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OCTOBER  31,  2018

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP WILL OFFER BRAZIL PRESIDENT ELECT BOLSONARO MILITARY  COLLABORATION FOR VENEZUELA CRISIS

         WASHINGTON, D.C.   ---    With the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Donald Trump already has a strong ally to develop a tailor-made policy for Latin America, especially his plans for the possibility of a multilateral armed intervention to put an end to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The White House has worked on contingency plans for the fall of Nicolás Maduro regime, which have been placed in parentheses until today in the absence of partners willing to explore a military option. On Sunday, Trump was one of the first world leaders to call Bolsonaro. Yesterday, the North American president revealed that they agreed "to work closely in commercial, military matters and in everything else".

     Brazil, with two million troops, has the most powerful army in Latin America. This country has received 60,000 Venezuelan refugees since 2014. In total, almost 2.5 million people have fled the humanitarian crisis under the Chavista regime. According to Fernando Cutz, who headed the National Security Council for South America until April and advised the president on foreign policy and security, the White House trusts that the victory of Bolsonaro will allow the organization of a contingent of allied countries in response to the Venezuelan crisis. "Maybe the conditions are now to take a plan forward," he says. Trump's telephone call, which did not wait 100% of the count, points in that direction.

     Bolsonaro, who was a captain in the army, has surrounded himself with soldiers in his campaign. Those who are likely to be his defense ministers, General Augusto Heleno, and Foreign Affairs, deputy Luiz Philippe de Orleans, have circulated in interviews and public interventions the option of preparing an armed response, described as a "peace mission", before the Venezuelan crisis. Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of the president-elect and also a deputy, affirmed that this will be a priority for the new Government. The Organization of American States (OAS) has urged the US to lead an immediate response to that continental crisis. Although on reaching the government Trump asked his advisers to offer him plans for armed intervention in Venezuela, a unilateral mission was soon ruled out, given the cost that Afghanistan's contingents in Iraq still pose.

US TOP 0FFICIAL: THE MADURO GOVERNMENT IS ONE OF THE LARGEST CRIMINAL ENTERPRISES IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

      WASHINGTON, D.C. --    -- Venezuela represents a clear threat to regional stability and its collapse could drag Washington's key allies in Latin America such as Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, a senior official at the Treasury Department warned on Tuesday. Marshall Billingslea, deputy secretary for matters related to terrorist financing of the Treasury Department, also accused the government of dictator Nicolás Maduro of contaminating Venezuela's water sources in areas where there are mines from which gold is extracted. "Venezuela represents a clear threat to regional stability and security, in addition to the horrible humanitarian crisis that is unfolding before our eyes," Billingslea told the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. "This is a hemispheric issue and the implosion of the regime there is a direct challenge for us."

     Venezuela, a country with rich oil reserves, sank into a deep crisis under the presidency of Maduro, which has forced thousands of people to migrate to neighboring countries in the midst of hyperinflation, shortages of food and medicine and power cuts. Billingslea said the Maduro government is "one of the largest criminal enterprises in the Western Hemisphere" and that it participates in money laundering, bribery, fraud and illegal mining schemes, including the extraction of gold that is sent to Turkey for processing. "Not only it has been done illegally, but it is done with a huge environmental cost," he said. "The regime basically (...) is taking gold and discarding huge amounts of chemical and mercury pollutants to water sources."

     "We have highlighted the fact that a large part of this non-monetary gold seems to be destined for Turkey," he said. The Donald Trump government has sought to pressure Maduro, his relatives and high-ranking members of the Socialist Party through sanctions. Billingslea said the United States is collaborating with countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Argentina and Spain to block "stolen" assets in Venezuela. "We are looking for the money of Maduro and (his wife) Cilia Flores and we will not stop until we find them," he said, adding: "It's not their money, it's the money they stole."

FEDERICA MOGHERINI CONFIRMS THAT THE EUROPEAN UNION PREPARES A MEETING WITH THE OAS ON CRISIS IN VENEZUELA

         BRUSSELS, BELGIUM   - -The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, has confirmed that she is preparing the next meeting with the Organization of American States (OAS) after the European Parliament asked her to coordinate with this organization her response to the Venezuela crisis. "The European External Action Service maintains frequent contacts with the OAS and is studying the dates for the next political dialogue with the OAS, which will take place before the end of the year, in Washington," Mogherini said in response to a question from the Vice President of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, Beatriz Becerra, released today by the MEP.

     Mogherini responded to the letter sent by Becerra, in which she recalled the concern of the OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, for the deterioration of the situation in Venezuela and the need to "act to avoid a catastrophe." The MEP also urged the Union to coordinate its actions with the Lima Group and to meet with Almagro. In a resolution last May, the plenary of the European Parliament also urged the EU to address the Venezuelan situation with the OAS. "The EU is very concerned about the worsening of the crisis in Venezuela and the growing number of Venezuelans fleeing to neighboring countries and to others further away," the Italian politician acknowledged in her response.

     As she said, the situation in Venezuela is causing "problems for host countries and regional stability. “To address the "enormous needs" of the population, she recalled that the EU has developed "a general intervention framework that combines resources and actions of different instruments." In June the allocation of 35 million euros was announced to support the Venezuelan population. "This is a regional and global crisis that requires regional and global responses," insisted Mogherini, for whom "the proposal for a regional coordination platform" is "a positive step to synchronize activities, agree on a clear division of responsibilities and define a common strategy." "We are ready to expand our cooperation at the regional level (...) in particular by pooling our experiences within the EU on migration," Mogherini concluded in his response to Becerra.

                                                                                                                                                       OCTOBER  30,  2018

COLOMBIA SENDS 5,000 TROOPS TO THE BORDERS WITH VENEZUELA "TO FIGHT" DRUG TRAFFICKING

      BOGOTA, COLOMBIA  ---    Colombian President Iván Duque announced on Sunday the deployment of nearly five thousand soldiers in the turbulent region of Catatumbo, bordering Venezuela, to combat drug trafficking and illegal armed groups. The troops will seek to confront "the presence of terrorists, organized groups (...) who want to impose themselves with violence" in the second region with the most narco-cultures in the country, the president said at a public event in the municipality of Ocaña (northeast). The new military unit will be added to the two thousand policemen and soldiers who were mobilized in April to reinforce the six thousand troops guarding the border region with the Venezuelan states of Zulia, Tachira and Apure.

     The Catatumbo is disputed by the rebels of the ELN, dissidents of the demobilized Maoist guerrilla EPL, drug gangs and smugglers, for being an area of coca leaf crops and drug shipments by Venezuela. The clashes between these criminal organizations have caused the displacement of thousands of people, as well as a rise in selective homicides and kidnappings, according to the authorities. The relations between Colombia and Venezuela, which share a porous 2,200-kilometer border, are practically frozen since the mandate of former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (2010-18).

     Duque took up the banners of diplomatic pressure against the "dictatorship" of Nicolás Maduro that his predecessor raised, amid the arrival of thousands of Venezuelans to Colombia fleeing the acute economic crisis in his country. Colombia, the world's leading producer of cocaine and on track to overcome an armed conflict of half a century, has acknowledged its inability to serve alone the one million Venezuelans who have entered its territory in recent years. The Government of Venezuela, reluctant to acknowledge the migration crisis, has accused Bogota of being part of an alleged plot to overthrow Maduro. Colombia vehemently denies these accusations.

THE KREMLIN TO GRANT CUBA $50 MILLION LOAN FOR PURCHASING RUSSIAN WEAPONS

      MOSCOW, RUSSIA   --    --  Russia will grant Cuba a loan of $50 million, the newspaper Kommersant reported with reference to two sources in the arms exports and military industry. According to the sources, the money will be used to purchase Russian weapons. They said that the corresponding document will be signed at the coming meeting of the intergovernmental commission on trade and scientific-technical cooperation between the two countries. The meeting will be held on October 29-30 in Havana. The Russian delegation will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov. He will be accompanied by a subgroup from the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation headed by Deputy Head of the
Service Anatoly Punchuk.
    
      According to the newspaper, the administrative documents on the package of agreements in the sphere of Military-Technical Cooperation have already been signed. Moscow will grant Havana a loan of $50 million for the purchase of weapons under a series of contracts. The source of the newspaper, familiar with the negotiations, stated that the money will be spent exclusively on the military cooperation. “In addition to this agreement, there will be a number of other documents and contracts overseen by the Ministry of Finance but they will be financed by other sources,” the interlocutor said.

      The source of the newspaper in the defense industry said that Cuba was going to purchase armored vehicles and, possibly, aircraft (presumably helicopters) from the Russian Defense Ministry. The purchase will include spare parts, tools and accessories, as well as facilities for previously supplied equipment, the source said. In addition, Havana plans to purchase industrial equipment under separate contracts on a commercial basis. The top manager of one of the enterprises of the military-industrial complex reported that the cooperation may include a project on small arms.

VENEZUELAN DEPUTY JOSE GUERRA INSISTED THAT NICOLAS MADURO REGIME WILL NOT RECEIVE EXTERNAL FINANCING WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

         CARACAS, VENEZUELA    -The member of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly (AN), deputy José Guerra, said that "no one is going to acquire a Venezuelan debt nor will it finance the government in foreign currency if it does not have the approval" of the Venezuelan National Parliament. The deputy reiterated that the 2019 budget and the Indebtedness Law had to be approved by the Parliament, as established by the Constitution, and not by the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), so that now any debt or expenditure that is acquired "will lack legality".

      On October 23, the Vice President of the Republic, Delcy Rodríguez, presented to the Constituent Assembly the budget for the financial year of 2019 for an amount of 1 billion 529 thousand 780 million sovereign bolivars (Bs.S). The new budget is equivalent to 424 million 939 thousand 16 petros. Rodriguez, at that time, stressed that 75.4% of the total amount will be allocated to social investment.

     Guerra, who rules out that 75% of the budget is destined for social spending, considered that it should have been calculated in some stable foreign currency, such as the dollar or the euro, due to the complexity of the hyperinflationary picture surrounding the bolivar and thus allow "Evaluate the magnitude of the expense". "This budget lacks the premises, the bases on which it should be based: inflation, economic growth, oil price and exchange rate," he added. The parliamentarian recalled days ago that the Government in 2017 decided not to submit the budget to the AN and asserted that international markets told the Executive that if there was no constitutional legislative approval they would not make loans.

OCTOBER  29,  2018

THE KREMLIN TO GRANT CUBA $50 MILLION LOAN FOR PURCHASING RUSSIAN WEAPONS

      MOSCOW, RUSSIA   --    --  Russia will grant Cuba a loan of $50 million, the newspaper Kommersant reported with reference to two sources in the arms exports and military industry. According to the sources, the money will be used to purchase Russian weapons. They said that the corresponding document will be signed at the coming meeting of the intergovernmental commission on trade and scientific-technical cooperation between the two countries. The meeting will be held on October 29-30 in Havana. The Russian delegation will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov. He will be accompanied by a subgroup from the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation headed by Deputy Head of the
Service Anatoly Punchuk.
    
      According to the newspaper, the administrative documents on the package of agreements in the sphere of Military-Technical Cooperation have already been signed. Moscow will grant Havana a loan of $50 million for the purchase of weapons under a series of contracts. The source of the newspaper, familiar with the negotiations, stated that the money will be spent exclusively on the military cooperation. “In addition to this agreement, there will be a number of other documents and contracts overseen by the Ministry of Finance but they will be financed by other sources,” the interlocutor said.

      The source of the newspaper in the defense industry said that Cuba was going to purchase armored vehicles and, possibly, aircraft (presumably helicopters) from the Russian Defense Ministry. The purchase will include spare parts, tools and accessories, as well as facilities for previously supplied equipment, the source said. In addition, Havana plans to purchase industrial equipment under separate contracts on a commercial basis. The top manager of one of the enterprises of the military-industrial complex reported that the cooperation may include a project on small arms.

VENEZUELAN DEPUTY JOSE GUERRA INSISTED THAT NICOLAS MADURO REGIME WILL NOT RECEIVE EXTERNAL FINANCING WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

         CARACAS, VENEZUELA    -The member of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly (AN), deputy José Guerra, said that "no one is going to acquire a Venezuelan debt nor will it finance the government in foreign currency if it does not have the approval" of the Venezuelan National Parliament. The deputy reiterated that the 2019 budget and the Indebtedness Law had to be approved by the Parliament, as established by the Constitution, and not by the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), so that now any debt or expenditure that is acquired "will lack legality".

      On October 23, the Vice President of the Republic, Delcy Rodríguez, presented to the Constituent Assembly the budget for the financial year of 2019 for an amount of 1 billion 529 thousand 780 million sovereign bolivars (Bs.S). The new budget is equivalent to 424 million 939 thousand 16 petros. Rodriguez, at that time, stressed that 75.4% of the total amount will be allocated to social investment.

     Guerra, who rules out that 75% of the budget is destined for social spending, considered that it should have been calculated in some stable foreign currency, such as the dollar or the euro, due to the complexity of the hyperinflationary picture surrounding the bolivar and thus allow "Evaluate the magnitude of the expense". "This budget lacks the premises, the bases on which it should be based: inflation, economic growth, oil price and exchange rate," he added. The parliamentarian recalled days ago that the Government in 2017 decided not to submit the budget to the AN and asserted that international markets told the Executive that if there was no constitutional legislative approval they would not make loans.

OCTOBER  28,  2018

GUNMAN KILLS 11 PEOPLE IN PITTSBURG SYNAGOGUE, MASSACRE INVESTIGATED AS A HATE CRIME

      PITTSBURG, KANSAS    ---   A gunman armed with an assault rifle killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue during Saturday-morning services in what the Anti-Defamation League called "likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.” Law enforcement officials said Robert Bowers — a 46-year-old man with a history of making virulently anti-Semitic statements online — was taken into custody after a gun battle with police and is expected to face federal hate crime charges. “Justice in this case will be swift and it will be severe,” said Scott W. Brady, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Brady said Bowers could be charged sometime Saturday for what he called a “terrible and unspeakable act of hate."

     Authorities described a rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue, the city’s oldest Jewish congregation, that was stunning in its savagery. “This is the most horrific crime scene I’ve seen in 22 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation," said Robert Allan Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh field office. "Members of the Tree of Life synagogue conducting a peaceful service in their place of worship were brutally murdered by a gunman targeting them simply because of their faith.” All 11 people killed were adults, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said. Six people were also wounded, four of them police officers responding to the gunfire, he said.

     Witnesses told police Bowers burst into the synagogue shouting anti-Semitic slurs and began firing. Hissrich said authorities began to receive calls about an active shooter at the synagogue at 9:54 a.m. and officers were dispatched one minute later. Jones said that Bowers entered the synagogue, gunned down 11 people and was leaving when he encountered responding officers. He fired at an officer who was wounded and then went back into the synagogue to hide, Jones said. More officers responded, and after an exchange of gunfire, Bowers was taken to a hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said.

MEXICO POLICE BLOCKED PASSAGE OF MIGRANTS HEADING TO THE UNITED STATES

      MEXICO CITY, MEXICO  --    --   Hundreds of Mexican federal police with plastic shields have blocked the passage to the United States to the caravan of Central Americans, after thousands of migrants did not accept the opportunity to apply for asylum as refugees and obtain a package of benefits from Mexico. President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on Friday what he called the "You are in your house" plan, which offers shelter, medical care, school and employment for migrants in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca if they apply for refuge, calling it a first step to obtain permanent refugee status. However, a deadlock was reached when federal police blocked the road, citing an ongoing operation to stop the caravan. Thousands of migrants hoped to move forward, vowing to continue on their long road to the border with the United States.

      In a meeting led by Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, police said they would reopen the highway and only wanted the opportunity for federal authorities to explain the offer to migrants, who had rejected it the night before. The migrants pointed out that the road was not a place to negotiate and they said they wanted to get right to at least Mexico City to discuss the issue with the Mexican legislators. They agreed to inform their respective parties and said they would meet again Orbelina Orellana, a migrant from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, said she and her husband left three children behind and had decided to continue north as well. "Our destiny is to reach the border," said Orellana.

    He distrusted the government's proposal and said that some Hondurans who had applied for legal status had already been rejected. Their claim could not be verified, but in the conversations the representatives of the migrants asked the Mexican government to provide a list of those who had been forced to return. The meeting took place after one of the longest days of walking in which the refugees were hanging from trucks that passed in a journey of 100 kilometers (60 miles) to the city of Arriaga. Most migrants were adamant Friday afternoon in their refusal to accept anything less than safe passage to the US border. "Thanks!" They shouted in the central square of Arriaga, but "no, we're going to the north!". The caravan still has about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) to reach the nearest border crossing point in McAllen, Texas, but the trip could double if the migrants make their way to the Tijuana-San Diego pass, the destination that a smaller caravan at the beginning of the year. On that occasion only about 200 people achieved their goal.

THE MIGRATION CRISIS IN VENEZUELA IS A REGIONAL THREAT THAT REQUIRES JOINT ACTION, THE OAS WARNS

         washington,  d.c.     -The Venezuelan migration crisis is a threat to the entire American continent that requires a coordinated response from the countries of the region, assured Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, director of the Department of Social Inclusion of the Organization of American States (OAS). "This migration is a regional risk issue and represents a threat to the security, peace, tranquility and health of the entire hemisphere. If we do not take control and provide medicines and vaccines, we can have epidemiological outbreaks, "said the OAS representative.

      Muñoz-Pogossian is one of the coordinators of a technical group created by the secretary general of the organization, Luis Almagro, who will visit the countries that receive Venezuelan immigrants and then prepare a report that will define cooperation mechanisms. This Saturday he concluded his visit to Chile, after spending in recent weeks in Colombia and Brazil, specifically in the border areas with Venezuela, where a greater number of immigrants is concentrated. According to UN estimates, close to 2.3 million Venezuelans have left their country due to the political, social and economic crisis and, of them, almost one million have settled in Colombia.

     Muñoz-Pogossian explained that in the Colombian city of Cúcuta and in cities bordering Brazil such as Roraima, he noted first-hand the precarious conditions of thousands of Venezuelan migrants who flee their country with their few belongings and suffer from malnutrition and diseases. In Chile, the number of Venezuelan migrants is significantly lower - almost 150,000 entered the country in the first seven months of 2018, according to the police - and, in general, they are young professionals, although the worsening of the crisis has broadened the profile of those who decide to try their luck in the southern country. The final report of the OAS working group will analyze the situation of all the countries of the American continent that have received the Venezuelan diaspora, such as Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Panama and small island states of the Anglophone Caribbean.

 

OCTOBER  27,  2018

US HOSPITAL SHIP COMFORT BEGINS ITS MEDICAL HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN ECUADOR

      ESMERALDAS, ECUADOR     ---      Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. Working with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, the embarked medical team will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partly by an increase in cross-border migrants. The Deployment reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas.

      A team comprised of more than 900 personnel, embarked aboard USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), commenced their first mission stop as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, Oct. 20. "The Comfort team has put in a ton of effort to get this medical mission from sea to shore,” said Capt. William Shafley, commander, Task Force 49. “We have partnered with the government of Ecuador to ensure smooth and safe mission execution over the coming week.” Medical personnel engaged with patients, Saturday, as they moved through the medical screening process to receive care at the established medical sites.

     “In the upcoming days, we are looking to see 500 to 750 patients a day, though we really hope to see up to 1,000 to help as many people as we can,” said Lt. Cmdr. Derek Austin, officer-in-charge of one of two medical sites. “Today, we are working on setting up our medical site for patient care. After setup, we are going to screen patients for surgery on the ship.” Located at Autoridad Portuaria and Universidad Técnica Luis Vargas Torres de la Esmeraldas, the two medical sites will be fully operational, Monday morning. Once active, the teams will provide medical and dental services including preventative treatments, optometry, dermatology, women’s health, adult medicine, pediatrics, dental and surgical screening” This is the sixth time that Comfort has deployed to the region. Past missions have provided medical treatment to more than 390,000 patients, including 6,000 surgeries.

IDEA, FORMED BY 21 LATIN AMERICAN FORMER PRESIDENTS, QUALIFY CUBA, VENEZUELA AND NICARAGUA AS "CRIMINAL STATES"

      MIAMI, FLORIDA  --    --   A score of former presidents gathered in the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA) on Thursday described as "criminal states" to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua and urged the political parties of those countries to "safeguard" democracy, reported EFE. In a declaration, signed by 21 exmandatarios, they regretted that the three countries "persecute, torture and even murder their dissidents as State policies." The statement follows the forum held this week in Miami to analyze whether democracies are "kidnapped" by organized crime in the region, which analyzed mainly the "institutionalization" of drug trafficking in Venezuela.
     
     The exmandatarios pointed that the "criminal states established in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua sow terror and misery to their people." They also pointed out that they represent a threat to the region, since "they violate liberties, and disseminate their harmful effects towards other countries of the region, affecting them in their governance and social stability". In the declaration, the presidents make a call to "protect and safeguard" democracy in the face of the deterioration it has suffered in some Ibero-American countries that have become failed states kidnapped by organized crime. They warned that "in many countries the popular support and the prestige of democracy has diminished and the disenchantment with the politicians and state actors grows to the same extent that the morbidity of corruption is generalized".

     The forum, organized by IDEA, was attended by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, and by Latin American presidents. The declaration was signed by Óscar Arias, Rafael Ángel Calderón, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez and Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica), José María Aznar (Spain), Nicolás Ardito Barletta and Mireya Moscoso (Panama), Belisario Betancur, César Gaviria, Andrés Pastrana, Álvaro Uribe ( Colombia) and Enrique Bolaños (Nicaragua). Also Alfredo Cristiani (El Salvador), Fernando de la Rua (Argentina), Vicente Fox (Mexico), Eduardo Frei (Chile), Osvaldo Hurtado and Jamil Mahuad (Ecuador), Luis Alberto Lacalle (Uruguay), Jorge Tuto Quiroga (Bolivia) and Juan Carlos Wasmosy (Paraguay).

US SENDS 800 TROOPS TO MEXICO BORDER AS MIGRANT CARAVAN ADVANCES

         washington,  d.c.     -The US military is to be deployed to the border with Mexico, it was reported on Thursday, with James Mattis, the defense secretary, poised to sign deployment orders sending 800 troops to the region. The move is being seen as a response to a "caravan" of 7,000 Central American migrants, which is edging its way north through Mexico, with the intention of crossing into the US and claiming asylum. Donald Trump, the US president, is obsessed with the caravan, seeing it as catnip for his core voters ahead of the November 6 midterms. On Thursday morning he tweeted that he was "bringing out the military" to address what he's calling a national emergency at the southern border.

      Border crossings this spring were at a 40-year low. Around 300,000 people have crossed this year - well down from the early 2000s, when over a million crossed the border annually. James Mattis, the defense secretary, is to deploy 800 troops along the US-Mexico border, at the urging of President Donald Trump. Trump on Wednesday evening told a rally in Wisconsin that the military was "all set." Mattis is now believed to be finalising details of where the troops will come from, where they will be deployed, and what their role will be. The troops will not engage in lethal operations to stop the migrants, CNN reported. Instead they are expected to provide fencing, wall materials and other technical support at several key points along the border where it is believed the migrants may try to cross.

     The migrant caravan, pictured passing through Huixtla, southern Mexico, on Wednesday In this their role will be similar to that of the national guard, which was deployed in April and helps with manual labour. There are 2,200 national guard troops now serving on the border; 1,145 soldiers in Texas, 115 in New Mexico, 580 in Arizona and the remaining 360 in California. The troops sent by Mattis will also provide tents and medical care for border authorities in those areas. They retain the right of self-defence, but border patrol officers will still be the ones physically stopping illegal migration. It is not yet clear if all or part of the new deployment will be federally-activated national guard forces - those currently there were sent by individual states, in response to the April announcement - or active duty troops. The troops are expected to be in position next week in advance of a possible arrival of some of the caravan.

OCTOBER  26,  2018

FORMER COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT ANDRES PASTRANA HAD WARNED ABOUT AN ATTACK ON MARIA CORINA MACHADO DAYS BEFORE SHE WAS BEATEN BY A CHAVIST MOB

      CARACAS, VENEZUELA    ---     Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, was assaulted with sticks and stones on Wednesday afternoon by paramilitaries linked to Chavismo, she has become the latest target of a desperate Nicolás Maduro regime that wants to get her out of the way because of her strong opposition to restarting the dialogue, said former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana, during an interview publishes El Nuevo Herald . The former president, who had warned two days before that Machado's life was in danger, said that the actions against the female leader were being orchestrated by the regime's secret police, the Sebin.

    "What we are seeing is that the stone in the path of that false dialogue [between the regime and the opposition], that possibility of being able to talk to the narco-dictator Maduro, the real stone in the shoe that remains is María Corina Machado," he said. Pastrana "Information from friends of the Venezuelan opposition and from friends that he also have in other places, informed him of the possibility that an attack against María Corina Machado was being organized," the former Colombian president asaid.

    Machado is today the most popular opposition leader in Venezuela, due in large part to her fierce opposition to the regime and to the prospects of undertaking again what she considers to be a false process of dialogue. The leader, who was attacked along with her team while visiting the southern city of Upata, was still in pain on Thursday morning and told the Nuevo Herald that she believed she managed to escape from the large paramilitary group that attacked her thanks to the fact that she was defended by the people. "People helped me, you can not imagine how the people came out, the boys took risks and hit them," she said.

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ON THURSDAY CALLED ON THE COUNTRIES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION TO JOIN THE INITIATIVE OF SIX AMERICAN COUNTRIES AND ASK THE ICC TO INVESTIGATE THE VENEZUELAN MADURO GOVERNMENT

      BRUSSELS, BELGIUM   --    --   The European Parliament on Thursday called on the countries of the European Union (EU) to join the initiative of six American countries to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro for alleged crimes against humanity. humanity. By 218 votes in favor, 25 against and 26 abstentions, the European Parliament urges the countries of the EU "to adhere to the initiative of the States Parties of the ICC to investigate crimes against humanity (...) and hold those responsible accountable. "  Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru sent a letter to the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on September 26, asking him to investigate the Venezuelan government. France and Costa Rica publicly supported this initiative.

     The request is based on two reports about the violation of human rights in Venezuela, one from the Organization of American States (OAS) and another from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, then explained the Chilean Foreign Minister, Roberto Ampuero. The new resolution of the European Parliament on the situation in Venezuela comes a day after the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, called to take Maduro to international justice, after meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque, reported AFP. MEPs also condemned the death of opposition councilman Fernando Albán, who the opposition said died during interrogation, and called for an "immediate and independent investigation of the government," including an autopsy.

     On the eventual creation of a contact group to find a solution to the Venezuelan political crisis, which the EU is studying, MEPs ask that the opposition be contacted first "to verify if there is a majority in favor of such an initiative". The European Parliament, which has a center-right majority, highlighted the role of Venezuela's neighboring countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Peru in welcoming the Venezuelans fleeing the country and asking to strengthen sanctions against Caracas if the rights situation Hurts worse. About 1.9 million people left Venezuela since 2015, fleeing the economic and political crisis that the country is going through, according to the UN. Some 5,000 citizens leave the country daily, in the largest population movement in the recent history of Latin America.

THE FOUR DISTILLER UNITS OF THE CARDON REFINERY HAVE STOPPED WORKING

         CARACAS, VENEZUELA--    -The four distillers at the Cardón refinery, the second largest in Venezuela, are being held for lack of oil and one of the units for technical failure, a union leader and three industry workers told Reuters on Thursday. Cardón, which has a capacity to process 310,000 barrels per day (bpd), paralyzed on Thursday of the previous week a first group of distillers because it does not receive oil, the sources added.

     "The entire distillers' complex is out of service, or loaded," an installation worker told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The operator added that distillation unit number 1 was out of service due to a failure in the oven fan. The union leader, Iván Freites, said that only the Cardón catalytic cracking unit with low load is operative. Another worker reported that giant Amuay is producing some 280,000 bpd, well below its capacity of 645,000 bpd. The state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) did not immediately respond to a request for information.

    The refining circuit of the South American nation suffers a substantial reduction in its operations as a result of recurring failures that critics of the management of PDVSA attribute to the lack of investment, theft and mismanagement of the units. The oil company's operations are also being affected by the flight of specialized personnel, in the middle of a deep economic crisis with hyperinflation. The installation, together with Amuay, is part of the giant Paraguaná Refining Center (CRP), located in the northwest of the country and has a capacity of 955,000 bpd.

OCTOBER  25,  2018

THE PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION COMMISSION SUPPORTS BRINGING DICTATOR MADURO BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE

       BRUSSELS, BELGIUM    ---      The head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, pleaded on Wednesday to take Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to international justice after his first meeting with the Colombian head of state, Iván Duque, in Brussels. "This is now a matter for the international justice system. This man has to be brought before the courts, "Juncker said at a press conference, after defending Colombia's role in hosting Venezuelan refugees.

     The president of the community executive responded to a question about an eventual international action "more determined" to "isolate the dictatorship of Mr. Maduro." "We do not like this dictatorship," the former Luxembourg Prime Minister replied. The Colombian president thanked the European Union (EU) for its financial aid to face the arrival of Venezuelan migrants. "We also want to continue denouncing the abuses of the dictatorship in Venezuela," he added.

     The EU imposed in the last year sanctions against Venezuela, a country mired in a political, economic and humanitarian crisis, to undermine, in its view, democracy, the rule of law and human rights. In addition to adopting an arms embargo, the bloc imposed a visa ban and the freezing of assets for 18 European officials, including Vice President Delcy Rodríguez, although it does not sanction Maduro, as Washington did, to maintain communication channels.

THE PRESIDENT OF COLOMBIA, IVAN DUQUE, URGES TO ISOLATE THE GOVERNMENT OF NICOLAS MADURO INTERNATIONALLY

      BRUSSELS, BELGIUM   --    --   The president of Colombia, Iván Duque, affirmed today that "the world must isolate the Venezuelan regime" during a debate with Robert Maylle, president of the International Crisis Group (ICG) in Brussels. In this forum Duque alleged that the current Venezuelan migration crisis is "apocalyptic" and "the greatest humanitarian crisis in the history of Latin America." The Colombian president made the remarks after the lawsuit filed by several countries against the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, in the International Criminal Court for crimes against Human Rights.

       Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Canada and Chile formalized on September 27 a petition to investigate alleged crimes against humanity since February 2014. Duque said during this conference, part of his first official visit to Europe, that "the intervention military is not a solution ", but that efforts are necessary for the Venezuelan people to" feel free ". On the migratory flow of thousands of Venezuelans to Colombia, said "I am aware that it has consequences, but we must teach the world a lesson, we must act and show the world the fraternity of Latin America." The Colombian president also made reference to the peace process that takes place in his country and to the "frozen" negotiations with the guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN).

      Duque pointed out that the ELN must cease its "violent acts" if it wishes to continue with the peace negotiations, in reference to the more than 400 criminal acts and murders to which the president linked the guerrillas. "If they want to talk about peace, I'm ready, but they have to release the kidnapped and put an end to their criminal activity," said Duque, who also warned that he can not give the people of Colombia "the idea that violence can give the opportunity to speak with the Government. " In this regard, the Colombian president added that "my duty is to comply with the mandates of my Constitution to defend and protect the Colombian people, we can not legitimize violence as a way to achieve political benefits." Iván Duque defended a policy of "zero tolerance" with the violent ones focused on the "eradication" and substitution of drug trafficking for legal economic practices and support to the affected areas and those who want to "incorporate" into society.

THE CUBAN CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY PROPOSES TO LIQUIDATE PDVSA: IT WOULD CREATE A NEW ENTITY TO  AVOID DEBTS AND SAVE CITGO

         CARACAS, VENEZUELA--    -TThe CCA is a "rubber stamp" body that Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro created in July 2017, to replace the National Assembly controlled by the opposition. The Cuban constituent assembly intends to replace the PDVSA state company with a new national energy company that would inherit everything but PDVSA's growing debts. The new company, provisionally called the Venezuelan Energy Corporation (CVE), would be responsible for developing export-oriented energy projects, on its own and through joint ventures with foreign partners, says economist David Paravisini, who chairs the gas subcommittee, energy, water and oil of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC). According to the proposal, CVE would absorb all the administrative, operational and physical assets of Pdvsa, including the Pdvsa refining subsidiary in the US. UU., Citgo, but not your obligations. These obligations include debts with bondholders, joint venture partners, suppliers and other creditors.

        PDVSA stopped paying the interest and capital of all outstanding debts in September 2017 with the exception of the Pdvsa 2020 bond for US $ 3.4 billion guaranteed with 50.1 percent of the shares of the indirect parent company of Citgo, PdV Holding, headquartered in Delaware. The combined arrears of PDVSA and government bonds currently total about $ 7 billion. October 27 is the date of PDVSA's obligation to pay more than US $ 950 million of principal and interest owed on the 2020 bond. PDVSA assured the bondholders last week that the payment would be made as planned. Meanwhile, Citgo, considered the most valuable asset of PDVSA, is subject to a lien by former Canadian mining company Crystallex for an unpaid claim.

       If PDVSA is further behind in its debts, the proposal of CVE could be a strategy to cushion the blow of the possible loss of Citgo and divide liabilities, possibly declaring the bankruptcy or dissolution of PDVSA, a scenario that has been discussed in the community international financial institution for months. A US-based financial sector executive Close to bondholders said that the measure would be "thrown away in any court outside of Venezuela" because a company cannot transfer all of its assets to a new entity without transferring the liabilities as well. "You cannot escape debt in this way," said the executive.

OCTOBER  24,  2018

OAS SECRETARY GENERAL LUIS ALMAGRO SAYS THAT THE MADURO REGIME HAS BEEN COMPLETELY "EATEN" BY DRUG TRAFFICKING

         MIAMI, FLORIDA   ---      Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the OAS, was the main speaker of the forum "Are the Latin American democracies kidnapped by organized crime?" Which is celebrated today at Miami Dade College (MDC) with the presence of several Latin American presidents. The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) used harsh words to refer to the Venezuelan government and its alleged involvement in drug trafficking. It is something "very serious", of what, he said, there is evidence such as the fact that two nephews of President Nicolás Maduro have been sentenced to 18 years in prison for drug trafficking in the United States and that there are " hundreds of millions of dollars frozen by money laundering "property of other Venezuelan leaders.

     He also stressed that those who are ruling in Venezuela "are not going to get out of power", because from there they hold "the criminal apparatus", and opined that the international community should "take the blame" for having promoted a government-opposition dialogue in 2016. A dialogue in that country when the protests in the Venezuelan streets were raging. On the Plan Venezuela said that it should also have included the Colombian guerrillas FARC and the ELN for being also involved in drug trafficking. Almagro also spoke about the criminal charges before the International Criminal Court filed against dictator Nicolás Maduro by a group of Latin American countries.

    He pointed out that the ICC has "a very clear moral dilemma," as it is "the only one that has not responded to the human rights violations in Venezuela." It is "fundamental" to open an investigation, said Almagro, who stressed that if "prisoners are thrown into the dictators," the "end of the dictatorship" is achieved. In his opinion, when organized crime seizes power, it "stops responding completely to the needs of the people", as is the case today in Venezuela. In the forum, organized by the Mezerhane Chair of the MDC , participate, besides Almagro, the former presidents Andrés Pastrana, from Colombia; Luis Alberto Lacalle, from Uruguay; Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, from Chile; Jamil Mahuad, from Ecuador; Jorge Quiroga, from Bolivia, and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, from Costa Rica.

THE HIGH REPRESENTATIVE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION FEDERICA MOGHERINI SAYS THAT THE CONDITIONS FOR MEDIATION IN VENEZUELA DO NOT EXIST

      BRUSSELS, BELGIUM   --    --     The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, speaks to the media at the summit of ASEM leaders in Brussels, Belgium, on October 18, 2018. The High Representative of the European Union (EU), Federica Mohgerini, said today that the conditions for a dialogue or mediation in Venezuela are not given, although she pointed out that all peaceful options should be tried to tackle the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in that country. In a debate in the European Parliament, which on Thursday will approve its eighth resolution on Venezuela so far in the legislature, the head of European diplomacy said that the EU "will continue to explore the option of a contact group that establishes the conditions that may arise to try a dialogue, "although he added that" it is only to explore "and that he does not want to" arise much expectation "about it.

     Mogherini stressed on several occasions that the solution to the serious Venezuelan crisis must be political, peaceful, democratic and "in the hands of the Venezuelans themselves." In this sense, he again rejected an intervention in Venezuela, although he made it clear that the EU will not soften its sanctions until the situation in the country improves. In the turn of the MEPs, the Spanish Luis De Grandes (PP, conservative) said he disagrees with any path that advocates dialogue "because that is the thesis of (the Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez) Zapatero." According to the popular MEP, the socialist Zapatero "begins to be a necessary collaborator of the dictatorship."

     The Spanish Ramón Jáuregui (PSOE) reflected that it is time to ask "what else can be done" and that in that sense it is convenient to be "practical and intelligent" and look for a "peaceful, democratic" solution that implies that Venezuelans are the ones who decide The liberal Czech MEP Dita Charanzova, on the other hand, said that "concrete actions" and "more selective sanctions are necessary and that include close relatives of the Government and the state oil company". On the other hand, Javier Couso (IU, left) drew attention to the fact that a new debate was held on Venezuela and not the crisis in Honduras and accused the EU of "seeking only a change of government" in reference to Nicolás Maduro, whose legitimacy defended as Venezuelan president.

FORMER COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT ANDRES PASTRANA AFFIRMS THAT NICOLAS MADURO IS THE "NEW PABLO ESCOBAR"

         MIAMI, FLORIDA--    --"Nicolás Maduro is the new Pablo Escobar", because it means "a regional threat," said Colombian President Andres Pastrana on Tuesday, October 23, speaking about the Venezuelan leader in a forum on democracy in Latin America that takes place in Miami. Pastrana spoke at the beginning of the forum "Are the Latin American democracies kidnapped by organized crime?", Which, led by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, is held at Miami Dade College (MDC) ). Nowadays in Venezuela, drug trafficking controls the justice system, the media and the intelligence apparatus. All those institutions are used to defend the interests of drug trafficking from Venezuela, said the former president.

     In the opinion of the ex-conservative conservative, Venezuela, along with the Mexican drug cartels and the Colombian guerrillas Farc and ELN, "wants to turn Colombia into a narco state." Venezuela is not only the humanitarian crisis and the exodus of thousands of people fleeing the country, is an element of destabilization in the region, he stressed. Pastrana said that in 2000, a year after Hugo Chávez came to power, there was no drug trafficking in Venezuela, but then the late Venezuelan president created corridors protected by the military forces for the drug and gave territory to the Colombian guerrillas.

     "Venezuela managed to be a narco state in a very short period," said the former president of Colombia, who compared Maduro, Chávez's successor in the Venezuelan presidency, with the head of the Medellín cartel, Pablo Escobar. "Pablo (Escobar) dreamed laundry" of the funds he obtained with drug trafficking, now "the largest laundry is called Pdvsa (Petróleos de Venezuela)" and those who govern in that country that "have seized all the powers " In the forum, organized by the Mezerhane Chair of the MDC, participate, in addition to Patrana and Almagro, the presidents Luis Alberto Lacalle, of Uruguay; Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, from Chile; Jamil Mahuad, from Ecuador; Jorge Quiroga, from Bolivia, and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, from Costa Rica.

OCTOBER  23,  2018

THE UNITED STATES WILL ASK RUSSIA TO "RELAX ITS SUPPORT FOR VENEZUELA, CUBA AND NICARAGUA

         MOSCOW, RUSSIA     ---      John Bolton, US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, raised during his visit this week to Moscow Washington's concern about Russia's ties with Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, in an attempt to get the Kremlin "relax" its support to those countries. Bolton, who met Monday with senior officials of the Russian government and will meet tomorrow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had the intention to talk with them about the situation in those three countries in Latin America, according to a senior US official, reported Efe.

     "We will talk with Russia about Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, because we will not make any progress in this continent as long as Russia continues to work with regimes like those three," said the official, who requested anonymity, in a conversation with a small group of media, including Efe. Trump's adviser met today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev on his second visit to the Russian capital in less than six months. Bolton had a tight schedule and arrived in Moscow a day after Trump announced his intention to abandon the treaty with Russia for the elimination of medium and short-range nuclear missiles (INF), so that the matter promised monopolize a good part of the conversations.

    However, the new US national security adviser, who has been in office for only six months, has indicated that he wants to intensify Washington's discourse against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, their main antagonists in the American region. Bolton plans to provide "soon" details about the strategy of the United States concerning those "three countries", which he considers that they are coordinating the "anti-democratic movements" in the continent. Trump's adviser also discussed with Pátrushev on the future of the treaty New START (or START III), which expires in 2021 and seeks to limit the nuclear arsenal of the two powers on a parity basis.

UNITED NATIONS: MORE THAN 7,000 PEOPLE HEADING FOR US IN MIGRANT CARAVAN

      MEXICO CITY, MEXICO  --    --     More than 7,000 people have joined the migrant caravan headed toward the US border with Mexico, a UN spokesman said Monday, citing estimates of the International Organization for Migration. "IOM reports that large numbers of people are arriving in Mexico today and are likely to remain in the country for an extended period," UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said, urging that they be treated with "respect and dignity." "At this time, it is estimated that the caravan comprises some 7,233 persons, many of whom intend to continue the march north."

     Haq said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had spoken to several leaders about the situation over the weekend and planned to travel to Washington on Tuesday for talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. "This situation needs to be dealt with in line with international law and with full respect for countries' right to manage their own borders," Haq said. Earlier Monday, US President Donald Trump said the United States would begin cutting aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador because they had failed to stop the movement of migrants.

     Haq also said that the UN High Commission on Refugees has mobilized to help the migrants, and that the governments involved had been urged to work with the IOM and UNHCR. The UNHCR has deployed an emergency team in southern Mexico, and now has 32 people on the ground on the border, in Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula, according to the spokesman. "Numbers will increase in the coming days to address and ensure adequate provision of information on the asylum system to members of the caravan, as well as legal advice and humanitarian assistance to those who seek asylum," he said.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: US WILL NOW BEGIN CUTTING AID TO GUATEMALA, HONDURAS AND EL SALVADOR

          WASHINGTON, D.C. --    --President Donald Trump says the U.S. "will now begin cutting off or substantially reducing" the amount of foreign aid given to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, saying they were "not able to do the job" of stopping migrants from leaving their countries and "coming illegally" to the U.S His Twitter comments Monday came as a group of several thousand migrants, mostly from Honduras, spent Sunday night in the southern Mexican city of Tapachula as they continued their trek toward the United States and away from what they say is untenable violence and poverty at home. Trump said, "Sadly, it looks like Mexico's Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy (sic). Must change laws!

     A Honduras migrant mother and her son walk through the bridge after crossing the border between Guatemala and Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Oct. 20, 2018. Two weeks ahead of nationwide congressional elections in the U.S., the U.S. leader, a Republican, laid the blame for the latest mass migration toward the southern U.S. border on opposition Democrats. "Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally," Trump said, "think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws! Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally." Pompeo said the United States is concerned about violence provoked by some members of the caravan and "the apparent political motivation of some organizers" without giving specifics about either.

     He also pledged U.S. support for Mexican government efforts to address refugee and migration issues. Authorities in southern Mexico largely left the migrants alone Sunday as they walked toward the day's destination in Chiapas state. The Mexican government has pledged to process asylum requests for migrants who apply. The country's interior ministry reported that on Friday, Saturday and Sunday a total 1,028 people had requested refugee status. Mexico's National Migration Institute said it reiterates its duty to safeguard the human rights of migrants who enter its territory. Migrants receive medical attention for blisters in theTapachula city center, Mexico, Oct. 21, 2018. Trump has threatened to deploy the U.S. military to stop what he calls an "assault on our country at the Southern Border," and portrayed the migrant group as containing "many criminals."

OCTOBER  22,  2018

THE UNITED STATES PREPARES PLANS FOR THE EXPECTED FALL OF DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO

    WASHINGTON, D.C.     ---      The US Government is working on a transition plan for Venezuela in the face of certainty that the humanitarian crisis in the South American country can cause the regime to fall, with a number of refugees that will surpass that of the war in Syria. Several senior officials, diplomats and senators have advised President Donald Trump to prepare a proposal for intervention in the country, before the possibility that the situation soon becomes a military coup, a popular revolt or the proposal of a coalition navy. This is what abc.es reviews

      Recent in the North American memory the experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq, the only scenario that does not contemplate the White House is a unilateral armed mission, even though Trump has expressed that possibility on several occasions. Yes, there have been consultations in this regard between the United States and its allies and institutions such as the Organization of American States, whose secretary general, Luis Almagro, said recently: "Regarding a military intervention to depose the Maduro regime, no option should be ruled out." If it occurs, it would be through a coalition, with a limited objective. Admiral Craig Faller, candidate to lead the US Southern Command, recently admitted, "Military efforts have so far covered diplomacy to ensure a peaceful transition in Venezuela, but the situation is disastrous, and it is affecting the whole region.

     Our main focus will be our allies. Colombia, Peru and Ecuador have welcomed 1.8 million of the 2.6 million Venezuelans who have left the country up to date, due to the high cost of food and medicine and an inflation that the IMF estimates will reach 1.000,000% by the end of the year. )resident Trump has received stromg support from both parties in the Capitol, who are developing their own transition plan. Eleven Republican senators and Democrats have drafted a bill dedicated to prepare the United State for an approaching regime change, with 55 million in aid funds and credits for the reconstruction of Venezuela. Its declared objectives are "to restore the law and democracy, to free political prisoners, to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and to create the necessary conditions for free and democratic elections to be held".

THE ECONOMY RECOVERY OF DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED DURING THE LAST TWO MONTHS WITHOUT SOLVING THE CRISIS

      CARACAS, VENEZUELA  . --    --     TThe "economic miracle" promised by the Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro on August 20 has not been materialized yet and the country continues today plunged into a deep crisis with some indicators worsened. After weeks of anticipation, Chavismo launched two months ago its so-called "economic recovery and prosperity plan", Maduro's largest package of economic adjustments since he took office in 2013 and with which he seeks to solve several problems, including shortage and hyperinflation. Today the shortage of food persists, some almost impossible to obtain for millions of Venezuelans, and prices rise slightly more than 4% every day, according to estimates of the Parliament, of opposition majority, which has rejected the measures of the Executive.

      The government's first decision was to convert the local currency, the bolívar, to which he removed five zeros to simplify the transactions and deal with the inflation that, according to estimations of the International Monetary Fund, will close the year at 1,350,000% and It projects 10,000,000 by 2019. This measure was accompanied by placing into circulation a new family of notes with denominations more adjusted to the high cost of living, and aimed at satisfying the demand for physical money, a good that reached the market in the country for prices much higher than those written on them.

     The most visible success of the Government lies in having simplified the commercial operations with the monetary reconversion and in having diminished the queues in the banking entities that today offer money almost without reserves to the citizens. Of the rest, about half of the working class that earns the minimum wage continues to live in misery because they receive less than $ 1.25 a day, the threshold established by the United Nations to make these measurements. Although the economic "paquetazo" started with a salary increase of 3,500%, in practice the basic salary of a whole month is only enough to buy two kilos of detergent or about five chickens.

THE VENEZUELANS WILL FEEL THE COSTS FOR THE CHANGE OF THE DOLLAR AS A REFERENCE CURRENCY

          CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --    -- "Making a change in the referential currency from the dollar to the euro will generate an additional cost and therefore lower revenues to the country," according to the economist Sary Levy. The expert explained that in the first place, "the dollar continues to be the main currency of commercial reference and international reserve." H e added that we must remember that our exportable product, oil, "is quoted in dollars and that our source of effective income for export is coincidentally the United States, which pays us in dollars." "If we do not use the dollar, local imports that have primarily been handled in the dollar sphere will also be affected, which would bring losses in addition to the additional cost that would be incurred," he said.

      On the other hand, the expert indicated that from the international point of view, "we know that there is free convertibility of the dollar / euro and at the rate set by the market, therefore this would not affect internationally at all". He added that making this referential change from dollar to euro is feasible from a domestic perspective, but "it is not convenient because the costs would increase." In the opinion of the also professor member of the National Academy of Economic Sciences, the decision of the Government to start this change of the reference currency from the dollar to the euro, "seems to be attributed to the axis of political ideological orientation that guides it".

    He indicated that again, political ideology and not economic efficiency or social welfare are the guidelines for action, he said. In addition, Levy added, the problem "is not only if currency transactions are denominated in dollars or euros, but there are currencies", and this seems to be the central point, the currency restriction, given the fall in production local oil company, he argued. The economist emphasized that "as we know, oil prices are at high levels and attractive for exporting countries, but Venezuela can not take advantage of this reality because its production is in decline." On the other hand it is worth saying that "the financial and economic sanctions of the administration of Donald Trump do not prohibit the use of the dollar for the purchase of medicines or food."

OCTOBER  21,  2018

PRESIDENT NIETO: MEXICO SUPPORTS MIGRANTS BUT WILL PREVENT IRREGULAR ENTRY

    Mexico city, mexico     ---     Mexico supports migrants but we will prevent irregular entry to our territory, said on Saturday Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto about the Honduran caravan trying to cross the country through the southern border. "Like any sovereign country, Mexico does not allow or allow entry into its territory in an irregular manner, much less in a violent manner," said Peña Nieto, underscoring the willingness to support migrants who wish to enter "respecting the law." "The violent entry into our country" undermines sovereignty and also poses a "risk to the migrants themselves, especially children, women and older adults," he said.

     The Mexican president considered the situation at the border crossing in Ciudad Hidalgo (Mexico) with Tecún Umán (Guatemala) "as something never seen before” when a group of migrants forced their entry into the country. Thousands of migrants from the caravan that left Honduras last Saturday forced the border fence from Guatemala and entered Mexico, where the security forces were initially overwhelmed by an unstoppable human river. After six days of travel, the caravan, which left San Pedro Sula (northern Honduras) with the goal of reaching the United States, made up of some 3,000 people, managed to reach Mexico, according to the news agency Efe. Once they managed to eliminate the obstacle posed by the border fence of the Guatemalan city of Tecún Umán, which remained open for approximately half an hour, the Hondurans entered forming a great flood, many of them running.

     This "numerous contingent", explained Peña Nieto, tried to enter "irregularly" assaulting and even injuring members of the federal police who "are unarmed" according to human rights protocols. The situation was contained by security members of Mexico, who were able to restore order, he said. Peña Nieto explained that the Mexican authorities informed the caravan that all persons wishing to enter could do so if they had travel documents and a visa granted by Mexico. They were also notified that they could individually request recognition as refugees, for which the support of the United Nations (UN) was requested, he said. The Mexican head of state confirmed that the ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs will maintain dialogue with the caravan in order to guarantee conditions of security and orderly migration, respecting the legal framework and human rights.

HOPE DOES NOT ABANDON MIGRANTS ON THE BORDER WITH MEXICO

       Mexico city, mexico   . --    --     There were thousands. They filled the half-kilometer bridge that connects Guatemala and Mexico on the Suchiate River. They pressed to cross and past noon on Friday an avalanche of men, women and children broke one of the border fences of the Guatemalan side and made its way through no man's land to the gates located on the Mexican side, where a strong contingent of policemen He restrained them with anti-riot equipment and tear gas. Of the more than 3,000 migrants who had gathered in the city of Tecún Umán, many of whom left a week ago from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, around 50 managed to pass to Mexico with the cry of "Yes, it could! , Yes it was possible! "Before the border was blocked.

      The tension lasted about two hours. In the afternoon, some retreated to Guatemalan territory for some food and others, tired of waiting, jumped from the bridge, about ten meters high, to the Suchiate, where the rafts that usually serve to cross the river helped them out of the water. Then began the step by droppers of those who asked for asylum while many were installed on the bridge under sheets or plastic to spend the night, with the firm hope to continue on their way but in the uncertainty of how to continue their journey In several interviews with Mexican television from Ciudad Hidalgo, the head of the Mexican Federal Police, Manelich Castilla, assured that his agents arrived at the crossroads with the objective of having the caravan's entry ordered, but they were attacked with "firecrackers" and "stones" by "other people" To the group.

     "If there is going to be an entry, it will be in the terms that have been said from the beginning: orderly, with established procedures; never by violence, nor by force as intended by a group of people, "he added. In a statement late in the evening, the Mexican government stressed that both the federal and immigration agents were unarmed. "I had not seen anything like it," Víctor Clark Alfaro, an academic from San Diego State University, told The Associated Press from Tijuana. "It's something unusual, because of the volume." The threats of US President Donald Trump, who said he would reduce aid to the Central American countries or block the border with Mexico and fill it with soldiers, were worth nothing. The men, women and children who fled poverty and violence were not willing to give up. "I want to get to the [United States] to cooperate with that country, to work in whatever, picking up trash," said Cristian, a 34-year-old Honduran cellphone repairman who did not want to reveal his last name because he was threatened by gangs. San Pedro Sula.

GUATEMALA HAS MOVED MORE THAN 1,900 MIGRANTS TO THE BORDER WITH HONDURAS

          TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS --    -- The Government of Guatemala informed on Saturday that more than 1,900 migrants who were trying to reach the United States on foot have been moved to the border with Honduras. The secretary of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, Sergio Cabañas, participates this Saturday in the meeting held by the presidents of Guatemala and Honduras, Jimmy Morales and Juan Orlando Hernández, respectively. He said, according to the Guatemalan Executive, that together with the Ministry of the Interior, the "safe return logistics" of Honduran migrants is coordinated, adding that up to now they have moved to the Honduran border to more than 1,900.

     "The safe return of Honduran migrants will be through the border port of El Corinto in coordination with Honduran immigration authorities," the government added without giving further details. The meeting between Morales and Hernandez began after 9.30 local time (15.30 GMT) and government officials from both countries participate in order to "generate the strategy and logistics to be implemented in the face of the current migrant problem". This meeting comes after a week ago, thousands of Honduran migrants,
     including women and children, left San Pedro Sula with the goal of reaching the United States.

Most of them arrived on Friday at Tecún Umán, a border point between Guatemala and Mexico, and although they tried to enter by force -according to the Mexican police- they blocked their way. This Saturday, they awoke on the bridge that separates both countries, a few tens managed to cross the Suchiate River on a raft and others crossed the fence that the Mexican police opened for a few minutes. The high temperatures and the sun that are registered in the area cause moments of tension and desperation among the group, which continues with its firm desire to reach the United States despite the threats of president Donald Trump, not to allow them the entry.

OCTOBER  20,  2018

U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO WELCOMES MEXICO-UN PLAN TO DEAL WITH MIGRANT CARAVAN AT MEXICO SOUTHERN BORDER

     Mexico city, mexico     ---     Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday night welcomed Mexico’s request for the U.N. refugee agency to help Mexican authorities deal with the “caravan” of some 4,000 Central American migrants trying to transit Mexico en route to the United States. In response to a plan to set up migrant processing centers along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, Pompeo, who was in Panama ahead of a visit to Mexico on Friday, said the U.S. was ready to help Mexico and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the effort. Earlier in the day, President Trump had urged Mexico in several tweets to “stop this onslaught,” warning that failure to do so would prompt him to deploy the U.S. military to close the U.S.-Mexico border.

     Then early evening, Trump linked to a video clip showing Mexican federal police arriving near the Mexico-Guatemala border, and tweeted, “Thank you Mexico, we look forward to working with you!” Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray met with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday afternoon and asked for UNHCR help in dealing with the thousands of Hondurans and others who have made their way through Guatemala on their northward journey. There was no public statement from the U.N. on the matter, but Mexico’s foreign ministry did issue one.

    “The purpose of this measure is to contribute to a humanitarian solution, in accordance with the legal framework, respectful of human rights, transparent, and with the assistance of the international community, through the corresponding bodies of the U.N.,” it said. The ministry said the plan also aimed to help protect migrants, especially women, children and the elderly, and to prevent them from being deceived by international criminal and trafficking gangs. Migrants in the caravan arriving at Mexico’s border “who enter the country irregularly” will be processed and returned to their country of origin. The ministry pointed out that Mexican legislation does not allow for migrants to be allowed entry for travel to a neighboring country if they do not meet the requirements for transit to that country.

VENEZUELA BOOTS ECUADORIAN TOP DIPLOMAT IN TIT-FOR-TAT

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA . --    --     The Venezuelan government declared on Thursday Ecuador’s charge d’affaires in Caracas a persona non grata in response to Quito’s decision to expel Venezuelan Ambassador Carol Delgado. Elizabeth Mendez has been given 72 hours to leave the country, the Venezuelan government said in a statement. The statement says that Venezuela was “forced to carry out the reciprocal measure” after its ambassador in Ecuador was expelled, while describing Quito’s decision as “an unprecedented act that threatens the historical brotherly relationship” between the two South American nations.

      Venezuela responded hours after Ecuador announced it had expelled Delgado due to remarks made by Venezuela’s information minister against Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. Ecuador “will not tolerate any show of disrespect against its authorities” the foreign ministry said in a statement announcing the expulsion of Venezuelan envoy Carol Delgado. Venezuela’s Jorge Rodriguez on Wednesday accused Moreno of lying after the Ecuadorian president claimed that 6,000 Venezuelan migrants were arriving each day in Ecuador due to the economic crisis in the oil-rich nation.

       “(Moreno) said that 6,000 sick Venezuelans were arriving in his country each day and that one million had already arrived, a figure that would only be possible if 140 buses left every day from Venezuela during the last seven years,” Jorge Rodriguez told a press conference. “He is a liar and he dared to lie from the United Nations’ podium, because that was what he was ordered to do to mount that fairy tale,” the Venezuelan minister said, referring to a speech delivered by Moreno at the UN General Assembly last month. Relations between the two South American nations have soured since Moreno was sworn in as president in May 2017, as he has assumed a more critical view toward Venezuela than his predecessor, Rafael Correa.

HONDURAS-GUATEMALA MIGRANT CARAVAN CLASHES WITH MEXICAN POLICE AFTER BREAKING GUATEMALA BORDER FENCE

          MEXICO CITY, MEXICO--    -- The head of Mexico’s federal police says the first two buses have arrived at the Mexico-Guatemala border crossing so that immigration officials can take women, children and seniors away to be processed safely Manelich Castilla tells Milenio TV it is part of their plan to process the 3,000 some migrants who are trying to enter Mexico from Guatemala. But at the bridge migrants, who have formed orderly lines, are refusing to board the buses fearing that they will simply be deported.Some are chanting “Walk! Walk!” insisting that they prefer to continue on foot. Manelich also blamed people who were not part of the caravan for attacking police with powerful firecrackers and rocks.

      Cristian, a 34-year-old cell phone repairman from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, says he wants to reach the U.S. to work. He declined to give his last name, because he was threatened by gang members who demanded he pay 2,000 lempiras, about $83, per month for protection. That would be about one fifth of his income. He closed his small business instead. He can’t support his four daughters on the $450 that he makes each month. Cristian, who is among the informal leaders of the caravan, estimated about 30 percent of the migrants want to apply for refugee status in Mexico. The rest want to reach the U.S. like him. “Honestly, I want to get to the states to contribute to that country, to do any kind of work, picking up garbage,” he said.
T
     he head of Mexico’s federal police says that they have achieved their first objective of preventing a violent breach of the border by some 3,000 migrants trying to enter from Guatemala. “It will be under the conditions that have been said since the start: orderly, with established procedures, never through violence nor by force,” Castilla said from the Mexican border town of Ciudad Hidalgo. Police deployed pepper spray after some migrants tried to push their way through the Mexican side. Some migrants are now forming lines on the bridge while others are sitting down and preparing for a long wait.

OCTOBER  19,  2018

PRESIDENT TRUMP TAKES AIM AT CUBA, HOLDS HAVANA RESPONSIBLE FOR VENEZUELAN CRISIS

      WASHINGTON, D.C.    ---     The White House plans to turn up the pressure on Cuba for its role in what a senior administration official on Wednesday said was its efforts to subvert democracy in Venezuela and propping up President Nicolas Maduro. A senior administration official said Maduro would be out of power if it wasn't for the Cuban intelligence operatives who help him control restless Venezuelans and block efforts to replace him. "The issue of Cuban involvement in Venezuela is a fact. It's not a theory," said the official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity per administration policy.

     President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, will unveil more details on the work of Cuban operatives in Venezuela, but the senior administration official said the United States plans to ratchet up its pressure on Cuba, especially the Cuban military that assists with Venezuela's intelligence and counterintelligence efforts.
The plans are just the latest example of how relations have cooled between the two former adversaries during the Trump administration after President Barack Obama and Cuban ruler Raul Castro sought to ease more than a half-century of hostility. Soon after taking power, Trump unveiled new Cuba regulations that made it more difficult to visit and do business in Cuba. Trump later kicked nearly two-thirds of Cuba's embassy personnel out of the United States and pulled many American diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Havana after learning of the bizarre sonic incidents that left more than two dozen Americans and U.S. personnel experiencing headaches, hearing loss, and other mysterious ailments in Cuba.

     Trump appeared to signal the new pressure campaign during his speech to world leaders last month at the United Nations General Assembly when announcing new sanctions against Venezuelan leaders, while blasting the Maduro government and "its Cuban sponsors" for bringing misery to the Venezuelan people. Cuba's new leader, Miguel Diaz-Canel, responded by charging that capitalism, and not socialism, increases inequality and poverty around the world. The senior administration official said Wednesday that the United States government will also put more pressure on regional leaders to hold the Cuban government responsible for its role helping Maduro hold onto power. The region already knows it, the official said, but that it now "needs to talk about it." "I have yet to meet a regional diplomat who, when I've asked whether the Maduro government could sustain itself in power without Cuban control would say 'yes,'" the official said. "That's a powerful statement."

LUIS ALMAGRO: 22 THOUSAND CUBANS HAVE INFILTRATED VENEZUELA, ESPECIALLY IN THE SEBIN

       WASHINGTON, D.C. --    --     Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), denounced on Tuesday before the UN, that Cuba exports "blatantly" its operative mechanics of repression to the continent. "It is estimated that at least 22,000 Cubans infiltrated the Venezuelan regime," the diplomat said.
 
      Almagro also denounced that they hold important positions in "several government agencies of Venezuela" specifically in the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin), the main apparatus "of fighting against internal enemies". He pointed out that Cubans "work hard" to keep the Maduro regime in power at the moment that Venezuela is experiencing the greatest humanitarian crisis it has ever experienced, with a shortage of "unprecedented" medicines and food.

      Almagro emphasized that Maduro continues to send millions of barrels of oil to Cuba, whom he indicated as political leaders of Nicolás; instead of investing resources in the population. He also highlighted the repression suffered by those who raise their voices against the policies imposed by the Venezuelan leader. "Maduro has put into practice a pattern of systematic abuse against those who dare to express an opinion contrary to that of the government (...) forced disappearances, secret detentions, torture, murders of demonstrators," the secretary general said.

PRESIDENT TRUMP THREATENS  TO CLOSE THE BORDER WITH MEXICO BECAUSE OF THE CARAVAN OF MIGRANTS

          Washington,  D.C.  --    -- President Donald Trump threatened on Thursday to close the US-Mexico border if Mexico does not impede the flow of migrants from Central America, at a time when a caravan of thousands of Hondurans is moving north. "I must, in the strongest terms, ask Mexico to stop this advance, and if it fails to do so, I will call the military and I WILL CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!" He tweeted. The threat comes less than three weeks after mid-term elections in which Republicans risk losing the majority in Congress. "I see the attack led by the Democratic Party (because they want open borders and the weak existing laws) against our country of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders do little to stop this great flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS," Trump said. .

On Tuesday, Trump threatened the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to end the financial aid that Washington grants them, if they do not stop the caravan. "In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must ask Mexico to stop this advance, and if it fails to do so, I will call the military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!" Trump. Trump also said that this issue is much more important to him as president than the new agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada (AMEUC).
The comments also come at a time when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing to visit Panama on Thursday and Mexico on Friday. The caravan departed Saturday from San Pedro Sula, in northern Honduras, after a call made by social networks. The Guatemalan authorities do not have a record of the Hondurans who have passed through the border in the caravan, but about 3,000 migrants had been cared for in the refuge run by the Catholic Church's Human Mobility Pastoral. In this context, the foreign ministers and deputy foreign ministers of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador met on Wednesday in Tegucigalpa to analyze the migration crisis, with the participation of a special envoy of the elect president of Mexico, Manuel López Obrador.

OCTOBER  18,  2018

COSTA RICA JOINED INITIATIVE OF OTHER SIX COUNTRIES FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT TO INVESTIGATE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN VENEZUELA

      SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA  ---      The Government of Costa Rica announced on Wednesday that it supports an initiative of six American countries that asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged crimes against humanity in Venezuela. The president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, said Wednesday in a statement that "in pursuit of its historic fight against impunity, Costa Rica supports the efforts" before the ICC initiated last September by Argentina, Peru, Canada, Paraguay, Chile and Colombia. On September 25, the foreign ministers of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Canada presented on the occasion of the UN General Assembly a letter stamped by the leaders of their respective countries requesting the ICC to investigate alleged crimes against humanity. humanity in Venezuela during the Government of Nicolás Maduro.

      The ICC Prosecutor's Office had already begun, on its own initiative, a preliminary examination of Venezuela last February, a step prior to the eventual opening of a formal investigation. The Costa Rican government said in a statement that the decision to support the initiative before the ICC is consistent with its "traditional defense for the promotion and protection of human rights, peace and democracy." "Costa Rica trusts in the independence of the Court that, as a permanent institution of international criminal justice, will make the necessary examination and take the measures that merit this situation, and reiterates its unrestricted support for international criminal justice," the statement said.

The Government of Costa Rica also called on the Venezuelan authorities to "comply with the international obligations acquired by accessing the international legal instruments of Human Rights, so that fundamental freedoms are respected, political prisoners are released and end to impunity. " According to EFE, Costa Rica also reiterated its commitment to collaborate with the ICC and announced that it will continue to use multilateral forums and diplomatic channels to "contribute to overcoming the serious crisis that Venezuela is experiencing, through a peaceful and negotiated solution, in the framework of International Law ".

US CONDITIONS A TRUMP-MADURO MEETING TO DEMOCRATIC STEPS TAKEN BY THE VENEZUELA'S DICTATOR

       WASHINGTON, D.C. --    --      On Wednesday, the United States conditioned any meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Venezuelan DICTATOR, Nicolás Maduro, to Venezuelan government "active steps towards the restoration of democracy in the country." "If the Venezuelan government wants to talk and talk with the United States Government, it needs to show tangibly democratic steps and reforms," said a senior US official, who requested anonymity, in a meeting with a small group of media. Venezuela should "show that what they really want is to have a serious conversation, with solutions, towards the restoration of democracy in Venezuela," the source added.

     The official responded to a question about whether a meeting between Trump and Maduro is still possible, given that both did not finally meet in New York for the UN General Assembly. On September 26, Trump said he was "open" to meet with Maduro if both agreed that day in New York, but the White House ruled out that possibility a few hours later. In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Maduro was willing to talk with Trump "with the agenda open and all the issues that the US government wants to talk about. with frankness, with sincerity ". Asked about it two days later, Trump avoided repeating his offer to meet Maduro, and simply said: "We'll see what happens."

     The new statements of the US official return to the US to its position before the General Assembly, since, for months, the White House rejected any direct dialogue between the presidents of both countries until "democracy is restored" in the Caribbean State. The official insisted that the gestures that Maduro should adopt can not be "simply distractions" to "spend time and stay in power," but should implement "several democratic measures." The source said that the Venezuelan government has benefited from the talks "led by former Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero", which, in his opinion, consisted of "speaking for the sake of speaking and without truly proposing and acting on democratic reforms."

VENEZUELAN VICE PRESIDENT, TAREK EL AISSAMI, DECLARES: WE SHOULD STOP EXCUSING OURSELVES WITH THE "ECONOMIC WAR"

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --    --   Venezuela’s Vice President for the Economy, Tarek El Aissami, proposed Tuesday that the Nicolas Maduro regime abandon its foundation: “Guerra Economica”, the supposed economic warfare THAT DICTATOR nICOLAS MADURO AFFIRMS THE USA AND ITS ALLIES ARE WAGING AGAINST HIS COUNTRY in a supposed effort to unseat HIM and his cronies. El Aissami’s statement to an auditorium full of pro-Maduro state governors and other government officials comes after a blackout affected 13 out of 23 states between Monday night and Tuesday morning and while the Bolivar Soberano plummeted Tuesday to record lows against the U.S. Dollar in the black market of BsS200 to the dollar, less than two months after it was re-booted at BsS60 to the dollar with the adoption of a slew of new and badly-received emergency economic measures that were meant to, among other things, stop the Bolivar from declining any further.

     “We should stop excusing ourselves with the economic war and build our destiny” is what El Aissami said during a televised live address Tuesday afternoon. El Aissami promised that the government was going to auction off 2 billion Euro in the open market in what he described as an effort to tame the runaway dollar and foster local production of goods and services. Still operating under hard currency exchange controls imposed in 2003, 2 billion Euro would be more money than the Maduro regime has sold in the open market in total since it first came to power in 2013.

     El Aissami wants Maduro to just drop, is much more than the government’s go-to excuse to justify and/or explain away for everything from hyperinflation to violent street protests since 2014: it is the foundation of extraordinary laws to run the country by decree, for arresting 300 business owners and their employees in early August; the reason to carry out expropriations of business large (the local units of Kellogg's to Kimberly-Clarke, for instance) and small, as well as the imposition of thousands of fines and similar penalties on business owners and every-day Venezuelans. Be that as it may, the market was clearly not impressed by El Aissami’s 2 billion Euro offer: the US dollar rose to Bs S 206-plus Tuesday, according to @MonitorDolarVe. Renouncing economic warfare, it seems, will take more than just the promise of selling 2 billion Euro in the open market.

OCTOBER  17,  2018

PRESIDENT TRUMP THREATENS TO CUT U.S. ECONOMIC AID  TO HONDURAS OVER MIGRANT CARAVAN HEADING TO THE USA

      WASHINGTON, D.C.    ---      - U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to withdraw funding and aid from Honduras if it does not stop a caravan of people that is heading to the United States, in his latest effort to show his administration’s tough stance on immigration. Up to 3,000 migrants crossed from Honduras into Guatemala on Monday on a trek northward, after a standoff with police in riot gear and warnings from Washington that migrants should not try to enter the United States illegally. “The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” Trump said on Twitter.

      It was not clear how Honduras would be able to exercise control over people who had already left the country. The crowd more than doubled in size from Saturday, when some 1,300 people set off from northern Honduras in what has been dubbed “March of the Migrant,” an organizer said. The migrants plan to seek refugee status in Mexico or pass through to the United States, saying they are fleeing poverty and drug-fueled violence in their countries. Reuters could not independently verify the number of participants, but images showed a group carrying backpacks and clogging roads near the border, some waving the Honduran flag.

     The impoverished nations of Central America, from which thousands of migrants have fled in recent years, are under mounting pressure from Trump’s administration to do more to curb mass migration. Guatemala said in a statement on Sunday that it did not promote or endorse “irregular migration.” Guatemalan police initially blocked migrants from reaching a customs booth, Reuters images showed. The group was ultimately able to cross, said march organizer Bartolo Fuentes, a former Honduran lawmaker. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said last month cuts in U.S. support for Central America would hinder efforts to stem illegal immigration as he welcomed China’s growing diplomatic presence in the region as an “opportunity.”

FORMER SPAIN PRESIDENT JOSE MARIA AZNAR SAID IN BOGOTA THAT THE POLITICAL CRISIS IN VENEZUELA WILL NOT BE RESOLVED BY ANOTHER DIALOGUE

       BOGOTA, COLOMBIA --    --      The former president of the Spanish Government José María Aznar said Tuesday in Bogota that the crisis in Venezuela is not resolved by dialogue and that he expects his country to support the lawsuit filed against President Nicolás Maduro before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for human rights violations. humans. Aznar was received in private today at the Casa de Nariño, seat of the Executive, by the Colombian president, Iván Duque, with whom he then gave a statement to the press in which they referred to Venezuela and the peace process in Colombia.

       "The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is brutal, it is tremendous, and that in my opinion is not solved by any kind of political dialogue that is absolutely counterproductive," Aznar said, referring to recent comments by the Spanish government criticized by the opposition of the Caribbean country. The Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, Juan Pablo de Laiglesia, said Monday in Madrid that the conflicts in Venezuela will be solved "through dialogue" and not by "imposition". "We are convinced that the solution lies in a democratic and peaceful dialogue among Venezuelan citizens," De Laiglesia said at the seminar "Dialogues with Latin America," held at Casa América.

     Immediately, leaders of the Venezuelan opposition criticized the alleged efforts of Spanish officials to reactivate a dialogue table with the government of President Nicolás Maduro. "This turnaround in the foreign policy of the Spanish Government is surprising and very painful," María Corina Machado, leader of the opposition platform Soy Venezuela, said on Monday when she delivered a document to the Spanish embassy in Caracas. Aznar also referred to the letter signed on September 25 by the foreign ministers of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Canada, to which France later joined, in which its leaders asked the ICC to investigate alleged crimes of humanity in Venezuela.

VENEZUELAN SUPREME COURT OF JUSTICE IN EXILE BELIEVES THAT THEIR COUNTRY IS CLOSE TO A TRANSITION

       WASHINGTON. D.C.    --    --      The president of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) of Venezuela "in exile", Miguel Angel Martin, said on Tuesday that his country is "close to a transition" because, he said, both the international community and Venezuelans know that Nicolás Maduro He is not a "legal" president. The magistrate, who is visiting Chile, added that Maduro "does not represent Venezuelans nor will he solve the problems of the people." Martin met in Santiago with Chile's Foreign Minister, Roberto Ampuero, and with the president of the Chilean Supreme Court, Haroldo Brito.

     The magistrate was accompanied by other judges of the "legitimate" TSJ, as this judicial body is composed of magistrates appointed by the Parliament, with an opposition majority. Martin said that the role of the international community is "extremely important" for the future of the Venezuelan crisis because the application of international law can achieve the "termination of the regime" of Maduro. In this regard, he noted that the Venezuelan Government has carried out "criminal activities involving several countries," which gives rise to request that the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime be activated.

      Last August, the TSJ "in exile" sentenced Maduro in absentia for corruption to 18 years and three months in prison in a case with the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. The president of the TSJ in exile today conveyed to the Chilean chancellor his gratitude for the reception that the austral country has given to thousands of Venezuelans who have fled their country in recent years and asked for help to alleviate the serious crisis in Venezuela. "What Venezuela is suffering is a demented hunger, there is no food, there are no medicines, there is no State of right, there is no justice and we need the international community, as well as the press, so that this issue does not fall asleep," he said.

OCTOBER  16,  2018

EUROPEAN UNION WILL NOT LIGHTEN POSITION ON BOLIVARIAN GOVERNMENT

      BRUSSELS, BELGIUM  ---      -The European Union (EU) is considering creating a "contact group" to "facilitate" a political solution in Venezuela, said on Monday the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, stating that its policy of sanctions against Venezuelan officials remains unchanged . "We will explore the possibility of establishing a contact group to see if the conditions exist to facilitate (...) a political process," Mogherini said at a press conference after discussing the situation in the country with European foreign ministers in Luxembourg. The objective would be to find a way "to be in contact with different parties", both the government of President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition, "involving some regional and international actors," the former Italian foreign minister said, summarizing the discussion.

      The EU imposed in the last year sanctions against Venezuela, a country mired in a political, economic and humanitarian crisis, to undermine, in its view, democracy, the rule of law and human rights. In addition to adopting an arms embargo, the bloc imposed a visa ban and the freezing of assets for 18 European officials, including Vice President Delcy Rodríguez, although it does not sanction Maduro, as Washington did, to maintain communication channels. Since June, when they sanctioned a group of 11 senior officials, the EU significantly modified its hard-line position, advocating dialogue, just after the arrival of a new government in Spain led by the socialist Pedro Sánchez.

    The head of European diplomacy said however that the foreign ministers reaffirmed the "hard position on the political crisis" in the Latin American country. "The EU does not intend to soften its position in any way," he added. "The solution has to remain an agreement between Venezuelans through a democratic process," Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told reporters at the meeting, who ruled out that it was "due to military intervention." In Madrid, the Spanish Secretary of State for Ibero-America, Juan Pablo de Laiglesia, who made the visit to Venezuela, explained that Spain seeks to "facilitate dialogue between the government and the opposition", since they are "the ones who have to say what do they want to talk about, when? ", etc. The sanctions policy "is not having the positive (...) and rapid impact" expected by those who advocate these measures since it lacks the "complement" of "achieving an objective and setting the two sides to negotiate," de Laiglesia added.

JOSEP BORRELL: NO ONE HAS SPOKEN OF MODIFYING SANCTIONS AGAINST VENEZUELA

       MADRID, SPAIN . --    --      The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said today that neither Spain nor any country in the European Union (EU) have "talked about modifying sanctions in Venezuela", and that the Spanish position opts to "facilitate dialogue" to achieve " a solution "in the country, but without eliminating current sanctions. "Nobody has spoken of modifying the sanctions in Venezuela. We have talked about trying to explore the means by which a dialogue can be facilitated, that by the way all Venezuelans say that the solution has to come out of a political dialogue, "Borrell told Efe upon his arrival to the Council of Foreign Ministers celebrated today in Luxembourg. In this meeting, the ministers will return to address the crisis in Venezuela, with special attention to the impact for the region of the departure of millions of Venezuelans but without contemplating new sanctions against the Government of Nicolás Maduro. The matter will be discussed at the request of Spain, among other countries, said Borrell.

      The minister clarified that Spain "is not going to present any proposal" in this regard, but has asked "to discuss the issue." "But we have not asked for it only, other countries have asked for it," he clarified, adding that after the debate, the High Representative of the European Union (EU), Federica Mogherini, will make a proposal. The ministers will talk about the "deterioration" of the situation in Venezuela and the confrontation with the opposition and will focus on how the EU and its member states can reopen the way for a political process in the country, together with regional and international actors. "The position of Spain is the same as that of the high representative: there can not be a solution that goes through military intervention.

     The solution has to always come out through an agreement between Venezuelans, through a democratic process, it is the first thing that we Europeans have to make clear, "he added. Borrell said that European ministers will talk about "mediation", but "it is not about mediation but about facilitating dialogue, to see if it is possible to find a solution that does not result in a dramatic evolution of the situation that Venezuela is experiencing." The EU has sanctioned 18 people who believe they have violated democratic principles and the rule of law and are responsible for "serious human rights violations". Brussels has forbidden them to travel to their territory and has frozen assets they may have on European soil.

PRESIDENT OF CHILE STUDIES TO VISIT VENEZUELA TO LOOKE FOR WAYS OUNT OF THE COUNTRY SITUATION

       SANTIAGO, CHILE   --    --     Chilean President Sebastián Piñera admitted that he would like to visit Venezuela to seek solutions to the political and economic crisis affecting the nation, this was said in an interview published Monday by the local newspaper La Tercera. The center-right leader assured that the situation that Venezuela is going through must call on the countries of the region to generate new instances to find a solution.

      "If a visit of mine were useful to help the Venezuelan people to regain their freedom and democracy, I would do it without a doubt, " Piñera said. He added that this possibility "is under study" and that they want to "talk within the framework of the Lima Group."Piñera reaffirmed his commitment to exercise all the actions that allow recovering the rule of law in the Caribbean nation, but emphasized that the "military alternative is a bad option to help Venezuela."

      Some of the countries of the Lima Group, including the Chilean government, requested last month, within the framework of the United Nations Assembly, that the International Criminal Court investigate alleged abuses of the Venezuelan Government to human rights for the use of force to repress the opposition, according to Reuters. The Chilean president added that the crisis in Venezuela was a recurring theme in his recent tour of Europe. In this context, Piñera recalled that in his meeting with Pope Francis, in the Vatican, this matter was also addressed. "We fully agree with the Pope on the importance of doing everything in our power so that the Venezuelan people can regain their freedom," the president said.

OCTOBER  15,  2018

STATEMENT BY U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY STEVEN T. MUNCHIN FOLLOWING THE FOURTH FINANCE MINISTERS' ON VENEZUELA

      BALI, INDONESIA ---      -U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement following the fourth finance ministers’ meeting on Venezuela: “I welcomed colleagues from the Western Hemisphere, Europe, and Japan for our fourth meeting on the crisis in Venezuela. The policies of the regime of President Maduro have led to a collapse of the Venezuelan economy and created enormous suffering for the Venezuelan people. These policies are also creating increasing costs to Venezuela’s neighbors, threatening regional stability and security. We agreed to continue our efforts to confront the challenges posed by the regime, including supporting the Venezuelan people; reinforcing diplomatic and financial pressure on the Maduro regime; and protecting our financial systems from illicit and corrupt financial flows coming from Venezuela.

      “We call on all countries which have been lending to the Maduro regime to support full transparency and fully disclose the terms and collateral demanded of the Venezuelan people. “Ministers shared information on our joint efforts to dismantle the corrupt networks of Maduro regime insiders who enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary Venezuelans. The group discussed in detail the losses being inflicted on the Venezuelan people by the stripping of gold-bearing ore, the dumping of toxic mercury, and the secretive sale of the resources of the Venezuelan people to fill the coffers of Maduro’s financial enablers. “The humanitarian crisis has worsened, driving more than 2.6million Venezuelans to flee to neighboring countries since 2017.

      Even as the Maduro regime continues to refuse offers of international humanitarian aid, the United States has led in providing humanitarian funding to support migrating Venezuelans and the countries hosting them. Ministers agreed to work together to mobilize additional resources for this crisis. “Every year that Maduro’s destructive policies are in place, Venezuela is losing more of its people, more of its economic capacity, and more of its institutional integrity – making the ability of Venezuela to recover economically from this disaster increasingly difficult and costly. The United States and its partners stand ready to support the Venezuelan people in their struggle to return to safety, stability, and prosperity.” The following countries were represented at the meeting: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Guyana, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

NICARAGUA POLICE ARRESTED 20, USE STUN GRENADES  TO END ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATIONS

       MANAGUA, NICARAGUA . --    --      Some 20 protesters were arrested Sunday when Nicaraguan police swooped in to break up a meeting of demonstrators gathering for a protest march against the government of President Daniel Ortega. Police wielded clubs and hurled stun grenades to break up the demonstrators gathering at a shopping mall parking lot, beating men, women and even some elderly people. Those arrested were beaten and dragged down the street to be later loaded onto police patrol vehicles. Some reporters were also beaten and briefly detained, local independent reporters said. "They respect no one, not even older people or children," said Azhalea Solis, head of the Civic Alliance, an umbrella group that represents business people, students and social groups.

      Police had earlier announced that they would not allow any unauthorized demonstrations. Hundreds of anti-riot police officers were deployed early in the day to key points of the capital Managua as well as to the highway to the restive city of Masaya. Government supporters took over city roundabouts where protesters had planned to gather. Anti-government demonstrations began on April 18, initially protesting changes in the social security system. Since then the demonstrations have grown in size and the protestors are calling for the resignation of Ortega and his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo.

      Government supporters occupied the roundabouts, according to official voices to honor the legacy of Archbishop Óscar Romero, canonized this Sunday by Pope Franc "We are not going to ask permission to leave (...) We have seen that it is the police and the paramilitaries that they do vandalism to blame protesters, "said the leader of the Broad Front for Democracy (FAD), Violeta Granera. "How sad and outrageous that acts of repression of the Police against the population that is peacefully demonstrating occur again today in Nicaragua. Repression is not the solution!

THE HYPERINFLATION DEVOURS DOLLARS AND EUROS, ANT IT LEAVES ALMOST USELESS THE INCOME IN BOLIVARS

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --    --     The hyperinflationary process that Venezuela suffers, and that left almost useless the income in the local currency, the bolivar, has now begun to devour the dollars and euros that many families receive through remittances and payments for jobs in these "hard currencies", another fact that confirms the severe crisis in the country. In the streets of the country there is talk of "inflation in dollars" and the decreasing performance of currencies to pay the average expenses of families that receive small incomes in foreign currency, as it has been for a couple of years, when $ 100 was enough to pay, at least, the basic monthly food purchase.

     The young man left Venezuela three years ago partly because of the crisis and partly to study a master's degree in business planning in Spain and, after the deepening crisis in his country, he began to send monthly shipments of 50 euros to his family, an amount that has had to raise to 70 in recent months. Although this remittance of 70 euros represents the official exchange about 5,080 bolivares -the figure almost triples with the rate of the parallel market-, a value close to three minimum wages, the money barely enough to buy food, according to Cisneros told Efe. The same "inflation in dollars" affected the family of the Venezuelan journalist Ramón Ballester, who now works in a hotel in the United States and went from sending his family 100 to 140 dollars per month -8,800 bolivars or almost 5 minimum wages-, a money that is only used to cover medical bills.

     The deep decline of the economy in Venezuela led to an exodus estimated by the UN at around 2.3 million people, although the government of Nicolás Maduro insists on denying what some countries in the region describe as a crisis of Venezuelan migrants. These migrants sent about 3,000 million dollars in remittances to Venezuela in 2017, according to some independent estimates, and the figure is expected to increase by the end of this year. Although individual shipments used to be between 50 and 100 dollars per month, Venezuelan economist Jesús Casique warns that at present, at least $ 200 per person is needed to cover basic expenses, provided that the type of service is taken into account. official exchange that stands at 62.88 bolivares per US currency.

OCTOBER  14,  2018

COLOMBIA SAYS WORLD  MUST ACT TO END VENEZUELA DICTATORSHIP

      BOGOTA, COLOMBIA-      - Colombian President Iván Duque called on the world to take decisive action to end the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, saying “the end of the dictatorship, the return of democracy and outright freedom is the only possible path” for the country. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Duque said Latin America needed the world’s help to deal with the estimated 1.6 million Venezuelans who have fled the country since 2015 — many of them to neighboring Colombia.

     While Turkey has received about 3.5 million Syrian refugees — or about 600,000 per year for the last six years — Colombia “in less than two years has opened its doors to almost 1 million Venezuelans,” Duque said. “The world must act and come together so that this tragic exodus comes to an end and so that hope can flower again [in Venezuela],” he said. “The international community should ask for the release of all political prisoners and should quickly identify the best solutions for this crisis,” he said. Among the solutions, he said, is the establishment of a multinational fund to support the countries that are absorbing the migrants. The United States has pledged more than $95 million in humanitarian assistance for Venezuelan migrants since July 2016.

      The comments come as the Venezuelan crisis has taken center stage at the U.N. meeting. For the last two days, President Donald Trump has suggested that military intervention may be necessary to resolve the humanitarian crisis. Recently, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned four more Venezuelan officials, including Venezuela’s first lady, Cilia Flores. Colombia has many of its own problems, including a spike in coca crops, the resurgence of guerrilla groups and the assassination of human rights leaders and community organizers. But it remains one of the United States’ strongest allies in the region and has been seen by Washington as a bulwark containing the Venezuelan crisis.

TENSIONS RISE BETWEEN COLOMBIA, US AND VENEZUELA AMID RUMORS OF A MILITARY INTERVENTION

       WASHINGTON, D.C. --    --      Colombia’s new president Ivan Duque has begun his tenure facing a number of significant challenges. He must manage the 2016 peace deal achieved by his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos, which he believes lets some former Farc guerillas off too lightly. He must battle drug production, which has been rising since the end of the armed conflict. And he must manage the desperate humanitarian and political crisis that is seeping across the border from neighbouring Venezuela. Thanks to Santos’s peace diplomacy, which helped bring to an end five decades of fighting, Colombia now has the opportunity to open up and expand its foreign policy approach. Duque could now develop a more amicable and positive vision that enables him to establish agreements on social, political, economic and humanitarian issues with countries around the world.

     Consequently, Duque’s foreign policy approach is being closely monitored – particularly how it tallies with that of the Trump administration in the US. Closer ties between the US and Colombia were evident during Duque’s intervention at the United Nations General Assembly and his encounter with president Donald Trump, where both drug trafficking and the Venezuelan crisis were discussed. President Duque’s intervention insisted on the need to combat drug trafficking as a global threat, the need to combat the evident increase in illicit crop plantations, his commitment to fighting corruption, and the need to work with the international community in dealing with the most difficult migratory and humanitarian problem in the region: the Venezuelan crisis.

     But Maduro has contested the US sanctions imposed on his wife, and challenged Duque to a televised debate (to be broadcast both in Colombia and Venezuela) to discuss the range of issues affecting bilateral relations – an invitation rejected by Duque, who deemed it a mere electoral stunt. Maduro has also deployed Venezuelan troops along the Colombian border, justifying these troop movements as a strategy for combating illegal drug networks located along the border, an act interpreted by both Trump and Duque as intimidation. Although international pressure is a useful instrument for weakening Maduro’s administration, the ongoing and escalating verbal clashes between the three presidents is a dangerous strategy.

DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO'S FOREIGN MINISTER AFIRMA THAT "FROM THE USA THEY ARE STILL OBSESSED WITH INTERVENING IN VENEZUELA"

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --    --     On Saturday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, Jorge Arreaza, rejected the statements that resulted from a forum this Friday in Washington organized by the Center for International Strategic Studies (CSIS). At the meeting, the former undersecretary of State for International Drug Affairs of the United States (USA), William Brownfield, said that perhaps the only way that exists for the situation in Venezuela is through "a total restructuring of the government, which would be the equivalent to a regime change ". He also added that both the US and the region must understand that the resolution of the Venezuela issue requires a "punishment" that will affect the population,

     In that sense, Juan Zarate, Senior Advisor in CSIS and former official in previous governments of the US stressed that a similar outcome will only come when the international community applies maximum political, diplomatic and economic pressure against the government of Nicolás Maduro, which would include tthe oil exports of the country, something that the US has not done because it depends on them and because it does not want to cause more damage to the Venezuelan population, said Zarate. The two agreed that the international community will have to play an important role, not only as a catalyst for that change, but also in what will continue once they achieve the exit from power of the current Government; especially with economic support and support in the reconstruction of the institutions.

     Arreaza assured through his Twitter account that "from the USA they are still obsessed with intervening Venezuela", and in the CSIS Americas (Center for Strategic and International Studies Americas Program), "plan actions for an alleged" Day Then, "disguising with academic air a vulgar blow to democracy to seize natural resources and distort the will of the Venezuelan people." At the same time, he denounced that both US representatives act as "crime planners", and that his statements "openly acknowledge that PETROLEUM is the factor that makes Venezuela a target of these aggressions." PDVSA and CITGO are "vital" to its such "Day After." It is clear what the final evil objective is, "he added.


OCTOBER  13,  2018

US HOSPITAL SHIP  COMFORT SAILED THIS OCTOBER 10 TO CARRY OUT A HEALTH AND HUMANITARIAN MISSION FOR VENEZUELAN MIGRANTS

      NORFOLK, VIRGINIA --      - The USNS Comfort ship of the United States Navy departed this Thursday from the Naval Station of Norfolk, Virginia, to carry out a health care mission that will last eleven weeks, working in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras. The ship's medical staff will provide free medical attention in the Ecuadorian city of Esmeraldas -the first stop- between October 22 and 26. In a statement, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Defense recalled that between October and December of this year, the Comfort will provide medical services to countries of Central and South America within the "Lasting Promise Program" of the Southern Command of the United States.

     During the five days in Ecuador, 100 surgical interventions will be carried out on the vessel, exclusively programmed previously, with the support of the Ministry of Public Health of Ecuador. Argentina was invited by the United States, through the White Helmets Commission, to be part of the humanitarian initiative in response to the critical situation experienced by Venezuelan migrants in the region. The mission, which will have the cooperation of the White Helmets Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina, was designed with the aim of relieving pressure on the medical systems of the host countries of the flow of Venezuelan migrants, who escape the humanitarian crisis that plagues that country.

     Cascos Blancos reported that it joined this initiative by providing a voluntary body of health personnel with extensive experience and technical qualification for this type of operation. Five health professionals who will work integrated into the multidisciplinary body that the United States has assigned to it will be part of the first phase of this mission. Ambassador Alejandro Daneri, president of White Helmets, present in the city of Norfolk, said: "In the soul of White Helmets there is humanitarianism and help to others; and the spirit of our volunteers is what moves us to that task continuously. Today we do it in favor of the Venezuelan migrants, collaborating with the United States to alleviate the needs for which the migrants are going through.”

BRAZILIAN DOCTORS PROTEST AGAINST THE ARRIVAL OF NEW CUBAN COLLEAGUES

       BRASILIA, BRAZIL --    --      A victory by Jair Bolsonaro in the second round of the Brazilian presidential election could endanger the Más Médicos (More Doctors) program, which currently staffs 8,500 professionals from the island, and constitutes a significant source of revenue for the Cuban government. During a campaign event in the state of São Paulo last August, the Liberal Social Party’s (PSL) candidate for the presidency said he was going to "expel" Cuban doctors from Brazil.

      "Any foreigner who comes to work here in the field of Medicine has to pass the revalidation exam. We cannot be hiring people from Cuba without, at least, verifying that they really know how to do their jobs profession," said Bolsonaro, referring to the national exam for the revalidation of medical degrees issued by foreign institutions of higher learning. It is not the first time that Bolsonaro has mentioned the issue. At the end of 2017 he tweeted: "The Federal Supreme Court decided to keep Más Médicos. In practice this represents more than 1.3 billion for the Cuban dictatorship, to maintain agents in our country who have not demonstrated their capacity and aptitude, while our doctors are neglected and can't work."

     Shortly before, in response to a complaint filed by the Brazilian Medical Association, the Federal Supreme Court (TSF) approved the Más Médicos program, considering it in accordance with the Constitution, even though it exempts those working under its umbrella from having to revalidate their degrees in Brazil, and allows, as in the case of Cubans, the hiring of doctors for lower-than-average salaries, with most of the money going to the island's government, to the detriment of its professionals. The remuneration, over $3,000, does not go directly to the Cuban doctors, but rather to the Government of Cuba, which keeps 75% of it.

OIL PRODUCTION IN VENEZUELA CONTINUED TO FALL IN SEPTEMBER

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --    --     OPEC has just published the Monthly Bulletin of the Oil Market corresponding to October 2018, in which it shows the continuous fall of the production of the state oil company PDVSA, standing at 1.197 million barrels per day (bpd) last September, according to its independent or secondary sources. A reduction of 42 thousand bpd (3.39%) with respect to August. In 9 months, Venezuela loses 548 thousand bpd, an accumulated fall equivalent to 21%, which in terms of income to the PDVSA box represents $ 1,038 billion. According to the direct communication with the Ministry of Petroleum, the production of Venezuela fell 14 thousand bpd, standing at 1,434 million bpd If Venezuela maintains this level of production, the year-on-year fall will be at 40% in December. In addition, Venezuela produced 733 thousand bpd due to a drop in the OPEC quota of 1.97 million bpd.

      According to executive director of Inter-American Trends, Antonio de la Cruz, " the sustained fall of oil production in Venezuela is unstoppable under the administration of Nicolás Maduro and Manuel Quevedo. If this trend continues, Venezuela will see its production drop to 1 million barrels by the end of the year . " In addition, the executive director of Inter-American Trends added that in September "Venezuela exported to the US. the largest volume of crude, 564 thousand bpd, according to the US Energy Information Agency. An increase of 93 thousand bpd compared to the previous month. The company Baker Hughes reports in its report " International Rig Count " in September that the drilling activity in Venezuela decreased 2 drills. Of the 25 drilling platforms, 22 on land and 1 on the coast were associated with oil production, and 1 in the gas area.

     Regarding the price of a barrel of Venezuelan oil, OPEC indicated that the Merey-type crude oil (Venezuelan marker) was at $ 69.31 for the month of September, an increase of 2.9% with respect to the previous month. In 2018, the average price of Merey crude, the Venezuelan basket marker, was $ 64.38, an increase of $ 18.91 per barrel compared to 2107. An effect that is not observed in PDVSA's cash flow due to the fall sustained production. Additionally, OPEC pointed out that demand for refined petroleum products continued to fall in Venezuela in July 2018, with a 10.7% year-on-year decrease due to the collapse of diesel and gasoline consumption. According to engineer Nelson Hernández, the consumption level of 1976 was 120,000 bpd.

OCTOBER  12,  2018

OPPOSITION COUNCILMAN WHO DIED WHILE IN VENEZUELA STATE CUSTODY WAS BURIED

      CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --      - Councilman Fernando Alban was buried on Wednesday in a cemetery in eastern Caracas, two days after Venezuelan prosecutors reported that he had committed suicide by jumping off the 10th floor of the police station where he was being held, a version of events rejected by the opposition, who claims he was murdered. Hundreds of people attended the funeral services on Wednesday at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and later accompanied the casket in a funeral procession and caravan that wended its way through several Caracas neighborhoods until it arrived at the cemetery. Relatives of Alban, along with friends, supporters, lawmakers, colleagues and fellow members of the Primero Justicia (PJ) party, arrived at the gravesite for the burial, throwing flowers, caps and flags onto the casket – which was always kept closed.

       Several of those present, including the parents of the deceased, wept openly and the crowd sang the Venezuelan national anthem to bid farewell to Alban. “Thanks to all those who were with us on such a sad day. Fernando’s departure is a loss for all Venezuela...” read a message posted on Alban’s Twitter account, which is being managed by his relatives. Opposition leaders question the government’s claim that Alban committed suicide and say that this was “faked” to “hide signs of torture” that, they say, resulted in the politician’s death. The United Nations, the European Union, the Catholic Church, political parties, human rights organizations and several governments have asked the Nicolas Maduro government for an independent investigation to clarify the matter and determine responsibility for Alban’s death.
     
     Alban was arrested Friday at Maiquetia International Airport outside Caracas, after returning from the United States, as a suspect in the failed assassination attempt targeting President Nicolas Maduro last Aug. 4. According to a statement by Attorney General Tarek Saab, the councilman committed suicide by throwing himself off the 10th floor a police station when he was about to be taken to court. However, the councilman’s PJ party, to which two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles belongs, said the politician was “murdered by the Nicolas Maduro regime” and demanded to know “the truth” about what occurred.

USAID: EXODUS OF VENEZUELANS MAY HAVE "DEVASTATING" EFFECT ON THE REGION

       WASHINGTON, D.C.  --    --      The director of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID by its acronym in English, Mark Green, says the exodus of people fleeing Venezuela can be "devastating" for the region and said the United States is doing everything possible to help receiving countries. In an interview with Voice of America , Green lamented on Wednesday that President Nicolás Maduro does not recognize the magnitude of the economic crisis that the rich oil nation is going through, nor admit that a mass exodus is in progress. Green also warned what this massive exit of Venezuelans who flee in the midst of a shortage of basic products such as food and medicine to neighboring countries, many of them without resources, means.

     "Venezuelans fleeing from Maduro represent the largest wave of immigration in the Western Hemisphere, going to countries with relatively fragile economies, which will have a devastating effect if we do not change it and of course it is a product of man, of the regime" , He said. The Maduro government does not disclose figures of the exodus, but the UN estimates that some two million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015. "It's a terrible situation, Venezuela, a country that should be a more contributor (...) that should be helping, is causing all kinds of problems," said Green. Colombia, for example, maintains that it has legalized more than 800,000 Venezuelan applicants. Venezuelans cross the border between Ecuador and Colombia

      But Green has said that the issue does not only concern Colombia. "This is not a bilateral problem, it is a problem that affects the entire hemisphere," he said. However, he explained that as leaders and leaders in the hemisphere, Colombia and the United States. they must be allies in that objective. "It is important that we unite, that we coordinate and act effectively," he said, after admitting that the right thing to do would be to help the Venezuelans so they do not have to emigrate. The head of USAID regretted that it is happening in Venezuela, a country "with vast natural resources" that should give unlimited opportunities to its inhabitants. "The fact that they are fleeing from suffering is sad and that is why we are trying to help the countries of the region, that is the best way to tackle this type of challenge," he concluded.

SPAIN AND BRAZIL CALL FOR AN INDEPENDENT, CLEAR AND TRANSPARENT INVESTIGATION INTO THE DEATH OF COUNCILMAN FERNANDO ALBAN

       BRASILIA, BRAZIL   --    --      Spain and Brazil today agreed to demand an independent, clear and transparent investigation "on the death of the Venezuelan opposition councilman Fernando Albán while he was in custody. This was expressed at a joint press conference by the Foreign Ministers of Spain, Josep Borrell, and Brazil, Aloysio Nunes, who analyzed the situation in Venezuela and the need to provide a solution to the Venezuelan political and social crisis. "I believe that an independent investigation carried out in the clearest and most transparent manner for the world, also for Venezuela, may be of interest to all of us," Nunes said. "We have nothing against the actions of the Venezuelan Prosecutor, but we believe that this particular case needs an independent investigation," confirmed Borrell, after recalling that Spain called the Venezuelan ambassador to explain the circumstances of Albán's death. .

      The Spanish minister said he is waiting for the information that the ambassador can provide because "Venezuela has to explain to the world because people do not usually throw themselves out of the windows". Asked why neither Spain nor Brazil have joined the complaint filed with the International Criminal Court, both agreed that there is already an investigation that would be hampered, that the legal basis on which the complaint is established is "unclear", and that the process would "hinder" the political dialogue. Borrell explained that the Secretary of State for Cooperation of Spain for Ibero-America, Juan Pablo de Laiglesia, is in Venezuela these days establishing a "contact and exploration" with part of the opposition that is in the country. De Laiglesia is also speaking with the Venezuelan government and with Spanish businessmen with interests in Venezuela as part of a trip that "is being so intense that it even delays his return," the Spanish minister said.

       For his part, Nunes explained that Brazil defends a "peaceful solution to Venezuelan problems among Venezuelans", so it is not in favor of foreign intervention, although he considered that if the right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro finally wins the Brazilian presidential elections, "It will maintain a tougher stance with Venezuela." Brazil, which has more than 2,200 kilometers of border with Venezuela, has received in the last three years the arrival of 150,000 Venezuelans in search of asylum, an immigration that has been quickly assimilated, Nunez said. Both countries maintain a fluid dialogue on bilateral issues such as border control, the fight against cross-border crime or common health problems, which has not been hampered by the political situation in Venezuela.

OCTOBER  11,  2018

U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, NIKKY HALEY, RESIGNS

      WASHINGTON, D.C.  --      - President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley would be leaving her post at the end of the year. Trump said the former South Carolina governor had told him of her plans to leave the Cabinet post several months ago. “She’s done a fantastic job, and we’ve done a fantastic job together,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House, where he sat next to the ambassador. Though Trump said he knew about Haley’s decision months ago when she expressed her wish to serve a term of just two years, the announced departure of one of the strongest officials in the current administration came as a surprise to Washington this Tuesday.

     Haley has been a key player in the current administration and became an efficient executor of Trump’s isolationist policies from her seat in the United Nations.
“Countries may not like what we do,” Haley told the reporters, “but they respect what we do.” In taking Trump’s policies to the UN, Ambassador Haley never hesitated to echo the aggressive stance of the US president against Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, or the UN itself, which she has accused of being unfair to Israel. By now the former South Carolina governor may be considered a veteran of the administration, having been appointed to the post of ambassador to the UN just four days after the president was sworn-in.

     Despite her political past, Haley on Tuesday dismissed the idea that she might run for president in 2020, but rather “I can promise you what I’ll be doing is campaigning for this one,” she said about the chief executive by her side. Haley acknowledged having some political disagreements with Trump in a Washington Post op-ed article last month, in which she criticized an anonymous high official who wrote in The New York Times describing a chaotic administration and warning that White House officials were totally at odds with Trump on many issues. “I don’t agree with the president on everything,” she wrote in The Washington Post. “When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person.” On Tuesday in the Oval Office, she summed up her feelings about her work as US ambassador to the United Nations by calling it “the honor of a lifetime.”

THE UNITED STATES CONDEMNS VENEZUELA FOR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN OPPOSITION ACTIVIST MURDER

       WASHINGTON, D.C.  --
The U.S. denounced Wednesday what it said was the Venezuelan government's participation in the death of opposition activist Fernando Alban. The White House said in a statement the U.S. would continue to pressure the government "until democracy is restored in Venezuela."

     The White House also called for "the immediate release of all Venezuelan political prisoners, and for the Maduro regime to take direct, credible steps to re-establish democracy in Venezuela and to prevent further suffering and bloodshed." Alban was a Caracas City Council member who was accused of being involved in an unsuccessful drone attack on President Nicolas Maduro. Alban was in pre-trial detention Monday when he died after falling from a window. Venezuelan authorities said Alban committed suicide. The U.S. imposed new sanctions on Maduro's wife and several of Maduro's allies in late September, as President Donald Trump urged the United Nations to support a restoration of democracy in the oil-rich nation. The sanctions increase pressure on a government that has been widely criticize for the collapse of its economy and efforts to undermine democracy.

     Statement from the Press Secretary on the Death of Venezuelan Opposition Councilman: The United States condemns the Maduro regime’s involvement in the death of Venezuelan opposition councilman Fernando Alban. Venezuelan authorities took Alban into custody on October 5, upon his return from the United Nations General Assembly, where he spoke to the world about the importance of returning democracy to the people of Venezuela. He died three days later while in the custody of Venezuela’s intelligence service. The Trump Administration will continue to increase pressure on the Maduro regime and its insiders until democracy is restored in Venezuela. The United States calls for the immediate release of all Venezuelan political prisoners, and for the Maduro regime to take direct, credible steps to reestablish democracy in Venezuela and to prevent further suffering and bloodshed.
 

CLAMOR AGAINST THE "SUICIDE"  OF FERNANDO ALBAN; THEY TORTURED HIM, HE DIED, AND THEN, HE WAS THROWN THROUGH THE WINDOW

       CARACAS, vENEZUELA   --    --     When Fernando Albán came to the United Nations headquarters in New York two weeks ago, he did not know that he was signing his own death sentence. The councilman of Primero Justicia, unknown position for the general public, joined the opposition delegation led by former parliament speaker Julio Borges , who during the UN General Assembly publicly censured the government of Nicolás Maduro with connivance of the most powerful countries in the region. For Chavismo, these diplomatic actions constitute a crime of treason against the fatherland, publishes El Mundo .

      Albán's wife and two children live in New York, one more family that has joined the largest diaspora in the history of Latin America . Today they cry to him without consolation, like his friends, companions and members of the so wounded Venezuelan opposition, crushed by the vertiginous drift lived since his arrest last Friday and that ended 72 hours later with a suspicious fall from the 10th floor of the sinister headquarters of theBolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin), the political police of Chavism.

      Demands and doubts spread throughout the world on Tuesday before a chapter similar to that experienced in the Latin American dictatorships of the last century or even during the Franco regime in Spain with the case of Enrique Ruano, a young militant of the Popular Liberation Front (Felipe) who died too. when falling from the window of a building in an event that marked the struggle in the underground of several members of the PSOE. One of the first to react was precisely the Spanish Government, who through the Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell , summoned the Chavista ambassador to Madrid to communicate his "deepest concern for the tragic death, in circumstances not yet clarified .

OCTOBER  10,  2018

VENEZUELAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO COUNCILOR FERNANDO ALBAN'S MURDER

      CARACAS, VENEZUELA --      -- The president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, opposition leader Omar Barboza, said on Sunday that the assembly will open an independent investigation into the MURDER of Councilor Fernando Alban who, according to the Office of the Prosecutor, committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of a law enforcement facility where he was detained. “We will open an independent investigation of the national government to establish the truth behind this unfortunate event, where the councilor of the Libertador Municipality Fernando Alban was killed,” Barboza said in a statement. Barboza lamented the death of Alban, who had been arrested on Friday for his alleged involvement in a drone attack on the dictator, Nicolas Maduro in August, and said that the government “must answer for the lives of those in its custody.”

     He also said that on Tuesday the parliament will treat the councilor’s case “as the only point on the agenda.” According to the statements of Attorney General Tarek William Saab, Alban requested to go to the bathroom and there he jumped off the building to the ground. Minutes later, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said on Twitter that Alban was “in the waiting room” inside the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service in Plaza Venezuela, Caracas, and “jumped through a window of the facilities falling to the ground.” He added that “a multidisciplinary team” will investigate “jointly with the Public Ministry to clarify this unfortunate event.”

    However, Alban’s party, the Justice First (PJ), said the politician was “killed by the regime of Nicolas Maduro” and demanded “the truth” behind his death. Two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, a PJ activist, also said on Twitter that those who knew the councilor know “that he could NEVER have acted against his life.” Different opposition leaders have highlighted that Alban was a devoted Christian and therefore it was “impossible” for him to commit suicide. Alban was a councilor in the Caracas municipality of Libertador, considered a stronghold of all public authorities and considered territory supporting the ruling Chavismo.

THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL INVESTIGATE THE MURDER OF  VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION COUNCILOR FERNANDO ALBAN

       UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK   --
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will investigate the MURDER of Libertador municipality councilman Fernando Albán on Monday. This was confirmed at a press conference by Ravina Samadasani, a spokesperson for the Office, who explained that the death in custody of Councilman Albán will be one of the issues that will include the investigation into the alleged violations of human rights that the entity will carry out. "The Human Rights Council instructed our Office to prepare a report on Venezuela, so we will look at this and investigate all aspects of the human rights situation in Venezuela."

    At the same time, the European Union (EU) announced on Tuesday an "independent investigation" into the circumstances of the death of Venezuelan opposition councilman Fernando Albán, who, according to Venezuelan authorities, committed suicide during his detention. "We expect an exhaustive and independent investigation to clarify the circumstances of the tragic death of Councilman Albán," the office of the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement. Albán, councilman of the Libertador municipality of Caracas, was arrested on Friday in relation to the alleged attack with explosive drones against the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, on August 4.

     to Venezuelan Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, the opposition politician committed suicide on Monday at the headquarters of the intelligence service. But for his party, Primero Justicia, it is a "murder". After underlining that the councilman died "in the custody" of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), the EU recalled that it is up to Caracas "to guarantee the security and physical integrity" of the detainees. "We hope that the Venezuelan government respects the human rights of all the detainees," added the statement of the community diplomacy, which also urges the release of "all political prisoners."

LAST WEEK, THE BEST KNOWN VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER, JULIO BORGES, AFFIRMED THAT THE DETENTION OF FERNANDO ALBAN WAS FOR POLITICAL RETALIATION

       BOGOTA, COLOMBIA  --    --     A few days ago, Julio Borges, THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY,  demanded the immediate release of Fernando Albán and said that his detention has to do with the meetings held by the opposition politicians during the UN General Assembly in order to seek support that generate a change of administration in the country. The deputy to the National Assembly Julio Borges denounced that the councilman of the Primero Justicia party and member of the national leadership of the aurinegra toldo, Fernando Albán, was kidnapped by officials of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) on October 5 and detained in the seat of that security body for alleged retaliation against the politician for having attended meetings led by Borges that took place within the UN.

     He also denounced that Fernando Albán was kept in the Sebin dungeons and "exposed to cruel treatment and without his family and defense being able to see him.” In that sense, he demanded the immediate release of the councilman, at the same time he asked the international community and "the little institutionalism that remains in the country" that they "show solidarity" in the case and diligently provide for his early release.

     Through his Twitter account, the former president of Parliament said that with the arrest of Albán what the regime wanted is to "destroy" and make "disappear" his party, therefore considers that they attack that political organization "because it is an obstacle" to the current administration and said they will continue working to continue delegitimizing the government presided by Nicolás Maduro. "Every justice behind bars or in exile renews our democratic commitment. We are not afraid and we will continue working harder, "he tweeted.

OCTOBER  9,  2018

JAIR BOLSONARO: FAR-RIGHT CANDIDATE WINS FIRST ROUND OF BRAZIL PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

      BRASILIA, BRAZIL --      --  A far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has won the first round of Brazil's presidential election. He will face the left-wing Workers' Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, in the second round on 28 October after he failed to win the 50% of valid votes needed to win outright. With almost all the votes counted, Mr Bolsonaro had 46% and Mr Haddad 29%. Bolsonaro's once insignificant Social Liberal Party (PSL) is poised to become the largest force in Congress following legislative elections held alongside the presidential vote, in what analysts have described as a seismic shift in Brazilian politics.

     The politician and the PSL have ridden a wave of rising anger at the Workers' Party, which their supporters blame for a prolonged recession, rising violent crime and widespread corruption in South America's largest economy., he said Brazilians could take the path of "prosperity, liberty, family, on God's side" or the path of Venezuela. Brazil's socialist-led neighbour is mired in a deep economic and political crisis which has driven more than two million people to leave. Across Latin America this has become a popular campaign strategy: don't vote for the left or you will end up like Venezuela.

     The former army captain has made provocative statements on a huge range of issues. He has pledged tough punishments for offenders and the relaxing of gun ownership. He has also spoken of torture as a legitimate practice and wants to restore the death penalty. His hard-line approach to law and order has brought back memories of the two-decade military dictatorship, and earned him backing from the military and those demanding greater safety in a country with rising levels of violent crime, Like Mr Trump, Mr Bolsonaro has criticised the Paris climate agreement, and he has vowed to make Brazil great again. Economically, he favours a smaller state. He has announced plans to lower taxes, privatise state companies and limit foreign ownership of natural resources.

VENEZUELA HYPERINFLATION ACCELERATES ON FIRST ANNIVERSARY

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --
Hyperinflation in Venezuela topped 233.3% in September, the country's National Assembly reported Monday, the highest month on record, and a signal of a worsening trend for prices, only a month after ambitious economic measures by the embattled Nicolas Maduro administration were implemented. A key aspect of the humanitarian crisis that has resulted in at least 2.6 million Venezuelans fleeing the country over the last few months (and which the Maduro administration insists on denying), hyperinflation has rapidly become another heavy rock dangling from the government’s neck, together with a United Nations investigation into human-rights abuses, an inquiry by the International Penal Court on crimes against humanity, and sanctions against national oil company PDVSA as well as against 98 present and former officials, including Maduro, First Combatant (wife) Cilia Flores, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, Supreme Court chief justice Maikel Moreno and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.

     To former Venezuelan planning minister, and Harvard Professor, Ricardo Hausmann, the explanation is simple: “La hiper la causa Maduro”, the hyperinflation is caused by Maduro, tweeted the professor Monday morning, shortly after the September figures were made available. Hausmann -- who teaches economic development at Harvard's Kennedy School and directs the Harvard Center for International Development at Harvard University” -- put the blame squarely on Maduro for turning on “the little monetary machine” of the Venezuelan Central Bank in order to pay 22 million workers and pensioners the new minimum wage decreed five weeks ago of 1,800 Bolivares Soberanos, ($17,47 at Monday’s “Dolar Today” black market rate), which represented a 36x increase over the previous salary.

      “In one month the (new) minimum wage has lost 70% of its value!”, Hausmann added. As is the Venezuela way to deal with continuing disaster, others were less sanguine with the subject. “Today we sing “Happy Birthday To Hyperinflation!”, tweeted Deputy Angel Alvarado, opposition lawmaker and economist remarking on how hyperinflation is now, officially, one year old, since it first achieved the dreaded "hyper" level last year in October. The measure went from 45.5% in October 2017 to the present 233.3%. The accumulated inflation for the year 2018 is of 115,824.2% while the inflation year on year (September 2017 to September 2018) is of 488,865%. The International Monetary Fund projected months ago that hyperinflation was going to clock in at 1,000,000% in 2018. Monday’s figures means Venezuela is halfway there already and the trend is accelerating.

INTERPOL ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION OF ITS PRESIDENT, NOW UNDER ARREST IN CHINA

       PARIS, FRANCE --    --     The international police organization Interpol announced on Sunday that it had received “effectively immediately” the resignation of its president, China’s Meng Honwei, who was arrested in China presumably for “violating the law.” “Today, Sunday 7 October the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon, France received the resignation of Mr. Meng Honwei as President of INTERPOL with immediate effect,” the law enforcement organization said in a statement on its Twitter account. Replacing Meng on an interim basis as president will be South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang, who to date has been serving as senior vice president of INTERPOL’s Executive Committee.

     The organization went on to say that INTERPOL will elect a new president at its 87th General Assembly session, to be held in Dubai on Nov. 18-21, 2018, and that person will serve for the remaining two years of the current mandate, which expires in 2020. In its statement, INTERPOL – headed by Germany’s Jürgen Stock – said that it remains focused on its mission, “to help law enforcement officers across the world secure their borders, protect their citizens, prevent and investigate crime, and enhance global police cooperation.” Chinese authorities confirmed on Sunday Meng’s arrest, according to the South China Morning Post.

     Meng vanished on Sept. 25 after traveling to China, where communications with and from him ceased. After several days of silence, the Chinese anticorruption organization known as the National Oversight Commission, issued a brief announcement saying that Meng – who also had been China’s deputy minister of public safety until he was named Interpol’s top official in November 2016 – had been arrested. In the official statement, Chinese authorities did not report the reason for Meng’s arrest or whether he had violated any Communist Party regulations. Meng’s wife Grace held on Sunday a press conference in Lyon and expressed her fears for his safety, adding that she thought he is in danger and asked for the help of the international community to determine his whereabouts. The Lyon Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation into Meng’s disappearance on Friday.

OCTOBER  8,  2018

THE UNITED STATES URGES CUBA TO FREE JAILED DISSIDENT ON HUNGER STRIKE

      WASHINGTON, D.C.     --  The United States is “gravely concerned” about the health of a dissident in Cuba reported to have been on hunger strike for more than 50 days to protest his imprisonment, it said Thursday. The U.S. State Department called for the release Tomas Nunez Magdariaga, a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), one of the island’s largest dissident groups. He had been convicted on “false charges and convicted ... in a sham trial,” it said.
  
       UNPACU leader Jose Daniel Ferrer says Nunez was sentenced to a year in jail for allegedly making threats to a security agent, a charge the agent later recanted, according to Ferrer. “We understand his health is in a critical state, and that the authorities have denied his family the opportunity to see him,” the State Department said in a statement. The Cuban government has not commented publicly on the case and did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

      Havana considers all dissidents to be agents of the United States. It regularly detains them for a few hours or days, as part of what critics and human rights groups describe as a long-running campaign of harassment and repression. In August, authorities accused Ferrer of attempting to run over a government official and arrested him but released him after 12 days.

VENEZUELA CREATES MIGRATION POLICE, NEW PASSPORT PAYMENT SYSTEM

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --
Venezuela on Friday created a migration police and announced that passport issuance fees would be paid in the government-created petro cryptocurrency starting next month, amid a mass exodus sparked by a deep economic crisis in the oil-rich nation. Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez did not provide an explanation for the creation of the new force or give details about its structure. National Guard soldiers currently oversee border security. “The migration police is born to tend to the 72 (ports of entry) that exist at borders, ports and airports,” Rodriguez said in a speech carried on state television.

     Some 2.6 million Venezuelans have fled the OPEC nation of 30 million, mostly to other parts of South America, according to the United Nations. Around 1.9 million have fled since 2015 as the crisis worsened under socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Shortages of food, running water, power, and medicine are common in the country. Maduro says the emigration figures are inflated to make him look bad. He insists that no more than 600,000 Venezuelans have left in two years, and that 90 percent regret doing so. With Venezuela’s currency having depreciated more than 99 percent this year and the opposition-led congress estimating annual inflation at 200,000 percent, thousands of impoverished Venezuelans are emigrating by bus or foot every day.

     Many leave via illegal border crossings along the chaotic, porous 2,200-kilometre (1,400-mile) border with neighbouring Colombia, where almost one million Venezuelan immigrants live. Rodriguez said the fees for obtaining a passport as of next week would increase to 7,200 bolivars, or around $62 (47.3 pounds) on the black market - roughly four times the monthly minimum wage. Fees are currently the equivalent of just a few U.S. cents. She added that Venezuela would then start charging for passports in the petro cryptocurrency on Nov. 1. “The price of a new passport will be 2 petros and (the price) of an extension will be 1 petro,” Rodriguez said. A recent Reuters special report, however, showed that the petro is not a functional financial instrument, raising questions about how Caracas hopes to implement its use in the economy. Obtaining a passport in Venezuela is already a headache. The SAIME passport agency’s web page frequently crashes and hundreds of Venezuelans line up in front of government buildings waiting to submit documents. Many Venezuelans say they wait for months for a new passport, often in vain.

VENEZUELAN DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO EVALUATES TO PROHIBIT THE  POLICE AND MILITARY TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY BECAUSE THE HIGH DESERTION RATE

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --     The uniformed are leaving their jobs and the Chavez government needs as many men as possible to contain the OPPOSITION protests. They even consider blocking the passports of members of the Bolivarian National Police. Police officials, who are experiencing the economic crisis like any other Venezuelan, are beginning to do what thousands of their compatriots do: flee from Venezuela. According to La Patilla, the regime of Nicolás Maduro plans extreme measures to avoid such desertion.

     According to the Venezuelan media, the police officers, who include different ranks from high, medium and low, would be missing their obligations, "they claim repossessions, request the withdrawal or simply disappear from the body." La Patilla affirms that within the Bolivarian National Police they already label these agents as "traitors to the revolution".

     Among the coercive actions that the regime assesses is the prohibition of leaving the country, the blocking of passports and the warning in the Integrated Police Information System. The "witch hunt" officially started after a meeting with the Minister of Interior and Justice, and the high-ranking police officers.

OCTOBER  7,  2018

THE US FORMALLY FOCUSES ITS FOREIGN POLICY ON VENEZUELA TOWARDS THE CHANGE OF THE MADURO REGIME

 WASHINGTON, D.C.     -- While the United States government is moving toward a policy of regime change in Venezuela, its actions may simply lead to a prolonged confrontation. In the US Senate, lawmakers are working on a bill that largely codifies what already exists in politics, but the measure could also lead to a loss of political and economic power for the rulers of Venezuela, as well as to the trials for crimes against humanity. Although the approval of the bill would be significant, its stipulations make a negotiated solution to the political stalemate in Venezuela highly unlikely. The current government will not accept to speak under the conditions of the bill and, on the other hand, will cling more and more fiercely to the power.

     The crisis in Venezuela has spread beyond its borders. With an economy that is rapidly crumbling, tens of thousands of its citizens leave Venezuela every month. Fearing imprisonment, Venezuela's political elites have marginalized the opposition and repressed the signs of dissent within the Armed Forces. In Washington, the worsening of conditions is raising the priority of Venezuela in the list of pending tasks of the Trump administration. However, there are few effective options for the administration to press Venezuela for political change, and military intervention remains highly unlikely.
T
     he bill, sponsored by 11 senators , including Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Senator Robert Menéndez of New Jersey, reflects the political reality between Venezuela and the United States The relations between the two countries have been reduced to the point that the elimination of the Venezuelan government is now openly discussed among Washington's policy makers. The bill calls on Venezuela to continue credible negotiations for a fair political system with free elections, which has been the policy of the US since the government of President Nicolas Maduro refused to recognize the legislature of the opposition elected in 2016 The bill also requires the United States to get involved in the economic reconstruction of Venezuela, from coordinating multilateral loans to coordinating debt relief along with major lenders to Caracas, including Chinese financial institutions.

UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES WILL VISIT THE COLOMBIAN-VENEZUELAN BORDER

       UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK    --
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Italian Filippo Grandi, will visit the Colombian city of Cúcuta, on the border with Venezuela, this weekend to see "first-hand" the situation of the people who arrive to that city. country fleeing from the crisis that Venezuela is experiencing. This was reported by the Colombian Foreign Ministry in a statement, which detailed that the visit will begin this Saturday and Sunday Grandi will go to the Simón Bolívar international bridge, the main border crossing point between both countries. Then he will open the "Primary Care Center La Margarita", located in the town of Villa del Rosario and where about 9,300 people a month will be attended.

     "The center will pay attention to medical, psychosocial and sexual and reproductive health, which is part of a government strategy with international cooperation to decongest the department's public health network," the report added. During his visit to Cúcuta, capital of the department of Norte de Santander, he will be accompanied by the directors of Development and Border Integration, Víctor Bautista, and Migración Colombia, Christian Krüger, as well as by Frontera's manager, Felipe Muñoz. In the border city, Grandi will participate in a unified command post in which the national, departmental and municipal authorities will present the actions they carry out to assist Venezuelan emigrants.

      On Monday, Grandi will travel to Bogotá, where he will meet with Colombian President Iván Duque; the Chancellor, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, and the Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs, Adriana Mejía. There, the high commissioner will talk with the officials about "the Government's priority in the response to the migration phenomenon and will present the advances in the consolidation of measures at the regional level for the treatment of the crisis". According to UN calculations, about 2.3 million Venezuelans have left the country due to the political, social and economic crisis and, of them, almost one million have settled in Colombia.

THE WORLD BANK EXPECTS 18.5% DROP IN THE VENEZUELAN ECONOMY

       WASHINGTON, D.C.   --     The Venezuelan economy will fall by 18.5% in 2018, and together with the slowdown in Brazil and Argentina, will cause the region's Gross Domestic Product to grow less than previously estimated , according to the latest World Bank (WB) report. According to this institution, the economic growth projections of the region formulated at the beginning of this year, fell by more than half to 0.6%, and to 1.6% in 2019 , due to the "turbulence" in Argentina, the "deceleration" of Brazil and the "continuous deterioration" in Venezuela, they point out in the document. In April , the Latin American agency forecasts an expansion of 1.7% for this year and 2.3% for 2019.

     "We have found bumps in the road to recovery. This makes it all the more necessary to improve the understanding and management of risks and other impacts, from financial turbulence to natural disasters, "said the chief economist of the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, Carlos Végh. Specifically, South America is expected to contract 0.1% in 2018 and grow 1.2% in 2019 . If the situation in Venezuela is excluded, these figures would be 1.2% growth in 2018 and 1.9% in 2019. The WB study, called "On uncertainty and black swans. How to deal with risk in Latin America and the Caribbean? ", Determines that the economy of Argentina will contract 2.5% this year , Brazil will grow only 1.2% despite being an election year, and Venezuela will deepen its negative growth 18.5% .

     For its part, the rise in the prices of raw materials and the strength of demand from China will boost growth in Colombia up to 2.7%, Peru's growth at 3.9% and Chile at 4% , they say. On the other hand, notes the report that Mexico is projected to grow 2.3% this year , compared to 2.5% previously calculated, and also 2.3% in 2019 , this closely related to what was anticipated at the beginning of the year. The document refers among the challenges, that "the normalization of economic policy in the United States, with higher interest rates and that have led to a drastic fall in net capital flows to the region , the strengthening of the dollar, depreciation of most emerging currencies and commercial tensions. "

OCTOBER  6,  2018

VP MIKE PENCE INTENSIFIES WARNINGS ABOUT CHINA'S MEDDLING IN VENEZUELA

 WASHINGTON, D.C.     -- Vice President Mike Pence accused China of seeking to undermine the Trump administration and sow divisions with its allies. And he used Latin America as a pointed example of Beijing’s aggressive moves. In a speech Thursday to the Hudson Institute, Pence charged Beijing with wanting a new American president and actively interfering in the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States. “Beijing also aims to extend its reach across the wider world,” Pence said. “Indeed, China is building its own relationships with America’s allies and enemies that contradict any peaceful or productive intentions of Beijing. Pence pointed directly at the economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, where he said Beijing has given a “lifeline” to the leaders there through $5 billion in questionable loans.

He accused China, Venezuela’s largest creditor, of saddling the Venezuelan people with more than $50 billion in debt that will have to be repaid well after the government of Nicolás Maduro is gone. And he blamed the Chinese Communist Party for convincing El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Panama to sever ties with Taiwan in an effort to get closer with China, a U.S. trade adversary. Pence, as have other Trump officials, attacked Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative, the global investment and lending program, as peddling in “debt diplomacy,” fueling greater economic dependency. The Trump administration has repeatedly warned Latin American leaders that the communist government would not think twice about taking Latin American shipping ports and assets, as it has before in other countries.

     Mark Feierstein, the National Security Council’s senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs under President Barack Obama, said the concerns raised by Pence are largely
accurate, but questioned the approach. “By using offensive rhetoric about migrants, stirring trade tensions, and reducing foreign assistance, Donald Trump is helping to create an opening for China in Latin America,” Feierstein said. Indeed, leaders across Latin America have paid tepid attention to the American warnings. The Chinese have been constructing roads and building technology infrastructures from Argentina to Mexico. Diplomats tell McClatchy they’d rather work with the United States whom they have more established relations, but they also need cash and investment for new roads, telecommunications equipment and energy systems. And China is willing to provide that investment in ways that the United States has not, dating back to previous administrations.

THE UNITED STATES ENDS 1955 'TREATY OF AMITY' WITH IRAN

       WASHINGTON, D.C.     -- The withdrawal marks the latest indication of escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran. "Our dispute is with the ayatollahs who have taken Iran from a respected position in the international community to being a rogue state, our dispute has never been with the people of Iran," National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters at the White House. "Our policy is not regime change, but we do expect substantial change in their behavior," added Bolton, explaining that the administration of President Donald Trump, after reimposing sanctions on Tehran, will "do whatever else is necessary to ensure we bring maximum pressure to stop its malign behavior across the board."

     Iran had complained to the U.N. court that the move by Washington to reimpose sanctions, which had been lifted under the 2015 international nuclear agreement, violated the 1955 treaty. Judges enter the International Court of Justice, or World Court, in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, where they ruled on an Iranian request to order Washington to suspend U.S. sanctions against Tehran. The court said in a Wednesday ruling U.S. sanctions could endanger civil aviation safety in Iran and the measures affecting food, medicine and medical devices could have detrimental impacts on the health and lives of Iranians.

     The ruling directed the United States to "remove, by any means of its choosing, any impediments" affecting the free import of products in those sectors. It further called on both countries to "refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the court or make it more difficult to resolve." The court's rulings are binding, but it has no means to enforce them. Iran's foreign minister welcomed the court's decision, tweeting that the ICJ decision is a "victory for the rule of law" over an "outlaw regime." Bolton sees it differently, telling reporters the court ruling is "a defeat for Iran" as "it correctly rejected nearly all of Iran's requests, but we are disappointed that the ICJ failed to recognize that is has no jurisdiction to issue any order with respect to sanctions the United States imposes to protect its own essential security under the treaty."

CUBAN "PRESIDENT" MIGUEL DIAZ CANEL, RATIFIED HIS STRONG SUPPORT FOR DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO

        UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK  --      The "president" of Cuba, Miguel Diaz Canel, in his speech in the plenary of the 73rd General Assembly of the UN, confirmed his support with the Bolivarian Revolution and rejected the policies of the new US administration, presided by Donald Trump, who seek to "destabilize" to the peoples of Latin America. '' '' In the name of Cuba, Fidel Castro, Ernesto Guevara, Raul Castro and Chancellor of Dignity Raul Roa, to name only the most important, brought to this session not only the voice of our people, but also of other Latin American, Caribbean peoples , Africans and Asians with whom we have shared more than half a century of battle, "said the president.

     "It is absurd but coherent with the irrationality of our world that the richest 0.7% of the population can appropriate 46% of all wealth. While the poorest 70% only access 2.7% of it, "he complained. He indicated that capitalism is the reason for the greatest evils of the modern world. He affirmed that currently there is no political or moral will of the most globalized countries to face the real problems of the world. "Regarding this issue, the president said that climate change was a reality. " Nine out of ten people breathe contaminated air and the United States refuses to accompany the countries in the Paris agreement on climate change, thus compromising the lives of future generations," he said.

     He also said that Cuba rejects the interference, blockade and sanctions promoted by the United States. '' Today our Latin America is full of threats. The current US administration has proclaimed the validity of the Monroe Doctrine , and in an imperial act in the region, it attacks Venezuela with special wrath , "denounced Díaz Canel. "In that menacing concept, we want to express our absolute support for the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution, the Venezuelan civic-military union and its legitimate and democratic government presided over by the citizens of Nicolás Maduro," the Cuban president stressed. He expressed that the Cuban State rejects the attacks and sanctions against Venezuela since they "seek to suffocate economically and harm the Venezuelan families. We repudiate to isolate that nation that does not harm anyone. ''

OCTOBER  5,  2018

TROOPS FROM CUBA,, RUSSIA AND CHINA MANEUVERS ON THE COLOMBIAN-VENEZUELAN BORDER PROMPTED US WARNINGS

         WASHINGTON, D.C.   --    The Command of the Armed Forces of Venezuela confirmed the presence of elite Cuban troops "Black Wasps". President Trump and Vice President Pence reacted with warnings to the regime of Nicolás Maduro and the powers outside the hemisphere.  Last week, US Vice President Mike Pence highlighted, during a speech at the UN headquarters in New York, about the effects of the Venezuelan migration crisis for the region, that the Venezuelan government was moving troops to the border with Colombia , and he made a severe warning to the governor Nicolás Maduro. "You can be sure that the United States of America will continue to support our allies in defense of your security," Pence said, adding:

     "News reports today indicate that the Maduro regime has mobilized troops to the border with Colombia, as they have done in the past, in an obvious effort of intimidation, and let me be clear: the United States of America will always support our allies by his security, and the Maduro regime would do well not to test the determination of the president of the United States or the American people in this regard. " It is now known that in those war games troops from the Special Troops of theCuban Ministry of the Interior , known as Black Wasps , participated and that the deployment along the 2,219 kilometers of common border was supported by Russia and China.

    The presence of Cuba in the exercise was confirmed by the Chief of the Operational Strategic Command of the Armed Forces of Venezuela (Ceofanb), General Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, who reported from the border in San Antonio del Táchira that the military deployment , involving a foot of multinational force of some one hundred thousand uniformed, counted "with the support of China, Russia and Cuba". "It is an integral operation where we are also interconnected with state agencies and local power," added the military chief, quoted by the newspaper La Opinión , Cucuta, Colombia.

PRESIDENT TRUMP THREATENS TO IMPLEMENT THE MONROE DOCTRINE IN LATIN AMERICA

       WASHINGTON, D.C.     --
In his speech to the UN General Assembly , on the same day that Pence spoke on September 25, President Donald Trump said that since the time of President James Monroe "it has been a formal US policy. to reject the interference of foreign nations in this hemisphere and in our affairs. " Monroe, president from 1817 to 1825, articulated in December 1823 the doctrine that bears his surname, warning during his annual message to the Congress that the United States would not accept the recolonization of any of the then newly independent countries of the hemisphere by his former masters Europeans, nor a new European colonization in this part of the world.

     Reiterating the validity of that policy almost 200 years later, Trump said that "here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the invasion of foreign expansionist powers." The presence of the well-known Cuban elite troops in the border maneuvers was later confirmed in the official Twitter account of the CEOFANB on September 28. "Integrating to overcome, #FAES of our #FANBEsVenezuela, strengthened their knowledge, skills and military skills for the Integral Defense of the Nation, in #OperacionEstrategicaDefensiva Combined with the Special Forces of Cuba" Black Wasps "of the FAR". The FAES are the Special Action Forces, in this case of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. They also exist in the Bolivarian National Police, where the opposition has linked them with numerous extrajudicial executions.

     A report prepared by military journalist Sebastiana Barráez offers details on the structure of the Cuban occupation in Venezuela . Originally posted on the site What's happening in Venezuela , the original address on the Internet now leads to a page for downloading television shows, but the text was reproduced by other websites. The report mentions the presence of Cuban military personnel , including 3 generals, 12 colonels and lieutenant colonels, 6 frigate captains and 25 other officers of different ranks, including intelligence and countermeasures. Also, 4,500 infantry soldiers in 9 battalions, one of them stationed in Fuerte Tiuna, the military heart of the country. The participation of senior Cuban FAR officers in military exercises of the FANB has been public for years, but this is the first time that the participation of Cuban troops has been recognized. The day after his speech to the General Assembly, Trump told reporters in New York : "All options are on the table, all the strongest and least strong, and they know what I mean by 'strong'. the options are on the table with respect to Venezuela. "

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: CHINA HAS PROVIDED A LIFELINE TO MADURO'S CORRUPT AND INCOMPETENT REGIME

        WASHINGTON, D.C.  --      The vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, today accused China of providing a "lifeline" to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, with the credits granted to Venezuela in exchange for oil, and condemned that Panama, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador have broken your ties with Taiwan. "Beijing has provided a lifeline to the corrupt and incompetent Maduro regime in Venezuela, promising $ 5 billion in questionable loans that can be paid for with oil," Pence said in a speech on China at the Hudson Institute. China is, since the last decade, one of the most important commercial partners of Venezuela, a country that pays a large part of the credits and imports with oil, an energy source of which the South American country has the largest reserves on the planet.

     The US vice president warned that this system is "charging the Venezuelan people with more than 50,000 million dollars of debt," and warned that China "uses the so-called 'debt diplomacy' to increase its influence." "It offers hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure credits to governments from Asia to Africa, through Europe and even Latin America. But the terms of these credits are opaque, and the benefits flow overwhelmingly towards Beijing, "he warned. Pence also lamented that the Chinese Communist Party has "convinced three Latin American countries" - in reference to Panama, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador - to "break ties with Taipei and recognize Beijing." "These measures threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait, and the United States condemns them," he added. "Although our Government will continue to respect our one-China policy (...), the United States will always believe that the embrace of democracy in Taiwan shows a better path for all the Chinese people," said Pence.

    The "one China" policy, which Beijing imposes as the basis of its ties with any country, means that the only Chinese government that Washington should recognize is the Beijing-based one, which distances it from Taiwan's independence aspirations. . US President Donald Trump questioned his respect for that policy shortly before coming to power in December 2016, when he spoke by telephone with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the highest level of contact between the two countries. Washington and Taipei in almost 40 years. However, Trump pledged to respect the policy of "one China" in February 2017, which allowed him to channel his relations with the Chinese Government, which nevertheless can annoy the words of Pence in support of the "democratic" model in Taiwan.

OCTOBER 4,  2018

CUBAN ARMY TAKES PART IN VENEZUELA'S MILITARY MANEUVERS CLOSE TO COLOMBIAN BORDER FOR "IMPERIALIST INVASION"

         CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --   Some 580,000 soldiers and civilians participated in different maneuvers that were broadcast on radio and television, while President Maduro called on the country to defend against an oil-motivated invasion of “the empire.” (Telesur)   Vice Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba supervised Venezuela’s military drills in preparation for the country’s supposed invasion. Joaquín Quintas, the General of the Cuba’s army corp, traveled Saturday, January 14 to a Venezuela military base on the island of La Orchila, to which only high-standing officials of the country have access.

      Quintas came with other officers, many of which reportedly specialize in strategic defense, and oversee defense operations of an exercise named “Zamora 200.” Some 580,000 soldiers and civilians participated in different maneuvers that were broadcast on radio and television, while President Maduro called on the country to defend against an oil-motivated invasion of “the empire.” Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said the exercises are intended to “face the nature of the aggression we are suffering and that we are living.”

     This is not the first time Maduro’s administration has mentioned a supposed war as an excuse for mobilizing hundreds of soldiers. On March 14, 2015, a special exercise was carried out at the national level, in which eighty thousand soldiers and twenty thousand civilians participated in a training exercise for the population in defense of sovereignty, and under the notion that a war had been declared by the United States on Venezuela. The Venezuelan government broadcasted simulations of bombings, sabotage and kidnappings on national television to prepare for a US attempt at invasion — the defense against which involved militias made up partly of civil society. The same day, a military official died and two others were injured when a tank fell into the Sanare River in the state of Apure.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN REJECTS THE "TERRORIST METHODS" THAT "SEEK TO END" THE MADURO REGIME

       MOSCOW, RUSSIA    --
 The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said that there are "terrorist methods" that seek to end the mandate of the Government of Nicolás Maduro. "The terrorist methods to overthrow power in the country are unacceptable," Putin said during a speech at the international forum Energy Week of Russia, where he stressed that the Venezuelan population should define their destiny, according to the website published on Wednesday. RT in Spanish.

      The Russian leader stressed that attempts to influence Venezuela from abroad with the aim of worsening the situation are unacceptable. "As for the various tools to influence the situation in Venezuela, they should not be of the type that aggravate the situation of the civilian population, it is a matter of principle," he said.
The president insisted on the importance of observing what happens in Venezuela and giving the population "the opportunity" to resolve the situation on their own. "It is not possible to go there and hang around like an elephant in a china shop without understanding what is really happening, and thinking only that the elephant is the largest and most intelligent animal," Putin stressed.

     "Against him [Maduro] there was a terrorist attack, an attempt to assassinate him, are we also going to approve those forms of political struggle? I think that is absolutely unacceptable, neither one nor the other, nor anything like that", he explained. after remembering the frustrated assassination of the victim of the Venezuelan head of state on August 4. During his speech at the forum that runs from Wednesday until October 6, Putin also evaluated the effects of external factors, particularly political ones, on oil prices.

THE VENEZUELAN OIL PRODUCTION DECREASED BY 50,000 B/D IN SEPTEMBER

        CARACAS, VENEZUELA --      Venezuela's oil production averaged 1,250 kbpd during the month of September, according to Reuters' most recent monthly survey of Opep producers, published in September's production means a 50,000 b / d reduction from August's average production of 1,300 kbpd recorded by the survey of the previous month.

     OPEC oil production in September increased by 90,000 bpd in August to 32.85 million bpd, the highest level so far this year, according to the survey. Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC and the largest producer , pumped 10.53 million bpd in September, an increase of 50,000 bpd since August, according to the Reuters survey.The Reuters survey showed a production in Venezuela of 1,720 kbpd in December 2017, which according to the data of the survey, September would be the ninth consecutive monthly fall during the year 2018, representing a collapse of 470 kbpd only in 2018.

PDVSA faces a critical situation due to its bad management, corruption, high indebtedness, debt to suppliers, lack of maintenance and flight of trained personnel.The Reuters survey is based on shipping data provided by external sources, Thomson Reuters data and information provided by sources from oil companies, OPEC and consulting firms.

OCTOBER 3,  2018

DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO ORDERS THAT SEVERAL COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS BE DONE WITH CRYPTOCURRENCY "PETRO"


         CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --   The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, ordered on Monday that several commercial operations be carried out through the government crypto currency "petro", with the purpose of activating the national "blockchain", a kind of accounting book shared by all the participants of this digital asset. "Today we are launching the national blockchain of the petro (...) from today will go into operation all mechanisms for any Venezuelan can register and participate," said the president in an address that was transmitted as required by all television and radio stations.

      He explained that for now and until November 5 the petro can not be bought with the national currency, the bolivar, but with other digital or convertible currencies such as the euro and the dollar. The Venezuelan leader asked the president of the state oil company PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo, that "very soon" Venezuela, the country with the largest reserves of oil in the world, trade these riches in petro with its foreign partners. In this regard, he said that Venezuelan gasoline, considered the cheapest in the world, is also charged in petroleum, especially that sold for international aviation.

      Maduro reiterated that the use of petro as a unit of account and as a Venezuelan currency is legalized, so the authorities of the Caribbean country must allow and promote transactions with this cryptoactive, considered null and illegal by the Venezuelan Parliament, with an opposition majority. The leader of the so-called Bolivarian revolution also called for an end to the "illegal" sale of real estate in dollars so that these operations with goods are made in petro, as well as the collection of hotels, international air tickets and "many of the services that are charged at airports ". He explained that in some cases this will be done immediately and in others progressively, but always in a "hasty" manner.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT!  DICTATOR MADURO CLAIMS VENEZUELAN REFUGEES ARE RETURNING BY THE THOUSANDS"

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --
 Embattled Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro said Monday some 7,000 Venezuelans who had fled his regime had returned after he implemented the “Vuelta a la Patria” (return to the fatherland) plan last month, just as new figures emerge of an exodus that could exceed 5 million people over the last few years. “Yes, a few thousand left but as soon as I made the call ‘return to the fatherland’, they are all returning”, Maduro said at one point during his speech. The number of Venezuelans returning (Maduro has sent planes to Peru, which have not returned at full capacity) is roughly equivalent to the number entering Ecuador every day since the crisis began in earnest late last year.

      “I guarantee them their plane or their bus so that they can come back to the fatherland,” Maduro said.On Saturday, France joined six Latin American countries in asking the International Penal Court for the Maduro administration to be investigated for human rights abuses. Maduro did not mention that during his Monday speech. Ecuador alone said last week it was receiving 6,000 Venezuelans a day, and even isolated Guyana (a country Venezuela didn’t even officially recognize until recently) claims to be receiving hundreds of migrants from the oil-rich nation every week, while Colombia claims to have at least one million Venezuelan migrants, to the tune of 35,000 more entering the neighboring country every day.

     Caracas consultancy firm Consultores 21 said last month that 5 million Venezuelans had left the country since Maduro took over in 2013, while the Organization of American States put the figure at around 4 million between refugees and migrants. And yet, Maduro on Monday denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis that resulted in such an exodus. “We don’t have a humanitarian crisis, what we have is a humanitarian achievement,” Maduro claimed on a mandatory TV and radio simulcast (his preferred means of communication and one he uses almost every day) claiming that enrollment in Venezuelan schools was up 7% year on year. The United Nations reported earlier this year that, over the last two years alone, 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled their country.

THE VENEZUELAN HEALTH SYSTEM IN CRISIS, SAY EXPERTS FROM DD.HH.

        CARACAS, VENEZUELA --      The health system in Venezuela is in crisis, say human rights experts, referring to the death of at least 16 children in a hospital for poor hygiene, and others, for various health conditions, including malnutrition as the IACHR informed on Monday. The United Nations experts and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urged the government to act urgently to mobilize the necessary and available resources, including through international cooperation, to restore the country's health system.
 

      "A moment of crisis has been reached in the Venezuelan health system", said the experts and experts. "Access to health, a fundamental responsibility of the State, is in a state of serious deterioration. We are shocked that the hospitals themselves have become a place where people's lives are put at risk. " At least 16 children under 5 years old have died at the University Hospital of Pediatrics Dr. Zubillaga in Lara state so far in 2018, due to infections caused by poor hygiene. There are also reports of deaths in hospitals of boys and girls due to malnutrition, acute respiratory infections, acute diarrheal diseases and other ailments.

     "We are deeply concerned that children are dying from preventable causes related to the deteriorating state of health facilities, the shortage of both health supplies and medicines, as well as the lack of sanitary and hygiene measures. effective ", said the experts and experts. "We are also baffled by reports that health personnel, journalists and relatives of child victims, who have reported or filed complaints, are being harassed and intimidated. Data also shows there is an 80 percent shortfall in medicine to treat high blood pressure and elevated sugar levels, two of the most common health conditions for older persons.

OCTOBER 2,  2018

THE HAGUE COURT REJECTS BOLIVIA'S MARITIME LAWSUIT AGAINST CHILE


         THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS   --  The International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the UN decided today by 12 votes against three that Chile is not obliged to negotiate with Bolivia a sovereign exit to the sea, thus rejecting a lawsuit filed by La Paz before this court in 2013. The ruling was read by the president of the court, based in The Hague (Netherlands), the Somali Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, in the presence of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, and the agent who represented the Chilean side, Claudio Grossman, explained The magistrate stressed that in the course of the contentious centennial, Chile did not contracted the legal obligation to negotiate with Bolivia a sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean. The verdicts of this court are binding and can not be appealed.

     Bolivia, which sued Chile before the ICJ in 2013, lost its main outlet to the Pacific Ocean at the beginning of the so-called War of the Pacific (1879-1883), 139 years ago, when Chilean forces occupied the then Bolivian port of Antofagasta. That warlike conflict, which left thousands dead, is also known as "the Salitre War" because the control over the nitrate deposits played an important role . Bolivia, allied with Peru, lost at that time a coastline of about 400 kilometers long and the department of Litoral, rich in guano, saltpeter and copper.

     That territory of 120,000 square kilometers included the Atacama desert, the driest on the planet. In 1904, both countries signed a Treaty of Peace and Friendship to end the state of war that still existed between them and that definitively established the borders of the two nations. That included, among others, Chile's obligation to build a railroad between Arica and La Paz as well as the granting of credits and free transit rights of Bolivian products to Chilean Pacific ports. While Chile considered this treaty fully in force, Bolivia - which together with Paraguay is the only country in Latin America without a seaboard - maintained that the Chilean side was constantly violating it. Throughout the years, the successive governments of Bolivia had demanded, until now without success, negotiations with their Chilean counterparts to achieve a free exit to the coast .

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO URGES U.S. TO PUT VENEZUELA ON STATE-SPONSORED TERRORIST LIST

       WASHINGTON, D.C.   --  Three US senators led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio urged the State Department to add Venezuela to the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, a designation that would expand the range of sanctions that could be applied. In a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the senators said the regime of President Nicolás Maduro has associated with organizations such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and Hezbollah and stressed the fact that it has not taken actions to punish those officials who have been sanctioned by the US Treasury for participating in drug trafficking.

      “It comes as no surprise that the Maduro dictatorship aided and abetted terrorists. After years of cooperating with FARC, ELN and other narcotraficking terrorists, Venezuela has now become a ‘narco-state’,” the senators said in the letter, dated Sept. 26.“In fact, Tareck El Aissami, who served as Venezuela’s vice president until June 14, 2018, has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department as a ‘Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker’, and two of Maduro’s nephews are currently serving 18 years in a U.S. prison for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States.,” the document says.
I
     n addition to Rubio, the letter is signed by two other Republicans, Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Cory Gardner of Colorado. Rubio is one of the most influential voices in Washington in the US policy on Venezuela. The designation — currently only applied to Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria — would facilitate the application of more sanctions against the oil country. In the past, the designation has been used to cancel arms exports, limit technology sales, impose restrictions on the delivery of economic aid and financial restrictions, among other actions.

VENEZUELA DESTROYS BITCOIN'S TRADE RECORD AND PETRO INCREASINGLY LOOKS LIKE A SCAM

         CARACAS, VENEZUELA    Venezuela has been involved in a major economic crisis in recent times with some describing it as the biggest economic crisis in history. In another interesting turn of events, the trade between Bitcoin and Venezuelan Bolivar has surpassed all records, exceeding 500 million for the first time in its history. As the country struggles for hyperinflation and resorts to cryptocurrencies like Petro as a remedial measure, this latest statistic further magnifies the change in Venezuela's economic landscape.

      According to Coindance reports, the BTC / VES pair achieved volumes never before seen. This almost coincides with the revaluation of the Venezuelan government of the old currency of the nation and the introduction of the new "Sovereign Bolivar". Its currency was devalued 96%. What happened? The LocalBitcoins cryptocurrency exchange recorded a trading volume of 506.3 million VES, breaking the previous record of 175.8 million VES in the process. Many have pointed to the recent economic policies of the Venezuelan government, including the introduction of the new Sovereign Bolivar, which is linked to the infamous Petro cryptocurrency of the country. Both projects have received outright criticism from the international community, and some describe it as an absolute scam, because it is probably one. However, the country's leaders insist that these new economic policies are the solution to unbridled hyperinflation and increase the purchasing power of ordinary Venezuelans.

     Despite the guarantees given by dictator Maduro regarding Petro, investor confidence is at an all-time high as investors speculate on the viability of the project. President Maduro announced that Petro has already accumulated a valuation of $ 3.3 billion and is actively being used to pay for imports.ut a Reuters report questioned President Maduro's claims and revealed that Petro had no investors or active users behind him. The statement was made after a four-month investigation by the agency, which could not find any trace of recoverable monetary resources that support the cryptocurrency. Since Petro's price is linked to the price of a barrel of crude oil, the country expects Petro to be the answer to its current crisis. But due to the huge infrastructure change that is needed to fulfill such promises, the total value of Petro can never materialize. The former oil minister who served for ten years under President Hugo Chávez and now lives in exile, Rafael Ramírez, recently estimated that it would cost at least $ 20 billion to access the promised reserves. "The Petro is being established at an arbitrary value, which only exists in the imagination of the government," said Ramírez.

OCTOBER 1ST.,  2018

DANIEL ORTEGA DECLARES MARCHES "ILLEGAL" AND IMPOSES A POLICE STATE


          MANAGUA, NICARAGUA   -- After repressing, murdering, persecuting and imprisoning hundreds of citizens, THE DANIEL Ortega regime intends to silence the civic protests against the government, through a police order that threatens to prosecute individuals and organizations that call any demonstration of civic protest, which are now declared “illegal”. “They will be held responsible and brought to justice, both the people and organizations that summon these illegal displacements which they have promoted or are trying to promote unlawful, destructive and criminal actions,” indicates the police in a press note disseminated through government media.

     The ban takes place on the eve of a new civic protests march in Managua, this Saturday, at two in the afternoon, under the slogan: “March in rebellion, we have no president.” Experts in Constitutional Law, human rights defenders and opposition activists reject this police threat, because it violates the Nicaraguan Constitution and attributes to the Police faculties it does not have. “It is a governmental act to criminalize citizens’ protests. They want to make a fundamental right into a crime,” assures Azahlea Solis, an attorney and expert in Constitutional Law and member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

     Elvira Cuadra, sociologist and researcher on issues of citizen security issues and a former policewoman, maintains that in Nicaragua “with this prohibition, a state of emergency is being installed.” Attorney and former opposition legislator, Jose Pallais, noted that the threat by the Police is “affecting fundamental rights that for their exercise do not require any administrative authorization because such would restrict a basic constitutional right, the right to protest.” “We are living a total radicalization, which forgets that the Nicaraguan people are persistent and have survived all kinds of repression,” says Pallais.

DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO STRONGLY REJECTS THE SUPPORT FROM FRANCE TO THE SIX COUNTRIES THAT ASKED THE ICC TO INVESTIGATE HIS GOVERNMENT

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --  The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its strongest rejection of the interventionist and interventionist attitude of the Government of the French Republic, by offering its support to the tendentious initiative of a group of governments subordinated to the government of the United States, which intend to nstrumentalize international organizations with the intention of attacking Venezuela and generating a change of government by force. Venezuela considers as an act of flagrant hypocrisy that the French government expresses concern about the Venezuelan migration, when that country is coresponsible for dramatic and inhuman migratory flows from Africa, which then refuse to attend and receive.

     Attacking Venezuela with populist aims, as a mechanism to improve the discredited image of President Macron and his government, resembles the best racist style of the French extreme right. Venezuela and France share historical social, economic, political and cultural links, encouraged through the years based on respect and cooperation.The arrogant attitude assumed by the French government negatively impacts the good relations that both countries have held for decades. The Venezuelans face the consequences today of a brutal unilateral blockade imposed by the United States, unfortunately sponsored by the European Union.

     This new display of interference by the French government adds to the aggressions received from Europe to try to isolate Venezuela with the intention of aggravating the economic and social conditions of the Venezuelan people. The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela again urges the French Government not to interfere in its internal affairs through such notorious subordination to Washington's strategy against Venezuela, while inviting them to respect the fundamental principles of international law and healthy cooperation between civilized countries.

10% OF THE VENEZUELAN POPULATION HAS MIGRATED TO OTHER COUNTRIES

         CARACAS, VENEZUELA    -- About 10 percent of Venezuela 's population of 28 million 900 thousand inhabitants counted, has migrated to other latitudes, publishes. In view of this situation, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned "that the migratory crisis in Venezuela is so serious that it could already equal the diaspora of the Mediterranean, which in 2015 became a critical humanitarian situation and was exacerbated by the increase in the uncontrolled flow of refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants in vulnerable conditions. This situation still persists. "

      These people, through various sea and land routes, escaped war and hunger. They sought shelter, shelter and food in countries of the European Union. Venezuela and the diaspora of the 21st century. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), "the exodus of Venezuelans is already one of the largest mass population movements in the history of Latin America." The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to June 2018 estimated that the exodus of people who have left Venezuela is about 2.3 million people displaced to other regions of Latin America. OCHA did not specify the calculation start date.

     While the International Organization for Migration (IOM) indicates that the exodus of Venezuelans compared it with the migratory crisis in the Mediterranean, human mobility that worsened in 2015 and that by December 21, 2015, accounted for more than 1 million 6 thousand people who had entered Europe. This exodus of people was considered as the biggest migratory and humanitarian crisis in Europe, after the Second World War. In the case of Venezuela, the last Population and Housing census carried out in 2011 indicated, according to projections from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), that the growth rate has been declining from 1961 to 2011,

 

 

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