Posts Tagged ‘Nicolas Maduro’

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 | 2 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

Can Venezuela’s televised peace talks end the street protests?

| April 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor


Seeking to defuse the nation’s worst political unrest in a decade, Venezuela‘s warring politicians are set to meet today in a live television broadcast.

The peace talks, brokered in part by regional leaders, are the latest effort to end nearly two months of anti-government protests that have left at least 39 dead and hundreds more injured.

While opposition leaders had previously rejectedPresident Nicolás Maduro‘s calls for dialogue, he now has the ear of Venezuela’s main opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD). Two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles and other coalition leaders agreed to negotiate with the president in the presence of mediators from Brazil, Colombia andEcuador, and the Vatican.

RECOMMENDED: Think you know Latin America? Take our geography quiz.

Across Venezuela’s political divide, many greeted the announcement of peace talks with relief. But while the talks may offer a respite from ongoing violence, many remain unconvinced they will end the crisis. One reason is that many of the government’s harshest critics are ... Read More

Hope fades for Venezuela crisis talks

| April 10th, 2014 | No Comments »


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leaders are meeting this week for formal talks to end weeks of protests. Critics of Venezuela’s government believe no deal can be achieved because Maduro is not willing to give in to their demands.

Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland spoke to Jose Cardenas about the prospects of an agreement. Cardenas is a former State Department senior adviser and currently serves as an associate with Vision Americas.

“I’m very pessimistic that this dialogue will lead to anything credible and lasting,” Cardenas said. “These [talks] are mostly for international consumption.”

Cardenas sees the current protests as “spontaneous,” not organized by the country’s opposition as the government alleges. “These are students who have no overt political agenda,” Cardenas said.

“I’m very pessimistic that this dialogue will lead to anything credible and lasting.”- Jose Cardenas

The protesters are demanding Maduro loosen his control over the economy and media. “The government somehow needs to ... 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 Protests: Background and Potential Fallout

| April 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch



Venezuela has been in the grip of nationwide protests since mid-February, when students in the states of Tachira and Merida took to the streets demanding increased security after a student was almost raped on her university campus. Since then the protests have expanded in size, spreading to the capital Caracas and beyond. Their scope has also grown, as the movement is no longer just about law and order, but a myriad of other issues reflecting popular wariness towards the policies of the late Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro.

The official number of people killed in ongoing unrest stands at 39, with casualties reported on both sides of the conflict.

It must be stressed that these protests are being driven by economic problems that are real, persistent, and that defy any easy policy answer from a Maduro government often constrained by its own ideology.  They include: runaway inflation (57 percent); shortages ... Read More

Taking protests to Caracas’ slums

| April 7th, 2014 | No Comments »

Some protest leaders in Venezuela have recently changed tactics: they’re now seeking support from slum dwellers, who have long been the backbone of support for the country’s ruling Socialist government.

Listen to the latest reporting on the situation.

Click here for audio.

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

Caracas chaos: Venezuelan general on the run

| April 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Telegraph


The instructions were straight from the pages of a thriller. We were to park our vehicle in an underground car park, leave behind our mobile phones to avoid tracking, walk through a shopping mall and make our way to another garage in the basement.

We followed the directions and were duly greeted by a flash of headlights.

The driver then screeched off a one-hour night-time dash through the protest-filled streets of Caracas, frequently doubling back and stopping to ensure that there was no tail, until we pulled up on a dimly lit suburban road.

A stocky bearded figure, baseball cap pulled low on his brow, hopped in to the front seat. “Good evening,” he said in heavily accented English before giving the driver the address for a nearby safe-house.

The new passenger was Antonio Rivero, a former general who went into hiding in February to avoid arrest for his role in the ... Read More

Venezuelan Catholic Church denounces Maduro’s totalitarian regime

| April 3rd, 2014 | 1 Comment »


The depths of the Venezuela crisis became clear yesterday as the nation’s Catholic bishops denounced the “brutality” and “criminalization of protests” by the leftist regime led by Nicolás Maduro. Their bold and unequivocal rejection of the regime’s “totalitarian” tendencies underscores the perilous isolation of Maduro’s Cuban-backed government.

In an appropriately timed April 1st opinion piece in the New York Times, Maduro  issued a call for dialogue—just as his government ousted popular opposition leader Maria Corina Machado from her seat in the Venezuelan National Assembly and prepared to prosecute her for leading peaceful protests. The bulk of Maduro’s New York Times piece was aimed at silencing critics outside Venezuela, but the bishops’ remarkably blunt declaration demonstrates that he is losing legitimacy back home.

Since the late Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chávez took power in 1998, the country’s powerful Catholic Church, which represents the vast majority of the nation, shied away from openly confronting his “Bolivarian revolution.” Rather ... Read More

The Most Outrageous Lie in Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s New York Times Op-Ed

| April 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The New Republic


In one respect, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s op-ed in Wednesday’s New York Times is old news—the same litany of worn-out propaganda lines that gets repeated every day on Venezuelan state media. What’s new is the context. Venezuelans have grown used to the tsunami of spin, obfuscation, half-truths, and outright lies that dominate our large and growing state propaganda system. The Times’readers are likely less prepared for it.

Fact-checking the entire piece would be enough to cause an aneurysm. Instead, to give a sense of the depth of historical falsification involved, let’s focus on one particular line: Maduro claims that the Bolivarian revolution “created flagship universal health care and education programs, free to our citizens nationwide.”

This is roughly equivalent to President Barack Obama claiming that he created Social Security. Venezuela first established free universal primary education (for both boys and girls) back in the nineteenth century. It was 1870, in fact, when President Antonio Guzmán ... Read More

Bishops say Venezuela seeks totalitarian rule

| April 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

Venezuela’s organization of Roman Catholic bishops is accusing the government of seeking totalitarian-style rule, comments that potentially could complicate the Vatican’s offer to facilitate talks between the socialist government and its opposition.

The Conference of Venezuelan Bishops is calling on President Nicolas Maduro to halt his crackdown on critics who have been protesting in the streets for seven weeks. The conference president is Bishop Diego Padron. Speaking in Caracas on Wednesday, he accused Maduro of attempting to criminalize dissent.

The statement comes a few days after the Vatican said it was willing to facilitate talks between the two sides. Maduro indicated he would accept such talks, but the position of the various groups that constitute the opposition remains unclear.

The bishops association has periodically criticized the Venezuelan government.

Click here for ... Read More

Opinion: Understanding the Protests in Venezuela

| April 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Venezuela: A Call for Peace,” by President Nicolás Maduro (Op-Ed, April 2): For any sincere dialogue to take place in my country, Mr. Maduro must first commit to respecting Venezuelans whose human rights have been trampled upon over the last month of protests. He must order government-armed militias that attack protesters to stand down, and he must instruct the National Guard to stop using violence. Detained demonstrators and political prisoners should be released.

Mr. Maduro must acknowledge the root causes of the social discontent: the chaotic economic and security situation as well as the politicization of Venezuela’s democratic institutions. This means cooperating with the private sector and other actors to address rampant inflation, food and medicine shortages, and a spiraling crime problem.

Also required is a transparent and impartial process to renew the Supreme Court of ... 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

Machado llega a Brasil para denunciar situación venezolana

| April 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

Brasilia – La opositora venezolana María Corina Machado llegó el miércoles a Brasil con el propósito de “denunciar como diputada” la “grave” situación que vive su país ante miembros de las comisiones de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado y la Cámara Baja.

“La visita es para atender una invitación de ambas comisiones y la intención es plantear, de manera muy directa y en su condición de diputada venezolana, la gravísima situación que vive Venezuela”, dijo una fuente próxima a Machado.

La dirigente opositora llegó a Brasil tras haber encabezado el martes en Caracas una marcha hasta la Asamblea Nacional, que la semana pasada la despojó de su investidura parlamentaria.

Esa decisión fue refrendada por el Tribunal Supremo de Venezuela y se apoyó en que supuestamente Machado infringió la Constitución, según la mayoría de la Asamblea, al aceptar que Panamá la nombrara su representante alterna para poder intervenir en una sesión de la Organización de Estados ... Read More

Venezuela opposition lawmaker barred from Capitol

| April 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »

A leader of Venezuela’s opposition was barred from entering the National Assembly on Tuesday after hundreds of supporters rallied to protest her recent ouster from the legislature.

Maria Corina Machado promised supporters she would keep fighting for the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, then mounted a motorcycle and headed off to the National Assembly, her eyes running from tear gas police fired to keep the crowd from following her.

When Machado encountered more riot police standing outside the congressional palace, she quickly jumped back on the motorcycle and sped away.

Some of those who had rallied behind her stayed in the streets, and as night fell, the protests turned violent. Flames billowed out of the windows of the Ministry of Housing as young people threw rocks at police and ran from an armored truck with high-pressure water hoses they call “the whale.”

Speaking in Caracas, Maduro called the protesters who have been building barricades ... Read More

Venezuela’s byzantine exchange-rate system: A fistful of dollars, or perhaps not

| April 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

HOW many bolívares does it take to buy a US dollar? That question, which in a normal economy would get an over-the-counter answer, has everyone scratching their heads in Venezuela. It depends, they might say, on what you want it for. Or how well connected you are. Or even on the day of the week.

In late March, after a year of unfulfilled promises, the government of President Nicolás Maduro finally put in place the third (sic) tier of its byzantine foreign-exchange apparatus. But how “Sicad II” will affect the economy is still unclear.

Here’s a simplified outline of the country’s foreign-exchange system. A dollar will cost you 6.3 bolívares if you are the government, or if you can persuade Cencoex (the government’s foreign-trade body) that you intend to import vital goods such as food or medicine. Then there’s the Sicad I rate, currently just over 10 bolívares to the dollar, but contingent on irregular, “auctions” (which are ... 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

Vatican Says It’s Willing To Act As Mediator In Venezuela Crisis

| March 31st, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

The Vatican says it’s willing to help facilitate talks between Venezuela’s government and its opponents aimed at ending weeks of deadly unrest that have paralyzed much of the country.

President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday said he was willing to sit down with the opposition under the watch of an outside observer. He floated the name of Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who served as the Holy See’s ambassador to Venezuela before being called to Rome last year.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told The Associated Press Friday the Holy See and Parolin were “certainly willing and desirous to do whatever is possible for the good and serenity of the country.” He said Parolin, in particular, “knows and loves” Venezuela. But he added that the Vatican needed to understand the expectations of its intervention and whether it could bring about a “desired outcome.” Such a study is underway, he ... Read More

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