Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chávez’

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

Venezuela’s loss of thousands of oil workers has been other countries’ gain

| July 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

In 2003 Venezuela’s then president, Hugo Chávez, fired more than 18,000 employees, almost half the workforce, of the state-run oil corporation, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). Their offence was to have taken part in a strike (pictured) called in protest at the politicisation of the company. Their punishment was to be barred from jobs not only in PDVSA itself but also in any company doing business with the oil firm. The axe fell heavily on managers and technicians: around 80% of the staff at Intevep, PDVSA’s research arm, are thought to have joined the strike. At the stroke of a pen, Venezuela lost its oil intelligentsia.

It was a blow from which PDVSA has never recovered. The firm’s oil production has since stagnated (see chart), despite a big run-up in prices. The financial crisis bears some of the blame for that, as does the economic mismanagement of Chávez and, since last year, ... Read More

Sale of Paper in Venezuela Raises Fears on Freedom

| July 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By WILLIAM NEUMAN

CARACAS, Venezuela — One of Venezuela’s leading pro-opposition newspapers has been sold in a transaction shrouded in mystery, fueling growing concerns here over the independence of the news media.

The newspaper, El Universal, whose sale was announced this month, is the third major media outlet to change hands here since the death last year of the country’s longtime socialist president, Hugo Chávez, and the election of his handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuela is a deeply divided country, where propaganda and the news media have long been part of the political battleground between a powerful leftist state and an opposition concentrated in the middle class and the elite. The government operates at least 10 television stations and more than 100 radio stations, and critics say that independent media outlets increasingly feel pressured into silence or self-censorship.

The two other recent ... Read More

Reform drive puts strain on Chávez legacy

| July 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Andres Schipani in Guarenas, Venezuela

A red graffito of the late Hugo Chávez is sprayed on walls around the Venezuelan capital and nearby towns. Its legend is an apparent warning from the comandante to his successor, Nicolás Maduro. “Ouch, Nicolás – I see disaster.”

The message resonates deeply in a country where the economy is so badly run that even recent presidential broadcasts have been interrupted by power cuts. The ruling socialist party, the PSUV, is also suffering from internal rifts ahead of its third congress at the end of July. The question there will be whether Mr Maduro and the pragmatists in his cabinet are strong enough to push for more reforms.

At stake is the economic survival of Chávez’s “21st-century socialism”. Since taking office in April 2013, Mr Maduro has struggled to unite the PSUV, where factional discord has pushed Venezuela deeper into the economic mire, despite the largest oil ... Read More

Venezuela is wreaking havoc on big companies

| July 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
From CNN

By Ben Rooney

Venezuela is an increasingly painful thorn in the side of the airline industry, among other businesses.

The currency crisis in Venezuela is making it difficult for multinational companies to turn a profit in the South American nation.

Air France KLM became the latest to sound the alarm. The Franco-Dutch airline now predicts weaker earnings this year due to, among other things, “the challenging situation in Venezuela.”

The profit warning comes amid an ongoing dispute between the airline industry and the government of Venezuela over the nation’s foreign exchange policies.

Delta (DAL), which has flown to Venezuela for 15 years, recently announced plans to slash its daily service between Atlanta and Caracas to one flight per week, beginning in August.

American Airlines (AAL) said in its latest quarterly report that it has about $750 million in cash tied up in Venezuelan currency. That money would be subject to three different exchange rates if American tried to convert ... Read More

Profits Vanish in Venezuela After Currency Devaluation

| July 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By WILLIAM NEUMAN

CARACAS, Venezuela — Brink’s, the armored car company, could see about $400 million in revenue disappear this year from its operations in this country. Procter & Gamble announced a write-down of $275 million on its Venezuela business. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are slashing their Venezuela flights.

Venezuela, once an apparent profit center for multinational companies, increasingly looks like a financial black hole.

Despite the nation’s socialist-minded government, large American and other foreign companies thrived here for years, benefiting from limited competition, brand-hungry consumers and close commercial ties with the United States. At the same time, Venezuela’s overvalued currency greatly inflated the dollar value of sales on companies’ books, lifting their bottom lines, at least on paper.

Now the country’s economic chaos is taking its toll, as currency restrictions and a major devaluation cause profits to evaporate.

The economic ... Read More

Sale Of Major Venezuela Newspaper Raising Questions On Freedom Of The Press

| July 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

CARACAS, VENEZUELA (AP) –  One of Venezuela’s oldest and most prestigious newspapers has been sold amid increasing government pressure on independent news media.

The editor in chief of Caracas-based El Universal, Elides Rojas, confirmed that a group of Spanish investors had bought the broadsheet from the family that has run the paper since it was founded 104 years ago.

While neutral reporting in Venezuela is hard to come by after 15 years of polarization over socialist rule, El Universal has stuck closer than most to the ideal of fact-based, investigative reporting amid a crackdown on media outlets that, like it, have been fiercely critical of the government.

Rojas acknowledged apprehension in the newsroom about whether the paper will follow in the steps of other recently sold news media outlets that have softened their editorial line, but said he had been assured that the paper’s editorial independence would not be compromised.

Partly driving those concerns ... Read More

Ecuador’s President may seek ultimate job security: indefinite reelection

| July 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Jim Wyss

Franklin D. Roosevelt had it, so did Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and so does Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega. Could Ecuador’s Rafael Correa be the next president to win the right to consecutive and indefinite reelection?

That’s the question the country’s constitutional court is debating, and the answer could radically change the future of this Andean nation of 16 million.

After years of vowing that he wouldn’t seek office when his term ends in 2017, Correa recently announced that his Alianza País political party would push for a constitutional amendment that would open the gates for the charismatic socialist to keep his job permanently.

Stung by recent municipal elections where his party lost key cities, including the capital, Correa said the change is needed to preserve the advances of his “Citizens’ Revolution.”

“My sincere position was always against reelection,” he told the country recently, “but after deep reflection, and knowing that sometimes our choices are ... Read More

As Venezuela’s Maduro confronts economic crisis, pragmatism is a risky path

| July 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

BY EMILIA DIAZ-STRUCK AND NICK MIROFF

CARACAS, VENEZUELA — In the 15 months since Hugo Chávez’s demise, his successor, Nicolás Maduro, has kept the Chávez enterprise rolling, sticking to the commandante’s policy prescriptions like an executor carrying out a will.

But no last testament could have prepared Maduro for Venezuela’s current economic death spiral, with annual inflation of 60 percent and shortages of everything from coffee to coffins to airline tickets. The house of Chávez is crumbling around him.

With pressure building for Maduro to change course, he is showing signs of adopting a more pragmatic approach, analysts say, even as it sets up a potential split with the other heirs of “chavismo.”

In late June, Maduro fired Chávez’s economic policy guru, Jorge Giordani, the elderly university professor who had the commandante’s ear for most of the 14 years he was in power. Giordani was widely viewed as the architect of the disastrous currency controls that have choked imports and left supermarket shelves ... Read More

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