Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chávez’

Oil Cash Waning, Venezuelan Shelves Lie Bare

| January 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times


CARACAS, Venezuela — Mary Noriega heard there would be chicken.

She hated being herded “like cattle,” she said, standing for hours in a line of more than 1,500 people hoping to buy food, as soldiers with side arms checked identification cards to make sure no one tried to buy basic items more than once or twice a week.

But Ms. Noriega, a laboratory assistant with three children, said she had no choice, ticking off the inventory in her depleted refrigerator: coffee and corn flour. Things had gotten so bad, she said, that she had begun bartering with neighbors to put food on the table.

“We always knew that this year would start badly, but I think this is super bad,” Ms. Noriega said.

Venezuelans have put up with shortages and long lines ... Read More

Is This Scandal the Proof That Venezuela Has Finally Become a Narco-State?

| January 29th, 2015 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy


With its economic woes multiplying by the day, the last thing the Venezuelan government needs is another blow to its international reputation. But that’s exactly what it got yesterday, when the Spanish newspaper ABC reported that an ex-bodyguard of Diosdado Cabello, the speaker of the Venezuelan parliament, has provided information to U.S. authorities implicating his former boss as a kingpin in the drug trade. According to the report, Leamsy Salazar, a well-connected officer within the Venezuelan armed forces, has defected to the United States, and is set to serve as the star witness in an American investigation into ties between the Caracas government and powerful narcotics syndicates.

Given his background, Salazar certainly ought to be in the know. Prior to turning state’s witness, he spent over a decade as the head of Hugo Chávez’s personal security detail and sometime personal assistant; a YouTube video currently making the rounds on ... Read More

Ex guardaespaldas de Chávez deserta a EE.UU. y apunta contra Diosdado Cabello

| January 28th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

Por Kejal Vyas y Juan Forero

CARACAS, Venezuela—Un ex guardaespaldas de Diosdado Cabello, el poderoso presidente de la Asamblea Nacional y uno de los líderes del brazo militar del país, desertó a Estados Unidos para cooperar con las autoridades que investigan el tráfico de drogas en Venezuela, dijeron funcionarios de ese país el martes.

Leamsy Salazar, quien había trabajado en el cuerpo de seguridad del ex presidente Hugo Chávez, se encuentra en Washington donde se prevé que dé testimonios que implican a Cabello en la presunta organización de operaciones de tráfico de cocaína controladas por militares venezolanos, dijeron dos fuentes al tanto.

Ambas personas dijeron que el objetivo es imputar a Cabello bajo cargos de tráfico drogas. Un vocera del Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU. no quiso comentar, en tanto que funcionarios del Departamento de Estado no respondieron a llamadas solicitando declaraciones.

Funcionarios venezolanos atacaron a Salazar y EE.UU., diciendo que el motivo de ... Read More

Top Venezuelan Bodyguard Defects to U.S.

| January 28th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


CARACAS, Venezuela—A former bodyguard to Diosdado Cabello, the powerful president of congress and a leader of Venezuela’s military wing, defected to the U.S. to cooperate with officials investigating drug-trafficking, Venezuelan authorities said.

Leamsy Salazar, who had previously worked for late President Hugo Chávez ’s security detail, is currently in Washington, where he is expected to provide witness testimony implicating Mr. Cabello in organizing cocaine-smuggling operations controlled by Venezuela’s military, two people familiar with the matter said.

Both people said the end goal is an indictment against Mr. Cabello on drug charges. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment, while officials at the State Department didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.

Venezuelan officials on Tuesday lashed out at Mr. Salazar and the U.S., saying that the motive of Mr. Salazar’s defection is to destabilize President Nicolás Maduro ’s government. This oil-rich country is plagued by a moribund economy expected ... Read More

Diosdado Cabello’s head of security defects to the U.S. and accuses him of narcotrafficking

| January 27th, 2015 | No Comments »
ABC Madrid-01

[Translation by IASW]


With the arrival yesterday in Washington, DC, of protected witness, [Venezuelan Navy] Captain Leamsy Salazar, who until December was the head of security for Diosdado Cabello, a U.S. federal prosecutor has accelerated the preparation of a formal indictment against the number two in the Venezuelan regime.

Salazar is the highest-ranking military officer to break ranks with chavismo and make formal accusations in the United States against senior government officials for their involvement in narcotrafficking.

For almost 10 years, Salazar served as chief of security and as personal assistant to Hugo Chávez. After Chávez’s death, Salazar went on to work for Cabello as his chief of security.

Cartel of the Suns

According to sources close to the investigation, opened by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Salazar claims that [Cabello], the president of the National Assembly, is the head of the Cártel de ... Read More

El jefe de seguridad del número dos chavista deserta a EE.UU. y le acusa de narcotráfico

| January 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
ABC Madrid-01


La preparación de una acusación formal contra Diosdado Cabello, presidente de la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela y número dos del chavismo, se ha acelerado en la Fiscalía federal estadounidense con la llegada ayer a Washington, como testigo protegido, de Leamsy Salazar, quien hasta su salida de Caracas en diciembre era el jefe de seguridad de Cabello.

Miembro de la Casa Militar, encargada de la custodia presidencial, Salazar fue durante casi diez años jefe de seguridad y asistente personal de Hugo Chávez. Tras su muerte, sus servicios fueron requeridos por el presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, para quien también ejercía de ayudante personal. Salazar es el militar en activo de mayor rango (capitán de corbeta, equiparable a comandante) que rompe con el chavismo para acusar formalmente en Estados Unidos de prácticas delictivas a las altas jerarquías del país, en especial la relacionada con el tráfico de ... Read More

Identifican a Diosdado Cabello como jefe del Cartel de los Soles

| January 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald


Leamsy Salazar, un capitán de corbeta venezolano que fue el jefe de seguridad del fallecido presidente Hugo Chávez, llegó el lunes a Washington para colaborar en una investigación de las autoridades estadounidense sobre las vinculaciones entre el chavismo y el narcotráfico.

Salazar, quien pasó gran parte de su carrera al lado de Chávez, llega a Estados Unidos como testigo protegido y podría brindar los detalles más devastadores presentados hasta ahora sobre el chavismo. Según fuentes cercanas a la investigación, en su testimonio el capitán sostiene que la organización de narcotráfico conocida como Cartel de los Soles es dirigida por el presdente de la Asamblea Nacional, Diosdado Cabello.

“Este ha sido el golpe más duro que se le ha dado al chavismo. Este es el hombre que ha brindado todos los secretos. Fue el jefe de Seguridad y jefe de ayudantía de Diosdado Cabello, y ... Read More

Mr. Maduro in His Labyrinth

| January 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

Framed portraits of the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez were propped up at various stops of President Nicolás Maduro’s recent whirlwind trip abroad, as the man at the helm of the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves begged for bailouts.

Posters of his predecessor also abounded when Mr. Maduro, a former bus driver, arrived home to a carnival-like welcome, as he drove the lead coach of a convoy that snaked through crowds of supporters.

Last week, in a speech before lawmakers, Mr. Maduro, whose approval rating has slipped to 22 percent as the Venezuelan economy teeters on the brink of collapse, again invoked his mentor in predicting a landslide victory in upcoming parliamentary elections. “I have no doubt that Chávez’s nation will deliver a great victory in the memory of Hugo Chávez in elections that are being held this year,” he said.

... Read More

President pushes currency, fuel reforms for ailing Venezuela

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

By Andrew Cawthorne and Alexandra Ulmer

CARACAS, Jan 21 (Reuters) – President Nicolas Maduro shook up complex currency controls on Wednesday and also prepared Venezuelans for a rise in the world’s cheapest fuel prices in response to a recession worsened by plunging oil revenue.

The socialist-run OPEC member’s economy shrank 2.8 percent in 2014 while inflation topped 64 percent, the socialist leader announced in a speech to parliament, in what is almost certainly the worst performance in Latin America.

With oil prices down by more than half since mid-2014, Venezuela’s economic mess has hit Maduro’s popularity hard and threatened the future of the ruling “Chavismo” movement named for his charismatic predecessor Hugo Chavez.

The 52-year-old Maduro blamed political foes for Venezuela’s dismal data, but he also announced the most concrete changes in months to try to shore up the economy.

Carefully avoiding the word devaluation and without giving ... Read More

Gobierno de Venezuela habría emitido visas fraudulentas para terroristas de Hezbollah

| January 21st, 2015 | No Comments »

Venezuela ha sido un pilar clave en la penetración irregular de inmigrantes iraníes e islámicos en el continente americano, según se desprende un informe elaborado por el Centro para una Sociedad Libre Segura (SFS), un think thank global basado en Washington DC, y el Instituto de Canadá de Análisis Social y Económico (ISEA), al que tuvo acceso Infobae.

El estudio sugiere que las facilidades que Venezuela –y también Cuba– ofrecen a los extremistas islámicos son una amenaza para la seguridad en Norteamérica. Recuerda, en ese sentido, que en 2006 las fuerzas de seguridad canadienses detuvieron a 18 terroristas que planeaban una serie de atentados, que incluían la decapitación del primer ministro Stephen Harper y la detonación de una bomba en el Parlamento.

“En la medida en que Irán siga abriendo caminos estratégicos en el hemisferio occidental, la amenaza de ataques patrocinados por actores estatales es posiblemente más ... Read More

Venezuela’s economic collapse owes a debt to China

| January 21st, 2015 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Ricardo Hausmann

Every economic catastrophe brings soul-searching. When Argentina collapsed at the end of 2001, the International Monetary Fund was forced into a critical assessment of its involvement in the country. Similar processes were triggered at the World Bank after unsuccessful development projects in Africa. The coming implosion of the Venezuelan economy should prompt similar introspection — not at the IMF, which has been absent since its “expulsion” by President Hugo Chávez in 2007, but in China.

It is hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the Venezuelan collapse. People are queueing for hours to buy food, stores are empty, and the country is in a deep recession. Venezuela has the fastest inflation in the world, while its government debt is the most expensive to insure against default.

How did we get here? Venezuela used the period of high oil prices to quadruple its public foreign debt, in order to fuel a domestic spending boom. By 2012, when Venezuelan ... Read More

Venezuelan Bishops Get Religion

| January 15th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


There’s no better way to cure a fascination with utopian socialism than to live its reality. That’s one takeaway from a strongly worded critique of the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro delivered by the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference on Monday.

The country is a mess, the bishops said in a pastoral exhortation, and the reason is “the government’s insistence in trying to establish a Marxist or communist economic model.” Reform needs to include, among other things, “promoting private activity in the economy.”

Those are fighting words, even from a church hierarchy that has never been enamored with Hugo Chávez ’s Bolivarian Revolution. Vatican faith in the state to deliver what it calls “social justice” has always been tempered in Venezuela by the facts on the ground. The late Cardinal Ignacio Velasco, who died in 2003, recognized the empty promises of the demagogue Chávez from the earliest days ofchavismo.

One of the most contentious issues ... Read More

The Impending Collapse Of Venezuela

| January 14th, 2015 | No Comments »


On Tuesday January 13th, the ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Venezuela to Caa3, one step above default. This comes as no surprise – markets have been pricing in the likelihood of default for some time now.

Curiously, though, Moody’s changed the outlook from negative to stable:

The stable outlook is based on Moody’s view that even if the oil price drops further, expected losses to bondholders are likely to be consistent with a Caa3 rating and unlikely to reach levels associated with lower ratings.

This is too generous. Moody’s assessment assumes that Venezuela’s problem is mainly a balance of payments crisis caused by a rapidly falling oil price and inadequate foreign reserves. But the reality is different – and far worse.

The balance of payments problem is bad enough. The falling oil price is causing a widening foreign exchange gap. Venezuela needs an ... Read More

Venezuelan shortages, long lines spark violence, arrests

| January 13th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

By Alexandra Ulmer and Javier Farias

CARACAS/ SAN CRISTOBAL (Reuters) – At least a dozen protesters arrested in Venezuela remained in jail on Monday and masked assailants burned a bus amid scattered unrest over swelling lines for basic goods, activists said.

Police rounded up 16 people for protesting outside stores over the weekend, according to the opposition MUD coalition, which said four of them were released shortly after.

Rights group Penal Forum said 18 protesters were still behind bars on Monday. The government did not confirm that.

Venezuela is suffering from chronic shortages of goods ranging from diapers to flour that have worsened since an ebb in deliveries over Christmas. The scarcity has forced shoppers across Venezuela to line up in front of stores before dawn.

The MUD also accused soldiers posted outside shops of banning photos of the lines, which ... Read More

Reconstruyendo Venezuela

| January 12th, 2015 | 1 Comment »
Maria Corina Machado

[Traducción por IASW]

Venezuela está colapsando. El viaje de Nicolás Maduro a China, donde pidió fondos para sobrevivir, fue un fracaso humillante; filas de casi un kilometro para conseguir alimentos se pueden apreciar en las calles de Caracas y otras ciudades; cubanos que manipulaban el gobierno de Maduro están abandonando un barco que ayudaron a hundir; y los militares están considerando el reto de suprimir a manifestantes enojados y desesperados para regalarle tiempo a un régimen incompetente e impopular.

Maduro está luchando con el descontento popular, la escasez de alimentos, una tasa de inflación real del 90 por ciento, apagones, una infraestructura en ruinas y otros desafíos domésticos. Políticas desastrosas implementadas por el fallecido Hugo Chávez intencionalmente estrangularon al sector privado, que es parte de la fórmula de Cuba para que los venezolanos tengan que depender del estado a tal grado que no puedan resistir su voluntad.

La caída del 40% en los ... Read More

Rebuilding Venezuela

| January 12th, 2015 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

Venezuela is collapsing. President Nicolas Maduro’s dash-for-cash to Beijing last week was a humiliating failure. Half-mile food lines wind through the streets of Caracas and other cities. Maduro’s Cuban handlers are abandoning a ship they helped sink, while Venezuelan military officers are pondering the challenge of how to suppress angry, desperate protesters to buy time for an unpopular, incompetent regime.

Maduro is wrestling with popular unrest, food shortages, a real inflation rate of 90 percent, blackouts, crumbling infrastructure, and other domestic challenges. Ruinous policies ushered in by the late Hugo Chavez intentionally strangled the private sector — part of the Cuban formula to make Venezuelans too dependent on the state to resist its will.

The 40 percent drop in global oil prices has hit Venezuela hard, because Caracas relies on petrodollars to provide 96 percent of its export earnings and 45 percent of Venezuelan government revenues. The productivity of Venezuela’s state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, ... Read More

Venezuela Braces For A Tough Year Ahead

| January 5th, 2015 | No Comments »

Times are tough in Venezuela and likely to get even tougher this year.

Before oil prices started crashing last summer, cutting revenue for the oil-rich country, President Nicolas Maduro was already presiding over a country plagued by food shortages, soaring inflation and rising discontent.

All this has made the president unpopular in many quarters. And it would seem to present a golden opportunity for opponents of the country’s socialist government that’s held power for the past 15 years.

However, Venezuela’s opposition remains fractured and weak while one of its main leaders, Leopoldo Lopez, is behind bars.

Last February, Lopez helped lead massive anti-government demonstrations that he hoped would force the resignation of Maduro. Instead, Lopez was arrested and charged with inciting violence during the protests, which left 43 people dead.

His incarceration is taking a toll on his family.

His wife, Lilian Tintori, recently climbed into the back of an SUV with her 5-year-old daughter Manuela. ... Read More

Jackson Diehl: Obama is overlooking deep trouble in Venezuela

| January 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Jackson Diehl

An enduring characteristic of Barack Obama’s presidency has been his determination to implement the ideological agenda with which he arrived in office without regard for conditions in the real world. He imposed timetables for “ending the wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq unlinked to military progress. He insisted on pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, even though the leaders of both sides were manifestly unwilling. He began his second term by seeking a new nuclear arms deal with Vladi­mir Putin, despite abundant evidence that Putin was preparing for confrontation with the West.

Now, six years into his presidency, Obama has launched, as his first significant initiative in Latin America, detente with Cuba. It’s a torch that many liberals have carried for decades. Once again, however, the president has acted with willful disregard for current events.

In particular, two salient facts were ignored. The first is that the regime of Raúl Castro was desperate ... Read More

How are Venezuelans coping with tumbling oil prices?

| December 19th, 2014 | No Comments »

Falling global oil prices have been a headache for many oil-producing countries, with exports now failing to bring in cash they used to just six months ago.

On Thursday, the price of Brent crude was just below $63 a barrel, while US crude was near $58.

The price of Venezuelan oil, which is very heavy by international standards, was even lower – at $57.53 a barrel for the week ending 13 December.

The dramatic downward slide started in June.

Six months of falling prices have hit Venezuela particularly hard – the country is heavily dependent on oil money, with 96% of export revenues coming from oil, according to reports.

BBC News has been speaking to a selection of Venezuelans on the streets of Caracas to find out how they have been personally affected by the fall in oil prices.

Oil down, goods up

Alex Hernandez, a businessman in Caracas, says the problem is exacerbated ... Read More

Obama Signs Bill to Sanction Venezuelan Officials

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

President Barack Obama has signed legislation into law allowing him to sanction Venezuelan government officials who were involved in a crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The bill authorizes sanctions that would freeze the assets and ban visas for anyone accused of carrying out acts of violence or violating the human rights of those opposing the South American nation’s socialist government.

Last summer, the State Department imposed a travel ban on Venezuelan officials who were accused of abuses during street protests that left dozens of people dead.

Click here for original ... Read More

Page 1 of 14212345»102030...Last »