace agreement with rebel leaders.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to push Trump to support the peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia at their first meeting at the White House next month. He wants the Trump administration and Congress ...  

Late-night clashes claim 9th victim of Venezuelan unrest

Late-night clashes claim 9th victim of Venezuelan unrest

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A young Venezuelan man returning home late from work was fatally shot when he got caught in the middle of late-night street clashes that engulfed several working-class neighborhoods in Caracas.

The death Thursday night of Melvin Guitan in a poor neighborhood in eastern Caracas brings to nine the number of people killed nationwide this month as part of almost-daily, increasingly violent protests against President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuelan social media was ablaze late into the night with grainy cellphone ...  

Venezuela only has $10 billion left in reserves

Venezuela only has $10 billion left in reserves

Amid all of Venezuela’s problems, the country is running out of time and money. Venezuela only has $10 billion in reserves — the cash that’s intended to keep an economy stable and weather tough times.

What’s worse: most of those reserves aren’t in hard cash. About $7 billion is in gold bars, which doesn’t make it easy to make payments.

And Venezuela has a lot of bills to pay soon. It owes $6 billion in debt payments for the rest of this ...  

Venezuela opposition plans silent procession, road sit-ins

Venezuela opposition plans silent procession, road sit-ins

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s energized opposition is planning sit-ins on roads, silent marches in white to commemorate the dead and other nontraditional protests as it tries to build on the momentum of recent street demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the South American country again Thursday to demand elections and denounce what they consider an essentially dictatorial government. They were met by curtains of tear gas and rubber bullets as ...  

Many Poor Venezuelans Are Too Hungry to Join Antigovernment Protests

Many Poor Venezuelans Are Too Hungry to Join Antigovernment Protests

CARACAS, Venezuela—President Nicolás Maduro has lost support among the legions of poor Venezuelans that once backed the late Hugo Chávez, but they have largely shown little interest in joining the opposition-led protests that have convulsed the country the past three weeks.

Many of the impoverished residents of the vast slums that ring Caracas and other major cities are angry about a collapsing economy and food shortages. But Venezuela’s political unrest remains mostly confined to middle-class enclaves, underscoring the struggle the opposition ...  

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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.