Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chávez’

President Santos: Venezuela Opposition Asks Me Not to Provoke the Regime

| April 24th, 2014 | No Comments »


Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos refused to criticize human rights abuses in Venezuela and told Fusion in a recent interview that he would rather not give his opinions on the country’s political crisis “in public.”

Santos said that Colombia is currently one of four countries observing talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition, and he fears that any public statements on Venezuela’s political crisis, even on something like human rights, could hamper the negotiations.

“The opposition asks me almost every day. Please don’t provoke the Venezuelan regime,” Santos said.

More than 2,000 protesters have been arrested in Venezuela since demonstrations against the government broke out on February 12, according to an Amnesty International report published in the first week of April.

Leopoldo Lopez, a well-known opposition leader who has backed anti-government protests, is facing conspiracy charges that could land him up to 14 years in prison.

In Colombia, conservative leaders have asked Santos to stand up ... Read More

Crisis in Venezuela: UNASUR and U.S. Foreign Policy

| April 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Heritage Foundation


Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress not to respond to the Venezuelan government’s deadly crackdown against the democratic opposition. Recent high-level talks between the Venezuelan government and select members of the opposition have led the Secretary to mistakenly believe that the crisis will soon end. Additionally, he urged Congress to avoid pursuing legislation that could be used as “cannon fodder for them to use against me or us.”[1]

The Venezuelan government has been allowed to unilaterally dictate the terms of negotiations, which have been brokered by Venezuela’s philosophically aligned Union of South American States (UNASUR). Essentially doomed from the beginning, these meetings have resulted in only confirming the Venezuelan government’s determination to continue its violent reprisals.

The Venezuelan government’s criminality is well documented, as is its aggressive anti-American foreign policy.[2] Claiming that the United States should actively appease a foreign government that is hostile to both the ... Read More

Venezuela’s Security Forces: A Killer Elite Beyond the Law

| April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Daily Beast As violent protests return, the death toll is down, but families are struggling hopelessly to find justice for their loved ones killed in demonstrations earlier this year.

Longstanding tradition in Venezuela calls for “Judas burning” on Easter Sunday. People make giant dolls out of old clothes and set them ablaze, remembering the betrayal of Christ. Often, Judas is given the face of a contemporary politician, and this year effigies of President Nicolás Maduro went up in flames amid resounding cheers in the opposition bastions of Caracas, Carabobo, Táchira and Mérida.

After a few weeks of relative calm, once again those streets are filled with teargas and the police are blasting away at demonstrators with plastic and metal pellets. But, in truth, the crowds are small, injuries now are few and even the angriest have grown weary of a game that seems to be going nowhere.

For almost six weeks, from February 12 to ... Read More

Venezuela accuses 9 of financing violent protests

| April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Venezuela’s interior minister reported Tuesday the arrest of nine people on charges of leading, financing and organizing violent anti-government protests in the Caracas municipality of Chacao.

Thanks to “previous intelligence operations,” Miguel Rodriguez said, 10 homes were raided before dawn Tuesday, surprising nine people including one who, “according to people detained several days before, were handing out money” to demonstrators.

Police have warrants for 15 other raids, seeking to catch those who are directing “these violent groups engaged in terrorist activities,” the minister said.

He said that those previously detained, whom they also identified as ringleaders, confessed they acted not just for the money but also in exchange for “genetically modified marijuana.”

“They give them that drug to get them high and keep them in permanent activity against security forces,” Rodriguez said.

Chacao Mayor Ramon Muchacho, a member of the opposition to President Nicolas Maduro, said this Monday that in the last few days “nobody ... Read More

Protesters Burn Effigies of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon


Protests in Venezuela continued over the weekend following President Nicolas Maduro’s refusal to offer concessions in talks with the opposition.

Masked protesters burned effigies of Maduro and used petrol bombs as police sprayed them with tear gas and water cannons. Many of the protesters are peaceful but some have resorted to violence.

The unrest has resulted in about 40 deaths, which the opposition blames on state security forces and pro-government militias known as “colectivos.” Some U.S. lawmakers have pressed for sanctions against the government in response.

“There are many who have already died and it’s for them that we’re here,” one protester told the BBC. “They’re not going to have an Easter again, nor carnival.”

Recent talks between Maduro and the opposition yielded few concrete results. Opposition leaders say the mismanagement of Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, the late strongman who ruled Venezuela for 14 years, has culminated in soaring crime rates, rampant inflation, and shortages ... Read More

Prevén que Venezuela caerá en recesión

| April 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
La Patilla

Los próximos dos años lucen más desafiantes a lo estimado previamente para las economías de América Latina, con perspectivas de que un crecimiento más lento y una mayor inflación frustren el reciente optimismo respecto a los mercados emergentes, reseña Reuters.

Los pronósticos para el crecimiento económico este año fueron recortados en promedio en 0,8 puntos porcentuales, y ahora se prevé que Argentina y Venezuela caigan en recesión y que Brasil crezca menos de un 2 por ciento, en lo que sería su cuarto año consecutivo de debilidad.

Las estimaciones para el crecimiento económico en el 2014 y el 2015 bajaron en forma generalizada en comparación a un sondeo similar de Reuters realizado en enero para las siete mayores economías latinoamericanas, con excepción de Colombia, según el consenso de las opiniones de más de 50 economistas consultados.

Eso contrasta con señales alentadoras desde otras regiones, como Europa y Estados Unidos. También sugiere que una reciente alza ... Read More

Why The United States Has Done Nothing About Venezuela

| April 11th, 2014 | 3 Comments »
Business Insider


Forty-one people are dead in Venezuela, political leaders are thrown in jail for leading demonstrators through road-blocked streets, food shortages worsen, and inflation continues to rise. Yet the regional power to the north, The United States, says little and does less.

There’s a reason for this, and Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro, outed it in an interview with The Guardian this month. He said:

“Is 100 years of intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean not enough: against Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, Grenada, Brazil? Is the coup attempt against President Chávez by the Bush administration not enough? Why does the US have 2,000 military bases in the world? To dominate it. I have told President Obama: we are not your backyard anymore.”

The United States is led by devils, according to Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez. It is trying to overthrow a Bolivarian revolution hundreds of years in the making. The ideology of the ... Read More

Post-Chavez, Venezuela Enters a Downward Spiral

| April 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch

Beginning in mid-February, Venezuela has experienced a stream of social demonstrations that have left about 30 people dead and hundreds wounded or under arrest, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez among them. The incidents are being called the largest wave of protests in Venezuela in the last decade.

Much like the social revolts that have occurred elsewhere in the world, students were the first in Venezuela to take their frustrations to the streets. They were later joined by others who were similarly concerned with the country’s high crime rate, galloping inflation and chronic shortages of basic goods. According to the country’s Central Bank, nearly 30% of all products — or their substitutes — cannot be purchased in Venezuela.

These economic problems are not necessarily new — such imbalances already existed when Hugo Chavez, who had led the country since 1999, died of cancer last March. But the challenges have recently become more acute. “Venezuela ... Read More

Venezuela charges opposition leader, protests erupt

| April 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
From AFP

Protests erupted in Caracas late Friday after Venezuela’s attorney general charged jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez with responsibility for anti-government demonstrations that have shaken the country since February.

Riot police fired tear gas at crowds of rock-throwing demonstrators in the Chacao neighborhood in what has become an almost regular nightly ritual.

In an ominous sign of possible escalation, a masked man was photographed moving among the protesters armed with what appeared to be a rifle with a telescopic sight.

Leftist President Nicolas Maduro more than once has decried the existence of sharpshooters among the most radical protesters. The government claims the protests are part of a coup attempt orchestrated by the United States and right-wing Colombians.

The protesters, in turn, have long complained about harassment from gangs of armed, semi-official pro-government thugs.

Thirty-nine people have died and another 608 have been wounded since crowds took to the streets in early ... Read More

Venezuela’s Street Protests Are Headed to a Violent End — and Cuba is to Blame

| April 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy


While the conflict in Ukraine continues to preoccupy the minds of most U.S. policymakers and pundits, two months of violent street protests have racked Venezuela, a country much closer to home and where the United States has strategic interests that are just as significant. Between its important role in the global oil supply chain and its emergence as a key narcotics trafficking corridor, what happens in Venezuela matters to the United States.

Last week, President Nicolás Maduro announced the arrest of three Air Force generals who he accused of plotting to overthrow his government. This time, it doesn’t appear to be just one more of his loony conspiracy theories – it is well known that the Venezuelan military is divided over the disastrous direction of the country under Hugo Chávez’s hand-picked successor.

Indeed, it is clear Maduro cannot rely on the military to confront the protestors. Instead he has had to use poorly trained National Guardsmen ... Read More

Armed pro-government militias wreak havoc on Venezuela protests

| March 31st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

The masked gunmen emerged from a group of several dozen motorcycle-mounted government loyalists who were attempting to dismantle a barricade in La Isabelica, a working-class district of Valencia that has been a center of unrest since nationwide protests broke out last month.

The barricades’ defenders had been hurling rocks, sticks and other objects at the attackers, who included perhaps a dozen armed men, witnesses told The Associated Press.

Lisandro Barazarte, a photographer with the local newspaper, Notitarde, caught images of several of the men shooting into the crowd while steadying their firearms on their palms.

“They were practiced shooters,” Barazarte said. “More were armed, but didn’t fire.”

When it was over, two La Isabelica men were dead: a 22-year-old student, Jesus Enrique Acosta, and a little league baseball coach, Guillermo Sanchez. Witnesses told the AP the first was shot in the head, the second in the back. They said neither was at the barricades ... Read More

US Senator Rubio Calls for Sanctions on Venezuela (Video and Transcript)

| March 31st, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Latin American Herald Tribune


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The reason why I come to the floor today is to call attention to a crisis that has fallen off of the front pages over the last few weeks and that’s the situation in our own hemisphere that’s occurring in Venezuela. And I recognize there’s been new stories about an airline that’s been tragically potentially lost or has been lost, we don’t know the full outcome of that yet. I know that the situation with Ukraine has captivated the attention of the public, and rightfully so. And I’m pleased to see today that the Senate has taken important steps towards addressing that issue.

But I want to talk about something that’s happening in our own backyard, in our own hemisphere. In fact, something that is impacting hundreds of thousands of people that live in Florida because they have family members who still live in ... Read More

Ignoring our Venezuelan Friends of Freedom

| March 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Joe Kauffman

By Joe Kaufman

It can be argued that, in 2009, had President Barack Obama aided the Iranians demonstrating against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs, there would be no need for talk of the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran today. Iran’s leaders had dedicated much of their existence to hatred of America, referring to the U.S. as “Satan” and supporting anti-U.S. terror. But instead of assisting those calling for regime change, Obama turned his back on the protesters and ignored their pleas.

This was not the case in other parts of the Middle East, where Obama announced his full support to rebels looking to overthrow their respective governments – in Egypt, Libya and Syria. Each of these revolutions, though, were led by Islamists, who unlike the overtly pro-U.S. Iranian demonstrators, have much enmity for the United States and her allies.

Now, in a reprise of his attitude toward Iran, President Obama has chosen ... Read More

Ignorando a nuestros amigos venezolanos

| March 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Joe Kauffman

Por Joe Kaufman

Se puede argumentar que, en el 2009, si el presidente Barack Obama hubiera ofrecido ayuda a  los iraníes que se manifestaban contra Mahmoud Ahmadinejad y los mulá, no habría ninguna necesidad de hablar de la posibilidad de un Irán con armas nucleares en la actualidad. Los líderes de Irán han dedicado gran parte de su existencia a promover el odio hacia los Estados Unidos-refiriéndose a nuestro país como “Satanás” y apoyando a agrupaciones terroristas que buscan atacarnos. Pero en lugar de ayudar a aquellos que pedían un cambio de régimen, Obama les dio la espalda a los manifestantes y no hizo caso de sus súplicas.

Este no fue el caso en otras partes del Medio Oriente, donde Obama declaró su pleno apoyo a los rebeldes que buscaban derrocar a sus respectivos gobiernos, como en Egipto, Libia y Siria. Cada una de estas revoluciones, no obstante, fueron conducidas por islamistas, ... Read More

Venezuela Opposition Lawmaker Returns in Challenge to Government

| March 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal


CARACAS, Venezuela—A leading opposition lawmaker, facing accusations of treason during a visit abroad, returned home on Wednesday and vowed to fight efforts to remove her from office, setting up a showdown with the government.

Lawmakers from the ruling party are pushing to investigate María Corina Machado, who has called for President Nicolás Maduro’s government to step down, as Caracas intensifies a crackdown on antigovernment protesters who have roiled this nation for two months. On Tuesday, the government arrested three generals—still unidentified—who Mr. Maduro said were plotting a coup.

Mr. Maduro’s legislative allies say they have stripped Ms. Machado of her title as congresswoman and the immunity from criminal investigation granted to lawmakers. They vowed to block her from the National Assembly. She rejected that.

“I will be congresswoman until the people decide otherwise,” Ms. Machado said Wednesday to a rally of a few hundred supporters, while flanked by supporting ... Read More

Venezuelan institutions unite against opposition

| March 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s military, congress and Supreme Court are rallying behind President Nicolas Maduro and joining forces in an increasingly blunt response to the country’s opposition as protests continue.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced the opposition mayor of a restive border city to a year in jail for failing to remove road barricades put up by anti-government activists. It sent another mayor to jail last week for the same reason.

Maduro has repeatedly accused the protesters of trying to stage a coup against his socialist government and drive him from power before his term ends in 2019. He also accuses the opposition of ignoring his mandate after pro-government candidates prevailed in mayoral elections in December.

On Tuesday, Maduro dramatized the allegation of anti-government plotting by announcing that three air force generals had been arrested for planning a coup, allegedly after meeting with members of the opposition. He later promised to seek ... Read More

Venezuela death toll rises to 34 as troops and protesters clash

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

By Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth

CARACAS (Reuters) – Three Venezuelans died from gunshot wounds during protests against socialist President Nicolas Maduro, witnesses and local media said on Saturday, pushing the death toll from almost two months of anti-government demonstrations to 34.

Troops briefly clashed with a small group of protesters who attempted to block a highway in an upscale neighborhood of Caracas after thousands of opposition sympathizers marched to demand the release of students imprisoned during the unrest.

Demonstrators complaining of soaring prices and product shortages have vowed to remain in the streets until Maduro resigns, although there are few signs that the country’s worst turmoil in a decade will force him from office.

Argenis Hernandez, 26, was shot in the abdomen as he was demonstrating near a barricade in the central city of Valencia and died early on Saturday in a nearby hospital, according to local media reports.

A motorcyclist attempted to cross ... Read More

Opinion: Venezuela trapped in violent stalemate

| March 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Deutsche Welle


Venezuelan students have been protesting for nearly six weeks now. The government is using force to clamp down, and the conflict has reached total standstill. It can only be resolved externally, says DW’s Marc Koch.

Nothing works anymore. Venezuela is trapped. For weeks, the country has been teetering on the brink of a civil war. The hopelessly overburdened government of President Nicolas Maduro can think of nothing better than repression and outrageous rhetoric to solve the conflict with the protesting students. And Venezuela’s opposition is – once more – not able to present itself as a serious, democratic force and a realistic alternative.

No will for a solution

Barricades are set alight every night and people are dying in Caracas and other cities, but there is no solution to the political standstill. The student protests are yielding little for the country and their cause, though they have brought themselves some short-term international attention. ... Read More

Who Is Killing Venezuela’s Protesters?

| March 24th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

New evidence suggests that Chávez recruited today’s political militia from among the army.


Masked and armed “chavista” thugs on motorcycles—and not the police or the National Guard—have inflicted the most serious damage on antigovernment protesters in Venezuela, according to eyewitness accounts. The death toll since Feb. 12 is now at least 34, with many more serious injuries.

President Nicolás Maduro blames the violence on the political opposition, the U.S. and even on former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe. Mr. Maduro’s supporters are in the streets, he says, only to lend support for the elected government.

‪This has always seemed unlikely. It is even harder to believe in light of new evidence I obtained last week. Six documents stamped with the seal of the Venezuelan army show clearly that as far back as December 2001, agents of then-President Hugo Chávez —Mr. Maduro’s mentor—sought to build a paramilitary. What is more, the recruitment efforts ... Read More

NORIEGA Y CARDENAS: Washington no debe olvidar a Venezuela

| March 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times


La anexión rusa de Crimea es una violación flagrante a las normas internacionales que exige una reacción internacional concertada. No obstante, mientras los  ‘expertos’ en política exterior se acomodan en su zona de confort eurocéntrica , Washington no debe descuidar sus intereses estratégicos en un mundo cada vez más interconectado.

Tome en consideración a Venezuela. Un país con una gran riqueza petrolera, con lazos históricamente profundos con Estados Unidos y estratégicamente situado en medio de las principales rutas de contrabando de drogas hacia Estados Unidos. Por más de 30 días, Venezuela ha estado rodeada por protestas callejeras que han sido reprimidas brutalmente por el gobierno. Desafortunadamente, parece que sólo un pequeño grupo en el Congreso de EE.UU está interesado en una respuesta eficaz por para lidiar con el caos que se vive en Venezuela.

Existen muchas razones por las cuales el gobierno de EE.UU debe poner ... Read More

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