Latest News
of JULY 201


JULY 31, 2018


     WASHINGTON, D.C.  --    The violence that shakes Nicaragua in recent months and left a balance of some 350 people dead, is the responsibility of the president, Daniel Ortega, and his vice president and wife, Rosario Murillo, said the White House. In an official note, the US presidency said that Ortega and Murillo "are ultimately responsible for vigilante groups favorable to the government that have brutalized their own people."

     In the document, the White House reviewed the measures adopted in this regard, especially the sanction of three Nicaraguan officials, a step that considered "the beginning, not the end, of potential sanctions". In addition, Washington revoked or restricted the granting of visas to Nicaraguan officials who have had any connection with repression of protests or acts of violence. According to the note, the White House demanded the return of cars that had been donated to the National Police of Nicaragua and that would have been used in the repression, and also blocked new donations of equipment to the security forces.

     The text "asks the United States to continue condemning the atrocities in Nicaragua, to demand the release of the detainees unjustly and to identify those persons whose participation in this violence qualifies for the imposition of sanctions." Those sanctions, such as those adopted on July 5 against three officials, are supported by the so-called "Magnitsky law", approved by the US Congress to sanction Russian officials for the death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  - -  --  On Monday, the White House demanded "fair, free and transparent elections" for the restoration of democracy in Nicaragua, several press agencies reported Monday. The agency Efe said that with this call the US opened the door to more sanctions against officials of the regime of President Daniel Ortega if it does not stop the "indiscriminate" violence that has already left more than 350 dead. "Free, fair and transparent elections are the only way to restore democracy in Nicaragua," the White House said in a statement on the political crisis in the Central American country.

     For his part, Reuters quoted from the statement the abuses committed by the Ortega regime against its dissatisfied citizens. "The United States strongly condemns the current violence in Nicaragua and the human rights abuses by Ortega's regime in response to the protests," the statement said. Specifically, the government of US President Donald Trump, blamed Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, for the "indiscriminate violence" and "police brutality" against protesters calling for "democratic reforms."

     Since the protests began in May, more than 300 Nicaraguans have died in clashes between the different forces. On Monday the newspaper El País, of Spain, reported that the possible dialogue between the opposition and the government would have been frozen, because Ortega called the Catholic bishops included in the negotiating table "coup leaders". The first unsuccessful attempt to negotiate peace dates from May 18 when both parties did not agree to the request that the old Sandinista commander advance the elections by March 2018.


    Fatigue, indignation and frustration became the protagonists of the daily life of Oswaldo Calzadilla. At 53 years of age, he has no choice but to walk 30 minutes from his house, in the neighborhood of Primero de Mayo, to the Metro station La Bandera, then take a car to El Valle and move back on foot to work in the Fort Tiuna. Now the 15 minutes he used to spend taking two buses, the first to Nueva Granada and from there, another to El Valle, become one hour. During his walk, few buses travel, but the demand exceeds each unit, since only 7% of the fleet is operational, according to a survey conducted on the most important routes in the city.

      With a bit of luck, Calzadilla could be able to take truck with the condition of going "like a grape" hanging from a door of the truck. However, for fear of falling he continues on foot. Although his knees take their toll, it is the only way to go to his job to serve as assistant to the department of learning resources of the Military Academy of the Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela (Amgnb). The high costs and lack of spare parts, the collapse of the Metro and lack of concern from the State, have forced users to find a way to solve their day to day needs, although this minimizes their quality of life. At 62 years of age, William Maduro had never felt so indignant, because in addition, he must travel daily between pushing and arguing with users, drivers and collectors.

      Also, he goes to the Amgnb where he works as a plumber. Previously, Maduro was on a bus from Avenida Andrés Bello, located five blocks from his home in the Pinto Salinas neighborhood, up to Fort Tiuna. According to a specialist, most of the units have been working for more than 20 years and the deterioration is visible. The broken seats, the occasional detached ones, the unusable rear doors and most of the metals that make up the buses are rusted. These conditions are grounds for suspension of the service provision of the units, in accordance with article 118 of the Land Transport Law. However, there are no inspection programs in effect to comply with this standard.

JULY 30, 2018


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA   -- Former presidential candidate and political leader, Henrique Capriles, said that with 80% of poverty the opposition cannot be wasting more time. During a televised interview, Capriles called for "the articulation of the opposition to seek a solution to the country’s political economic and social crisis, in a democratic manner." In relation to the economic measures announced by the president, Nicolás Maduro, on the monetary reconversion in which five zeros of the currency will be eliminated and also the bolivar will be anchored to the petro, Capriles said that "the petro does not exist".

     Also, he argued that if the minimum integral salary is Bs 5,200,000, through the reconversion the Venezuelans would go on to earn Bs 52, that is, "a dollar and a peak". While in Colombia a nurse earns $ 600, in Venezuela earns a dollar or less, who can live with that? "He asked. The opposition leader is unable to participate in any electoral process, during 15 years, after an investigation was opened by the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR), for alleged irregularities during his tenure as governor of Miranda state.

     Later Capriles ieft the political arena for several months, to accompany his father in his battle against cancer. This Sunday he reiterated that in spite of the crisis the citizens should not resign themselves. In his opinion, the one who has the strength to get this Government out is the people. "If the country loses hope, the government wins the game," he said. "If everyone demands the government, in the current situation, there will be no other way out than to hear, attend and give viability to what the immense majority of Venezuelans ask for. And if the opposition is strong and articulated, it will have the capacity to negotiate under an international community that is fully prepared to support this change, "he added.


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA  - -  --   The former rector of the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), the priest Luis Ugalde, has no qualms about pointing out that the only solution for the terminal crisis in Venezuela is the departure of President Nicolás Maduro, whom he openly calls a dictator, and the return to democracy. The religious has proposed a plan of three elements so that this goal that he recognizes difficult in an interview with Clarín, is made concrete.

      He maintains that there are conditions that are still given despite the division of the opposition, but he points out that there is much fear because of the strong repression and persecution unleashed against the dissidence, a fear shared by the Venezuelan government itself, which faces the national disaster that it has caused himself. No dictator wants to resign. We are talking about uniting and combining the terrible malaise of the population with internal and international Today we are worse than a month ago. - Nevertheless, despite this, the opposition MUD alliance and now the so-called Frente Amplio do not seem to be reacting but they must do something now.

      The opposition leaders must demand Maduro’s resignation. The population is waiting for other elements to join: the opposition, the businessmen, the church and also the professionals, the workers’ unions. In a constitutional succession is the president of the National Assembly is who assumes. Therefore the democratic transition has to be for democratic elections. In the transition there must be democratic military because this government is military and the day the military say we do not support the dictatorship and we will rescue democracy as mandated by the Constitution, then there is change.


      Venezuela must pay from August until the end of the year a total of $ 5,386,440,033 for external debt. According to the payment schedule published on the Venezuelan Bonos web portal for the eighth month of the year, $ 1,757,983,749 must be disbursed. On August 17, Pdvsa22 Coupons must be paid for $ 191.2150.000 and on the 23rd of that month the Ven22 Coupons must be paid for 191.250.000 dollars. For September there is another list of payments that starts on the 15th of that month with the Venz27 Coupons for $ 185,000,000 and the 31st of the month for the Venz38 Coupons for $ 43,750.105, which gives a total amount of $ 228,750,105.

     In October, the disbursement is $ 1,598,213,687. The payments begin on the 10th of that month with the Pdvsa27 Coupons for $ 80,625,000 and that day the Pdvsa37 Coupons for $ 41,250,000 must be canceled. The following day the debit of the Venz19 Coupons for $ 96,718,566 and the Venz24 Coupons for 102,958,474 dollars must be settled. Subsequently, on the 21st of that month, the Venz25 Coupons for $ 61,193,000 and the Venz Coupons26 for 176,250,000 dollars must be finalized. On October 27, the PDVSA20 Coupons for Ps103,340,146 must be amortized and the PDVSA20 for Ps841,878,500 must be finalized, culminating on the 28th of that month with the payment of the Pdvsa22 Coupons for Ps90,000,000.

     For November the amount to be disbursed reaches $ 721,940,782. It begins on the 7th of that month with the payment of the VENZ23 Coupons for $ 90,000,000 and the Venz28 Coupons for 92,500,000 dollars. On the 15th of that month the Pdvsa26 Coupons for $ 135,000,000 must be paid, the Pdvsa24 Coupons for 150,000,000 are the 16, the Pdvsa 21 Coupons for $ 107,740,782 and the Pdvsa Coupons for 146,250 Coupons. $ .000. For December, there are only three payments that must be made totaling $ 1,080,001,710 that are distributed on the 01 of that month for the Venz18 Coupons (7%) for $ 35,000,000; On the 9th of that month, Venz18 (7%) for $ 1,000,000,000 and Venz20 Coupons for 45,001,710 dollars must be paid. A very critical financial schedule for a country that it is already “broke.”

JULY 29, 2018


    BOGOTA, COLOMBIA  - -  --   Senate President, Ernesto Macías, confirmed that he has already held the letter of resignation of former president Álvaro Uribe, and that as soon as the former president's inability is met he will treat it. "I have the letter of resignation of the Senate of @ AlvavaUribeVel, the next few days, when he meets his medical disability, we will provide the corresponding procedure, while @CeDemocratico we have asked him to rethink his decision," wrote Macías.

     Macias met this past Friday for several hours with former President Uribe at his farm in Rionegro (Antioquia), where he is still preparing his defense against Högsta Court's request for a request. Uribe announced that will be removed from the Senate after being told that the Supreme Court Justice will open an investigation for the alleged manipulation of witnesses.

     When the letter of resignation has been submitted, the Senate must debate and vote if it accepts that it leaves its seat or not. In addition to the debate on the political parties and their caucuses, there is no precedent where a congressional leader has been refused his departure. The vote could take place in the Senate plenary next Tuesday.


     MANAGUA, NICARAGUA   --  The brother of Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega called on his brother Saturday to stop the paramilitary fighters that have been blamed for months of unrest in the Central American country. Humberto Ortega, once the head of the Nicaraguan military, told CNN Espanol that his brother's government must act to "end the presence of these armed people" after three months of violence that have left 448 people dead.

    The paramilitary fighters are acting "as if they are a military or police authority," Humberto Ortega said, urging his brother to work with the army to resolve the crisis On Friday, more than 40 medical professionals were fired in Leon, reportedly for treating anti-government protesters at a public hospital. Earlier this week, the Nicaraguan Pro-Human Rights Association said the death toll from the violence had climbed to 448, while the number of kidnappings and disappearances blamed on paramilitaries has been tallied at 595.

   On Tuesday, Daniel Ortega gave a rare interview to the U.S. news channel Fox News. He said the paramilitaries were funded by members of the political opposition and drug cartels. But he offered no support for his claims. The protests erupted in April after Ortega announced changes to the country's pension system. He later gave up those plans, but protesters have continued to speak out against the government, and government authorities continue to crack down on the demonstrators. The president has called the protesters terrorists and has said they are planning a coup. He has refused to hold early elections, saying they would only make the situation worse.


     A Nicaraguan pro-government mob shoved, punched and scratched at Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes and other Catholic leaders as they tried to enter the Basilica San Sebastian. “Murderers!” people shouted. An auxiliary bishop was slashed on the arm with some sort of sharp object. The ugly scene in the normally sleepy town of Diriamba, an hour’s drive south of Nicaragua’s capital, was a dramatic example of how rapidly a wave of unrest has soured relations between the Roman Catholic Church and beleaguered President Daniel Ortega.

     The church has tried to play a mediating role between Ortega’s Sandinista government and protesters who have increasingly demanded his ouster amid demonstrations and clashes in which about 450 people — most of them protesters — have been slain. Instead it finds itself increasingly targeted by Ortega and his backers, reviving a hostility between the Sandinista base and the church establishment that burned hot during the 1980s but seemed to have been overcome in recent years, when the former guerrilla commander had formed a sort of alliance with once-critical bishops.

   Brenes, the archbishop of Managua, went to Diriamba on July 9, a day after speaking to priests there by phone and hearing gunshots and ambulances. He found doctors and nurses who had tended to wounded protesters and now were sheltering inside the basilica, surrounded by pro-government forces. “There was a fear that they would enter the church to snatch the people who were sheltering here,” said the parish priest, the Rev. Cesar Alberto Castillo Rodriguez. Despite the scuffle at the door, Brenes’ delegation, which included the Vatican’s top diplomat in Nicaragua, was eventually able to evacuate people from the church.

JULY 28, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  - -  --   The Venezuelan government has a "criminal record" very difficult to overcome, said Thursday the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who also called for justice and a democratic solution to the political crisis in Nicaragua. Venezuela "is a regime that has a very strong criminal record," Almagro said in Panama during a dinner with members of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (Apede). Almagro denounced that "the family of the president (Nicolás Maduro)", other members of the government and prominent Chavez figures are accused of "drug trafficking", for which Venezuela has "a criminal logic" that makes it "very difficult to reverse" .

     "What has been demonstrated since 2014 up to now is that the Venezuelan regime has fully used each of the instances of dialogue simply to consolidate the status quo based on repression, fear, terror, the misery of the people, torture and political prisoners, "said Almagro. The Secretary General of the OAS also referred to the crisis in Nicaragua, where more than 300 people have died during protests unleashed in the last 100 days against the government of Daniel Ortega, and called for a "democratic" solution to get out of that situation.

    According to Almagro, from the beginning the OAS has asked for "institutional and democratic solutions" to Managua because "it is the main road" to get out of the spiral of violence that the country is going through. He also referred to the president of the United States, Donald Trump, of whom he highlighted his position against the governments of Venezuela and Cuba, but whom he criticized for his immigration policy. "The positioning that the Trump administration has had on the issue of Venezuela and Cuba is clearly very positive," but the "logic of building a wall is not admissible and a hate speech towards migration is also not admissible," he said. Chief of the OAS.


     Caracas, venezuela     --  The deputy to the National Assembly (AN), José Manuel Olivares, whose management has focused on denouncing the serious health crisis in Venezuela, went into exile alleging a "persecution" of the Government against his family. "My wife, my son a few months old, my mother and my brother are being persecuted (...) They are no longer limited to persecuting the politician," Olivares said in a letter broadcast Thursday night, he said. "I will join momentarily the voices that fight from outside," added the doctor, without specifying which country he traveled to.

     Primero Justicia, the party of Olivares, denounced last Monday that there was an arrest warrant against the wife of the legislator, Jofreny González, accused of processing from an insurance company the purchase of vehicles of "illegal origin". "It took us by surprise, so we are not prepared, politically, economically, or emotionally," said Olivares, who links the accusation with the protests over the lack of medicines and the strike that public hospital employees have been holding for more than a year. one month in claim for better wages.

     The Venezuelan public hospital network faces a shortage of supplies of 90%, according to the Medical Federation, and the loss of personnel due to low salaries and the migratory wave caused by the serious socio-economic crisis, with a hyperinflation that the IMF projects at 1,000,000 % for 2018. To this, there is a shortage of medicines, which reaches 85% according to unions, and almost total in drugs for chronic diseases such as kidney failure, cancer or HIV. A brother of Olivares, Juan Carlos Sosa, was imprisoned for nine months. He was released along with another 120 people accused of "political violence" during a process of releases, between May and June, which President Nicolás Maduro defined as a gesture for "reconciliation" after protests that left some 200 dead between 2014 and 2017.


     The Finance Committee of the AN, assured that the reduction of five zeros to the bolivar and the revision of the exchange regime can not fall on the ANC because this body was not created to dictate laws. He affirmed that "only the Legislative Power has competence" to review the exchange regime in force in the country, hours after the dictator, Nicolás Maduro, made announcements in the matter.

      The president of said commission, Rafael Guzmán, said in a press conference that the reduction of five zeros to the bolivar and the revision of the exchange regime can not fall on the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) because, in his opinion, this forum can not dictate laws "in no matter". In that sense Guzmán said that carrying out the exchange reform without stopping the emission of inorganic money and without a fiscal adjustment "will keep the dollar going and the hyperinflationary tragedy will continue for Venezuelans".

      He also indicated that the economic announcements "are wrong" because "they are not accompanied by political changes". According to the parliamentarian, the intention of the Executive is "to maintain a measure that does not interest the economy but rather the domination" of the citizens. Guzmán used as a reference the price of gasoline, which would cost - once the monetary conversion - 0.00001 or 0.00006 bolivars (less than one cent), for the subsidies, against the currency of 0.5 sovereign bolivars , piece of minor denomination of the new monetary cone. "There is no physical currency with which one liter of gas can be paid (...) an increase in the price will come,"

JULY 27, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  - -  --   The vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, accused the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, of waging a "war" against the Catholic Church, which has been acting as a mediator in the national dialogue that seeks an exit to the conflict that has left more than 350 dead from April. "In Nicaragua, the government of President Ortega is virtually waging a war against the Catholic Church," Pence said at a ceremony at the State Department, which has hosted a summit on religious freedom since Tuesday with the participation of more than 80 representatives of Governments around the world.

     The vice president praised the work of the Catholic Church in the national dialogue and criticized the attacks against the bishops by paramilitaries in favor of the Ortega government and acting with the consent of the National Police, according to organizations such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. (IACHR). "Crowds backed by the Army armed with machetes and even with heavy weapons have attacked parishes and church property. The police have physically assaulted bishops and priests, "said Pence.

     The vice president recognized Father Raúl Zamora, who was in the audience and whom he called "hero of the faith" for having taken refuge this month in his parish of Divine Mercy to students fleeing repression at the National University of Nicaragua (UNAN), one of the focuses of the protests against Ortega. "Let me tell you, father, our prayers are with you and the people of the United States are with you for your religious freedom and for freedom in Nicaragua," said Pence. violence has worsened in recent days with attacks such as UNAN and opposition-controlled cities such as Masaya, which has led to the condemnation of the international community.


     TEHRAN, IRAN    --  Iran’s commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Quds Force Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, warned US President Donald Trump against threatening Iran, promising that were the US to begin a war Iran would finish it. “Gambler Trump! I alone will stand against you. We, the Iranian nation, have gone through tough events. You [may] begin a war, but it is us who will end it. Go ask your predecessors [about it]. So stop threatening [us]... We are ready to stand against you,” Soleimani was quoted as saying by Iran’s Tasnim News Agency in the central city of Hamedan.

     “We are near you, where you can’t even imagine... Come. We are ready,” he said. Earlier in the week, Trump threatened Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Twitter, warning in text written in all caps locks of unprecedented “consequences” if Tehran would threaten Washington: “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”

     On Thursday, Soleimani addressed Trump’s tweet, which came after Rouhani threatened that “war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” “As a soldier, it is my duty to respond to Trump’s threats. If he wants to use the language of threat, he should talk to me, not to the president [Rouhani],” Soleimani said. Soleimani, one of the most prominent and influential military figures in Iran also mentioned the war in Afghanistan and the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.


     The deputy to the National Assembly Julio Borges, said that the economic announcements made by Nicolás Maduro will not stop hyperinflation, it will be improvised, a new failure will be seen and will result in greater poverty for the population. As he said that while there is no radical change of government, the Venezuelan economy will not improve. "" What was announced by Maduro yesterday is a makeup that will cost the country a lot of money and that seeks to manipulate, but did not solve any of the underlying problems of the economy and the Venezuelans.

    The monetary reconversion, postponed once again, will not stop hyperinflation; the anchoring to oil is null, because that currency is illegal and does not exist for the international community and the certification of reserves is not viable either, because it has not passed through the National Assembly. "The former president of the National Assembly reiterated that yesterday's decisions they do not attack the root of the social and humanitarian financial crisis that crosses the country and ensured that the classification is greater chaos and poverty. "The economic illness that the country suffers does not improve until the national production reacts and the Central Bank stops printing money backless. As long as Maduro remains in government, our economy will not grow. "

    In this sense Borges explained that to achieve the return of foreign investment it is essential to recover the legality and confidence in Venezuela. "No one is going to risk a country in the country, while there are no subsidies that generate confidence in foreign capital and that is impossible with Maduro in power." He also pointed out that the law of exchange illicit and the certification of oil reserves they would have no value for investors or the international community, as long as it does not pass through the National Assembly. "Until mature and his letter does not understand that they must return to the path of democracy and the Constitution, yes, condemned to failure," says Borges.

JULY 26, 2018


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - -  --   In a special session held at the Rafael Urdaneta University of Maracaibo, capital of this state OF ZULIA bordering Colombia, the deputies approved to declare the "emergency in which the Zulia people are, as a consequence of the serious social and economic crisis" The Legislative demanded Nicolás Maduro's government - which controls the electricity service in the country - to provide "immediate solutions" to the blackouts and other failures in public services, while urging the authorities to present transparently the situation of the electricity service in Zulia.

     Likewise, the parliamentarians asked that a "serious investment plan" be executed in the country's electricity industry, after several deputies, such as Parliament Speaker Omar Barboza, indicated that the Chavez government has indicated, in budgets, that it has invested 120,000 million dollars in the electric park.
"The entire national electricity system including the Guri-the most important dam in the country-before this government arrived cost 40,000 million dollars and this government says (...) that it has invested 120,000 million dollars in the electricity sector and look at the disaster we have, "he said.

     In this regard, the National Assembly (AN, Parliament) demanded that this investment plan be carried out with "qualified" technical advice so that the Zulia thermoelectric park can be recovered and complementary works can be carried out. This demand is "fundamental in the fact that according to the opinion of qualified experts with 15 days of current oil production in Zulia, decreased to 300,000 barrels per day, would be sufficient to finance this program of final recovery," he added. The deputies also committed themselves with the inhabitants of this region to accompany them in the demands and tomorrow they will carry out a march against the blackouts. Although the blackouts occur more frequently in the state of Zulia, the whole country suffers constant electricity failures.


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --  The electricity workers began this Monday in an "indefinite" way a stoppage of activities demanding better wages, amid the protests that have been developing in the country for almost a month for these same demands. Hundreds of workers protested in the vicinity of the different headquarters of the state-owned company Corporación Eléctrica Nacional (Corpoelec) in Caracas and other states with placards and slogans demanding fair wages and the recovery of the service that has faults throughout Venezuela, Efe reported.

    "Well, today we attend unemployment with the assistance of workers to their jobs but not working," said Reinaldo Diaz, member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Electrical Workers (Fetraelec), at the private radio station Unión Radio. Diaz, who denounced that the service is "abandoned" due to lack of maintenance and "obsolete equipment", said that they will remain unemployed and protesting until the objectives are achieved. While the trade union representative Pedro Caguatiga said, from a protest in the west of Caracas, to the online channel VIVOplay that the workers request income that varies between 8 (288.6 or 16.62 dollars according to the official exchange rate that is use) and 18 minimum wages (649.5 or 37 dollars).

     According to Caguatiga, workers in the electricity sector will only attend to emergencies or breakdowns. Local media reported demonstrations by electricity workers also in Miranda, Vargas, Carabobo (center), Lara (west) and Merida (west). Protests for failures in public services, in addition to light, continued to occur in different regions as well. In the Venezuelan capital and Anzoategui (east) protested also by the power cuts and the problems in the water supply; in Bolívar (south) and Carabobo (center) for the lack of transportation units and spare parts for vehicles, while in a sector of Nueva Esparta (northeast) dozens of people demonstrated against insecurity.


     The businessmen, some of whom are identified in the accusation as "Bolichicos" (businessmen who have been enriched thanks to Chavezism), are accused of taking advantage of the gigantic differential between the official exchange rate and the black market rate to amass estimated profits in several hundred million dollars. At the center of the accusation is the Venezuelan Francisco Convit Guruceaga, one of the main shareholders of the controversial firm Derwick Associates, questioned for obtaining opaque contracts in the Venezuelan energy sector.

     In the indictment, filed before the Federal Court of Miami, the authorities warned that operations such as the one handled by the defendants are flooding South Florida with ill-gotten money from Venezuela. "The embezzlement of the diminishing international reserves is the fuel in these corruption schemes with the exchange rate. PDVSA is the main source of income and foreign currencies (mainly the US dollar and euros), are being used to fuel this type of corrupt operations, "said the indictment filed with the court.

     In addition to Convit, eight defendants appear on court documents and list nine unidentified co-conspirators. Among them is a German citizen arrested on Tuesday at the Miami International Airport, which conducts banking operations for a number of Venezuelan officials and "kleptocrats." Matthias Krull, a resident of Panama who also works as a banker in Switzerland, was scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami on Wednesday afternoon. Frieri was arrested in Italy on Wednesday on charges of using his Miami-based financial firms, Global Security Advisors and Global Strategic Investments, to launder money through false investments in mutual funds.

JULY 25, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C. - -  --  U.S.-based North Korea monitoring group 38 North said recent satellite images show North Korea has begun dismantling key facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station on the country's northwest coast. A combination of two satellite images taken on June 22, 2018 (top) and July 22, 2018 show activity at the Sohae rocket launch site in North Korea. (Planet Labs Inc/Handout via Reuters)

    The satellite images show the dismantling of a rail-mounted processing building, where space launch vehicles are assembled before being moved to the launch pad, and the nearby rocket engine test stand, where liquid-fuel engines are developed for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles, 38 North said. 38 North analyst Joseph Bermudez called the move an "important first step towards fulfilling a commitment" made by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his summit with Trump in Singapore.

    Earlier Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that he is "very happy" with the pace of ongoing negotiations with North Korea to end Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, rebuffing news accounts to the contrary. "A Rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months. Likewise, no Nuclear Tests. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy," Trump said on Twitter. "But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough. Wrong, very happy!"


     WASHINGTON, D.C.   --  Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet it said had breached its airspace on Tuesday while advancing Syrian government forces retaking territory from rebels reached the Golan Heights frontier for the first time in seven years. The Israeli military said it monitored the advance of the Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet and shot it down with a pair of Patriot missiles after it penetrated Israeli airspace by about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles). Syria’s military, however, said one of its jets was targeted by Israel over Syrian territory as it flew sorties against Islamic State Syrian forces have been battling rebels and IS militants at the frontier with Israel for weeks in a campaign to restore President Bashar Assad’s rule over southwestern Syria.

     On Tuesday, government forces reached the border fence where a U.N. peacekeeping force is deployed at the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. It was the first time Syrian government had managed to retake the area since 2011, when an uprising swept through Syria against Assad. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967. The U.N. deployed peacekeepers between the two sides in 1974. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the breach of Israeli territory a “gross violation” of a 1974 agreement that established the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria. “I have reiterated and made clear that we will not accept any such violation. We will not accept any such penetration of or spillover into our territory, neither on the ground nor from the air,” he said in a statement.

      Israel’s military has been on “elevated alert” along the frontier because of activity on the Syrian side of the fence, said military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. Israel has warned Syria through various channels not to violate the 1974 agreement, he added. Minutes before the reported downing of the jet, Syria’s state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV was broadcasting footage from the fence demarcating the U.N. buffer zone between Syrian and Israeli forces in the Golan Heights. A U.N. observer post could be seen just on the other side of the fence. Israel’s military said the Syrian jet took off from the T4 air base, which Israel is believed to have attacked earlier this year in its bid to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence in Syria. Seven Iranian military personnel were killed in that strike.


     This Tuesday the Catholic Church performs the Act of Consecration as Archbishop in charge of the Archdiocese of Caracas to Cardinal Baltazar Porras in the Church of La Chiquinquirá of Caracas, after the announcement made by Pope Francisco a few weeks ago and the resignation of Jorge Urosa Savino . During the act of consecration, Cardinal Porras expressed that he was initiating "this new stage of my episcopal ministry with the necessary discernment guided by the Force of the Holy Spirit (...) The task that lies before us is everyone's, above the humanized hearts against the despair. " "I make myself available to all, willing to be missionary disciples especially of the poorest and most excluded (...) that in the image of the Nazarene of San Pablo the miracle of the Lord's almoner is renewed," he said.

     In his first statement to those who live in the Archdiocese of Caracas, Porras expressed his gratitude for the appointment of Pope Francis. "I come with the task of sharing the episcopal work of Caracas and Mérida, with the mission of recovering and increasing 'the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when we have to sow in tears.'" "I entrust to Monsignor Rafael Arias Blanco, who conferred on me the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, received me at the Interdiocesan Seminary, and imposed my cassock on me. I also entrust to the Archbishops and Cardinals José Humberto Quintero Parra and José Alí Lebrún Moratinos, teachers in the ministerial exercise, an example of virtue who transmitted to me their rich experience of complete Christians.

     With Cardinal Ignacio Velasco we share episcopal experiences. And here I have classmates and students in the clergy. I succeed Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, a companion and a brother since the Seminary. Together we study philosophy and share responsibilities as superiors in the Caracas Seminars, and for more than three decades we have taken the episcopal responsibilities together. May the Lord and the Virgin continue to bless him with abundance ", Porras was born on October 10, 1944 in Caracas, capital of Venezuela and is the oldest of eight brothers and will succeed Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino.

JULY 24, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C. - -  --  U.S. President Donald Trump sharply warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to "never threaten the United States," or the Islamic Republic would suffer historical consequences. He appeared to be responding to reports earlier in the day quoting Rouhani warning Trump, "Don't play with the lion's tail. This would only lead to regret." "America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars," Rouhani said. Gen. Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, a senior officer in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, dismissed Trump's statement as "psychological warfare" and said Trump would not take action against Iran.

     Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said he had spoken to Trump "over the last several days" and said the president "told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before." Asked if Trump ran the risk of inciting a war with his tweet, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said,"Look, the president is responding to Iran, and he's not going to allow them to continue to make threats against America. If anybody is inciting anything, look no further than to Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told an audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California that the government in Iran has become a nightmare for the Iranian people.

     The top U.S. diplomat said the United States is not afraid to pressure the Iranian government at its highest level, as he urged all U.S. allies to join in financially to suppress the government. "This especially goes for our allies in the Middle East and Europe, people who have themselves been terrorized by the violent regime's activity for decades," Pompeo said. He said the Trump administration will not stay silent against what he calls the numerous crimes and abuses of the Iranian government. This includes kleptocracy, with Pompeo saying those at the top have squandered the people's wealth on terrorism and theft and a zeal to spread the Islamic revolution to other nations.


     WASHINGTON, D.C.   --  Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday blasted the Nicaraguan government for its lethal crackdown on protests, cautioning that “the possibility of a civil war in Nicaragua is real.” The Florida Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that an escalation of the country’s months-long crisis “would trigger a migratory crisis. It would undermine our anti-drug efforts in the region. There is a direct national security interest for the United States in seeing democracy and stability in Nicaragua.” Tens of thousands of protesters have convulsed the Central American nation since April. Led by students, protests have railed against social security overhauls and President Daniel Ortega’s increasingly authoritarian rule. Nearly 300 people have died.

     The U.N. warned last week of human rights violations by the paramilitary forces Ortega has used against protesters. onetime leftist Sandinista revolutionary led Nicaragua in the 1980s after the toppling of the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship. Since returning to power in 2007, Ortega has consolidated power, done away with term limits and elevated his widely reviled wife, Rosario Murillo, to the vice presidency as a possible successor. Rubio said the U.S. is working on standing up sanctions against Nicaraguan entities and individuals as punishment for the unrest.

     He also blasted Ortega as “a dying man” and Murillo as “a lunatic,” saying that “there’s no future for them in power.” And he castigated Nicaragua’s leaders for not staving off the protests with democratic concessions. “All of this could have been avoided weeks ago,” he said Sunday. “The message to the Nicaraguan regime under Ortega was very clear, and that is: You call early elections, you allow legitimate elections, and this thing can move forward and everyone’s going to be fine. But if you soak your hands in blood, all of that’s off the table. They decided to soak their hands in blood. … “That opportunity’s now gone for Ortega.”


      WASHINGTON, D.C.    --
     A GREAT majority of Organization of American States (OAS) member-states voted on Wednesday in favor of a resolution urging Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to accept early elections as a way out of a political crisis blamed for more than 350 deaths in the last three months. The resolution, proposed by the United States and seven other countries, was approved by 21 of the 34 members in a special session of the Permanent Council at the Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters in Washington. Nicaragua’s Catholic bishops conference, acting as mediators in a National Dialogue between the government and its opponents, asked Ortega to advance the date of the next presidential election, now set for March 2019.

•      Ortega, however, has dismissed the idea. Venezuela and St. Vincent and the Grenadines joined Nicaragua in voting against the US-sponsored resolution, while seven other members abstained and Managua ally Bolivia was absent from the session. The document urges the Nicaraguan government and all other actors “to participate actively and in good faith in the National Dialogue as a mechanism to generate peaceful and sustainable solutions to the situation unfolding in Nicaragua, and for the strengthening of democracy in that country.” Without placing blame, the resolution specifically condemns “the attacks on clergy, the harassment of Roman Catholic bishops engaged in the National Dialogue process, the acts of violence at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN), the headquarters of CARITAS, and other peaceful protesters.”

     The text was approved after the Permanent Council rejected by a vote of 20-3 a Nicaraguan draft denouncing “coup-mongering opposition groups” and calling on the OAS to urge other governments “to respect the self-determination of the State of Nicaragua so that peace and security can be restored without any type of interference.”
• In a speech prior to the votes, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada accused the US of stoking unrest in his country and recalled Washington’s role in organizing, arming, and financing the Contras who battled the Sandinista government in the 1980s. The US ambassador to the OAS, Carlos Trujillo, tweeted during the session that the Ortega government was committing “genocide against its own people.”

JULY 23, 2018


     TEHRAN, IRAN - -  --  TIran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned the United States Sunday not to “play with the lion’s tail,” saying that conflict with Iran would be the “mother of all wars.” “You declare war and then you speak of wanting to support the Iranian people,” Rouhani said in a televised speech at a gathering of Iranian diplomats in Tehran. Rouhani suggested peace was still possible but said the opposite was also true. “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

     Rouhani also appeared to refer to recent reports that the Trump administration is using speeches and online activities to try to create a swell of internal dissatisfaction with the regime. “You cannot provoke the Iranian people against their own security and interests,” he said. Rouhani spoke ahead of a much-trailed speech by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later Sunday, seen as part of Washington’s efforts to foment unrest against the Islamic government in Iran. Rouhani repeated his warning that Iran could shut down the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane for international oil supplies. “We have always guaranteed the security of this strait. Do not play with the lion’s tail, you will regret it forever,” he said.

     The US is seeking to tighten the economic screws on Iran, abandoning a landmark 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing stringent sanctions. Washington has also launched concerted propaganda efforts in Iran, including social media campaigns, designed to exacerbate popular discontent. “Whenever Europe has sought an agreement with us, the White House has sown discord,” Rouhani said. But he added: “We must not think that the White House will remain forever at this level of opposition to international law, against the Muslim world.” Meanwhile on Saturday Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the nation should not count on Europe’s proposals package to fix the nuclear deal following Washington’s exit.


     MEXICO CITY, MEXICO   --  The president-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, revealed on Sunday the contents of a letter he sent to US President Donald Trump with proposals to solve migration, security and trade problems that have severely strained relations between these neighboring countries. Obrador, who won the presidential election on July 1 with 53% of the vote and will take the reins of the country in December, said the letter was sent to the head of the White House through the delegation of senior US officials who visited Mexico City on July 13.

     López Obrador decided to publish the letter "so that all Mexicans know our position in the new relationship we want" with the United States. In a press conference outside his office, López Obrador advocated an atmosphere of "respect, friendship and focused on cooperation for development." This happened at a time when relations with the United States fell into its worst crisis in decades with the arrival of Trump to the presidency, after a campaign full of insults against Mexicans and promises to build a new border fence paid by his neighbor. To this is added the tense renegotiation - at the request of Trump - of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in force between both countries and Canada since 1994. Mexico and the United States share a border of more than 3,000 km, which serves of bridge daily for thousands of workers and merchandise but also for the traffic of drugs, weapons and undocumented persons.

    The objective is to "reach agreements" to solve the big binational problems, such as "border trade, migration, development and security," López Obrador said in his letter, in which he exhorts the US tycoon to make an "effort". to conclude the renegotiation "of the NAFTA to avoid" prolonging the economic "uncertainty. "The most essential purpose of my government is that Mexicans do not have to migrate because of poverty or violence, (...) to get people to find work and welfare in their places of origin" through economic development plans in the cities of the southern and northern borders of Mexico, López Obrador wrote. "Everything is ready to start a new stage in the relationship," concluded the letter, read to journalists who will be the next chancellor, Marcelo Ebrard.


    The economic chaos generated by the Government of Nicolás Maduro has established in Venezuela a habit of urgency: the street negotiations to buy cash and be able to make payments where digital modalities are not accepted. These operations, without any type of regulation, almost always run at a price of up to three or four times greater than their nominal value due to scarcity. In a country where price growth presents a systemic lack of control, certain transactions persist - the payment to day laborers on farms, transportation services, the gasoline service or the amount in some parking lots - that often do not accept card payments. .

    The purchase of money is a management that requires planning and contacts. Some people, particularly some entrepreneurs, are obliged to make large purchases of tickets for certain commercial activities, especially in rural areas where there are permanent problems of services such as electricity. Others, trying to fish for their own profit in the midst of chaos, aware that this is a permanent demand, are organized to offer the market those bills that are usually not obtained, or that banks and ATMs dispense in increasingly lean remittances.

     The money is offered in a detailed manner, through contacts, but often in the middle of the street: in Caracas, among other places, in the boulevard of Catia, a populous worker zone in the west of the city, or in high-turnover municipal markets. , like those of Coche and Quinta Crespo. This week, for example, pensioners swelled thousands of lines to collect their state allowances, and a protest took place that spread to the city center when bank employees informed them that there was not enough money. Meanwhile, very close, in the Plaza de La Candelaria, some informal vendors offered tickets at three times their nominal value.

JULY 22, 2018


     BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA  - -  --  The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, Steven Mnuchin, is in Buenos Aires to attend the third meeting of the G20 ministers that takes place this July 21 and 22. In a closed meeting with some journalists including Infobae, he confirmed that his government "closely monitors the Venezuelan crisis and is in constant dialogue with its allies." Poverty is completely unacceptable.

    The US official also supported the measures of his government against Nicolás Maduro: "We have selective sanctions to encourage good behavior, they are direct to politicians and not to the people. Another issue is immigration for the region, which must also be taken into account. " Since last year, Washington has been issuing a series of sanctions against senior officials of the Venezuelan regime presided over by Nicolás Maduro. Among the penalized is the entire Chavista dome: Nicolás Maduro himself; the number two of the PSUV, Diosdado Cabello and the vice presidents Delcy Rodríguez and Tareck El Aissami. They are all investigated for links with drug trafficking, terrorism and acts of corruption.

    On the brutal repression in Nicaragua, Mnuchin did not rule out new sanctions: "As a policy, we do not talk about future sanctions, but obviously we follow the issue." At the beginning of July, the US Treasury also announced individual sanctions for three Nicaraguan officials, from the inner circle of President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo: Francisco Díaz, the director of the Police and consuegro of Ortega; The main executor of the brutal repression that has already served three months and murdered more than 300 people. To Fidel Moreno, a municipal official designated as the main link with the mobs, the shock forces of the regime. And Francisco López Centeno, main financial operator of the Ortega and Treasurer of the Sandinista Party.


     WASHINGTON, D.C.  .    --  The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is working to ensure that Nicaragua does not become " a new Venezuela, " that is, a "closed" country that questions the legitimacy of its democratic institutions, the executive secretary of the IACHR , Paulo Abrão said. Abrão spoke about the similarities and differences between Venezuela , submerged in a serious economic and social crisis, and Nicaragua , where between 277 and 351 people have died, according to humanitarian agencies, and more than 2,000 have been injured in the protests calling for the resignation of the president, Daniel Ortega .

"What is common is the authoritarian response on the part of the authorities, in the sense of not pursuing a conciliation to reach solutions to the crisis," Abrão explained . "What is different," he added, "is the role that the armed forces are playing because, in Nicaragua, the Armed Forces have not yet decided explicitly to support the government." In Venezuela , the Armed Forces remain loyal to the president, Nicolás Maduro ; but, in Nicaragua , the Army has not shown the same support for Ortega and, in May, it came to distance itself from the Executive by assuring that it was not going to repress the demonstrators.

     Political organizations such as the opposition Broad Front for Democracy (FAD) this month asked the head of the Army, Julio César Avilés , to disarm the paramilitary groups that support Ortega and that, according to the IACHR, act with the consent of the National Police. According to Abrão , the IACHR "is increasingly identifying that Nicaragua is moving towards what has happened in Venezuela, that is, a closed country, with a self-questioning of its democratic institutions." What is being tried today is that Nicaragua does not become a new Venezuela," he added. Violence has worsened in recent days with attacks on cities controlled by the opposition, such as Masaya , which has caused the condemnation of the international community.


  According to Andrés Eloy Camejo, deputy to the National Assembly (AN) and vice president of the Finance Committee, the small fires that are lighted every day with more intensity, materialized in protests and spontaneous demonstrations, will not cease until there is a change in economic policy of Nicolás Maduro, or when this government passes to a better life for corrupt and unsuccessful and immoral.

    Protests and demonstrations throughout the country, demanding water, electricity, domestic gas, public transport, cash, food and medicine, among others, are on the rise and are increasingly emerging, because the people are tired of so many "chacharas", lies and the genocide policy carried out by Maduro and his combo, he said. In this order of ideas the parliamentarian noted that the government says nothing is happening, and that thanks to its economic measures everything is going from strength to strength.

     - Whenever the social fire begins in Venezuela, it will not be extinguished because in the face of absolute silence on the part of Maduro facing the needs of the people, there is no other way out than to go out to the streets to demand justice, and the restoration of public services and our rights today trampled by the revolution, he said. Finally, the leader of Acción Democrática, pointed out that hyperinflation hits all Venezuelans without distinction, while warning that more and more people are dying of malnutrition and hunger in our country, before the complacent and cynical view of the national government.

JULY 21, 2018


      MANAGUA, NICARAGUA  - -  --   The Chancellor of the Republic, Jorge Arreaza, offered to "defend the sovereignty" of Nicaragua, during the celebration of the 39th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979. "Know, President Daniel Ortega, that if the Bolivarian people , the revolutionaries of Venezuela, we had to come to Nicaragua, to defend Nicaraguan sovereignty and independence, to offer our blood for Nicaragua, we would go like Sandino, to the mountain of the Nueva Segovia, "Arreaza told the Central American leader. the Sandinista audience.

    Arreaza made the offer at a delicate moment for Nicaragua, a country that is going through a complex sociopolitical situation, which has left more than 351 dead in demonstrations against the Ortega government. His words added to the conjectures about the alleged presence of Venezuelan and Cuban military officers who, according to denunciations from Nicaraguan demonstrators, accompany the "combined forces" used by the government when it attacks against different cities, where it considers that there are demonstrations against his regime.

     Ortega, who affirmed that this situation has an attempted coup d'état in the background, was pleased with the offer, and thanked "the message that the Chancellor of the sister Republic of Venezuela has brought." "A very young chancellor, who has spoken to us with his heart, when he speaks of the willingness of Venezuelans to accompany our battles," he said. The foreign ministers of Venezuela and Cuba were the only high-level State representatives who accompanied Daniel Ortega in the most important celebration of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA .    --  The president of the Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela, Maikel Moreno, arrived in the morning hours of this Friday, July 20, at the Maiquetía International Airport after meeting with the president of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Chile Eboue-Osuji. We are coming to the homeland. It was an interesting meeting at the International Criminal Court, we hope to return to Europe soon, "said Moreno.

     He emphasized that the Supreme Court of Justice will take into account the "recommendations" made by Eboue-Osuji, which will soon be "reviewed". On Tuesday, July 17, the president of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) ratified before the International Criminal Court (ICC), in The Hague, the country's vocation for peace and its commitment to safeguard it through the application of justice and the law, in accordance with the Constitution.

     During his participation in the events for the 20th anniversary of the approval of the Rome Statute of the ICC in The Hague, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Moreno reiterated that Venezuela "is a peace-loving State and its Judiciary is committed to safeguarding it. through the impartial application of the law, the constitutional control of the matters submitted to its competence, as well as the due march of the State. "


The opposition Frente Amplio Venezuela Libre will organize a consultation process so that all the unions that have been protesting for 26 days in the oil country define a common strategy to fight against the possibility of a strike or a general strike already over the table. The president of the Association of Teachers of the Central University of Venezuela (APUCV), Víctor Márquez, said at a press conference that the consultation begins today and will extend a week to seek a "joint protest against the proliferation of isolated protests."

     "The Frente Amplio decided to evaluate the possibility of carrying out a strike or a national strike (...) that will have to be decided by the organized social sectors in different ways, "he said. The professor also said that the Front - which groups the parties that oppose the Government of Nicolás Maduro, as well as trade union, religious and workers organizations - will coordinate "the political response" of anti-Chavezism to the lpresent labor conflict. "This is a government that has placed all workers, all Venezuelans, in a condition of misery," he said. He also stated that this process will allow to know "if it is viable and relevant" to call a simple strike or a general strike, "accepting de facto stoppages that actually exist in the economic, workers and social sectors".

     Márquez also indicated that the organizations that oppose Maduro are also discussing the matter and that they hope for the "unification of the struggle" with an aim "not only to present our demands but also with a transcendental political objective (...) to see how we articulate in terms of overthrowing the dictatorship " Evans said that in Venezuela there were about 30 protests a day since the trade union complaints began and that this number has been doubled during the last week. The workers union demonstrations have been added to the protests of citizens across the country who complain about electrical failures, lack of fuel and domestic gas, the deterioration of hospitals, the shortage of food, medicine and money, as well as the impoverishment of the public transport.

JULY 20, 2018


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA - -  --   The action could be described as a provocation on the part of the Chavista regime against the new government of Iván Duque, who will assume the Presidency on August 7. Maduro ordered a military deployment on the border with war planes and weapons. A few days before Iván Duque wiil assume the Presidency of Colombia, the Nicolás Maduro regime initiated military and arms movements in the binational border; an action that could be described as a provocation on the part of the Chavista regime against the new government of the neighboring country.

      Duke has expressed his repudiation of the dictatorship in Venezuela and also announced that he will be willing to demand that the investigations against Maduro be accelerated before the International Criminal Court; He also said that there will be no ambassador in the neighboring country and that Colombia will withdraw from Unasur. Given this position, the dictatorial regime decided to mobilize weapons of war on the border and even plan how to tear down the bridges that connect to both countries. And it is possible to infer that relations between Colombia and Venezuela will be even more tense when Duke Take office on August 7, especially after Maduro affirmed that the United States is preparing alleged "provocations" on the border. "US imperialism is preparing provocations on the border and beyond, to take Colombia and Venezuela to a state of armed confrontation, I have said it several times and I reiterate it," said Maduro without showing proof of his claims.

      Meanwhile, Maduro himself has ordered a military deployment on the border that according to Colombian media began on July 9. Artillery trucks were mobilized by the Zulia state in Venezuela with missiles and anti-aircraft weapons destined for the border area by the Venezuelan state of Táchira. The weapons, which were already identified by the Colombian authorities, correspond to Russian-made weapons that have a range of 90 km. And it is that hours before the deployment of warlike weapons, the Chavista deputy Pedro Carreño presented on national television the manner in which the Maduro regime would attack Colombia. "The scenario of the war will be given there in Colombia, we have weapons in case they want to attack us ... even, we could get to Bogotá or shoot down planes as soon as they fly," he said.


     WASHINGTON, D.C.    --  The government of Venezuela uses humanitarian aid as a weapon for social control and steals funds from a food assistance program at the expense of the suffering of the oil nation's inhabitants, officials from Colombia, the United States, Mexico and Panama denounced on Thursday. Officials from these countries on issues related to finance and asset control made the complaint public through a joint statement, after a meeting in the Caribbean city of Cartagena in which they shared information about corrupt people linked to the government of President Nicolás Maduro and his support networks. "The participants recognized the importance of international coordination to combat the illicit financing networks that support the repressive regime of President Maduro.

      The group noted that the regime uses food and humanitarian aid as a weapon for social control, "the statement said. "In addition, the Ministries of Finance of the four countries condemned the theft of funds from the Venezuelan food aid program (known as CLAP) and shared financial information about corruption networks that are benefiting at the expense of the suffering of the Venezuelan people," he added. The attendees made the decision to incorporate other countries into a joint international investigation to detect corruption networks that benefit Venezuelan government officials with humanitarian assistance resources. "This cooperation is based on the high level commitment of the region to support the Venezuelan people and hold those responsible for the political, social, and economic crisis in Venezuela," the document concluded.

     There was no immediate reaction from the Caracas government that has already received economic sanctions from Canada, the United States and other countries for violations of human rights, corruption and drug trafficking. Venezuela faces a serious political, economic and social crisis with shortages of food, medicine and hyperinflation that has caused the departure of thousands of citizens to Colombia and other countries in search of better living conditions. The governments of Bogotá and Washington said in April that they suspected authorities of the Armed Forces and Venezuelan officials charged with distributing food for the theft or misappropriation of funds, often with the help of businessmen and individuals living outside the oil nation. .


      WASHINGTON, D.C.     --
The Full Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice in exile, declared "with place" the appeal for revocation presented by the Attorney General of the Republic, Luisa Ortega Díaz, regarding the holding of the preliminary hearing in the trial against Nicolás Maduro Moros for the alleged crimes of Corruption and Money Laundering.

     The TSJ also agreed, according to the file: SP-2018-001 dated July 16, "to issue within three (3) days following the date of this ruling, the Order of Call for the Oral and Public Hearing of the Opening of the Trial against Nicolás Maduro Moros for the alleged commission of the crimes of Own Corruption and Money Laundering, complying with all the corresponding procedural formalities and guarantees. "

    In the face of the legislative vacuum that exists in regard to the procedure to follow for the prosecution of the President of the Republic, it is up to this Supreme Court to abide by what is indicated in the final part of Article 98 of the Organic Law of the Supreme Court of Justice. adapting the ordinary criminal process to the special nature of this trial, all respecting the principles, rights and constitutional guarantees of due process, in order to guarantee respect for the legal and collective interests protected, on the one hand, as well as the guarantees of the accused, all with the sole purpose of fulfilling the mission of this jurisdictional body: the realization of justice. Because of the foregoing, it is declared

JULY 19, 2018


      BOGOTA, COLOMBIA   - -  --   Former United States vice president Joe Biden said on Tuesday during the 2018 Concordia Americas Summit in Bogota that Colombia should continue with the peace process so the country can progress. Biden, vice president with Barack Obama’s administration, addressed peace and the future of Colombia in his keynote address on the second and last day of the summit, in which Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and President-elect Ivan Duque also participated. Biden urged Duque, who is set to assume the presidency on Aug. 7, not to give up on the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and praised the country’s determination to achieve progress.

    He stressed that the entire American continent will benefit if Colombia prospers economically as the South American nation is considered a cornerstone for the welfare of America. Duque said Colombia made a big mistake in 2014 when peace became a topic of the presidential campaign, because during that time those who opposed the negotiations with the FARC were labeled as “enemies of peace.”
“That was a mistake because in Colombia we are all friends of peace. The only ones who rejected peace are those who were in the violence for many years, those who tried to convince us of their point of view with violence, assassinations, kidnappings and terrorist attacks,” Duque said.

    Biden also addressed the problem arising from a mass exodus of Venezuelans to Colombia, an issue that he said Colombia should not handle alone. He said that the international response is too small to alleviate the crisis in Venezuela, adding that it is not just a problem of Colombia, so Colombia should not have to carry the burden alone. More than a million Venezuelans have immigrated to Colombia in the last 15 months, 819,000 of which are planning to settle in the country, according to official sources. Biden added that the international community must impose sanctions on certain sectors that allowed the abuses in Venezuela to happen and support international humanitarian organizations that are working to mitigate the crisis in Venezuela.


     MANAGUA, NICARAGUA   --  Priests in Nicaragua have risked their lives to save hundreds of young people who have been on the verge of being killed by Ortega's paramilitaries. After a week ago the whole world was moved by the images of the Nicaraguan bishops traveling by caravan to Diriamba before confronting armed paramilitaries and with all the courage to endure insults and aggressions in order to liberate the people who were being held In the Basilica of San Sebastian, something similar happened again this weekend. Last Friday, after the paramilitary and National Police attack on the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, more than 200 students took refuge in the church of Divina Misericordia, which is close to the university campus. These young people and several paramedics and journalists who were trapped in the church lived almost 20 hours of horror. The paramilitaries fired from outside with ak-47 rifles.

     At dawn on Saturday the paramilitaries even tried to burn down the church with 200 people inside. After a night of horror, the young people managed to leave on Saturday morning, again, thanks to the management of the Catholic hierarchy, at the head of which was Cardinal Brenes and members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH). Several buses took the young people to the Cathedral of Managua, Red Cross ambulances also arrived with some wounded, in the church their relatives waited for them. This new brutal attack by Ortega left two dead and about 14 wounded, according to Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, who led the mission to get the boys out of the temple.

    The images are shocking, the role of the church has been fundamental in rescuing hundreds of protesters and ridding them of death. This weekend in the social networks circulated photos of religious kneeling in the middle of the street trying to stop the advance of the paramilitaries of Ortega. But now, in addition, the priests suffer personal attacks, and it is not only that they put their lives at risk to save others, now they are a hindrance to Ortega and have become a military objective. Last Sunday, the vehicle in which the Nicaraguan Bishop Abelardo Mata was traveling was shot by a group of para-policemen who were waiting for him on the road that leads from Managua to Masaya. The bishop, fortunately, was unharmed,


      WASHINGTON, D.C.    --
The Organization of American States adopted a resolution Wednesday condemning human rights abuses committed by Nicaraguan police and armed pro-government civilians since protests against President Daniel Ortega began in mid-April. The resolution, which was adopted 21-3 with seven abstentions, also criticized the harassment of Roman Catholic bishops. Catholic officials who have been mediating stalled talks on finding a peaceful solution to the standoff and have criticized Ortega's government over killings have suffered at least three recent attacks.

     The OAS resolution by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and the U.S. called on Ortega to support an electoral calendar agreed upon during the dialogue process. Ortega has rejected demands for early elections and calls those seeking his exit "coup mongers." In the past week, Ortega's government and supporters have moved aggressively against the remaining resistance, including dislodging students from the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua and pushing into a rebel neighborhood in the city of Masaya.

     On Wednesday, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada blasted the OAS for adopting the resolution, calling it "illegal, illegitimate and unfair." "We have working institutions, a rule of law, a Constitution," he said minutes before the vote. "That's why it is not right that this permanent council becomes a sort of court that no one has authorized nor given power to pass judgment on Nicaragua." Moncada said the government is subject "to attacks from terrorist groups to overthrow a legitimate government." Managua's auxiliary Roman Catholic bishop, Silvio Jose Baez, cheered the resolution via Twitter. "Thanks brother countries of the American continent that have joined in solidarity with the pain and fight of the Nicaraguan people!" he wrote.

JULY 18, 2018


      SANTIAGO, CHILE  - -  --  The countries of the Lima Group "express their deep concern about recent information on mobilization of arms and combat aircraft by Venezuela to the border with Colombia, actions that contradict the spirit of the Proclamation on Latin America as a Zone of Peace approved in 2014 by CELAC, "the Grouip said in a statement issued today in Santiago by the Chilean Foreign Ministry.

     The note, signed by the Governments of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, members of the Lima Group, also raised attention to the "serious human rights violations" in Venezuela .Violations "denounced in the reports and communications of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and recorded in the recent Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights," they stated.

     They specified that such acts "include extrajudicial executions, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, torture and ill-treatment, and the lack of access to justice, as well as the erosion of institutional checks and balances and democracy in that country." In the note, the countries condemned the rupture of the constitutional order and the rule of law in Venezuela, "reflected in the loss of democratic institutions and the lack of guarantees and political freedoms for all citizens."


     MAHAGUA, NICARAGUA   --  The president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), Vilma Núñez, accused Daniel Ortega of provoking "a genocide" in the city of Masaya, which today was attacked by combined forces of police and paramilitaries. "We are in a very serious situation, Ortega is causing a genocide in Nicaragua," said Núñez in an interview with channel 15 of television (private), in which she cried out for the support of the international community to "civic resistance" of the population of the place, reviewed DPA.

    Daniel Ortega is waging a criminal war against a completely disarmed people, and the paramilitary forces act as an invading army determined to exterminate the people," she said. The attack, considered the most ferocious against Masaya, located 25 kilometers from Managua, began in the early hours of Tuesday when government forces surrounded the city and fired on the indigenous neighborhood of Monimbó, the main focus of resistance in the area. Channel 15 transmitted images of protesters responding with stones and homemade bombs armed offensive, barricaded behind cobblestone barricades.

     Alvaro Leiva, president of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (Anpdh, nongovernmental), said on his part to television channel 12 that in the action they employed "more than 1,500 men with high-powered weapons of war". Leiva assured that the situation could have a bloody and "apocalyptic" outcome, due to the disproportionate use of armed force by government troops. According to witnesses, church bells rang early to alert the population, after several snipers took positions in some public buildings. "We are being attacked by several points here in Monimbó," said the student movement leader in Masaya, Cristian Fajardo, who through social networks asked the population of the country "to raise barricades and open ditches" to continue the protest.


The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asks the State to guarantee life during the offensive carried out by the so-called "combined forces", made up of police, riot police, paramilitaries and paramilitaries to remove road blocks and barricades. The so-called "Operation Cleanup" executed by the Government of Nicaragua to remove obstacles in streets and highways, installed by opponents, today left ten new victims, while the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) asked the State to guarantee the life of the population.

       Five cities of the Nicaraguan Pacific were scenes of what the detractors to the Government have baptized as "Operation Cleaning", which consists of an offensive executed by the so-called "combined forces", integrated by police, riot police, paramilitaries and paramilitaries, along with workers of the State, to remove blockages of roads and barricades. In the Camilo Ortega neighborhood, in the city of Masaya, the clashes left six victims, four of them riot police, the executive secretary of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH), Álvaro Leiva, told Efe.

    The National Police has not yet confirmed the death of four of its agents. In Diriá, a municipality in the department of Granada, the so-called "combined forces" forcibly removed Almer Morales and Allan Morales (father and son) from their homes and executed them, the activist continued. Meanwhile, two other people died in the municipality of Catarina (Masaya), including a 10-year-old girl who was shot and died later for lack of medical attention, he added. Leiva said that in addition they register "multiple" wounded, without specifying, and eleven paramilitaries that are retained by the civilian population. Also, the activist reported that the police and the parapolicías took by force the departmental hospital center Masaya and denied the attention to the victims.

JULY 17, 2018


      MOSCOW RUSSIA - -  --  PRESIDENT Donald Trump described the European Union one of his greatest “foes” in another extraordinary diplomatic intervention on Sunday, just hours before sitting down to a high-stakes summit with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Asked in a TV interview to name his “biggest foe globally right now”, the US president started by naming the European Union, calling the body “very difficult” before ticking off other traditional rivals like Russia and China. Hours earlier, the British prime minister, Theresa May, revealed that Trump suggested she “sue the EU” rather than go into negotiations over Brexit.

     “Well, I think we have a lot of foes,” Trump told CBS News at his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland. “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union but they’re a foe.”Apparently taken aback, anchor Jeff Glor replied: “A lot of people might be surprised to hear you list the EU as a foe before China and Russia.” But Trump insisted: “EU is very difficult. I respect the leaders of those countries. But – in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us.” Trump’s controversial tour through Europe has turned postwar western relations inside out, the president sparring with Nato leaders in Brussels and blasting May’s Brexit strategy in the Sun newspaper. His remarks have reflected one of this president’s core beliefs: that America is exploited by its allies.

     Tusk, president of the European council, tweeted: “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.” Trump departed Scotland for Helsinki, where allies are concerned about how much common ground he will find with Putin when they meet at the Finnish presidential palace. From Air Force One, as media scrutiny intensified, the president unleashed a bizarre volley of tweets: “Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia … over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough – that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!”


     MEXICO CITY, MEXICO   -- Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador greeted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday with a proposal for a new path forward in bilateral relations. The meeting, which represented the first face to face conversation between US officials and the winner of Mexico’s July 1 presidential election, was “frank, respectful and cordial,” Mexico’s Foreign Secretary-designate Marcelo Ebrard told a press conference. “I think this was a first successful conversation. We are reasonably optimistic that Mexico will find understanding and a good relationship with the US in the next few years,” he said following the encounter at Lopez Obrador’s transition office in Mexico City.

     Pompeo was accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser. Ebrard said that the proposal delivered to the US delegation addressed the “four main dimensions of the US-Mexico relationship.” The first is trade and the ongoing talks between Canada, Mexico, and the United States on revising the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

     The second point is migration, particularly Lopez Obrador’s plan to carry out development initiatives in marginalized areas, “so that nobody in Mexico will have to migrate because of poverty and insecurity.” Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador would also be included in the development plan. Another important point is security cooperation with the US, an issue on which Ebrard said that a constructive dialogue could be established although Mexico would carry out important changes. Ebrard said that Trump’s planned border wall was not a topic brought up in the conservation with the US delegation, and that Lopez Obrador’s transition team would provide more information on the proposal once the US president had received it..


      LA PAZ, BOLIVIA   --
 A South American bloc created a decade ago to counter US influence in the region has temporarily lost half its members after six countries suspended their memberships amid differences over who should lead the group. Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni said Friday that Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru had decided to temporarily leave the Union of South American

     “We have received a note from the six countries saying they will not participate in UNASUR meetings for a period of one year” until the leadership issue is resolved, Huanacuni said by telephone from Ecuador to state television Boliviatv. Paraguay’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the impossibility of electing a general secretary for UNASUR affects the bloc and that the six countries that will remain outside it until they see “concrete results that guarantee its operation.” Huanacuni announced a meeting in May to discuss the matter. UNASUR was promoted by late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela remain in the bloc.

     In diplomatic circles in Washington, we comment on the efforts made by a group of countries to achieve the necessary votes and adopt a resolution on Nicaragua that requires the holding of advanced presidential elections. As has already happened in the Venezuelan case, some Caribbean and Central American countries are trying to prevent the approval of an unfavorable resolution for the Ortega government. Already on 11JUL18, the Permanent Council, in an ordinary session, had included in its agenda the "updated situation of human rights in Nicaragua to hear an updated report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights" before the repressive wave that has led to more of three hundred the number of demonstrators killed by police and paramilitary forces of the government of Daniel Ortega.

JULY 16, 2018


      WASHINGTON, D.C.-- -  --  The authorities denied today that the government of President Donald Trump reached the point last year to plan a military invasion of Venezuela but acknowledged that the option remains on the table as one of many possible tools to "help the Venezuelan people" to "recover democracy". "An invasion was not planned," a spokesman for the National Security Council of the White House (NSC), the body responsible for centralizing Washington's foreign, military and intelligence policy, told Efe. The source stressed, however, that the country will continue to consider "all the options available to it," including the military, "to help the people of Venezuela recover democracy, stability and prosperity."

     The spokesman, who requested anonymity, reacted to press reports released Wednesday, according to which Trump suggested in August last year some of its top advisers the possibility of invading Venezuela. The source confirmed that Trump asked for the military way but said he wanted to "ask for options" to his team to have a range between which to choose before the "humanitarian disaster that was taking place in Venezuela". "He asked about the military option, about humanitarian aid, about sanctions, about international cooperation against the regime of (Venezuelan President, Nicolás) Maduro, it was one (option) within a series of different things," he said. The official did not clarify if there were serious talks about the possibility of an invasion.

     Although many details of this conversation have not been revealed, it is known that it took place months ago since Trump presented this option during a meeting with the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and the National Security Adviser of the White House, H.R. McMaster, who are no longer part of the Executive. The important thing, he said, is that the country "has not taken military action" for now in Venezuela, although "it will continue to consider all options" because no government would dismiss them in a situation like that faced by the Caribbean country. The spokesman described some information released in mass media on the subject of "sensationalists", because they arrive many "months later" of the episode and "they focus only on one of the options" that the US has considered, without paying attention to their acting in practice.


At least two people died and two were wounded Saturday in an armed attack by a police unit against university students seeking refuge in a Managua church, Nicaraguan Cardinal Leopoldo Jose Brenes announced. “Unfortunately, two young people lost their lives this morning and another two were wounded,” Brenes, who is also the archbishop of Managua, told a press conference. “For us (in the Catholic Church), it is terrible and we have said it on may occasions: Not one death more,” Brenes said with regard to the sociopolitical crisis Nicaragua is going through, the bloodiest since the 1980s and which has taken at lease 351 lives since last April 18.

    One of the dead was identified as Gerald Vasquez, 20, who was studying to be a construction technician at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN). The other has as yet only been identified as Francisco. Both of those students – who had been hiding out since Friday night in the rectory of Divina Misericordia parish in Managua, together with a dozen other students, three journalists, doctors and priests – were shot and killed, the priests said. The other students, who had been hunkered down since Friday night in the parish, managed to get away in cars, SUVs and a bus to the Metropolitan Cathedral, escorted by bishops and the Nicaraguan Red Cross with the mediation of the diocese.

    These students were handed over to their families in the garden behind the cathedral in the presence of Cardinal Brenes and the papal nuncio, Stanislaw Waldemar Sommertag, amid the singing of religious hymns and the Nicaraguan national anthem. The students were greeted by a crowd that chanted protest slogans like “A people united will never be defeated,” while raising their fists as a sign of victory. The young people, who were more than 16 hours hiding in the church, were hugged by their mothers, brothers and sisters and other family members who shed tears of emotion to see them alive.


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA    -- The handwritten signs are repeated box office after box office in the stations of the Caracas Metro. "Closed". The indication does not prevent the use of the transport service, but for a few months no one has paid to use it. The tickets, some yellow cardboard with a brown stripe, were sold out and it has not been possible for the state company to import them again. In addition, the shortage of cash makes it unmanageable to pay a subsidized rate, which has been maintained without increases for years and that inflation has already completely devoured.

    The situation is a sample of the monetary complications of the precarious Venezuelan economy and the management of the regime of Nicolás Maduro, which for months has dragged an unbearable hyperinflation. According to the IMF, prices will increase by 1,800,000% in two years. It is also a sample of how the economic and social crisis in Venezuela has disrupted even the most basic routines of Venezuelans. "The company has not reestablished the sytem to buy the ticket rolls, because it does not have resources for that, nor has it wanted to increase the rate to a more fair amount and that is reflected in the great deterioration that the system has”.

    The Metro works for free because there is no way to charge it and there is no one who can do it. The migration has strongly impacted the state company, which two years ago made the decision to suspend the processing of resignations in its personnel department, to try to stop the massive exodus of skilled workers. A small station requires at least eight workers for box office work, supervision of accesses, platforms and trains, but normally there can be two or three. The absenteeism of the workers is great and before the impossibility to resign many end up deserting, that is to say they leave the country without finalizing their contracts, because what is saved in social benefits is worth nothing, it answers hyperinflation ".

JULY  15,  2018


      WASHINGTON, D.C.-- -  --   THE DEATH TOLL in Nicaragua continues to rise. A bloody assault on protesters Sunday by police and pro-government paramilitary forces left 31 civilians, four police officers and three members of President Daniel Ortega’s black-hooded paramilitary groups dead. This was the highest one-day body count since pro-democracy demonstrations began April 18; it left the cumulative total at more than 300, according to human rights monitors. Monday, masked pro-Ortega thugs armed with clubs and handguns invaded a church where protesters had taken refuge and roughed up the Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio José Báez. There are reliable reports of sniper fire against peaceful civilian protests.

     Such bloodshed, so reminiscent of the political carnage that plagued Central America in the 1970s and 1980s, is repugnant enough on its own. What was especially ominous about this latest spasm, however, is that it came just after Mr. Ortega declared at a rally on Saturday his unequivocal rejection of the leading compromise proposal for resolving Nicaragua’s crisis: holding early national elections, rather than waiting for 2021. And on Monday the Ortega government issued a proclamation declaring its opponents “terrorists” and canceling any further political talks until such time as “the serious problem of terrorism, insecurity and violence . . . has been addressed and resolved in a verifiable manner.”

     In short, the Ortega regime has now opted for all-out repression similar to that practiced against the democracy movement in Venezuela. It is true that protesters in Nicaragua have blocked key roads with heavy brick barricades, a tactic opponents of the erstwhile Somoza dictatorship, including Mr. Ortega’s Sandinista front, employed when that regime forced them into it — just as Mr. Ortega’s regime is forcing its opponents into strikes and civil disobedience today. This is taking a toll on the Nicaraguan economy. Yet the government is responsible for the vast majority of the deaths and injuries. Contrary to regime propaganda, the opposition remains overwhelmingly peaceful and unarmed; the only terrorism in Nicaragua today is the official kind.


      BOGOTA, COLOMBIA   -- President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday urged his American counterpart, Donald Trump, to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop supporting the "regime" of Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro. I ask President Trump to ask Putin to stop supporting the Maduro regime, "To help solve the crisis in Venezuela, I ask President Trump to ask Putin to stop supporting the Maduro regime," he said, said. On May 21, Putin congratulated Iván Duque for his election in the presidential elections and expressed his willingness to continue promoting cooperation between the two countries.

      Putin seems to believe "that the activity of President Maduro at the head of the Venezuelan State will ensure the development of strategic partnership relations that exist between their two countries," according to a statement from the Kremlin. Venezuela has found in Russia a "strategic ally" of its multilateral policy, as well as a supplier of weapons, technology and other resources. Venezuelan relations with Russia lived during the presidency of Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) a relaunch in various areas such as energy, military and cooperation that has maintained Maduro throughout his term.

      Since 2013, Venezuela has been plunged into a deep economic, political and social crisis that has led thousands of nationals to seek refuge in other countries such as Colombia. On June 13, the manager of Frontera with Venezuela, Felipe Muñoz, said that more than one million people have migrated from Venezuela to Colombia in the last 15 months, of which 819,000 are "permanent". Muñoz added that of these 376,572 are regular, while 442,462 were registered in the Administrative Registry of Venezuelan Migrants, made between the past 6 April and 8 June.


     BOGOTA, COLOMBIA   -- The elect president of Colombia, Iván Duque, referred this Saturday to the affirmation of the president of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro who affirmed that is preparing together with the United States a warlike confrontation to open the door to an intervention in Venezuela, which he denied in its entirety . Duque said that Colombia, a country "defender of democracy and the Inter-American Charter of Human Rights," "is not looking for a military confrontation with anyone."

       Duque responded to the only question that was made at a press conference with numerous media outlets in Miami, where he is to express his "gratitude" to the Colombian community for the "enormous support" it gave him in the last presidential elections. After a brief address to journalists to announce that José Manuel Restrepo, current rector of the Colegio Mayor de la Universidad del Rosario, will be the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in his first cabinet, he was questioned about Venezuela by a journalist native of that country.

    However, when he will arrive at the Presidency, on August 7, he will try to get a firm rejection of Maduro's "dictatorship" from the regional diplomatic dialogue and demand the holding of free elections. Before the press conference, Duque, who turns 42 on August 1, met with US Senator Bill Nelson and Florida Senate Anette Tadeo, a Democrat of Colombian origin. SOUTHCOM expressed its desire to continue its successful partnership with the Colombian armed forces and collaboration to increase security and stability in the region.

JULY  14,  2018


      BRUSSELS, BELGIUM -- -  --    U.S. President Donald Trump declared victory Thursday as the NATO summit ended, saying he had won commitments from other countries to increase their defense spending after he had complained that Washington for too long has borne the brunt of financing the West's key military alliance. "They have substantially upped their commitment and now we're very happy and have a very, very powerful, very, very strong NATO,'' Trump told reporters shortly before leaving Brussels for London to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth.

    The U.S. leader gave no specifics on which countries had agreed to increase defense spending, but said several countries had cumulatively boosted defense spending by $33 billion in the last year. "Everyone's agreed to substantially up their commitment," Trump said. "They're going to up it at levels that they've never thought of before." NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said there was "a new sense of urgency" to increase military funding and credited Trump with "having an impact."

     From the start of the two-day summit Wednesday, Trump had demanded that NATO members boost their defense spending.During a breakfast meeting with Stoltenberg, Trump accused Germany of being a "captive" of Russia for allowing Russian energy company Gazprom to construct the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through the Baltic Sea to provide natural gas to Germany. The president's demands in Thursday's closed-door meeting mirrored comments he made hours earlier on Twitter: "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russia," he wrote.


      WASHINGTON, D.C.   --
“For the safety and security of all the peoples of Latin America, it is time for Maduro to go,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said during a speech on Latin America. “I am not sure how we will make that happen but I know that we can’t stop,” she said right after her speech during a conference organized by the Council of the Americas. “We have to continue to isolate Maduro until he gives in.” Haley said the people of the South American country are “unwilling victims of a criminal narco-state” and said the May 20 elections in which Maduro is seeking re-election will be fraudulent if independent observers are absent.

     At the same event Tuesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan announced an additional $18.5 million in bilateral funding to support displaced Venezuelans in Colombia. This new funding is in addition to the more than $21 million in humanitarian assistance the United States has provided since 2017. Haley’s remarks were not limited to Maduro. She characterized the current situation in Venezuela as part of a model that also includes Cuba and Nicaragua and “has proved to be a complete and total failure.”

     The U.S. diplomat made a reference to the recent street demonstrations that took place in Nicaragua and called on President Daniel Ortega to honor his offer to engage in a national dialogue, and to include the business community, students and the Roman Catholic church. “But talking is not enough,” she said. “The real test will be whether the Ortega government will meet the people’s demands for democratic reforms and transparency.” Haley asked for the support of neighboring governments in confronting authoritarianism. “We cannot allow the last few surviving authoritarians to drag down the hemisphere,” she said.


     MANAGUA, NICARAGUA   --The Nicaraguans overcome the fear to shout: "OUT WITH Ortega" – BUT NOTHING HAPPENS
Thousands of Nicaraguans overcame the fear on Thursday to take to the streets in the march "Together we are a volcano" and tell President Daniel Ortega so forcefully that they want him to leave. "Of course I am afraid of going out because I know what they are capable of," explains Efe Henry Martinez, who confesses that he was part of the official Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) and adds that he was able to overcome the fear to join his compatriots in the march this Thursday.

     Obviously, it is hard for them to forget the 351 people who have died in the repression against the demonstrations that began on April 18.
Initially, the protests began against failed social security reforms and became a demand for the resignation of the president, after eleven years in power, with accusations of abuse and corruption against him. "We are already tired , as young people, as adults, as children, that our rights are violated, our right to life, the State is in charge of ensuring constitutionally for our security and is the one that is killing us today. I can not stay with closed eyes, arms crossed without raising my voice against this Government that for 3 months has been taking away our peace, "adds Martinez.

     He, like many others, comes with a scarf with the colors of the Vatican flag and a rosary around his neck, an element that has become a symbol of protest since last Monday a procession of the church was brutally attacked by a "Orteguista" mobprotected by paramilitaries and hooded parapolicies. Among the assaulted were Nicaraguan Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes and apostolic nuncio Stanislaw Waldemar Sommertag , who were trying to secure the release of a small group of paramedics and missionaries who had barricaded themselves in the basilica of San Sebastián, in the town of Diriamba.


                                                                                                                                                                                     JULY  12,  2018


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA --  --    The president of the Medical Association in the state of Monagas, Hugo Febres, reported that the entire medical union joins the indefinite stoppage that the nurses carry out demanding improvements in salaries as well as the provision of supplies that allow them to attend to patients. In this way, all external consultations and those that are not priority are suspended. Only strict emergencies, delivery rooms,

    Intensive Care Unit for adults, children and neonatal, hemodialysis, emergency interventions and chemotherapy will be attended, thus calling the attention of regional and national health sector authorities. Febres stressed that they will be part of the national doctors' conflict committee, led by the Venezuelan Medical Federation, made up of all the presidents of the Medical Association. He said that they will maintain the academic activities in the postgraduate programs, requesting the support of the universities for the resident doctors.

    Another of the measures refers to requesting the national government to consider the salary table proposed by the FMV for the new salaries of the medical union, so that they adjust to the hyperinflationary reality of the country. Since last Tuesday the College of Nursing Professionals declared an indefinite strike after several days of protests. The response of the Ministry was to increase only 10% the salary to the auxiliaries which represents Bs. 328 thousand to be Bs. 3 million 881 thousand monthly, an amount that does not even cover the minimum wage.


The Colombian Foreign Minister, María Ángela Holguín, rejected on Thursday the declarations of the constituent Pedro Carreño, who proposed to attack Colombia if the United States invades Venezuela. "We have always rejected these insinuations from the Venezuelan government, in this case a deputy from the government party," Holguín told reporters during the presentation of a new passport for Colombians. Carreño said this week in a television interview that Venezuela is militarily prepared to face an eventual US invasion of the country and would do so by tearing down Colombian bridges.

     The head of the Foreign Affairs portfolio reiterated that Colombia has always been in favor of a negotiated solution for Venezuela to overcome its internal problems. "We have always reiterated that the solution of the Venezuelan crisis must be achieved through negotiation, Holguín emphasized. Likewise, she assured that Colombia does not believe in "military solutions" and that the country has never partici[ated "nor will we ever lend ourselves to any type of intervention". On several occasions the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, has stated that he does not agree with a military intervention in Venezuela.

     In a recent interview with Efe, Foreign Minister Holguin considered that the refusal of the Venezuelan government to admit the crisis in the country makes it very difficult to find solutions and also the relationship with neighbors willing to help their people. After stating that in Venezuela "economically they are in a very bad shape, politically they are very bad", she regretted that the Venezuelan Government blamed its situation on Colombia, and "that makes a very difficult relationship." Holguín believes that while this perception continues, it will be very difficult to find a solution to the Venezuelan crisis in which Colombia, together with Ecuador and Brazil, have promoted dialogue for almost a year without any success.


      BRASILIA, BRAZIL   --The Attorney General of Brazil, Raquel Dodge, asked the Superior Court of Justice (TSJ) to open an investigation against Judge Rogério Favretopor allegedly committed the crime of prevarication by granting a favorable "habeas corpus" the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva . Judge Favreto, on guard the weekend at that time in the Regional Court of the Fourth Region (TRF-4), accepted a "habeas corpus" presented in favor of Lula by a group of deputies and ordered his "immediate" release.

     Favreto's decision was overturned hours later by magistrate João Gebran Neto, instructor of the Lava Jato case in the TRF-4, a court that sentenced Lula on second instance in a collegiate manner to 12 years and 1 month in prison for corruption, accused of receive an apartment as a bribe in the corruption network at Petrobras oil company.

     However, Favreto insisted and dictated a second order ordering the release again and instructed the Federal Police to immediately comply with it on Sunday, although the authorities did not act due to the conflict between the decisions of the two judges. The matter was finally settled by the president of the TRF-4 tribunal, Carlos Thompson Flores, who determined that Gebran Neto's decision was in the face of the conflict of competences. In the understanding of the prosecutor, the judge committed a disciplinary offense by granting "habeas corpus" favorable to the former president during the judicial shift of last weekend. For Dodge, there was an act "meticulously orchestrated" to free former President Lula.

JULY  12,  2018


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA --  --     Venezuela on Wednesday showed its support for the Government of Nicaragua, presided by Daniel Ortega, and rejected "categorically" the report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the situation of the Central American country due to the socio-political crisis. "We categorically reject the report, it is a biased report and devoid of objectivity, which aims to validate criminal actions," said the secretary of the Venezuelan mission, Sara Lambertini, during her address to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS).

     Lambertini referred to the analysis presented today by the executive secretary of the IACHR, Paulo Abrao, in which he confirmed that, since the beginning of the protests in April to date, 264 people have lost their lives and more than 1,800 have resulted wounds In addition, in that investigation, Abrao denounced that the people detained by the Nicaraguan authorities as a result of the protests have been victims of "violence, mistreatment and even torture before being transferred to the headquarters of the National Police".

     However, the representative of Venezuela said that Nicaragua is suffering "a terrorist wave", whose sole objective is to materialize a "coup d'état" against a government, Ortega's, "legitimate, democratic and constitutional." "In Nicaragua, violent minorities highly organized and financed from abroad and mobilized by an ideology of hatred have acted in a cruel and barbaric way, kidnapping hundreds of innocents and setting fire to many properties," Lambertini said. According to his exposition, these "atrocities" have been ignored "by a group of countries that deny the ability of the Nicaraguan authorities to defend themselves."


OPEC has just published the Monthly Bulletin of the Oil Market corresponding to July 2018, in which it shows the steady fall in the production of the state oil company PDVSA, standing at 1,340 million barrels per day (bpd) last June, according to its independent or secondary sources. A reduction of 47.5 thousand bpd compared to May, equivalent to 3.42%. In the first semester, Venezuela lost 334 thousand bpd, an accumulated fall equivalent to 20%. According to the direct communication with the Ministry of Petroleum, Venezuela's production fell 2 thousand bpd, standing at 1,531 million bpd -a volume that is not guaranteed by any of the oil agencies such as Platts, International Energy Agency, Reuters, Tanker Trukers, among others.

     If Venezuela maintains this level of production, the year-on-year fall will be at 40%. In addition, Venezuela produced 630 thousand b / d for the quota of the OPEC assigned of 1.97 million b / d. For the executive director of Inter-American Trends, Antonio de la Cruz, "the sustained fall of oil production in Venezuela is the chronicle of an announced death. If this trend continues, Venezuela will be producing around 1 million barrels by the end of the year. " In addition, the executive director of Inter-American Trends added that in June "Venezuela exported 583,000 bpd to the US, according to the US Energy Information Agency."

     An increase of 129 thousand bpd compared to the previous month. The increase was due to the fact that most of the tankers stationed in the waters of Venezuela - before the average of the ConocoPhillips embargo - were dispatched to customers in the United States. The company Baker Hughes reports in its report "International Rig Count" of May that the activity of drilling in Venezuela decreased to 26 drills, working only on land. The lowest level since 29 years, because the low level of drilling activity in 2003 was due to a special cause, the oil strike. It is noteworthy that there are no oil platforms in operation in Lake Maracaibo.


      WASHINGTON, D.C.  --Glencore Plc said on Wednesday it would cooperate with US authorities after they asked for documents about the conglomerate's mining business in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela and Nigeria as part of a corruption probe. The firm said it set up a committee of board members, including President Tony Hayward and independent non-executive directors Leonhard Fischer and Patrice Merrin, to oversee their response to the Department of Justice (DoJ) request.

    "The company will cooperate with the DoJ, while continuing to focus on our business and seeking to maximize the value we create for our diverse shareholders in a responsible and transparent manner," Hayward said. "Glencore seriously addresses ethics and compliance throughout the group," the president said. Glencore, based in Switzerland, received a statement from the Department of Justice last week requesting documents and records of compliance with the United States Corrupt Practices Abroad Act and money laundering statutes.

     The American Law on Corrupt Practices Abroad makes it a crime for companies to bribe officials abroad to get business. So far, the DoJ has not commented on the request. At 0921 GMT, Glencore shares were down 4.2 percent at 313.29 pence, down 20 percent since early 2018 and close to one-year lows. The titles suffered their biggest daily decline in more than two years after the announcement of the application last week.

JULY  11,  2018


      GENEVA, SWITZERLAND --    The president of the European Council has warned President Donald Trump  that he should appreciate his allies, following sustained criticism of Europe by the US president. Speaking on the eve of a major Nato summit in Brussels Donald Tusk warned Mr Trump that he was isolated on the world stage and suggested he should think twice before criticising the EU. “Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many,” Mr Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, said after signing a statement on defence cooperation on cooperation between the European Union and the military alliance.

     He added that “for a long time now” Mr Trump ”has been criticising Europe almost daily for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defence capabilities, and for living off the US”. Addressing the president directly, he said: “Dear President Trump: America does not have, and will not have a better ally than Europe. “Today Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia, and as much as China. “And I think you can have no doubt, Mr President, that this is an investment in common American and European defence and security. Which can’t be said with confidence about Russian or Chinese spending.”

    Tusk, a representative EU national leaders collectively on the world stage, has previously warned member states that they should prepare for “worst-case scenarios” with Mr Trump leading the United States. The US president has imposed trade tariffs on the EU and previously threatened to withdraw US military protection from parts of Europe, arguing that European countries should fund more of their own defence. The EU has hit back with new tariffs of its own against US goods. EU officials say Mr Tusk privately believes Mr Trump is “dangerous” and that his policy represents a new American doctrine without fixed friends or enemies.


      WASHINGTON, D.C.      --
President Trump affirms that he U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer. On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!" the president wrote in a tweet, adding in a later tweet, "NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!" Trump will meet face-to-face Wednesday and Thursday at the NATO summit in Brussels, then travel to England, where he will meet Prime Minister

    Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth II and later head to Scotland. Trump will cap it off with a summit on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Trump has previously attacked NATO, the military alliance of 29 countries across North America and Europe formed in the aftermath of World War II, for shortchanging the U.S. and vowed to upend the crucial relationship if other member countries did not contribute more. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, responded to Trump's claims on Tuesday, criticizing the president for attacking its allies. Before departing for his trip on Marine One on Tuesday, Trump continued to criticize the E.U. for its NATO contributions and reacted to Tusk's comments about the scarcity of America's allies.

    "Well, we do have a lot of allies, but we cannot be taken advantage of, we are being taken advantage of by the European Union," Trump said, adding that NATO "helps them a lot more than it helps us." He also dismissed criticism of him meeting with Putin, saying it was in America's interest and that he did not see Russia as an adversary, but as a "competitor." "I think that getting along with Russia, getting along with China, getting along withothers is a good thing, not a bad thing," he said. Trump quipped that his meeting with Putin "would be the easiest of them all," adding that Britain is in "turmoil" following the resignations of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis.


      MANAGUA, NICARAGUA   --Nicaraguan bishops and clergy were attacked by armed groups aligned with the government on 9 July as violence in the Central American country escalated and affected the Catholic Church, which has provided humanitarian assistance in its parishes and has tried to diffuse a worsening political crisis through dialogue. Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes Solorzano of Managua and his auxiliary, Bishop Silvio Jose Baez, and Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, the apostolic nuncio, were among clergy from Managua pummeled as they attempted to protect St. Sebastian Basilica in the city of Diriamba from an incursion by a pro-government mob.

     Bishop Baez and at least one other priest were injured. Journalists also were attacked and had cameras and other equipment stolen. The bishops and clergy also tried to free anti-government protesters inside the church as masked individuals and mobs outside chanted "murderers" at the prelates. Pro-government media, meanwhile, accused the church of allowing weapons to be stored inside its properties. "I was injured, punched in the stomach, they took my episcopal symbols away from me, and verbally attacked me," Bishop Baez tweeted, along with a picture of a gash on his arm and blood-stained habit. "I'm OK, thank God. The basilica is free and so are those who were inside."

"    We have felt brutal force against our priests. We had gone to (the) parish to console our priests, to accompany them in this suffering and were attacked," he said. The attack on the bishops came as Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega sent police and paramilitaries to counter protesters calling for his ouster. The protests -- originally triggered over reforms to the social security system in April -- have claimed at least 300 lives. Seventeen people were killed 7 and 8 July during repressions by police and paramilitaries in the cities of Jinotepe, Diriamba and Matagalpa, according to Amnesty International.

JULY 10,  2018


      WASHINGTON, D.C.    --   The Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma was received last week in Washington in a special audience by the new Colombian President, Iván Duque, in which they discussed important issues in search of viable solutions to solve the Venezuelan crisis. Ledezma informed that "President Duque ratified his decision to support the complaint lodged by the OAS Secretary General of, Luis Almagro before the International Criminal Court of The Hague for crimes against humanity and violation of human rights in Venezuela by Maduro and his regime, to continue what he had already started as a presidential candidate, and now he will do so in his capacity as President of the Republic of Colombia. "

    "Likewise, he reiterated his willingness to seek effective solutions as soon as possible. "For his part, Ledezma thanked the new Colombian leader for his expressions of solidarity with the thousands of Venezuelan refugees in Colombian territory, " we must seek a solution to their immigration status and their essential deficiencies as human beings." He also asked him to extend an invitation to the acts of taking possession of the Supreme Court of Justice in exile, "as a gesture of recognition of their functions." "President Duque assured that the corresponding invitation will be duly processed."

     At the meeting, Ledezma referred to "the generalized collapse", and indicated that "Venezuela is about to turn off the light in general terms, because the debacle is seen everywhere, and with a famine that already covers 87% of the population that is in conditions of poverty, the crisis in public services and the underworld. " He asked President Duque to continue seeking the backing of other Latin American governments to support the Report of the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro in The Hague, and their solidarity with María Corina Machado, "who is currently the victim of the regime persecution that wants to imprison her. "


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA      --
The oil ship Impros, of the Liberia flag, of the Panamax type (up to 84,999 deadweight tons) with a capacity of 500,000 barrels of crude oil, departed from the Guaraguao wharf in Puerto La Cruz on July 1 to the port of Matanzas, to the northwest of Cuba, with today as the estimated date of arrival. The dispatch is made in the middle of the enormous difficulties that PDVSA has in fulfilling its commercial commitments, in quantity and quality of the crude, due to a pronounced fall in its production and the poor maintenance of its facilities. No details are available if the crude oil sent to Cuba was produced in Venezuela or bought by PDVSA from third parties and re-exported to the island.

     PDVSA has bought about 440 million dollars in foreign oil this year and has sent it directly to Cuba under flexible credit conditions, which often involved losses, according to internal documents of the company to which Reuters had access. Venezuela and Cuba signed the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement in 2000. The conditions of treatment were similar to those established in the Energy Agreement of Caracas: one year of grace, interest at 2%, 15 years to pay the debt, the possibility to finance between 5 and 25% of the oil bill and the supply of 53 thousand barrels per day of oil to Cuba under preferential conditions that would cover the consumption needs of the island.

    A controversial element contained in this agreement was the partial payment of the invoice with goods and services; as consultants in matters of sports, medical services and agricultural advice. Over the years, the agreement, never audited, became opaque. In some years Pdvsa sent more than 90 thousand barrels of oil per day to Cuba, under preferential price conditions, that the dictatorship of the island resold at higher prices in international markets. Up to 40 thousand barrels per day reached the resale of Venezuelan crude according to expert estimates. At the time of writing this note, the tanker Impros was off the coast of the town of Holguin, in Cuba, towards the port of Matanzas, east of Havana.


      MANAGUA, NICARAGUA   --Ortega deputies approve entry of troops from 10 countries to Nicaragua. Venezuela among them
The national parliament of Nicaragua, by majority of the Sandinista deputies and their allies of the PLI-ALN-APRE, authorized the entry into the country of troops and ships and military aircraft from 10 nations to carry out training exercises and humanitarian work in Nicaragua. According to the La Prensa newspaper , the approval of that decree provoked a strong debate in the plenary, because the legislators of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC), expressed their disagreement because the document was sent with urgent procedure by the designated president, Daniel Ortega. .

     The legislative decree was approved by 73 deputies, 11 against and one abstention. The personnel and military equipment authorized to enter the country between June 1 and December 31 is from Venezuela, the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Russia, Taiwan and Mexico. The PLC caucus voted against, arguing that it is not the right moment to live the country a serious sociopolitical crisis, and that military income has caused nervousness in the population.

     Deputy Azucena Castillo of the PLC called the governments with which military exchange agreements were signed with Nicaragua, "for prudence" not to send their troops because of the serious crisis caused by the repression of paramilitary forces and the police to the civilian population , the presence of foreign military can cause speculation that they can be used in the repression. Other liberal deputies like Adilia Salinas, rejected the presence of troops from Venezuela, Cuba and Russia, which are part of the legislative decree, and took the opportunity to demand that Daniel Ortega renounce power so that early elections can be held to resolve the crisis that It takes more than 70 days and they have left more than 220 dead, due to Ortega's repression.

JULY 9,  2018


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --   Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday called on the armed forces to stay alert following reports that US President Donald Trump raised the idea of invading Venezuela. "You cannot lower your guard for even a second, because we will defend the greatest right our homeland has had in all of its history, which is to live in peace," Maduro said. "A military intervention on the part of the US empire will never be a solution to Venezuela's problems." Maduro alluded to a report by The Associated Press that Trump had asked his aides why the US couldn't simply invade Venezuela. According to the report, former State Secretary Rex Tillerson and ex-national security adviser H.R. McMaster took turns explaining the possible fallout. Both officials are no longer at the White House.

     The report also detailed a meeting between Trump and four Latin American leaders in which the US president raised the idea, only for it to be rejected by his counterparts. The White House has refused to confirm the report's validity, saying it will not comment on personal conversations. Last year, Trump told reporters that he was "not going to rule out" a military option, saying it was "certainly something that we could pursue." His remarks sent shockwaves through Venezuela's political establishment. "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary," Trump said in August.

    Maduro responded at the time by calling on the international community and Pope Francis to "help us prevent Trump from sending troops to invade Venezuela." Trump has described Maduro as a "dictator," saying he should no longer be in power. Under Maduro, Venezuela has witnessed a significant deterioration of human rights and the erosion of democratic institutions. More than 130 people were killed and hundreds more injured in 2017, when a Supreme Court order to strip the opposition-held National Assembly triggered months of anti-government protests. Venezuela has continued to struggle with exorbitant inflation and chronic shortages of basic supplies, including food and medicine.


Led by Peru, more than 50 countries urged Venezuela on Thursday to restore the rule of law and open its doors to humanitarian assistance, as the economic crisis in the South American nation aggravates the shortage of medicines and there is evidence of growing malnutrition. Venezuelan security forces are suspected of hundreds of deaths and enjoy judicial immunity, indicating that the rule of law is "practically non-existent" in the country, the UN human rights office said in a report last month.

     Critics say dictator Nicolás Maduro has used increasingly authoritarian tactics as the economy sinks deeper into recession and hyperinflation. The conditions have caused the emigration of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans in the last year. "We are concerned about reports of serious human rights violations that include extrajudicial executions, excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment and lack of access to justice," said Peruvian Ambassador Claudio Julio de la Puente Ribeyro. in a joint statement with the UN Human Rights Council.

     The shortage forces Venezuelan families to drastically reduce their food consumption and health care facilities lack medicines and equipment, said Ribeyro Bridge. "We call on Venezuela to recognize the seriousness of its situation and open its doors to humanitarian assistance, so that it cooperates with the Council's human rights mechanisms," he added. Venezuela, backed by the allies Cuba and Bolivia, repeatedly interrupted De la Puente Ribeyro while reading. They raised procedural objections in an attempt to prevent him from speaking, but the forum chairman, the Slovenian Ambassador Vojislav Suc, ruled that he could proceed. United States, which usually talks about Venezuela, was notoriously absent. The country withdrew from the Council last month, calling for reforms to correct what it sees as a "chronic anti-Israel bias."


       CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --The Catholic Church said Saturday that Venezuela is moving towards its "integral liberation" with a series of small protests that are registered in several regions due to the economic crisis and chronic failures in public services. "The protests indicate the failure of a model that (...) for many years the people have been denouncing. When a fuse has been lit, it no longer goes out, and it becomes stronger towards its final destination: integral liberation, "said Monsignor José Luis Azuaje, president of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV).

     During an ordinary meeting of the CEV, Azuaje asked the Venezuelans to "wake up and react". "This town is talking, the thousands of protests that happen daily, although they are not reported in the media, show the great discontent that exists before (...) the lack of rationality and expertise of those who must make decisions in public matters" , the prelate maintained. The Church denounced that the "perverse ideology" of the socialist government of Nicolás Maduro has left "malnourished children and old people, young people who have been murdered by criminal bullets, a battered economy that has generated hyperinflation, and people forced to leave the country" . Azuaje asked the opposition to "rebuild social leadership," understand the need for unity, and put aside "political arrogance."

    The Catholic Church has been harsh critic of the policies of Maduro, who has come to call "devils with cassock" to some of their representatives. Venezuela is going through an acute economic crisis, with a hyperinflation that could surpass 13,800% this year, according to the IMF, and 200,000%, according to the Parliament, with an opposition majority. In the oil-producing country, there are small protests every day because of that debacle, and especially because of systematic failures in public services, especially water and electricity. Since June 25, nurses and medical personnel from several hospitals in the country have started a partial strike to demand fair wages, as do professors from several universities. In 2014, protests that demanded Maduro's departure from power left 43 dead. In 2017, a new wave of mobilizations resulted in about 125 deaths.