Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chávez’

Venezuela Heads to a Default Reckoning

| September 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY

Venezuelan bond prices swooned last week on renewed speculation that the government of President Nicolás Maduro might soon default on as much as $80 billion of foreign debt. The yield on the government bond due in 2022 hit a six-month high of 15.8% on Sept. 9. David Rees of London-based Capital Economics, who last year warned of the risks of falling oil prices to Venezuelan solvency, told Bloomberg News by telephone that “the bond market is finally beginning to wake up.”

That may be true. It’s clear that the foreign exchange that Venezuela earns from oil exports cannot pay its import bills along with debt service. There are dire shortages of industrial and consumer goods as well as services. Something has to give and odds are that allowing the required adjustment to the economy won’t be the government’s first choice.

Yet it is also in the interest of Wall Street ... Read More

Venezuela’s UN Security Council Bid Gains Backing

| September 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By Joshua Goodman

Venezuela’s socialist government has quietly secured the backing of Latin America and the Caribbean to obtain a diplomatic trophy that long eluded the late Hugo Chavez: a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The unanimous endorsement of Venezuela’s candidacy to represent the region on the Security Council came at a closed-door meeting July 23 in New York, said Amin Cruz, a diplomat at the U.N. from the Dominican Republic, which presided at the meeting.

When Chavez last tried for a seat in 2006, the United States succeeded in torpedoing his campaign. This year, Washington has been mum.

While Venezuela must still muster a two-thirds majority in a secret ballot of 193 member nations at the U.N. General Assembly next month, the lack so far of a rival candidate from the region means the chances of its candidacy being derailed are slim, analysts say.

If it does win a seat, world leaders ... Read More

Venezuela’s Press Crackdown Stokes Growth of Online Media

| September 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By EZEQUIEL MINAYA CARACAS, Venezuela—Angel Alayon’s Prodavinci.com blog, with its serious political analysis, drew a few dozen readers when he started five years ago. This year, the economist has seen unique monthly visitors more than double, to 239,000—the kind of growth that has become typical recently in this news-starved nation.

Venezuelans aren’t simply following the global trend from traditional to online news media. They have been forced to find alternatives as newspapers and broadcasters struggle with state efforts to control coverage, media watchdog groups say.

“There was a kind of journalism we weren’t seeing in Venezuela, something more profound and reflective,” said the 42-year-old Mr. Alayon, explaining the appeal of Prodavinci.com.

Internet media and social-networking sites in Venezuela added a greater number of users per capita than any other Latin American country in the 12 months ending in June, according to the Virginia-based market researcher, comScore, which tracks computer use. The growth came despite a ... Read More

Sanctions on Venezuela are a matter of human rights

| September 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Advertiser

As Americans, we are blessed to live in a place where we can speak freely about our beliefs, challenge the direction that our country is being led in, and peacefully protest against those who are in power. But we also know this is a universal right, and America has always defended the ability of people everywhere to exercise it.

In Venezuela, however, what began this past February as peaceful demonstrations against the government of Nicolas Maduro soon turned into a bloodbath. Thousands of innocent Venezuelans have been jailed, injured or killed for protesting a failed regime plagued by unprecedented scarcity of food and basic goods, widespread crime and high murder rates, and limited economic opportunities. Because Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have worked hard to weaken the country’s democratic institutions, fed up Venezuelans took to the streets en masse, only to face bullets, tear gas and brutal beatings.

To crack down ... Read More

Venezuela reshuffle dashes hopes of a change of direction

| September 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Girish Gupta in Caracas

Hopes that Venezuela would take a more pragmatic turn were dashed in a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday night in which oil and economic tsar Rafael Ramírez lost his top jobs, one of which has been filled by a cousin of the late president, Hugo Chávez.

Mr Ramírez was removed as the country’s oil minister and as head of state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), a role he had held for a decade. His position as vice-president for the economy has also been axed.

The country’s top economic role, the newly created vice-presidency of economy and finance, is to be held by Rodolfo Marco Torres, a former brigadier-general and participant in Chávez’s failed 1992 coup attempt against the then government.

“We must begin a new stage in the revolution,” said President Nicolás Maduro during a three-hour televised speech on Tuesday.

Mr Ramírez, who will become foreign minister, was ... Read More

The Venezuelan Government Is Hiding Just How Bad Things Really Are

| September 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Business Insider

BY ERNESTO TOVAR

Prices keep rising in Venezuela, economic activity is sputtering, and shops struggle to fill their shelves.

But don’t ask the central bank how bad things really are: it hasn’t published key data in months.

The last time the central bank and the national statistics institute published the annual inflation figure was in May, when the indicator rose to 61 percent, the highest in Latin America.

Officials have not given any explanations despite repeated requests from economists, politicians, and journalists seeking economic data.

“This destroys the credibility of the central bank. There has never been this kind of a delay for as long as we have been measuring inflation,” said economist Jose Guerra, a former economic research chief at the bank.

A similar delay took place late last year, when the government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro waited one month to release November data, ... Read More

Venezuela’s Maduro more authoritarian than Chávez, analysts warn

| August 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
Baltimore-01

BY LARRY LUXNER

Beset with annual inflation of 62 percent, one of the world’s highest homicide rates and shortages of just about everything, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro is struggling to save his endangered presidency — even as relations with the United States get worse.

Earlier this summer, the Obama administration announced it was suspending the U.S. visas of “a number of Venezuelan government officials who have been responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses.” That follows “street mobilizations” organized by the Maduro government last February in which 43 people died, hundreds were injured and between 2,000 and 3,000 were thrown in prison.

It also came three days after the State Department failed to secure the extradition of Gen. Hugo Carvajal, Venezuela’s former intelligence chief, who was wanted in the U.S. on drug charges and had been detained on the Dutch-speaking island of Aruba.

Those affected by the visa revocation include high-ranking Venezuelan military, National Guard ... Read More

Latin America is key to our national security

| August 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Tampa Tribune

BY DOUG MACKINNON

For the most part, The Washington Post is a reliable supporter of President Obama and the Democratic Party in general. But earlier this week, the paper criticized the president while warning of the consequences of his administration’s dropping the ball with regard to U.S. foreign policy and fighting terrorism.

“For three years the United States stood aside as the Islamist extremists built up their strength inside Syria. Washington was surprised in June when they burst into Iraq, captured Mosul and threatened Baghdad and surprised again this month when they threatened Kurdistan. Now … they are training hundreds of foreign terrorists, including from Europe and the United States, who could easily slip back into their home countries with malign intent,” the Post said.

It can be argued there is no greater short-term foreign policy issue than the eradication of this perverse and growing threat. It is so dire that the left-of-center ... Read More

New owners of leading Venezuelan newspaper fire columnists and change editorial line

| August 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Journalism in the Americas

BY DYLAN BADDOUR

A leading Venezuelan newspaper that was recently sold to anonymous investors appears to be shifting its opposition editorial line weeks after pledging not to. The managing editor at El Universal, Elides Rojas, told the International Press Institute (IPI) that the newspaper’s new president had “ordered a complete revision of the opinion section” and had suspended or dismissed editorial staff.

El Universal has been a vocal critic of the Venezuelan government, especially on its editorial pages.

Weeks ago, the spokesman for the group of unknown buyers who bought the 105-year-old newspaper last month, Jose Luis Basanta, dismissed fears that the buyers had a political agenda in an interview with Bloomberg News.

“The editorial line is not going to be touched but only the days, the weeks and the months ahead will be able to demonstrate that,” he told Bloomberg.

... Read More

Dozing U.S. Diplomats Let Venezuelan Narco-General Slip Away

| July 30th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Foreign Policy

BY ROGER F. NORIEGA

Although a retired Venezuelan general and confidante of President Nicolás Maduro just managed to evade U.S. extradition to face drug smuggling charges, the unsealed indictment in his case reveals that U.S. prosecutors have gathered compelling evidence of widespread criminality at the highest levels of the Maduro government. Dozing U.S. diplomats let Major General Hugo Carvajal slip away this past weekend, but the fact that Caracas pulled out the stops to keep him from facing U.S. justice has exposed a regime with a very guilty conscience.

U.S. diplomats were caught off-guard on Sunday when the Netherlands decided to recognize the dubious claims of “diplomatic immunity” by Carvajal, who was being held in Aruba since his arrest last Wednesday at the request of U.S. law enforcement authorities. In court proceedings last Friday, Aruban authorities dismissed Carvajal’s claims of immunity, arguing that he had never been accredited as Venezuela’s consul general ... Read More

Aruba faced potentially ‘severe’ economic pressure over Venezuelan general

| July 29th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

Venezuela threatened to extend a flight boycott and sink Aruba’s tourism industry as it fought for the release of a former general who is wanted in the U.S. on drug charges, a State Department official said.

BOGOTA – As tensions rose in Aruba over the fate of a Venezuelan general wanted in Miami on drug charges, the island nation was worried that Venezuela was prepared to cut off air traffic for an extended period and sink its tourism industry, a senior U.S. State Department official said.

Former Venezuelan Gen. Hugo Carvajal went home Sunday after being detained four days in Aruba at the request of U.S. authorities. While an Aruban judge ruled that he could be held pending a U.S. extradition request, the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Sunday said Carvajal had diplomatic immunity, declared him “persona non grata” and sent him back to ... Read More

EEUU: Venezuela amenazó a Holanda por Carvajal

| July 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

BY POR LUIS ALONSO LUGO

WASHINGTON — Estados Unidos expresó el lunes su malestar ante lo que calificó como “reportes verosímiles” de que Venezuela amenazó a Aruba, Holanda y otros gobiernos para obtener la liberación de Hugo Carvajal Barrios.

“Esta no es la manera en que deben manejarse los asuntos relacionados al cumplimiento de las leyes”, dijo una portavoz del Departamento de Estado quien solicitó el anonimato para cumplir con las políticas de su despacho, sin precisar los reportes ni detallar en qué consistieron las amenazas.

La funcionaria agregó que su gobierno está profundamente decepcionado por la liberación de Carvajal, ya que estuvo justificada por alegatos de inmunidad que “van más allá de las normas internacionales establecidas” y aseguró que Washington solicitó la detención en cumplimiento pleno del tratado de extradiciones que suscribió con Holanda y Aruba.

The Associated Press solicitó una reacción a la embajada venezolana, sin obtenerla de inmediato.

Carvajal, el funcionario venezolano ... Read More

Venezuela traicionada–oportunidad perdida para desenmascarar al régimen

| July 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
By Roger Noriega

[Traducción por IASW]

La decisión Holandesa de liberar al poderoso general retirado venezolano Hugo Carvajal en Aruba, detenido el miércoles por solicitud de los Estados Unidos, es una le hizo un favor  a el narco estado en Caracas. Esto hará que sea más fácil para el gobierno de Obama el continuar ignorando al régimen corrupto y represivo en Venezuela.

Lo que sucede en Venezuela es importante para los EE.UU. Venezuela es el noveno exportador de petróleo más importante del mundo y con las mayores reservas de petróleo probadas. Esa nación de 30 millones de personas y una economía de $400 mil millones tiene una influencia desproporcionada en las Américas.

Su gobierno ha gastado miles de millones de dólares en armas rusas y alentado las actividades criminales de Irán y Hezbollah.

El arresto Carvajal pudo haber expuesto aun más la alianza del régimen con los narcotraficantes colombianos.

Si los fiscales federales hubieran podido juzgar a Carvajal en ... Read More

Netherlands Says Venezuelan Detained in Aruba Has Immunity

| July 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By JUAN FORERO And DAN MOLINSKI CARACAS—Authorities in Aruba on Sunday freed a powerful former Venezuelan general, wanted by the U.S. on drug-trafficking charges, from jail on the Caribbean island after a ruling that he is protected from prosecution by diplomatic immunity.

Hugo Carvajal, who had headed the Venezuelan military-intelligence service and had been named consul general in Aruba, was escorted to the airport and flew to Venezuela on Sunday night.

His release comes four days after Aruban authorities had detained him at the airport on an American warrant, generating angry accusations from Venezuela’s government that Mr. Carvajal had been “kidnapped” and warnings that tiny Aruba would suffer economic consequences for cooperating with the U.S.

“We were ready to do whatever it took to defend the dignity and honor of Venezuela,” President Nicolás Maduro said Sunday night, hailing Mr. Carvajal’s release as a diplomatic victory for the South American country.

“We rescued him through the political, diplomatic operation ... Read More

Unmasking the Venezuelan ‘narcostate’: The Case of Hugo Carvajal

| July 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch

[Ed. Note: This week, retired Venezuelan Gen. Hugo Carvajal was detained in Aruba at the request of U.S. authorities.  Carvajal was the former head of Venezuelan military intelligence (DGIM) and a close confidante of the late Hugo Chávez. In 2008, he was designated by U.S Treasury as a “drug kingpin” for his ties to the Colombian narco-terrorist FARC.  That year also, the highly respected Colombian magazine Semana published an exposé of Carvajal that reported on his criminal associations with the FARC. The following article was translated by IASW.]

Hugo Carvajal: Hugo Chávez’s “Montesinos”

Semana Reveals the Scandalous Ties between Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal, the FARC, and Drug Traffickers

Semana magazine (Bogotá)

February 2, 2008

There are very few people who have the luxury of having Hugo Chávez’s ear. Of that select group, one of the closest, most loyal, and who Chavez trusts the most is General Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios: the brains of Venezuelan intelligence.

The ... Read More

Retired Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal Detained on U.S. Petition

| July 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

U.S. Alleges Carvajal Has Ties to Drug Trafficking, Colombian Marxist Rebels

By Kejal Vyas

CARACAS, Venezuela—A former chief of Venezuela’s military intelligence agency, accused by the U.S. of having ties to drug trafficking and Colombian Marxist rebels, was detained in Aruba on a petition from the American government, officials in the Caribbean island and the U.S. confirmed Thursday.

The detention of Hugo Carvajal, a retired military general who was awaiting confirmation as President Nicolás Maduro’s consul general to Aruba, is among the highest-profile arrests of a Venezuelan citizen in a cocaine trafficking case.

In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department had put him on a blacklist, which prohibits any American entity from doing business with him, alleging that he had protected the drug shipments of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and also provided the rebel group with weapons and logistical help.

Mr. Carvajal, who was detained Wednesday night on a provisional arrest request ... Read More

Does a caged chavista sing the blues?

| July 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch

By Juan Cristobal Nagel| Caracas Chronicles

A few months ago, Nicolás Maduro appointed former general Hugo Carvajal to be Consul General of Venezuela to the Dutch island of Aruba. Yesterday, as Carvajal laid low in the island waiting for the Dutch government to approve his position, he was detained. The US had asked the Netherlands to incarcerate and extradite him.

Carvajal was head of Venezuela’s military intelligence (DGIM) for years. A high-ranking chavista military if there ever was one, he was a close confidant of Hugo Chávez, and is suspected of aiding and abetting Colombia’s FARC guerrillas. Ironically, among other posts he also headed the National Office against Organized Crime.

This 2008 story on Carvajal by the Colombian magazine Semana (in Spanish) is well worth a read. The story includes everything: torture, drug smuggling, coordination with the guerrillas. Una joyita, puej. The money quote is a whopper:

Although all of the aforementioned events leave serious doubts as to General Carvajal’s actions, perhaps the most serious of them all ... Read More

China’s Xi eyes increased investment in Cuba

| July 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

Havana (AFP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Cuba with hopes of expanding political and economic ties in the fellow communist nation.

The tour of the Americas’ only one-party communist nation is the last leg of a weeklong trip in the region that has already taken Xi to Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, as he reaches out to resource-rich countries often shunned by the United States and Europe.

The Chinese leader arrived in Havana late Monday from Caracas for the two-day official visit.

Xi aims to make his country — already Cuba’s second-largest trading partner after Venezuela and its primary source of credit — a major investor on the Caribbean island.

Coinciding with his trip, about 50 Chinese entrepreneurs traveled to Havana to explore business opportunities, attracted by foreign investment incentives and the future Mariel free trade zone outside the capital.

“We want Chinese businessmen to invest in Cuba and partner with Cuban companies,” said ... Read More

An Average Of 35 Protests Per Day In Venezuela, A Total Of 6,369 This Year

| July 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

During the first half of 2014, Venezuela endured an average of 35 protests per day across the nation, according to a report released by the NGO Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS).

So far this year, the number of recorded rallies is 6,369, the NGO said.

In the report entitled “Social Unrest in Venezuela in the First Half of 2014,” OVCS indicated that the first six months of this year have had the most protests seen in the last 10 years.

It estimated an increase of 278 percent over the first semester of 2013, when there were 1,687 rallies.

The wave of protests, which intensified in February, began with demands for the right to public safety as a response to astronomical rates of street crime and violence. In the following weeks, the NGO wrote in its report, the theme of the protests expanded to include demands for a range of rights: food, political participation, ... Read More

Xi heads to Venezuela after inking trade deals with Argentina

| July 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Global Post

China’s President Xi Jinping departed Argentina Sunday for Venezuela, the next-to-last stop of a Latin American tour aimed at bolstering trade with the region.

The Chinese leader’s charm offensive seeks to secure new bilateral trade deals — particularly for coveted raw materials.

Xi hopes to further develop his country’s strategic relationship with Venezuela, just as Caracas’ ties with the United States — the region’s traditional political and economic powerhouse — are arguably at their lowest point ever.

The countries, which have not had ambassadors in each other’s capitals since 2010, had poor relations during the leadership of late president Hugo Chavez and ties have remained strained under his successor, Nicolas Maduro.

- Warming ties with Caracas -

By contrast, relations have been warming between China and Venezuela where bilateral trade has been steadily rising, exceeding $20 billion in 2012. Beijing now is also the second largest buyer of Venezuelan oil.

Xi’s visit to Caracas is sandwiched ... Read More

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