TUESDAY, JULY 23,  2019    <  >      <  >      <  >      (CAMCO)         Caracas, Venezuela        ***********     VENEZUELA DENOUNCES ANOTHER INCURSION IN THEIR AIR SPACE BY US AIRCRAFT        (CAMCO)     Tehran, Iran *******       IRAN ANNOUNCES THE ARREST OF 17 ALLEGED "SPIES" OF THE CIA    *****      (CAMCO    Madrid, Spain       **********      FORMER PDVSA EXECUTIVE WHO WAS BELIEVED TO HAVE ESCAPED TO US WAS FOUND DEAD IN SPAIN IN AN APPARENT SUICIDE   *****      <><>  <>    END   <> <>  <>            TUESDAY, JULY 23,  2019    <  >      <  >      <  >      (CAMCO)         Caracas, Venezuela        ***********     VENEZUELA DENOUNCES ANOTHER INCURSION IN THEIR AIR SPACE BY US AIRCRAFT        (CAMCO)     Tehran, Iran *******       IRAN ANNOUNCES THE ARREST OF 17 ALLEGED "SPIES" OF THE CIA    *****      (CAMCO    Madrid, Spain       **********      FORMER PDVSA EXECUTIVE WHO WAS BELIEVED TO HAVE ESCAPED TO US WAS FOUND DEAD IN SPAIN IN AN APPARENT SUICIDE   *****      <><>  <>    END   <> <>  <>           
















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July 5, 2019  


Reuters/Manaure Quintero

A report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published today urges the Government of Venezuela to immediately adopt specific measures to stop and remedy the serious violations of economic, social, civil, political and cultural rights that have been documented in the country. The Office report warns that , if the situation does not improve, the unprecedented exodus of emigrants and refugees who leave the country will continue, and the living conditions of those who remain in the country will worsen.

The report, which was prepared at the request of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations , states that in the last decade - and especially since 2016 - the Venezuelan Government and its institutions have launched a strategy "aimed at neutralizing, repressing and criminalize the political opposition and those who criticize the Government ". A set of laws, policies and practices that have reduced the democratic sphere, has dismantled the system of institutional control over the executive power and has allowed the repetition of serious human rights violations. The document highlights the impact of the deep economic crisis, which has deprived the population of the necessary means to satisfy their fundamental rights in terms of food and medical care, among others.

The report is based on 558 interviews with victims and witnesses of human rights violations and the deteriorating economic situation in Venezuela and eight other countries, as well as other sources, and covers the period from January 2018 to May 2019.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet , visited the country from June 19 to 21 and held interviews with a wide range of political figures, from President Nicolás Maduro and other senior government officials, to the President of the National Assembly, as well as with members of civil society, businessmen, teachers and other interested parties, and also with victims and their families. After the visit, a team of two officers of the Office remained in the country, within the framework of an agreement that allows them to provide advice and technical assistance, and monitor the human rights situation.

"During my visit to Venezuela, I was able to know directly the stories of those who have been victims of state violence and their requests for justice. I have accurately conveyed their views and those of the civil society, as well as the human rights violations documented in this report, to the competent authorities , " said High Commissioner Bachelet.

"The Government committed itself to solve some of the most thorny issues -among others, the use of torture and access to justice- and to facilitate unlimited entry to the detention centers. The situation is complex, but this report contains clear recommendations on what measures can be taken immediately to halt current violations, provide justice to victims and create a space for meaningful discussions. We are ready to collaborate with all the competent authorities and to continue promoting the rights of all Venezuelans, regardless of their political affiliations. "

The report details the gradual militarization of state institutions during the last decade. In the period covered by the report, both civilian and military forces are attributed the responsibility for arbitrary arrests, mistreatment and torture against government critics and their families , sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated during periods of detention and visits, and excessive use of force during demonstrations.

The pro-government civilian armed groups known as collectives have contributed to the deterioration of the situation, by imposing social control and helping to repress the demonstrations. The Office has documented 66 deaths during the protests carried out from January to May 2019, of which 52 are attributable to government security forces or groups.

The proportion of alleged extrajudicial executions committed by the security forces, in particular by the Special Forces (FAES), in the context of police operations has been surprisingly high, according to the report. In 2018, the Government registered 5,287 deaths, allegedly due to "resistance to authority", in the course of these operations. Between January 1 and May 19 of this year, another 1,569 people were killed, according to the government's own statistics. Other sources suggest that the figures could be much higher.
The report also indicates that, as of May 31, 2019, there were 793 persons arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, including 58 women, and so far this year 22 deputies of the National Assembly, including its President, have been stripped of their parliamentary immunity.

While the High Commissioner welcomed the recent release of 62 political prisoners, she also called on the authorities to release all other persons detained or deprived of their liberty for peacefully exercising their fundamental rights.

The report emphasizes that the majority of victims of human rights violations have not had real access to justice or adequate reparation.

"According to the interviewees, there are few people who file complaints, for fear of reprisals or lack of confidence in the judicial system," the report states. Those who do, mostly women, face omnipresent obstacles and, in most cases, research that stagnates. "The Public Ministry has regularly failed to comply with its obligation to investigate and bring to justice the persons responsible for the events and the Ombudsman has kept silent about human rights violations . "

Regarding freedom of expression, the report states that the space for free and independent media has been reduced, through the prohibition or closure of media, and the detention of independent journalists. "In recent years the government has tried to impose a communicational hegemony by imposing its own version of events and creating an environment that restricts independent media."

Although Venezuela's economy was in crisis long before sanctions were imposed on some of its sectors, the report states that the latest economic sanctions linked to oil exports are further aggravating the effects of the crisis.
In addition, he notes, the State fails to fulfill its obligation to guarantee the rights to food and health care.

The increasing scarcity of food and increasingly high prices have translated into fewer foods with less nutritional value, high rates of malnutrition and a particularly adverse impact on women, some of whom reported that, on average, They spent 10 hours a day in queues to buy food. Although the Government has made efforts to address this situation through social programs, broad sectors of the population lack access to food distribution and interviewed accused the authorities of excluding them because they were not in favor of the government.

The country's health situation is serious: hospitals lack personnel, supplies, medicines and electricity to keep the equipment running . The report cites the National Survey on Hospitals of 2019, which concluded that, from November 2018 to February 2019, there were 1,557 deaths in hospitals due to lack of supplies.

The report also clarifies the disproportionate impact of the humanitarian situation on the indigenous population and how these people lose control of their lands for various reasons, including the presence of military forces, gangs of criminals and armed groups. "The extraction of minerals, especially in the states of Amazonas and Bolívar, ... has led to violations of various collective rights, including the rights to maintain customs, traditional livelihoods and a spiritual relationship with their land," says the document.

The report makes a set of recommendations addressed to the Government in relation to the main human rights violations documented by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"I sincerely hope that the authorities will carefully examine all the information contained in this document and implement their recommendations. We should all agree that all Venezuelans deserve a better life, without fear and with access to adequate food, water, healthcare and housing, as well as other basic needs, "said Bachelet.

"A Catholic priest told me in Caracas: 'It's not about politics, it's about the suffering of the people.' This report also does not deal with politics, geopolitics, international relations or anything else other than the human rights to which every Venezuelan is entitled. "

"I urge all people with power and influence - both in Venezuela and in the rest of the world - to collaborate and make the necessary commitments to solve this crisis that is devastating everything. My Office is ready to continue supporting."


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JULY 23, 2019


          CARACAS, VENEZUELA     --       Venezuela denounced yesterday Monday the incursion of a US aircraft into its airspace, an incident that occurs three days after a similar event, announced Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez. The high official affirmed that a US "spy plane" made an incursion into the "flight information zone" of Venezuela during midday, and said that the aircraft "has not complied with the corresponding protocol." "It can not be that an aggressive plane, an American spy penetrates in areas that are the exclusive control of the Venezuelan state," Rodriguez said in a broadcast of the state television station after ensuring that the aircraft would be the same as it did on Friday.

     The minister considered the incident as another violation of international law and the constitution and said that during the year there have been 78 "violations" of US aircraft in Venezuelan airspace. In rejecting the incident, the head of the ruling National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, said he expects the actions of the United States to remain in "threats", adding that "they have been flying across the border, all of Guajira, Zulia " The US Southern Command informed the day before on its Twitter account that a Venezuelan fighter flew aggressively near a US intelligence plane that was in the international airspace in the Caribbean.

     The US authorities indicated that their EP-3 plane was carrying out an internationally approved mission on Friday and that the Venezuelan SU-30 fighter followed closely behind, which they said put their crew at risk. Cabello considered the answer of the Southern Command to be a "child's explanation" and said that "no one believes her in the world". For his part, the Venezuelan Defense Minister, General in Chief Vladimir Padrino López, denounced that the US ship violated Venezuela's airspace on Friday and endangered commercial flights that took off from the nation's main airport. By identifying the US spacecraft as one dedicated to receiving electronic intelligence, the Venezuelan jet escorted it out of the region, Venezuelan authorities said.


   TEHRAN, IRAN --   Iran has announced Monday the arrest of 17 Iranian citizens and the death sentence of several of them, as a result of the dismantling of an espionage network in the service of the CIA, which it already reported last June . It is not the first time that Tehran claims to have dismantled similar cells , often for internal consumption, but the coincidence with the current tensions with the United States makes it fear that it is hardening its attitude.

     On this occasion, the Intelligence Ministry has even distributed photographs of the US agents who would have been in contact with the supposed Iranian spies who, if real, would be a setback for Washington. "The identified spies worked in key private sector centers linked to the economy, nuclear [research], infrastructures, the military field or cybernetics ... where they collected confidential information," the Ministry of Intelligence statement quotedby PressTV as saying , but from which other Iranian media have also echoed (all under state control).

      The general director of the Iranian counterintelligence, whose name has not been given, has explained at a press conference that the 17 arrests were carried out over the past year (from the Iranian calendar, which ended on March 21) and that several of them have been sentenced to death. Those who cooperated with the Iranian secret services to get information about EE. UU They have received long prison terms. Although he has assured that among the detainees there were no officials and that they did not manage to carry out any sabotage, the investigation is still open.


   MADRID, SPAIN   --  The Spanish National Court investigates the death of Juan Carlos Márquez, director of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA during the time of Hugo Chávez, who was collaborating with the Justice in the case about the laundering plot of the former ambassador of Spain in Venezuela Raúl Morodo. The Spanish Court requested on Tuesday to confirm the cause of his death, since his body was found lifeless in Spain with signs of possible suicide. Initially, it was erroneously reported that Márquez had taken a plane to escape to the US, since the magistrate of the case, Santiago Pedraz, was informed that he was on the passenger list of a flight to Chicago and that the US authorities were going to order his immediate deportation to Spain.

      Pedraz had taken a statement last Friday after being arrested and released him with precautionary measures as he had collaborated in confessing facts related to the plot of Morodo, according to Efe sources of the investigation. He was summoned on Monday to testify at the National Court, but he did not show up, so the judge asked the police for information about his possible death. Marquez, who was a director of PDVSA, is being investigated in the case that last May arrested the son of Raúl Morodo, Alejo, and three other people who went to the judge and were released with precautionary measures.

     Apart from Morodo father and son, they are being investigated and Carlos Prada, a Venezuelan living in Spain linked to the Morodo for the alleged charges and money-laundering, his wife and the wife of one of those investigated, are being arrested. In the case it is investigated the collection of 4.5 million euros from PDVSA by Morodo son through alleged false legal advice contracts signed with the oil company between 2012 and 2015, when Raúl Morodo was no longer an ambassador in Venezuela. As suspected by the Spanish Prosecutor's Office, the money was then laundered through a complex web of companies created by the son and others investigated.

JULY 22, 2019


          WASHINGTON, D.C.     --      The US Southern Command denounced on Sunday that the crew of a Russian-made SU-30 Flanker aircraft of Venezuela, "aggressively" chased an American aircraft last Friday and that this action demonstrates the "irresponsible" military support of Russia to the regime of Nicolás Maduro. The incident occurred when the SU-30 Flanker pursued a US aircraft EP-3 at an "unsafe distance on July 19, endangering the crew and the aircraft," reported the Southern Command on his Twitter account.

"This action demonstrates Russia's irresponsible military support for Maduro's illegitimate regime and underscores Maduro's recklessness and irresponsible behavior, which undermines international laws and international efforts to counteract illicit trafficking," he said. He emphasized in a statement that the regime "demonstrates its contempt for international agreements that authorize the United States and other nations to carry out flights safely in international airspace."  The US military unit said that "after reviewing the video, we determined that the Russian-made fighter chased the EP-3 at an unsafe distance in international airspace for an extended period of time, endangering the safety of the crew and endangering the mission of EP-3. " The Maduro regime through its Operational Strategic Command of the Bolivarian Armed Force (CEOFANB), reported on Saturday that the US aircraft was an "electronic spy and telecommunications interception" plane that was violating international air treaties.

     "ALERT | Aerospace Defense System CODAI detected and intercepted US aircraft. EP-3E intelligence and electronic radio exploration in our Maiquetía flight information region, violating International Air Treaties in frank provocation to the RBV. # DialogoAvanza, "he said in his Twitter account. In a video posted on that same network, CEOFANB explained that the plane was detected by its Aerospace Defense System at 9:52 a.m. Friday flying over the north of the Venezuelan archipelago Los Roques in the Caribbean Sea and that the aircraft did not provide a flight plan nor had it been reported with Venezuela's air traffic services.


    WASHINGTON, D.C. --   The U.S. military rejected Venezuela’s claim that a U.S. intelligence aircraft flew over the South American nation’s airspace on Friday, saying the American jet was over international waters and had been “aggressively shadowed.” The U.S. Southern Command said Sunday on Twitter that the U.S. EP-3 “was performing a multi-nationally recognized & approved” mission when shadowed “at an unsafe distance” by a Venezuelan SU-30 Flanker, “jeopardizing the crew & aircraft.” Video of the incident was attached. In a second tweet the U.S. said the action “demonstrates Russia’s irresponsible military support” of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government. The Sukhoi SU-30 is a twin-engine Russian fighter aircraft.

     Sunday’s comments were the first U.S. response to claims by officials with Maduro’s defense department that the U.S. had engaged in “a clear provocation” and acted in violation of international treaties. The competing descriptions may further roil Washington-Caracas relations at a time Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is visiting Latin America, and as a summit of so-called anti-imperialist countries is held in Venezuela’s capital. Venezuelan defense officials sad the U.S. aircraft entered local airspace over the Caribbean in a one-hour flight in breach of international treaties, until it was pursued by the Venezuelan air force. The flight created a safety risk for commercial aircraft in the vicinity of Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Twitter.

     Venezuela identified the U.S. plane as an EP-3E Aries II, which is a reconnaissance version of the P-3 Orion produced by Lockheed Martin Corp. Maduro’s government on Saturday started a two-day summit of the Non Aligned Movement, with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in attendance. Pompeo has visited Argentina and Ecuador in the past few days and is traveling Sunday to Mexico and Honduras. The U.S. has been trying to coalesce support around National Assembly leader Juan Guaido since the body declared him Venezuela’s interim president in late January. More than 50 countries now support Guaido, and the U.S. regularly announces new sanctions against Maduro and his associates.


   WASHINGTON, D.C.    --    The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said on Saturday in Ecuador that as long as Cuba continues to protect the ruling Nicolás Maduro there will be no "fair and equitable elections" in Venezuela as the opposition demands. "As long as the Cubans continue to protect Maduro, they will not be able to hold fair and just elections," the official repeated at a joint press conference with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, whom he visited in the port of Guayaquil (southwest). Pompeo added, in a statement in English that was translated, that "it seems incomprehensible to me that free and fair elections can be carried out if Maduro continues" in power and that "there may be some creative way of leaving it out."

     The vice president of Venezuela, Delcy Rodriguez, went to Managua on Friday to tell the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to stop intervening in the internal affairs of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela. "Take your hands of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela" because "more we will never be anyone's backyard," Rodriguez said in a speech with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution. Washington is the main support of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognized as interim president of Venezuela by more than 50 countries, including Ecuador.

      With mediation from Norway, Maduro and Guaidó missions hold a reserved dialogue in Barbados. The opposition wants Maduro to step aside from power and to hold new elections, considering that his second term, which began last January, resulted from fraudulent elections. "Without minimizing what is happening in Barbados, the talks, it is inconceivable that elections are held that really represent the Venezuelan people if Maduro is still present in the country," said Pompeo, who is touring Latin America that began in Argentina and will continue the Sunday in El Salvador and Mexico, where he will meet with leaders Nayib Bukele and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, respectively.

JULY 19, 2019


           WASHINGTON, D.C.     --      The vice president of the United States (USA), Mike Pence, denounced on Thursday attacks by the governments of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua against leaders of the Catholic Church.   In a conference on religious freedom in the State Department, Pence questioned the "dictator" Maduro and the "regime" of Ortega and his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo, for harassing members of the clergy and the Catholic hierarchy that support dissidents .

"In Venezuela, the dictator Nicolás Maduro is using his so-called anti-hate law to prosecute the Catholic clergy to speak out against his brutal regime, which has impoverished millions in this once prosperous country," said Pence. Venezuela, once an oil power, is mired in an economic debacle that Washington attributes to the Maduro government. "Nicolás Maduro has brought nothing but misery to the people of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate right to power, and Nicolás Maduro must leave," Pence stressed amid applause, AFP reported.

On Nicaragua, the vice president said that Ortega and Murillo "continue their attack on the faith and human rights." "The regime violently suppresses dissent, attacks opponents and condones the thugs who repress and intimidate the leaders of the Catholic Church for defending democracy and religious freedom," he said. The US government considers Venezuela and Nicaragua part of a "troika of tyranny," which also includes Cuba. However, Pence did not mention the island's government in his speech this Thursday.


    WASHINGTON, D.C. --   U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departed for Latin America Thursday to meet face to face with leaders there, amid difficult negotiations with Mexico and Central American countries over how to best stem the flow of migrants to the southern U.S. border. “From July 19th to the 21st, the secretary will visit Buenos Aires, Argentina; Ecuador, Mexico City, San Salvador, where he will expand cooperation on security issues; reinforce U.S. commitment to human rights and democracy, particularly support for the people of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and their struggle for freedom; and to enhance economic partnerships and to expand economic opportunities for our citizens," State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said during a press briefing on Tuesday.

     While in Argentina, Pompeo will participate in a counterterrorism conference with regional allies, timed to mark the 25th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people, and has been linked to Hezbollah and Iran by Argentine prosecutors. No one has ever been held accountable for the worst terrorist attack in Argentine history. The White House released a statement marking the anniversary and highlighting Thursday's ministerial focused on counterterrorism cooperation.

     "The United States and its partners throughout the Western Hemisphere will continue to take meaningful steps to ensure that our countries defend against the threat of terrorism and that we continue to do all that we can to protect our citizens," the White House said. "Through these efforts, we will more effectively identify and disrupt terrorist threats and networks around the world." Migration is likely to be a major issue at his other stops. Some experts say the United States must address the root causes, or “push factors” that are compelling people to flee their homes. “You have to look at the lack of opportunity, the gang activity, the weak institutions in this region, in Central America if you are ever going to stop people from making what is a difficult and dangerous journey to the United States. These people don’t leave taking the decision lightly," Benjamin Gedan of the Wilson Center said.


   BRUSSELS, BELGIUM    --    The European Parliament plenary session on Thursday urged the European Union (EU) to impose more sanctions on Venezuela for "repression" in the country, after the torture and death of Captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo while in the custody of the Venezuelan security forces . The resolution, which was approved with 455 votes in favor, 85 against and 105 abstentions, reiterates its full support to what it considers legitimate interim president, Juan Guaidó, and to the National Assembly, and supports the facilitation process promoted by Norway, which should lead to hold free, transparent and credible elections.

     The European Parliament considers that the European authorities should restrict the movements and freeze the assets and visas of the Venezuelan authorities responsible for violations of human rights and repression, as well as those of their closest relatives. The resolution, one of the first texts approved in this legislature in the European Parliament, received the support of the European People's Party (PPE), the Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S & D), Renew Europe (RE) and the Conservatives group and Reformists (ECR). The MEPs condemn the repression and violence in the country and express their solidarity with the Venezuelan people and their "sincere condolences" to the family and friends of the dead, such as Captain Acosta.

     Acosta Arevalo was tortured to death after his arrest eight days earlier for his alleged participation in a plan to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, according to his defense and opposition. Parliament also emphasizes the direct responsibility of Maduro and his armed forces and intelligence in the "indiscriminate use of violence" to repress the democratic transition in the country. "In line with the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on violations of fundamental freedoms in Venezuela, (Parliament) calls for an independent mechanism to investigate extrajudicial executions carried out in security operations ", Says the resolution, which also demands that those responsible be held accountable.

JULY 18, 2019


           WASHINGTON, D.C.     --     Eight countries submitted for the consideration of the other 26 members of the Organization of American States a draft resolution that calls for an independent investigation into what it describes as "grave and systematic" violations of human rights in Venezuela. The document expresses a firm condemnation of the abuses attributed to the Nicolás Maduro regime, including torture, illegal and arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances. The draft does not entrust a specific entity with responsibility for the investigation but requires full access to Venezuelan territory for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which has not received an invitation from the Venezuelan authorities since its last visit in 2002.

      The executive secretary of the IACHR, Paulo Abrão, told reporters that if the resolution is adopted, the Permanent Council of the OAS must "explore the different possible formulas for the implementation" of an investigation. He added that if the IACHR will be in charge of that investigation, it would be willing to consider the creation of a joint investigation mechanism with the UN, something unprecedented. "You can explore this possibility. The range of options has to be sufficiently open, "he said. Paraguayan Elisa Ruiz said that along with the other sponsors -Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, the United States and Peru- plan to submit the document for approval at a date yet to be determined and the next few days will be devoted to adding support .

     The proposal reached the OAS just days after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, presented a broad report in which she accused the Maduro regime of causing 5,287 deaths during security operations during 2018. Maduro recalled his diplomatic staff at the OAS in April but Secretary General Luis Almagro - like most of the member countries of the organization - recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president, alleging that Maduro's re-election in 2018 was fraudulent. The OAS also recognized the diplomatic emissary of Guaidó, Gustavo Tarre, who witnessed the session occupying the seat corresponding to Venezuela. Tarre said that the goal is to get the resolution adopted by consensus, which would make a nominal vote unnecessary. "Consensus is important because this is not a political discussion but a principle," said Tarre.


    WASHINGTON, D.C. --   The commander of the Southern Command of the US Armed Forces, Admiral Craig Faller, confirmed on Tuesday the presence of Russian troops in Venezuela despite the fact that the president, Donald Trump, said in June that the Kremlin had guaranteed him they had withdrawn the “majority” of his military personnel from that country. “There are Russian troops and there are contractors from the Russian defense sector in Venezuela, lending support to (President Nicolas) Maduro’s regime,” denounced Faller during a hearing on Tuesday before the Committee of Armed Services of the Senate.

     At the end of March, the government of President Vládimir Putin sent two planes to Caracas with some 100 soldiers, alleging that they were military specialists who carried out maintenance work on equipment supplied to Venezuela. Washington quickly criticized this maneuver, which came to be labeled a “direct threat” by White House National Security Adviser John Bolton. A few days later, however, Trump said in a Twitter message that Moscow had assured him that he had begun to withdraw his military. “Russia has informed us that it has withdrawn most of its personnel from Venezuela,” the president said in a brief tweet, an information that would end up being denied by President Putin just three days later.

     This Tuesday, during the hearing, Faller reiterated that Russia executes in Latin America, “as in the rest of the world,” a disinformation campaign whose objective is to “disorient” citizens. Also, the admiral warned the senators of the growing Russian interference in Latin America and denounced that Moscow intends to “sow discord and lack of confidence” among the countries of the region, to “push” to “autocratic” nations such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Faller made a tour of South America at the end of June, which led him to visit Argentina and Chile, whose main objective was to strengthen US alliances in the region due to the growing influence of countries such as Russia and China.


   UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK CITY     --    The crisis in Venezuela explains the increase in hunger in Latin America, due to the fact that the proportion of people suffering from hunger almost quadrupled, from 6.2% between 2012 and 2014 to 21.2% between 2016 and 2018, until the 6.8 million Venezuelans. The number of hungry people in Latin America and the Caribbean grew by 2018 for the third consecutive year to affect 42.5 million people, in part due to the economic slowdown and the crisis in Venezuela, according to the United Nations (UN) ).

      The new report on the global state of food security and nutrition, presented by five United Nations agencies, argues that the percentage of hungry people in the region increased from 6.2% of the population in 2015 to 6.5% in 2017 , level that was maintained the following year.The main reason for this increase is found in South America, which is home to the majority of undernourished people in the region and where the prevalence of undernourishment rose from 4.6% in 2013 to 5.5% in 2017. The slowdown and recession observed between 2012 and 2016 in the economies of the area are associated with the decline in international prices of raw materials exported in a context of weak recovery from the global financial crisis.

     The Deputy Director of Economics of Agricultural Development of the Organization of the UN for Food and Agriculture (FAO), Marco Sanchez Cantillo, told Efe that, in view of the deceleration and dependence on trade in these products, "the income tributaries have been greatly reduced ". "The tendency to implement social programs, which had been influencing the reduction of hunger until three years ago, has thus been highly affected," he said. Unemployment increased, family income contracted and the number of poor people went from 166 to 175 million between 2013 and 2015 after years of declines in the region, according to the report.

JULY 17, 2019


           BRUSSELS, BELGIUM      --     The European Union (EU) threatened on Tuesday to impose new sanctions on Venezuela if "concrete results" are not achieved in the discussions between the Maduro regime and the opposition in Barbados, sponsored by Norway. to seek solutions to the serious political crisis, "If they do not obtain concrete results in the ongoing negotiations, the EU will further expand its restrictive measures," said the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, in a statement on behalf of European countries.Delegates of the regime of Nicolás Maduro, and of the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, recognized as interim president by over fifty countries, arrived a day ago to Barbados to resume the dialogues, after agreeing days ago the installation of a work table.

      The Europeans welcomed the resumption of the talks sponsored by Norway, as a "channel to overcome the crisis", but urged "to urgently achieve a result that allows for transparent and internationally supervised presidential elections." The EU, that sanctioned 18 Venezuelan officials since 2017 and imposed an arms embargo on the country, also expressed its willingness to work towards new sanctions for "the members of the security forces involved in torture and other serious human rights violations." Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell called for sanctions against those responsible during a meeting with his European counterparts in Brussels, after highlighting the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

      Bachelet's report "confirms in a clear and detailed manner the scope and gravity of human rights violations, the erosion of the rule of law and the dismantling of democratic institutions in the country," the EU statement said. Mogherini, on behalf of the 28 countries of the bloc, cites as an example the "tragic death" of Rafael Acosta, a 50-year-old Venezuelan soldier who died on June 29 in a hospital in Caracas for alleged torture during his detention. In addition to the sanctions, the EU launched in February along with Latin American and European countries the International Contact Group (GCI), an initiative that seeks presidential elections "free and fair" in Venezuela.


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA --   The president in charge of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, addressed on Tuesday, July 16, that they are still working on all the boards to get out of the tragedy in which Venezuela finds itself, emphasizing that the country is still in a dictatorship. He thanked the position of the European Union, which also makes efforts to restore democracy in the country, and explained that the world's position is to seek a solution to the Venezuelan crisis. "It is a duty for all of us to get up, continue fighting and exercise our power as citizens. Today it is no coincidence that these sanctions are presented in Europe by High Commissioner Federica Mogherini, "he said.

      On the return of his delegation to Barbados to resume talks with the Chavista regime he explained that it is in a process of mediation and are putting all the pressure necessary for the cessation of the dictatorship. He mentioned that it would be childish to trust the regime that killed a Frigate Captain, and stressed that the regime only has to generate fear. Finally, he declared that soon the National Assembly (AN) deputies will finish approving the TIAR.

     At the same time, the government of the dictator Nicolás Maduro rejected the statements of the High Representative of the European Union (EU), Federica Mogherini, who in her opinion, carries out interventionist actions and threats against Venezuela. "Venezuela rejects statements by the European Union's high representative, Federica Mogherini, for meddling once more in internal affairs and proffering unacceptable threats, at a time when synderesis is vital for dialogue among Venezuelans," the Republic's foreign minister said. , Jorge Arreaza, through his account in the social network Twitter. Arreaza's statements were accompanied by a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry through its website, reported AVN.


   CARACAS, VENEZUELA     --Nicolás Maduro Moros finished configuring the military power with the heads of the Strategic Integral Defense Regions (REDI) and the Integral Defense Operating Zones (ZODI). He had already appointed the High Military Command and, with these new appointments, configured the Expanded Military High Command. It includes two unconditional men of Diosdado Cabello among the nine of the High Command: the MG Alexis José Rodríguez Cabello as commander of the Army and the MG Jesús María Mantilla Oliveros, second commander and Chief of the Joint Chiefs of the Operational Strategic Command. Not bad. Among the officers of the National Guard, it is evident that Maduro does not include any unconditional man to Diosdado, who has links with Pimentel and Maldonado Guerrero, who remain as Division generals, while he promoted Méndez López, who never competed with the others. two officers.

     But let's see what happens down the military pyramid. Of the nine Strategic Regions, there are two men of Diosdado Cabello: the MG Ovidio of Jesús Delgado Ramírez, in the Western REDI; and MG Domingo Antonio Hernández Larez, at the REDI Capital. In the case of the 25 operational zones, Maduro took care not to include any unconditional president of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), shielding himself with some officers who belonged to the Presidential Honor Guard. The Integral Defense Regions started on September 13, 2008, as part of the new Organic Law of the National Armed Forces (LOFANB), with the mission of planning, conducting and executing integral defense operations.

      These are the new bosses: 1) In the Western was named the greatest general (Ej) Ovidio of Jesus Delgado Ramírez, who replaced the MG Fabio Enrique Zavarse Pabón, who now is the new general commander of the National Guard. 2) In the Los Llanos Region, the MG Víctor Augusto Palacios García was replaced by the MG that is now held by José Rafael Silva Aponte. For the Central Region the MG Juan Carlos Du Boulay Perozo was appointed, who replaces the MG Domingo Antonio Hernández Larez, who now goes to the REDI Capital, where he replaced General Alexis Rodríguez Cabello, who in turn goes to the High Command. 3) For the Oriental REDI, the MG César Wilfredo Méndez López was appointed, replacing Admiral William Miguel Serantes Pinto, who in turn passed for the Guayana region. 4) Admiral Alexánder José Velásquez Bastidas, who replaced Admiral Eladio José Gregorio Jiménez Rattia, was appointed for the Maritime and Integral REDI. 5) In the Andes the MG Federico Guillermo Guzmán Bornia was named, who replaces the MG Manuel Gregorio Bernal Martínez, who goes to the Military High Command. 6) In the REDI Guayana was appointed Admiral William Miguel Serantes Pinto, who replaces the MG Jesús María Mantilla Oliveros, who was transferred to the High Military Command. And 7) n the Maritime and Insular REDI was named Admiral Alexánder José Velásquez Bastidas, who replaces Admiral Eladio José Gregorio Jiménez Rattia.

JULY 16, 2019


            BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS    --     The parties held talks in Barbados between July 8 and 10, after which Norway announced that they agreed to set up a table that will work "continuously and expeditiously." As a result, delegates of President Nicolás Maduro, and opposition leader Juan Guaidó, arrived in Barbados to resume the dialogues held in search of solutions to the serious political crisis in Venezuela, the parties announced. "We continue with the fundamental approach of President Nicolás Maduro: a permanent dialogue for peace (...), for the constitutional and democratic resolution of political controversies," said Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez, who announced in a video the arrival of the government delegation.

     Rodriguez is in the Caribbean island along with the chancellor, Jorge Arreaza, the governor Héctor Rodríguez and other two representatives of the oficialismo, among them Larry Devoe, of the state National Council of Human Rights. On Sunday, the envoys of Guaidó, recognized as the agent in charge of Venezuela for half a hundred countries, had moved. Its objective is "to achieve the change that puts an end to the suffering of Venezuelans," said the press office of the legislator on Twitter. The parties held a round of talks in Barbados between July 8 and 10, after which Norway, which acts as mediator, announced that they had agreed to set up a round table that will work "continuously and expeditiously".

      According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after that meeting, it was foreseen that the parties would hold "consultations to be able to advance in the negotiation". Maduro, under whose management Venezuela fell into the worst crisis in its recent history, blames the debacle of the former oil power on sanctions of the United States (US) to suffocate it. Meanwhile, Guaidó has reiterated that the rapprochements are part of a strategy to expel the socialist president from power. The opposition leader considers that the second term started by Maduro in January was the result of fraudulent elections. The delegation sent by Guaidó last week to Barbados was made up of legislator Stalin González, ex-deputy Gerardo Blyde, former minister Fernando Martínez Mottola and former electoral director Vicente Díaz.


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA --   The objective is to get out of the deep crisis in Venezuela. The instrument demanded by millions of opponents of Chavismo is a presidential election with guarantees. The most radical sector of the regime refuses to let this possibility even be the subject of debate. However, that is the main dispute that faces the envoys of Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó. The contacts resumed this week in Barbados under the auspices of Norway and, according to that Government, will remain in "a table that will work continuously and expeditiously".

      The talks between the representatives of the Government and of the National Assembly, reactivated with discretion in the Caribbean island, suppose the umpteenth attempt of approximation between the parts after several disappointments. The novelty is that the political and institutional paralysis, the economic crisis and the deterioration of democracy are increasingly unbearable. These premises, together with the growing international pressure around Nicolás Maduro, have reopened the door to dialogue.

      According to Guaidó, recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries, he only represents a fight front. The goal has not moved away, he says, from the mantra of the opposition. That is, cessation of usurpation, transitional government and free elections. Until now, the Executive had only agreed to the possibility of advancing legislative elections, an insufficient offer. Therefore, the new rounds of contacts seek to go further, even between difficulties. The scenario of a Maduro resignation is more than unlikely in the short term. However, the Minister of Communication, Jorge Rodríguez, described the approach as a "successful exchange". The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Stalin González, member of the opposition delegation that traveled to Barbados, called for progress to "put an end to the suffering of Venezuelans." "We need answers and results", he asserted.


   MADRID, SPAIN    --Spain asked the European Union (EU) "sanctions" against those responsible for torture in Venezuela, said on Monday his chancellor Josep Borrell, who considered "priority" that the negotiation between government and opposition "bear fruit." "Tragic deaths of people detained under the control of the Venezuelan political police have occurred," said Borrell, calling for the punishment of people "who have been involved in torture followed by death." "But sanctions can not be an instrument that disturbs the hope that the Oslo process has raised.

     The first priority is for this process to continue, "the Spanish foreign minister told a news conference in Brussels. Although not listed as a point on the agenda, mainly devoted to the nuclear agreement with Iran, the EU foreign ministers also reviewed the situation in Venezuela during their monthly meeting on Monday. Borrell, proposed as the next head of EU diplomacy, expressed support for the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who reported executions and torture, among others. Venezuela is mired in a deep political, economic and humanitarian crisis, which worsened in 2018 with the re-election of socialist Nicolás Maduro as head of the country, in elections unknown by the opposition.

     Government delegates and the opposition leader agreed to establish a permanent working table to try to resolve the crisis after a series of dialogues under the mediation of Norway, which has sponsored a solution since May. "We believe that the Oslo process is the best option we have on the table" for both parties to "negotiate," said Borrell, who stressed that Maduro controls "the administration, the army and the territory." The EU, which sanctioned 18 Venezuelan officials since 2017, launched the International Contact Group in February together with Latin American and European countries, an initiative that seeks "free and fair" presidential elections in Venezuela.

JULY 15, 2019


            THE VATICAN    --     Pope Francis URGES all the parties involved on Sunday to reach an agreement in Venezuela as soon as possible to end the suffering of his people, after praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. After praying the Angelus leaning on the window of the pontifical palace, Francisco expressed his closeness to the Venezuelan people "particularly affected by the lengthening of the crisis." And he asked to pray to the Lord to "inspire and enlighten the parties in the cause so that they can arrive as soon as possible at an agreement that puts an end to the suffering of the people for the good of the country and of the entire region."

     Venezuela is going through an aggravation of the political crisis since last January, when Nicolás Maduro swore a new term as president whose legitimacy is not recognized by the opposition and much of the international community and, in response, and the head of the Venezuelan Parliament, Juan Guaidó, He was sworn in as President in Charge of Venezuela and, therefore, more than 50 nations - with the United States at the helm - recognize it. A report on Venezuela officially presented on July 5 by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, denounces that, especially since 2016, the Maduro regime and its institutions have launched a strategy "aimed at neutralizing , repress and criminalize the political opposition, and those who criticize the government "with arbitrary detentions, mistreatment and torture of critics.

     It documents, among other serious incidents, more than 6,800 extrajudicial executions by the Venezuelan security forces between January 2018 and May 2019. A few weeks ago, a Vatican delegation attended the meeting held in Stockholm on the humanitarian emergency in Venezuela. The Vatican had participated in 2017 at the negotiating table between the government and the opposition along with a group of Latin American ex-presidents and the Spanish, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. In a letter a few months ago, Maduro asked the Pope for help in mediating the situation in the country, but Francisco reminded him in another letter that what was agreed in the past meetings "was not followed by concrete actions" by the regime.


    WASHINGTON, D.C. --   The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, said that US pressure on the government of Nicolás Maduro is "fundamental" for the success of the dialogue to resolve the crisis in Venezuela and asked to increase it. The dialogue between government and opposition, which they discussed this week under the mediation of Norway in Barbados, depends on the "sanctions" and "credible threats" campaign by the United States to force a regime change in Caracas, said Almagro, along with the representative US special for the Venezuelan crisis, Eliott Abrams.

      "More than what is negotiated on the negotiation table itself, if something comes out there will be external factors, such as the pressure of sanctions and other credible threats made by the US administration," he said at a press conference at the OAS headquarters. A resounding opponent of Maduro, whose government he considers illegitimate and "criminal", Almagro emphasized that "when a process of dialogue begins, neither internal nor external pressure on the dictatorship can be reduced." "We have to increase it, because the results will depend on the pressure being increased." The secretary general of the OAS said that the "Oslo-Barbados process" requires "essentially" the pressure of Washington on the elements that "oppress the Venezuelan people", in particular "the Cuban factor".

      "While 15,000-22,000 Cubans are in Venezuela, the return to democracy in the country is unthinkable. There may be a semi-institutional facelift, but not a return to democracy, "he said, referring to the support of the Cuban government for Maduro, which Havana denies having political-military implications. Abrams did not comment on the battery of financial sanctions that the United States has imposed in the last two years on dozens of relatives of Maduro and Venezuelan entities, as well as on the oil sector, key to the South American country's economy. "The United States wants a peaceful return to democracy in Venezuela, so it goes without saying that we hope the negotiations will be successful," said the diplomat, noting that opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom Washington recognizes as interim president, participates in the dialogue "to end the regime".








Dr. Manuel  Artime  Bueza


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