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SEPTEMBER  30,  2018

FRANCE PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES HIS SUPPORT FOR THE ICC INVESTIGATION ON VENEZUELA


          PARIS, FRANCE   --  In a statement, the French presidency said that the efforts of the ICC are relevant to "establish the facts that have led to this crisis and help find a solution." France today expressed its support for the procedure of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Venezuela, following the request of six American countries to that court to accelerate the opening of an investigation for alleged crimes committed there. In a statement, the French presidency said that the efforts of the ICC are relevant to "establish the facts that have led to this crisis and help find a solution."

The Elysée showed great concern about the latest developments of that crisis, "particularly the deterioration of the economic situation that forces hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan citizens to go into exile and seek refuge" in the rest of South America and even outside the region. In this context, he framed the decision of the Prosecutor of the ICC, which on February 8 had opened a preliminary examination of the situation in the Caribbean country, which was followed this Thursday by the request of Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Canada to investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela since February 12, 2014.

The preliminary examination opened to Venezuela in February focused on alleged crimes committed "at least since April 2017", in the context of the opposition demonstrations when the Supreme Court left the opposition Parliament without powers, and the subsequent repression by the opposition of the forces of order. The Elysee, which recalled France's support for the countries that host these refugees, insistently reiterated its message "to the Venezuelan authorities to start the dialogue with the opposition to restore the democratic functioning of the institutions." It is also, he added, "to find a way out of the political crisis and contribute to the recovery of the Venezuelan economy."

COLOMBIA PRESIDENT THANKS FRANCE FOR SUPPORT FOR THE ICC TO INVESTIGATE THE GOVERNMENT OF NICOLAS MADURO

       BOGOTA, COLOMBIA    --  Colombian President Iván Duque thanked his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Saturday for supporting five Latin American countries and Canada who asked the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged crimes against humanity in Venezuela. This was expressed by the head of state in Villavicencio, capital of the department of Meta (center), where he led a workshop called "Building Country", where the Government listens to the community.

According to Duque, the president of France "supports the accusation that we signed six countries against the dictatorship of Venezuela before the International Criminal Court." The foreign ministers of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Canada presented last week on the margins of the UN General Assembly a letter stamped by the leaders of their respective countries requesting the intervention of the Court based in The Hague. According to the Colombian president, what is expressed today by Macron "is a sign of solidarity with the Venezuelan people. In a statement, the French Presidency said today in Paris that the efforts of the ICC are relevant to "establish the facts that have led to this crisis and help find a solution."

The French government showed great concern about the latest developments of that crisis, "particularly the deterioration of the economic situation that forces hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan citizens to go into exile and seek refuge" in the rest of South America and even outside the region. In that context, he framed the decision of the ICC prosecutor, who on February 8 had opened a preliminary examination of the situation in the Caribbean country, which was followed this Thursday by the request of Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Canada to investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela since February 12, 2014.

FORMER SON-IN-LAW OF RAUL CASTRO COORDINATES INTERNATIONAL COCAINE TRAFFIC FROM VENEZUELA

    WASHINGTON, D.C.     -- At the Subcommittee on National Security of the US House of Representatives, the former Assistant Secretary of State , Mr, Roger Noriega, has just declared – quoting a Venezuelan active military officer – who coordinates the international cocaine traffic from the airport of La Guaira, Venezuela, that the person in charge is none other than Cuban general Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, former son-in-law of Raúl Castro and president of the Cuban military holding company GAESA.

The trafficking of cocaine of Gral. Lopez-Callejas along with other Cuban military, confirms and demonstrates the severity of the financial crisis of the regime and explains how, despite everything, the dictatorship still faces certain expenses, and even announces an increase in the arrival of raw materials to the country. But little by little, the pressure for Raul Castro to be tried for murder, and for Washington to begin punishing the tyrant and other criminal leaders, is gaining force in the US. Attorney Jason Poblete said in the previously mentioned Subcommitee that if the US government declassifies “the evidentiary documents of the case, Raúl Castro can be prosecuted here under U.S. laws.

A few days before, the International Commission of Justice for Cuba, CIJC, composed of personalities from Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain and the Dominican Republic, decided to ask President Trump to apply the Helms-Burton Law so that Castro II can answer for the murder of the four pilots, and the execution of 72 people in the Loma de San Juan (Santiago de Cuba) in 1959, and that the case is also taken to the International Court of Justice along with those of other 42 Cuban officials and henchmen. The CIJC has reported that this request has the support of Christian Democratic parties from 16 countries. Although Castro II may laughing at all of this, a trial against him in the US would show the criminal character of the Cuban “reformist” general, It was unfortunately, a step not previously taken , with Fidel Castro the founder of the tyranny, with more blood still in his hands than his own brother.

SEPTEMBER  29,  2018

DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO CONDEMNS PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR HIS "INFAMOUS" ATTACK ON VENEZUELA DURING HIS SPEECH AT THE UNITED NATIONS


          UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK  --  Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro condemned on Wednesday his American counterpart, Donald Trump, at a United Nations high-level meeting for the “infamous and shameful attack” on Venezuela during the US president’s speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday and for raising the Monroe Doctrine in his speech. “Today Venezuela is the victim of a permanent aggression, politically, in the media by the United States of America. They use the Monroe Doctrine to justify from an ideological point of view the aggression against our beloved homeland,” Maduro said in a speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA).

     The 1904 Monroe Doctrine attributed unilateral rights to the United States over Latin America, and is associated on the continent with the imperialist history of the United States in the region. During his speech on Tuesday, Donald Trump said “it has been the formal policy of our country since President Monroe we reject interference by foreign nations in this continent and in our own affairs.” “It’s an old conflict, an old contradiction, between a doctrine that pretends to dominate our region” and the one defended by Venezuela, said Maduro.

      “In the 21st century, they intend to continue governing, ordering the world as if it were their property, in our region that conflict is 200 years old,” he added. In his speech to the UN on Tuesday, Trump asked the UN to join the United States in “calling for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” and described the ongoing crisis in the South American nation as a “human tragedy.” Trump blamed the bankruptcy of “the oil-rich nation” on “socialism” and called on the international community to resist their political doctrine that brings “suffering, corruption and decay” to Venezuela.

ISRAEL ACCUSES IRAN OF HAVING A 'SECRET ATOMIC WAREHOUSE' NEAR  TEHRAN

       UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK    --  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of having a secret atomic warehouse near Tehran in a UN speech that was dismissed as false by Iranian officials. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, Netanyahu displayed an aerial photograph of the Iranian capital with a red arrow pointing to what he said was an undisclosed warehouse holding nuclear-related material. He contended that the discovery shows Iran is still seeking to develop nuclear weapons, despite its 2015 agreement with world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of global economic sanctions.

      Netanyahu claimed the site near a rug-cleaning plant in the Turquzabad district contained as much as 300 kilograms of radioactive material, some of which has been moved recently. He called on the UN atomic agency to inspect the location immediately with Geiger counters -- a demand echoed later on September 27 by the U.S. State Department. Iranian officials dismissed the allegations. "The world will only laugh loudly at this type of false, meaningless, and unnecessary speech and false shows," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi was quoted as saying by Iran's Fars news agency.

     Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that there should be more scrutiny of Israel's nuclear program. "No arts & craft show will ever obfuscate that Israel is the only regime in our region with a 'secret' and 'undeclared' nuclear weapons program -- including an 'actual atomic arsenal.' Time for Israel to fess up and open its illegal nuclear weapons program to international inspectors," Zarif said on Twitter. The spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry, Bahram Ghasemi, said Netanyahu's accusation was "not worth talking about." "These farcical claims and the show by the prime minister of the occupying regime [Israel)] were not unexpected," Ghasemi said on September 28. Iran's deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, mocked Netanyahu, saying the Israeli leader must have been badly advised by some people. Netanyahu did not identify the material he claimed was in the warehouse nor did he specifically say that Iran had violated the nuclear deal.

REMIGIO CEBALLOS ICHASO: VENEZUELAN MILITARY DEPLOYMENT TO THE BORDER WITH COLOMBIA IS SUPPORTED BY CUBA,  RUSSIA AND CHINA

    CARACAS, VENEZUELA    -- Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, Chief of the Operational Strategic Command of the Armed Forces of Venezuela (CEOFANB), reported from the border of San Antonio del Táchira the details of the military deployment that has been carried out in the area since last weekend and that involves Some 100,000 soldiers, along the 2,219 kilometers of border between Colombia and Venezuela , reported the newspaper El Nacional . "It is a combined operation, in which several countries participate," he said, adding that they have Cuban, Chinese and Russian support . "It is an integral operation where we are also in interconnection with state agencies and local power," added the military chief.

     He emphasized that these actions seek "the peace of Venezuela, the restitution of order and legality", within the framework of the Sentinel Plan, which especially contemplates the surveillance of border areas. "Venezuela is a democratic social state of law and justice and its armed forces are in constant training, to raise the operational readiness" and in these operations all the components participate: the Bolivarian National Guard, the National Army, the Military Aviation with the deployment of all air groups, the Navy and the militias, which are "the armed and organized people to defend the country ... And we take advantage of these spaces to develop double action exercises," explained Ceballos.

     He added that "while fighting the illegal border, carry out operations of training, deployment and reaction to any attempt of aggression by a coalition of countries" In relation to the actions of recent days on the Venezuelan border said that several fuel tanks for contraband have been dismantled and three alleged paramilitaries have been arrested, but did not disclose their identities. Ceballos rejected the permissiveness of the Colombian authorities and pointed out that they are attacking the Venezuelan economy by allowing it to be traded with another value than the bolivar, and taxing those who live off the sale of contraband fuel. "This violates international law and the conventions of organized crime."

SEPTEMBER  28,  2018

THE ICC CONFIRMED THAT IT RECEIVED THE REQUEST FROM SIX COUNTRIES TO INVESTIGATE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN VENEZUELA


          BRUSSELS, BELGIUM -- -The International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed on Thursday that it received the request made by Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Canada to investigate crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela since February 12, 2014, Infobae said . The chief prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, recalled in a statement that the request "does not automatically lead to the opening of an investigation" and that his office has already opened a preliminary examination of the Caribbean country in February of this year. The document sent to The Hague asks that the alleged crimes be investigated "with a view to determining whether one or more persons should be accused," Bensouda said.

      The preliminary examination opened to Venezuela in February put the focus on alleged crimes committed "at least since April 2017", in the context of opposition demonstrations when the Supreme Court left the National Assembly, with an opposition majority, without powers. This examination "will continue following its normal course, guided strictly by the requirements of the Rome Statute", founding charter of the ICC. That is to say, the Prosecutor's Office still has to determine whether sufficient conditions are met to open a full investigation, such as the complementarity of the case (to verify whether the Venezuelan justice has genuinely investigated the facts denounced), its seriousness or whether the crimes fall within the scope of the investigation. your jurisdiction.

     "These factors apply to all situations," Bensouda clarified, "regardless of whether the preliminary examination was initiated on the basis of article 15 of the Statute (at the initiative of the Office of the Prosecutor) or through a referral from a State Party or a group of States Parties ". From the judicial point of view, the only thing that changes the complaint of the six American countries is that, if the Prosecutor's Office reached the conclusion that the requirements are met, it could do so without requesting authorization from the judges of a Pre-Trial Chamber. The preliminary examination does not have specific deadlines, so the Office of the Prosecutor does not have to set a deadline to decide whether to initiate a formal investigation or, on the contrary, discard it because the requirements established in the Statute of Rome. This is the first time in the 16 years of the ICC's history that a group of States Parties refer the situation of a third country to the Office of the Prosecutor. The foreign ministers of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Canada presented on Tuesday, in the framework of the UN General Assembly, a letter stamped by the leaders of their respective countries requesting the intervention of the Court based in The Hague .

THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURE:  WE WILL CONTINUE TO SANCTION THE MEMBERS OF THE MADURO REGIME UNTIL THE PEOPLE OF VENEZUELA HAVE A VOICE

       WASHINGTON, D.C.     --  SeThe United States will continue to pressure the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro through sanctions until the humanitarian crisis of the Latin American nation improves, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday. "We will continue to attack the members of this regime until the people of Venezuela have a voice again in their government and access to the precious resources of their country," Mnuchin said in an opening speech at a ceremony in New York organized by the foundation. The Appeal of Conscience. " The United States has imposed sanctions on dozens of Venezuelans associated with the Maduro regime. More recently, the Treasury Department said on Tuesday that it imposed penalties on Cilia Flores, Maduro's wife.

    The department also seized a private plane of $ 20 million that belonged to a presumed close of Diosdado Cabello, vice president of the socialist party of Venezuela. Venezuela has been mired in a humanitarian crisis in recent years. The country faces shortages of food and basic products. Its economy is also in ruins. Its currency, the bolivar, is basically useless and inflation could reach 1 million percent by the end of the year, according to the International Monetary Fund. "Venezuelan officials have plundered the resources of their country, from natural resources such as oil to consumer products destined to eliminate poverty, such as milk powder," said Mnuchin.

     "The result is that the Venezuelan people are suffering a humanitarian crisis while their leaders amass ill-gotten gains.""We will continue to aggressively implement sanctions against bad actors around the world. Corruption and abuses of human rights affect citizens. The United States has taken the bold step of declaring that these abuses also threaten the stability of our country, international economy and political systems, "Mnuchin added. After arriving in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Maduro said on Wednesday he is willing to "shake hands" with US President Donald Trump and added that he is willing to talk about anything the United States wants to discuss.

WHILE DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO SEEKS TO MEET WITH DONALD TRUMP, HIS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, PADRINO LOPEZ, LASHES OUT AGAINST THE US PRESIDENT

   CARACAS, VENEZUELA    -- Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez lashed out at President Donald Trump on Wednesday, accusing him of moral poverty and brazenness, at the same time that President Nicolás Maduro maneuvered to get a private meeting with the US leader in the framework of the Assembly. from the ONU. Padrino, who was sanctioned by Washington on Tuesday, emphasized the loyalty of the military to the Bolivarian regime in Caracas in the context of Trump's statements that implied that a coup in Venezuela would be seen well in the rest of the world.

     "It is unusual for this head of state [Trump] publicly to promote a military coup against a legitimate government, elected by the majority vote of Venezuelans, giving a pathetic demonstration of stolidity, ignoring elementary rules of international law and the principle of self-determination of peoples, "the defense minister said in a statement. Trump "demonstrates his moral inopia, because he does not know the concept of military honor, which is materialized through suprarational awareness in the context of a society that is governed by principles and values of citizens," he added.

    "Mr. Donald Trump intends to mock and judge us by the proper condition of the Armed Forces of his country. Unquestionably, he is right to say that 'the marines hear a bomb when they run towards it', because they actively participate in blows, massive bombings against civilian populations and invasions, generating wars of tragic consequences for humanity, "the minister said. "With brazenness he apologizes for a cowardly and aberrant act of terrorism, as was the assassination in degree of frustration perpetrated against the Venezuelan president," he added, referring to the drones that exploded. "Banalizes this fact as if it were something funny, when especially world leaders are called to join efforts to end this scourge."

SEPTEMBER  27,  2018

PRESIDENT TRUMP SAYS THAT ALL OPTIONS ARE ON THE TABLE IN VENEZUELA, INCLUDING "THE STRONG ONES"


          UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK  -- -US President Donald Trump told reporters at the UN on Wednesday that "all options" are on the table in Venezuela, including "THE STRONG ONES". "All the options are on the table, all of them. The strong and the less strong, "Trump said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. "And you know what I mean hard," he threatened in tacit reference to a possible US military intervention. "I just want Venezuela to straighten up. I want people to be safe. We will take care of Venezuela. What happens in Venezuela is a disgrace, "he added.

      However, the US president said he would "be willing" to meet with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro if he wishes and comes to New York.
"I'm certainly open to that. I would be willing to meet with anyone, "he said when asked about a possible meeting. "If he's here, if he wants to meet, I do not know. I did not have it in mind, it's not something I think about. But if I can help people, that's what I'm here for, "Trump told reporters upon arriving at UN headquarters. Maduro appears on today's agenda of the UN General Assembly as one of the leaders who will give a speech at the high-level debate session, but the Venezuelan government has not yet officially confirmed whether its president will indeed travel to the headquarters of the United Nations, in New York. On Tuesday, Trump had already indicated that Maduro could be overthrown "quickly" if the Venezuelan military proposed it, and announced sanctions against his wife, first lady Cilia Flores, and against three of his closest collaborators.

     A year ago, Trump said the United States had "a military option" in Venezuela, a statement that was condemned by US allies in Latin America. After two decades of Chavez governments, the Venezuelan economy is on the verge of collapse: the country with the largest proven oil reserves in the world is experiencing a severe shortage of food and medicines that has driven 1.6 million Venezuelans into exile since 2015, and inflation could approach one million percent this year, according to the IMF. The New York Times reported this month that US diplomats met secretly three times with Venezuelan military officers planning a coup against Maduro. The meetings included a former Venezuelan military commander listed on the list sanctioned by the US government, according to the newspaper.

WOW!  PRESIDENT TRUMP SAYS HE'S WILLING TO SHAKE HANDS WITH MADURO AS THE VENEZUELAN DICTATOR ARRIVES IN NEW YORK

       UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK     --  Donald Trump has said he is willing to meet dictator Nicolás Maduro if it would help ease suffering in Venezuela. Trump’s remarks as he arrived for meetings at the United Nations came just hours before Maduro arrived at the last minute in New York to deliver his speech to the general assembly. He had earlier threatened to skip the summit. “I’m willing to meet with anybody anytime I can [to] save lives, help people,” Trump said as he was asked whether the US would ever intervene militarily to remove Maduro. Later on Wednesday, Maduro tweeted that he had arrived in New York to address the general assembly. “I bring the voice of my people, I come charged with patriotic passion to defend the truth,” he said.

     White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later said that no meeting with Maduro was planned. Trump’s comments came just a day after Trump suggested Maduro could easily be toppled in a military coup, echoing comments first floated last year that some sort of “military solution” may be needed to restore Venezuela’s democracy. Earlier on Tuesday, the US imposed financial sanctions on four members of Maduro’s inner circle, including his wife and the nation’s vice-president, on allegations of corruption. Maduro has been seeking a meeting with Trump for almost two years and has watched with frustration as the US leader has talked with American adversaries such as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian president Vladimir Putin while shunning Venezuelan entreaties.

     Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, was a major corporate donor to Trump’s inaugural committee. Maduro also this year freed a former Utah missionary jailed for more than two years on weapons charges in a bid to draw close to the White House. But his desire for some sort of reconciliation with the US has increased as international pressure has been building on his socialist government at a time of hyperinflation and widespread food and medicine shortages. On Wednesday, presidents from several conservative Latin American governments are expected to meet in New York to sign a complaint with the International Criminal Court asking it to investigate Maduro on charges of crimes against humanity.

PRESIDENT TRUMP MOCKS VENEZUELAN MILITARY FOR RUNNING SCARED DURING "DRONE ATTACK"

   UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK     -- President Trump ridiculed the Venezuelan military as wimpy Tuesday, saying U.S. Marines would never run for cover like Venezuelan soldiers did during a recent drone bomb attack at a public ceremony. At the United Nations, Mr. Trump told reporters that the regime of strongman Nicolas Maduro “could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that.”

     “You saw how the military spread as soon as they heard a bomb go off way above their head,” Mr. Trump said of the attack in August that was captured on video. “That military was running for cover. That’s not good. I don’t think the Marines would have run.”
He turned to his chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly. “What did you think, General Kelly? Do the Marines run when they hear a bomb go off?” the president asked. “They don’t know how to run,” Mr. Kelly replied. “They don’t know how,” Mr. Trump repeated. “You know what they do? They run toward the bomb, right? That’s even better.”

     The drone attack unfolded as Mr. Maduro addressed a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Venezuelan national guard in downtown Caracas. As the bombs detonated overhead, soldiers were seen breaking ranks and scattering to take cover. Seven soldiers were wounded. Mr. Maduro blamed the attack on neighboring Colombia, which has denied involvement. Asked how dangerous Mr. Maduro’s regime is to national security, Mr. Trump replied, “Well, it’s dangerous for their security. It’s dangerous for their people’s security. It’s a regime that frankly could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that.”

SEPTEMBER  26,  2018

U.S. SANCTIONS VENEZUELAN TOP OFFICIALS, PRESIDENT TRUMP SLAMS DICTATOR MADURO


          UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK  -- The United States imposed new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's wife and several of his top allies on Tuesday as U.S. President Donald Trump urged members of the United Nations to support a "restoration of democracy" in the once-booming OPEC nation. The measure sanctioned six officials in Maduro's "inner circle," including Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, and "blocked" a $20 million private jet identified as belonging to a front-man of a top official.

     The move adds pressure to a government already widely criticized for economic collapse and undermining democracy. But it does not materially change Washington's efforts to pressure Socialist Party stalwarts who have shown no willingness to hand over power or negotiate a transition. "Today, socialism has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty," Trump said in remarks to the United Nations General Assembly. "We ask the nations gathered here to join us in calling for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela."

     Under Maduro, Venezuela has limited the powers of the opposition-run legislature, jailed opposition politicians and created a parallel congress with unlimited powers. Inflation is running at 200,000 percent and basic foods and medicines, like rice or antibiotics, are increasingly difficult to obtain. That has fueled an exodus of 2.3 million of Venezuelans to nearby Latin American countries, where borders are now overwhelmed by Venezuelan migrants.

DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO DESCRIBED SANCTIONS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP AS ILLEGAL AND USELESS

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --  The Venezuelan dictator, Nicolás Maduro, referred to the sanctions imposed by the United States today, which he described as "illegal and useless decrees". He said that "as they cannot do anything against Maduro, they go against Cilia and they will not be able either". In his opinion, these decrees are an offense to the Venezuelan women, "today also in the decree included another woman, in this case the Executive Vice President Delcy Rodríguez". He added that it is also an offense to the dignity of the Bolivarian National Armed Force, "as they have not been able or will not be able to divide it (...) then they take their claws of sanctions against the dignity of this loyal and revolutionary soldier, Vladimir Padrino López "

     "I am surrounded with sanctions, thanks Donald Trump, for surrounding me with dignity (...) every sanction of the gringo government as well as illegal and useless is a medal for us revolutionaries, it is a decoration because it shows that we are brave (...) and that we are on the right path, "the dictator said. He ksi said that in recent months "it has become fashionable, we saw it today in the script of Donald Trump's speech, denouncing the migratory situation of Venezuelans abroad, it is a trend that has been imposed by the mainstream media and rightist governments led by the United States with a single objective to create the conditions to intervene to Venezuela, they will not attain it under any circumstance.

    On the other hand, said that "in Colombia is preparing a package of economic measures that will deepen unemployment, hunger, poverty and need, so let us prepare because in the months and years to come here will come a lot Colombian looking for our asylum, our support. " The President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, referred to the sanctions imposed by the United States, which he described as "illegal and useless decrees". On the other hand, said that "in Colombia is preparing a package of economic measures that will deepen unemployment, hunger, poverty and need, so let us prepare because in the months and years to come here will come a lot Colombian looking for our asylum, our support. "

"FRENTE AMPLIO" PRESENTED PLATFORM TO CALL A GENERAL STRIKE AGAINST DICTATOR MADURO REGIME

   CARACAS,  VENEZUELA    -- The Venezuelan opposition grouped under the “Frente Amplio” coalition launched on Monday a "platform of conflict" that, hopes, leads to a call for a general strike against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, whom they accuse of having "immersed the country in a deep rconomic crisis".The deputy to the National Assembly of Venezuela (AN, Parliament), Delsa Solórzano said that the call for a strike will only be possible if the opposition forces and the workers' unions that make up the Broad Front are "united" and leave partisanship aside. "Today Venezuela has to be more united than ever and no political color is enough, we are all necessary," said the opposition legislator in the middle of a meeting that took place at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV).

     The Frente Amplio, which groups together political parties, labor unions, NGOs and other organizations, called for consultations for a national strike against Maduro last July, while at the beginning of August he said he would promote the action "as soon as possible." The coalition did not say, however, when it could call a strike even though some of its members felt that the call would be made today. Venezuela, the country with the largest proven oil reserves on the planet, is going through a severe economic crisis that is expressed in shortages and hyperinflation, an indicator that will close 2018 at 1,000,000%, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The crisis forced the Government of Maduro to dictate a series of economic measures that members of the Frente Amplio qualify as "paquetazo hunger and entreguista".

     In that sense, the leader Pedro Moreno, of the Red Flag group, indicated that the measures seek to "destroy" the collective contracts of the country's public workers - who have denounced a de facto wage unification - after Maduro raised the minimum wage to 1,800 bolivares monthly (30 dollars). "The workers have risen in claim of our rights, they are not a gift, we declare ourselves in rebellion against these policies of hunger," he added. Meanwhile, Lilian Tintori, wife of the arrested opposition leader Leopoldo López, asked to "hurry up" the actions, remembering that in the jails of the country there are two hundred detainees that the opposition claims as "political prisoners". "We have to hurry, we do not lose more time, actions of freedom, actions of change, together all," she said.
 

SEPTEMBER  25,  2018

US SENATORS PRESENTED A BILL TO INCREASE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE AGAINST DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO


          washington, d.c.  -- A bipartisan group of senators from the United States today presented a bill to increase the "political, economic and diplomatic pressure" against the government of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, as well as to provide aid to the Venezuelan people and immigration. The bill, which was passed to Efe, proposes several options for responding to the Venezuelan crisis, from an increase in sanctions to certain agents of the Government of Venezuela up to two assistance provisions valued at a total of 40 million dollars. The proposal, entitled Law of Humanitarian Aid, Reconstruction and Rule of Law in Venezuela of 2018, is the broadest legislative project of those addressed by the US Congress to address the situation of the Caribbean country so far.

     As for humanitarian aid for the Venezuelan people, the legislation would authorize 20 million dollars in aid for the internal crisis of the country, and an additional 20 million dollars for neighboring states, which face "the challenges" of the growth of migration Venezuelan It also grants $ 14.5 million to "support democratic civil society" and half a million dollars for international observation of future democratic elections. It also requires the Department of State to hold a donor conference to coordinate international financing in the face of the Venezuelan crisis, and guarantees support for the efforts in the United Nations in this regard. As for the increase in sanctions, it specifically targets those Venezuelan officials who have incurred "public corruption" and in acts aimed at "undermining democracy," just as it proposes more financial punishments to the country's sovereign debt.

      On the other hand, the initiative demands the recognition of the United States. to the National Assembly, disqualified by Maduro, as "the only legitimate legislative body in Venezuela", and urges to seek a "negotiated solution despite the unwillingness" of the Venezuelan Executive to "commit to a credible negotiation process." In addition to supporting the efforts of the Lima Group, composed of 17 countries in the region, and supporting the efforts of the Organization of American States (OAS) to address the Venezuelan situation, it raises a greater international presence in diplomatic efforts. In addition, it also demands accountability for crimes against humanity and requires the Department of State to document them, among other measures. The legislative proposal is led by Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who has also joined the Democrats Bill Nelson, Dick Durbin and Ben Cardin, in addition to the Republicans Marco Rubio, John Cornyn and David Purdue. EFE.

IVAN DUQUE: WE WILL NOT EXTRADITE JULIO BORGES

       UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK    --  The president of Colombia, Iván Duque confirmed this Monday from the United Nations that he will not extradite the deputy to the National Assembly, Julio Borges. Speaking to the press, after the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit during the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, Duque affirmed that in his government he continues to fight for the freedom of political prisoners and for democratic liberties In Venezuela. Duque described as "nonsense" the extradition of a person who is fighting for the freedoms of his people, when referring to the deputy Borges.

    "We continue to defend the Venezuelan people, we continue to call for the freedom of political prisoners and we continue to fight for a true and effective path to a democratic transition that gives back freedom to an entire people," he said. In this way he said that during the day's meetings, he highlighted the Venezuelan issue. "What happens in Venezuela is sad because it is a dictatorship that has ruined all freedoms and is the cause of this humanitarian and migratory crisis."

     On the other hand, he urged the international community to raise the issue of Venezuela and to denounce and apply all the sanctions that are necessary to achieve a transition. "We have insisted on raising this issue to the interest of the international community, we will do it when we address the Assembly. Because the world needs a real diplomatic siege so that this dictatorship can be ended, and return to freedom and democracy in Venezuela. So put it in all the forums today. We call on the international community to denounce and apply all the sanctions that are necessary to achieve a genuine transition in Venezuela. "

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ACCUSES DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO GOVERNMENT OF EXECUTING THOUSANDS OF VENEZUELANS

    UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK    -- An international human rights watchdog group has accused Nicolas Maduro's government of committing some of the worst human rights violations in Venezuela's history. In a report released Thursday, Amnesty International said the number of killings in the South American country in recent years was "greater than those in many countries at war." The report highlighted the violence perpetrated by security officials during anti-crime operations in poor neighborhoods. "State officials, adopting military methods, use force in an abusive and excessive manner, in some cases intentionally killing during security operations," Amnesty said in a statement.

     The report said there were 8,292 extrajudicial executions carried out between 2015 and 2017."In cases documented by Amnesty, victims were unarmed. Autopsies revealed bullet wounds in the neck, throat, head. They were killed while on their knees or lying down," said Esteban Beltran, director of Amnesty International Spain. It found 22 percent of all homicides in 2016, or 4,667, were committed by security officialsLast year, it found 95 percent of the homicide victims in the country were men, with 60 percent of those ranging in age from 12 to 29.

     "It is alarming that, instead of applying efficient public policies to protect people and reduce levels of insecurity, the Venezuelan authorities are using the language of war to try to legitimize the use of excessive force by police and military officials," Amnesty International Americas Director Erika Guevara-Rosas said. "The government of President Maduro should guarantee the right to life, instead of taking the lives of the country's young people," she said. The once-wealthy oil-producing nation has been in an economic crisis for five years. The turmoil has left many Venezuelans struggling to find food and medicine and has forced masses of people to flee to other South American countries. According to the United Nations, more than 2 million Venezuelans have fled since 2014.

SEPTEMBER  24,  2018

SPANISH PROSECUTOR WILL SUPPORT EXTRADITING TO VENEZUELA HUGO CHAVEZ'S NURSE

          Madrid, spaiN -- The extradition hearing will be held today at the National Court, after the defendant refused to be handed over to Venezuela after being detained in Madrid on April 25. Madrid.- The Spanish Prosecutor will support the extradition to Venezuela Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, who was the personal nurse of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, to whom the country's authorities are calling for alleged money laundering offenses. The extradition hearing will be held tomorrow at the National Court, after the defendant refused to be handed over to Venezuela after being arrested in Madrid on April 25, reported Efe. The nurse was arrested along with her husband, Adrián José Velásquez, who served as Chávez's chief of security and who is also wanted by Venezuela for the same crimes, although tomorrow's hearing will be held only to decide on the extradition of her.

     After the arrest, the two were released the next day after testifying before a judge of the National Court, where the cases of extradition are seen, but with the precautionary measure of not leaving Madrid while deciding on its delivery. Following the arrest of these two Chavez collaborators, his lawyer issued a statement in which he attributed Venezuela's claim to the search for "scapegoats" by the Venezuelan government "to distract people from the misery that the town". Both Díaz Guillén and Velásquez Figueroa are identified in the investigation of the "Panama papers" for allegedly having received help from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to "shield" an undeclared fortune, according to the Attorney General of the Republic, Tarek William Saab, on Twitter on April 10.

      This same investigation identifies the couple as very close to the first magistracy, to her as Chávez's nurse and former treasurer of the nation and to her husband as security chief of the deceased head of state. In another message, Saab recalled that in 2016 the Venezuelan Prosecutor's Office conducted raids on the properties of the Velásquez Figueroa family and that at that time "they were detected innumerable techniques of legitimization of capital and illicit enrichment that forces them to appear before the competent authorities of Venezuela".

RUSSIA BLAMES ISRAEL AFTER MILITARY PLANE SHOT DOWN OFF SYRIA

       MOSCOW, RUSSIA    --  Syria shot down one of its military planes - but laid the blame for the deaths of the 15 personnel on board with Israel. The defence ministry said Israeli jets put the Il-20 plane into the path of Syrian air defence systems on Monday after failing to give Moscow enough warning of a strike on Syrian targets. The Il-20 disappeared off the radar at about 23:00 local time (20:00 GMT). Israel - which also blamed Iran and Hezbollah - rarely acknowledges carrying out strikes on Syria, but an Israeli military official recently said it had hit more than 200 Iranian targets in Syria over the past 18 months.

      The Israeli government is concerned by what it calls Iran's "military entrenchment" in Syria, as well as shipments of Iranian weapons to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces. Monday's incident is reported to have occurred about 35km (22 miles) from the Syrian coast as the Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft was returning to Russia's Hmeimim airbase near the north-western city of Latakia. Russia's Tass news agency says the Il-20 plane "disappeared during an attack by four Reports on Syrian state media spoke of an attack in the area shortly before the plane disappeared. According to Sana news agency, the military said it had intercepted "enemy missiles coming from the open sea towards the city of Latakia".}

     Syrian television also reported explosions over the sky in Latakia just before 22:00. Thirty minutes later, the Sana Facebook page reported that Syrian air defences had responded to enemy missiles. In a statement, Russia said Israel's "irresponsible actions" were to blame, saying it was given less than a minute's warning ahead of the strikes, which was not enough time to get the military surveillance plane out of the way. "The Israeli planes deliberately created a dangerous situation for surface ships and aircraft in the area," a defence ministry spokesman said. The spokesman accused Israeli pilots of "using the Russian airplane as a cover", putting it "in the line of fire coming from Syrian air defence systems". The plane, the spokesman continued, was shot down by a Syrian missile. "As a result of the irresponsible actions by the Israeli military, 15 Russian servicemen have died," the spokesman said.

A SPANISH FIRM PAID 11 MILLION EUROS TO NERVIS VILLALOGOS AFTER  A  WORK WAS APPROVED IN VENEZUELA

    MADRID, SPAIN   -- The payments from Elecnor to Villalobos were disbursed between 2010 and 2012 under the concept of a supposed advisory service. The Government of Chávez awarded in 2009 through its main state company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), a thermoelectric plant for 1,420 million euros to a Temporary Union of Companies (UTE) where Basque energy was included.

     Elecnor denies hiring the former Chavez minister. However, the cause instructed by a judge in Andorra - a former tax haven where the ex-Chavez hid the money from his business - contains numerous documents that link the Venezuelan ex-president with the company. In one of them, to which EL PAÍS has had access, the then director of the international area of Elecnor, Germán Junquera, affirms: "Nervis Villalobos collaborates, advises and manages projects for Elecnor SA and companies of its group, in the electricity market in Latin America. "
    
     Villalobos contributed to the Banca Privada d'Andorra (BPA) -where he handled 12 accounts- two "technical advice" contracts with Elecnor. He did it to justify the origin of his money. The Basque energy company committed itself to paying a 5% commission to two instrumental companies in Villalobos for the project of the Juan Manuel Valdez combined cycle plant in Güiria, in the State of Sucre.

SEPTEMBER  23,  2018

WITH THE ABSTENTION OF URUGUAY, FIVE SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES WILL DENOUNCE DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL COURT

          WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "We have coordinated the foreign ministers of five countries, namely, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru. We are going to sign on Tuesday afternoon a letter addressed to the ICC requesting that a preliminary investigation be initiated into the crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela, "Peruvian deputy foreign minister Hugo de Zela told EFE. The government of Tabaré Vázquez in Uruguay, whose response to the crisis with the Nicolás Maduro regime has been ambiguous in recent years, will not be part of this maneuver decided by neighboring countries. Deputy Foreign Minister De Zela, on a working visit to Washington, assured that Canada is evaluating joining the petition.

     The letter will be accompanied by two reports, one prepared by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which documents extrajudicial executions, torture and arbitrary detentions in the framework of anti-government protests between April and April. July 2017. The other document is the one drafted by a group of experts appointed by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro. That group of experts concluded that there was a "reasonable basis" to consider that eleven individuals, including the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, and members of the Armed Forces, allegedly had committed crimes against humanity and, therefore, could be denounced. the ICC.

     Almagro already sent that report in May to the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to ask him to open an investigation. The demand of the five Latin American countries, unprecedented in the sixteen-year history of the ICC, would activate Article 14 of the Rome Statute, the founding charter of the court, which allows states parties to denounce crimes against humanity perpetrated in third countries. The ICC Prosecutor's Office has already begun, on its own initiative, a preliminary examination of Venezuela last February, prior to the eventual opening of a formal investigation. "This is unpublished, new, a request of this kind has never been made. It is the first time in history and we have had the initiative to promote this because we think the situation warrants it, "explained the Peruvian politician, who considered that" a point of no return "has been reached.

24 KILLED IN AN ATTACK DURING AN IRANI MILITARY PARADE

       TEHERAN, IRAN   --  At least 24 people were killed and 53 others injured in an attack on a military parade in Iran's southwestern city of Ahvaz on Saturday, Iran's state news IRNA said. The dead and wounded were both military personnel and civilians including a journalist who were watching the parade, IRNA added. "Terrorists began shooting from a long distance while inside the park, at the armed forces as well as civilians watching the parade," Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarch, a spokesman for the Iranian armed forces told MEHR, another Iranian news agency.

     Three of the attackers were gunned down during clashes with the security forces and one other arrested, news agencies reported. The separatist group the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement in Ahwaz claimed responsibility for this attack. The group is supported by "foreign antagonists," including Saudi Arabia, IRNA said. "The terrorists disguised as Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji (volunteer) forces opened fire to the authority and people from behind the stand during the parade,"
Governor of Khuzestan Gholam-Reza Shariati said, according to IRNA.

     IRGC spokesman Ramezan Sharif said the attackers were affiliated with a terrorist group supported by Saudi Arabia, Press TV said. "The individuals who fired at the people and the armed forces during the parade are connected to the al-Ahvaziya group which is fed by Saudi Arabia," Sharif said. Saudi Arabia has yet to respond to the allegations. The parade was part of nationwide celebrations in Iran to mark the 30th anniversary since the end of the eight-year war with Iraq that started in September 1980 and ended in August 1988.

CHINESE NAVY HOSPITAL SHIP "THE PEACE ARK" ARRIVES AT THE PORT OF "LA GUARDIA," VENEZUELA

    LA  GUAIRA, VENEZUELA    -- A Chinese navy hospital ship docked near Venezuela's capital on Saturday as the OPEC nation's deepening economic crisis garners the attention of the U.S. and other world powers. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino was on hand to greet the People's Liberation Army Navy's ship, the Peace Ark, on its latest stop as part of the 11-nation "Mission Harmony" tour announced in June. "This is how you undertake diplomacy in the world," Padrino said, "with concrete actions of cooperation and not stoking the false voices of those who beat the drum of war." Interest in the goodwill visit has been building since the Pentagon announced in August it was sending its own hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, to neighboring Colombia to provide free medical treatment for thousands of Venezuelan migrants fleeing their homes amid widespread food and medicine shortages.

     U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in a visit to Colombia last month, called the ship's deployment a humanitarian mission to deal with the fallout of President Nicolas Maduro's mismanagement of the economy. The United Nations estimates that 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the crisis-torn country in recent years, mainly to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. But top officials in Venezuela's socialist government saw the Comfort's deployment as a threat, part of an effort by the U.S. to pave the way for a military intervention on humanitarian grounds. Padrino on Saturday said the Chinese boat's visit was part of the government's "strategic defense operation."

     The Peace Ark's humanitarian tours around the world have become a sign of China's outreach efforts and Beijing's ambitions of gradually expanding its military influence abroad. The ship, which has 300 beds, eight operation rooms and a medical helicopter, has carried out such missions to more than 40 countries provided free medical services for more than 180,000 people since it was commissioned in 2008. Such goodwill visits have been the mainstay of U.S. diplomacy in Latin America for decades. The Chinese ship has twice before visited Latin America, in 2011 and 2015, but never has stopped in Venezuela. It will also visit the Caribbean island of Grenada and Ecuador on its current deployment. Maduro, who came back a week ago from a visit to China where he sought fresh investment and financing from one of Venezuela's top ally, said on Twitter that the boat will stay in Venezuela for about a week.

SEPTEMBER  22,  2018

PRESIDENT TRUMP AFFIRMS THAT HE WILL NOT ALLOW THE UNITED STATES TO BECOME THE NEXT VENEZUELA

          WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The internal divisions among the Democrats are becoming a new political argument for Donald Trump, in a high tension electoral campaign in which the future of his presidency is played out within 40 days. The president of the United States is moving to the most disputed lands to try to stimulate Republican voters. His new campaign argument, unveiled on Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the leftist current in the Democratic Party. Trump called the Democrats "radical socialists" and "fanatics" and said that "their policy is crazy and dangerous." "I will not let the United States become the next Venezuela," he said.

      Trump came to Las Vegas in support of the Republican candidates in the next legislative, and especially Senator Dean Heller, one of the weakest, if not the most, of the Republicans who face re-election on November 6. Heller is the only Republican senator who plays in a state won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Republican Party has a minimal majority in the Senate, which would change hands if the Democrats win two seats and defend all their own. The seat of Heller is the weakest link in the battle for control of the Senate.

     "You have to vote in the legislative. Do not be complacent, "Trump told an audience of stalwarts at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The main risk for the Republicans is the apparent hyper-democrat mobilization predicted by the polls and which is causing the study centers to give as tied or dubious seats that should not be in question. Democrats need to change sign 23 seats to take control of the House of Representatives and strangle Tru

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP WILL MEET WITH PRESIDENT SEBASTIAN PIŃERA  ON SEPTEMBER 28 TO DISCUSS THE SITUATION IN VENEZUELA

       Washington, d.c.    -- US President Donald Trump will receive his Chilean counterpart Sebastian Pińera on September 28 for a meeting in which they will discuss "the efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela," the White House said today. "President Trump and President Pińera will work on the strong alliance between the two nations in the search for a more prosperous, secure and democratic Western Hemisphere," the White House said in a statement.

     He also added that both leaders will discuss the "shared commitment to policies for growth, the fight against corruption and illicit networks, strategic alliances in energy and cybersecurity, and efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela." Pińera's visit to Washington will come after his participation in the United Nations General Assembly, which will take place next week in New York. Pińera, who assumed the presidency of Chile last March, had previously held the position between 2010 and 2014.

     The meeting between the two will take place before Trump's first trip to Latin America, scheduled to attend the G20 summit that will take place in Argentina, and after which the president will also visit Colombia. The US president canceled at the last moment his participation in April of this year at the Summit of the Americas, which took place in Peru. Since arriving at the White House, Trump has received in Washington several Latin American presidents, among them that of Argentina, Mauricio Macri; Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, Guatemala, Jimmy Morales and now ex-president of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

CHAOS IN TACHIRA: CLOSURE OF STREETS AND PROTESTS DUE TO GAS SHORTAGE

      TACHIRA, VENEZUELA    -- Dozens of Venezuelans blocked some streets on Friday in the city of San Cristobal, near the border with Colombia, in protest at a shortage of gasoline that has been accentuated during the week, in the middle of the implementation of a new fuel collection system in the member country of OPEC. The government of Nicolás Maduro began installing wireless devices this month in frontier service stations that will allow charging, in the future, a new price for gasoline which is currently the cheapest in the world.

     The collection method, which is running in the test phase in border cities, will expand from Monday to the rest of the country. "We have been waiting for a gandola (truck) with gasoline since early Tuesday morning and it is unacceptable for us in a petroleum country to be begging for gasoline," said María Auxiliadora Prato, a 68-year-old driver who placed her vehicle Help block one of the main avenues. When a group of National Guard officers ordered the protesters to stop blocking the streets with stopped cars, protesters placed branches, bottles, tires and garbage bags on the tracks. "We have to have the pillow inside the car to sleep for three days of waiting in the queues for 40 liters of gasoline," said Cesar Mendez, another driver who joined the protests.

     Failures in the supply of gasoline in the Táchira state, which have been repeated intermittently this year amid the poor performance of Venezuelan refineries, come just as the president announced an imminent increase in fuel as part of its economic recovery program . The Maduro government has promised to grant a subsidy to the drivers who process the so-called "carnet de la patria" application, granted by the administration, once the new price of gasoline is implemented in the coming weeks. Maduro's opponents say the shortage of gasoline is the fault of inefficient and corrupt management of the state oil industry, which controls production in a country with the world's largest oil reserves. "Táchira without gasoline, thanks to the failure of communism," the opposition deputy for that border region, Franklyn Duarte, wrote on Twitter.

SEPTEMBER  21,  2018

CHINA SAYS THE PROMISE OF MORE MONEY FOR VENEZUELA IS PART OF A 'MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL COOPERATION'

          BEIJING, CHINA   -- China on Friday extended its offer of financial support to Venezuela as the South American nation’s President Nicolas Maduro arrived for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders.  Developing relations with Venezuela was a strategic decision for China, Xi said during the meeting, extracts of which were shown by state broadcaster CCT“China and Venezuela have to enhance friendly mutual trust and push for mutually beneficial cooperation,” he said. Maduro was in Beijing mainly to seek economic cooperation for his country, which is mired in debt and battling hyperinflation.

     Over the past decade, China has loaned US$50 billion to Venezuela, and while Caracas has been gradually paying off that debt with oil shipments, it still owes Beijing about US$20 billion. Earlier in the day, Maduro visited Mao Zedong’s mausoleum in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, where he bowed three times before laying a wreath and hailing the founder of the People’s Republic of China as a “giant of the homeland of humanity”. “We are beginning this state visit in the best way because we have come to pay tribute to the great helmsman Mao Zedong,” Maduro said in comments broadcast by Venezuela’s official VTV network. “I was very moved because it really reminds me of one of the great founders of a multipolar 21st century,” he said, adding that Mao had been a “giant of revolutionary ideas”.

      Crisis-hit Venezuela on edge as new sovereign bolívar banknotes enter circulation In a separate meeting, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said bilateral relations between Beijing and Caracas had good momentum. “China will provide assistance to Venezuela within its capacity,” he said in the CCTV footage. “China will support Venezuela’s efforts to develop its economy and improve people’s livelihoods.” But Li also called on Caracas to improve its policies and legal protection for Chinese businesses operating in Venezuela. During the talks, the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding with regards to cooperation on China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” – a massive development programme Beijing initiated to boost infrastructure and trade links with more than 65 countries and regions.

COLOMBIAN AMBASSADOR FRANCISCO SANTOS PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

       Washington, d.c.    -- yesterday,  Ambassador of Colombia to the United States Francisco Santos presented his credentials to President Donald J. Trump at the White House, making his ambassadorship official. Francisco Santos also submitted a statement for the White House record, which reads in part: My number one priority as Ambassador is to strengthen and enhance this relationship. We believe that together we can play a critical role, for Colombia, the Western Hemisphere and the world in advancing democracy, peace, the rule of law and freedom … “Colombia is determined to never return to the dark days in our history.

     Under President Duque’s administration, we are putting pressure on all links in the drug trafficking chain, from small farmers involved in the first stage of production – cultivation – to those criminals and criminal networks that are benefitting the most financially from these illicit activities. “The partnership with the United States that has helped make Colombia a role model for other countries in the region, can be expanded to face the common challenges that remain. One that we cannot fail to address is the situation faced by our neighbor, Venezuela... We trust that with the continued cooperation of the United States and the rest of the international community the suffering of the Venezuelan people will come to an end.

    "Despite these challenges, we are optimistic about the future of Colombia. We are a strong and resilient nation with a dynamic and expanding middle class, and a thriving business environment. Our bilateral agenda includes a commitment to expanding business, investment and strong economic ties between our two countries.” President of Colombia Iván Duque appointed Ambassador Francisco Santos to the post in early September and he arrived in Washington last week. Francisco Santos completed his studies in the United States at the University of Kansas and the University of Texas, earning degrees in Journalism and Latin-American Studies, respectively. He also served as editor of the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: HOMICIDES, EXECUTIONS AND IMPUNITY, FATAL COCKTAIL IN  VENEZUELA

       WASHINGTON, D.C.    -- The very high homicide rate, together with very high levels of impunity and the excessive use of force by the authorities, places Venezuela in one of the worst situations of violence for a country without war, according to a report by Amnesty International. "The number of homicides in Venezuela is higher than in many countries at war," said Esteban Beltrán, director of AI Spain, on Thursday in Buenos Aires presenting the report entitled "This is not life. Citizen security and the right to life in Venezuela. " According to the NGO, since 2002 the number of homicides in Venezuela has increased steadily and since 2010 it has become critical "because the homicide rate has not dropped from 50 people per 100,000 inhabitants."

     By 2017, AI calculates an index of 89 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, above El Salvador and three times more than BrazilAs an aggravating factor, AI points out that impunity reaches 92% in cases of common crimes and 98% in cases of human rights violations. The profile of the victims is of men between 16 and 29 years of age, parents of young children, responsible for the livelihood of the home in the popular areas with the highest poverty index in the cities. In Venezuela, a country of 30.6 million inhabitants, there were about 5.9 million small arms in 2017, according to the report. Executions -Amnesty International highlights its concern about the alleged executions carried out by State agents during operations against crime, in particular those that were called the town liberation operation, generally in the slums of the cities.

     "State officials, guided by a military rationality, have used force abusively and excessively regularly and, in some cases, in a lethal and intentional manner within the framework of security operations," the organization points out. Amnesty includes in its report stories of fathers and mothers who narrate how their children were killed during that type of operation, inside their own homes from which they were stolen valuables such as appliances, cash and clothing. In those cases, the deaths occur in the presence of the victim's relatives."In the cases documented by AI, all the victims were unarmed. The autopsies show shots in the neck, thorax or head, and death occurs when they are kneeling or lying down. The authorities allege confrontation, but there is not a single wounded policeman, "said Beltrán.

SEPTEMBER  20,  2018

FIVE LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES WILL DENOUNCE DICTATOR MADURO BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

          LIMA, PERU  -- The Peruvian foreign minister confirmed that Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay will take this action during an intermission of the General Assembly of the United Nations for systematic violation of Human Rights and crimes against humanity. This is the first time that a complaint has been filed against a government in the region. The foreign ministers of Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay will sign a letter next week denouncing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro before the Prosecutor of the Criminal Court dictator for violation of Human Rights in a systematic and specifically by Crimes against humanity.

    Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio confirmed on Tuesday that they will take this measure during an intermission of the United Nations General Assembly. According to the head of Peruvian diplomacy, it is the first time that a complaint has been filed against a government in the region. He specified that the initiative is not part of the Lima Group, led by Peru, but of a group of South American countries that are members of the Rome Statute, the constituent instrument of the International Criminal Court in 1998. "It has not been known before ... it is the first time, "he said in an interview with The Associated Press in Lima.

    Peru's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Néstor Popolizio, indicated that two reports will be attached: one from a group of experts who presented all their conclusions on the systematic violations of Human Rights in Venezuela before the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and another prepared by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Both reports will serve to support the complaint before the prosecutor of the Court, Fatou Bensouda, born in Gambia. The Peruvian foreign minister said that the advantage of filing a complaint by member countries of the Rome Statute allows a faster process. This "automatically gives the prosecutor and the International Criminal Court a chance to do a more expedited procedure," he explained.

UNITED NATIONS APPOINTS EDUARDO STEIN AS A SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR VENEZUELAN MIGRATION CRISIS

       UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK  -- Former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein was named on Wednesday as the UN's special representative for refugees and migrants from Venezuela, after Colombia asked for help to confront the flow of Venezuelans fleeing the crisis in their country. Eduardo Stein "will work to promote the necessary dialogue and consensus for humanitarian response, including access to territory, protection of refugees, regular status, and the identification of solutions for Venezuelan refugees and migrants," the agency said in a joint statement. of the UN for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

     The former Guatemalan vice president (who held the post between 2004 and 2008) "will promote a coherent and harmonized regional approach to the situation in Venezuela in coordination with national governments, international organizations and other relevant actors," the text explains. The appointment comes two days after the Colombian Foreign Minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, asked in Geneva the creation of "an emergency humanitarian fund to strengthen the budgetary capacity in order to face" the political and economic crisis in Venezuela. The head of Colombian Foreign Affairs also pointed out "the need for the appointment of a senior official within the framework of the United Nations, whose task is to coordinate multilateral action."

    "The sooner the better, because the crisis increases in a dramatic way day by day," Trujillo told reporters on Monday. Colombia, which shares 2,200 kilometers of the border with Venezuela, had already warned in recent weeks that it had no capacity to face alone the arrival of Venezuelan migrants, which exceeded one million people in recent years, of which 820,000 regularized their situation. "I am afraid that this figure is higher and we are very concerned about the trend that these figures are presenting, because if we continue as we are going, we would be talking about close to 4 million Venezuelans at the end of this year outside of their country," Trujillo warned. According to the UN, of the 2.3 million Venezuelans living abroad, more than 1.6 million have left the country since 2015, when they began to feel the consequences of the crisis in the country.

CUBA BELIEVES THAT LUIS ALMAGRO CROSSED THE "RED LINE" WHEN TALKING ABOUT INTERVENTION IN VENEZUELA

       HAVANA, CUBA   -- Cuba considered Monday that the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, has "crossed the red line" by stating publicly that a military intervention against the government of Nicolás Maduro is not ruled out to put end to the suffering of the Venezuelan people. An article that occupies this Monday half-cover of the newspaper Granma, official communication organ of the governing Communist Party of Cuba (PCC, only legal), indicates that it is a "dangerous" call and accuses Almagro of getting involved "with the worst causes interventionists and pro-US "" imposed "to the OAS.

    The text of Granma accuses the official of being obsessed with Venezuela, the main political and economic ally of the Caribbean country, and of heading "all kinds" of provocations. "Although even more worrisome are the arguments of 'democracy' and 'humanitarian crisis', which recall the terms used by the US rulers to invade countries, bomb cities, destabilize governments and massacre people," the article argues. The text defends that "we must put a stop to this character and its destabilizing tangles" by denouncing it before international organizations, in addition to "unmasking him as a traitor of the ideas of the left he once professed and as he is today: an employee to whom Washington uses in his warlike adventures. "

      According to the organ of the PCC, Almagro "has been fully employed in the Yankee plan to divide the community of Latin American and Caribbean nations (...), openly conspiring against popular and leftist processes". The controversial declarations of Luis Almagro, that Venezuela has announced that it will denounce at the UN, took place last 14th during a press conference on the Colombian side of the Simón Bolívar binational bridge, a few meters from the border with Venezuela. This is not the first time that the Cuban state press attacks Almagro, who the authorities of the Communist island have twice denied entry when the OAS secretary intended to attend events organized in Havana by dissent (in 2017 and 2018 ).

SEPTEMBER  19,  2018

THE UNITED STATES SHOULD HELP COLOMBIA, INCLUDING MILITARILY, SENATOR MARCO RUBIO AFFIRMS
 
 
 WASHINGTON, D.C.    -- - Marco Rubio, a Republican senator for the United States’ southeastern state of Florida, proposed on Monday that his country’s government should increase aid and some military cooperation with Colombia in order to halt a slide into regional instability triggered by weak governments, drug cartels and what he described as terrorist insurgencies. Rubio, in an exclusive article supplied to EFE, said that the US had already helped increase the stability and prosperity of Colombia through strong support and foreign assistance programs, and that the time had come to extend this further. “Increased cooperation is essential given the challenges to regional security and stability,” Rubio said.

     He said some of the regional challenges that the US should address in partnership with President Ivan Duque Marquez of Colombia were obvious. “In Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro and his cronies are driving a once thriving country to the point of total collapse,” Rubio said. He went on to add that in Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega and his wife were turning their government into what he described as a military dictatorship. “And in Bolivia, Evo Morales is crushing dissent aided by the Cuban regime,” he added. Rubio, a Cuban American born in Miami, Florida, finished third in the US presidential election primaries in 2016, falling short of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, who went on to win.

     The former candidate said that anti-American activities in the region were of great concern to the US given the intervention of adversaries like Russia and China was, according to him, intensifying. The best way for the US to tackle this situation and improve it was to expand security commitments to and cooperation with Colombia, Rubio said. The means to do this was to help Colombia gather and assess the evidence that could then be presented to the United Nations to show how Maduro’s Venezuelan government was harboring terrorist organizations and drug trafficking networks. He said that the State Department’s annual report on terrorism had linked Maduro’s regime to US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). “Individuals linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) were present in Venezuela, as well as Hezbollah supporters and sympathizers,” the report said, according to Rubio.

VENEZUELAN EXODUS PLUNGING LATIN AMERICAN REGION INTO CHAOS

     UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK  --    The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) says the mass migration of Venezuelans throughout South America in search of asylum and economic relief is plunging the entire region into crisis. The WFP says Colombia, in particular, is facing an unprecedented emergency because thousands of desperate Venezuelans arrive there daily to escape political and economic turmoil. It says Colombia is hosting nearly 1 million of the roughly 2.3 million Venezuelans who have fled their country.

     Colombia has emerged relatively recently from its decades-long war with FARC guerrillas. Dealing with its own political, social and economic needs after such a long period of conflict is difficult. WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel acknowledges the burden the large influx of Venezuelans is placing upon Colombia. He said the government and citizens are doing all they can to step up to the challenge. Venezuelan migrant children line up to receive food at a makeshift camp near the transport terminal in Bogota, Colombia, Sept. 5, 2018. “The country has made progress in its peace process and ending hunger; however, as the migration crisis grows in proportion, it jeopardizes recent gains.

    The crisis is affecting host families and communities receiving large numbers of migrants, particularly indigenous communities, which welcome new arrivals but face very difficult living conditions,” Verhoosel said. Many Venezuelans transit through Colombia and move on to Ecuador, Peru and other South American countries. Aid agencies say a lack of food, medicine and other basic goods, loss of livelihoods and growing political repressions in Venezuela are creating one of the largest mass exoduses in Latin American history. Verhoosel said the WFP is providing food rations to the most vulnerable migrants in Colombia and Ecuador, especially women, children and others living in temporary shelters and on the street. He said WFP urgently needs $22 million to scale up its aid operation.

VENEZUELA'S DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO SAYS HE MAY NOT ATTEND UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR PERSONAL SECURITY CONCERNS

  CARACAS, VENEZUELA     --    Venezuelan DICTATOR Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday he was evaluating whether or not he would attend this week's United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, citing concerns about his safety. "You know they have me in their sights to kill me ... I want to go to New York but I have to take care of my security," Maduro said at a news conference, without elaborating on who might target him Earlier during the same news conference, Maduro said Venezuelan ex-military officers were conspiring to overthrow his government with the help of the United States.

     In August, two drones exploded over an outdoor rally in Caracas where Maduro was giving a speech, injuring seven soldiers and leading to the arrest of over a dozen suspects, including several military officials. Maduro described it as an assassination attempt. The New York Times reported on Sept. 8 that U.S. officials had met with rebellious Venezuelan military officers, leading Maduro to accuse U.S. President Donald Trump's administration of seeking an intervention and supporting a coup.

     The U.S. National Security Council responded at the time that U.S. policy preference was for "a peaceful, orderly return to democracy in Venezuela." Venezuela's economy has collapsed under Maduro, with annual inflation running at 200,000 percent, and staple foods and basic medicine increasingly difficult to obtain. The 73rd session of the General Assembly, which Maduro has not attended since 2015, started on Tuesday.

SEPTEMBER  18,  2018

LIMA GROUP RULES OUT MILITARY INTERVENTION IN VENEZUELA

  
 LIMA, PERU    -- -  Eleven of the 14 governments that are part of the Lima Group have rejected the possibility of military intervention against Venezuela's government and defended a peaceful outcome of the migration crisis. The statement was in response to a press conference on Friday, where the head of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, refused to rule out military action, adding that only restoring democracy in Venezuela would solve the crisis the country is in. "As for military intervention to overthrow the Nicolas Maduro regime, I think we should not rule out any option, because definitively, the Nicolas Maduro regime is perpetrating crimes against humanity towards its population, and violations of human rights," said Almagro.

     "The suffering of the people, in this induced exodus, that it is driving, means that diplomacy remains the first option but we can't exclude any action." This is the first time the Lima Group, which was established in 2017 to apply international pressure on Venezuela, and Almagro have publicly disagreed on Venezuela. "The Lima Group rejected the military intervention against Venezuela and left Luis Almagro, slavish agent of the Empire, all alone with his coup plotting obsession," tweeted the Bolivian head of state, Evo Morales, on Sunday. "It is a defeat of Trump's interventionism and a victory of dignity and courage of Venezuela and Latin America," he added.

     The Venezuelan government announced it would appeal to the UN and other international bodies to take action against Almagro. "Almagro attacks Latin America and the Caribbean... intends to revive the worst military intervention on the continent," said Vice President Delcy Rodriguez. The idea of resolving Venezuela's crisis by changing the regime has always been rejected throughout the region. Almagro's threat of military force is surprising as he previously condemned the region's support for a US invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 in order to remove a democratically elected president. The invasion, carried out in the OAS' name, left thousands dead and generated resentment against the idea of using force against sovereign nations.

COLOMBIA, CANADA AND GUYANA WILL NOT RULE OUT MILITARY SOLUTION IN VENEZUELA

     LIMA, PERU     --     Colombia, Canada, and Guyana refused to sign a declaration ruling out a military solution to the crisis in Venezuela on Sunday, agreeing with comments by the head of the Organization of American States.   In a declaration signed by Lima Group this week, 11 out of the 14 countries that make up the group, established to oppose the human rights violations of the country’s socialist dictatorship, signed a document rejecting “any type of action or declaration that implies military intervention or … threats or the use of violence.”

     Representatives from Canada, Guyana, and Colombia refused to sign the document. Both the latter countries share a border with Venezuela and therefore have borne the brunt of the thousands of migrants fleeing every day in need of humanitarian assistance. Dictator Nicolás Maduro has also threatened to invade both countries. The declaration came as a response to comments made by the head of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who last Friday raised the possibility of a military solution to the crisis.

     “As for military intervention to overthrow the Nicolas Maduro regime, I think we should not rule out any option, because definitively, the Nicolas Maduro regime is perpetrating crimes against humanity towards its population, and violations of human rights,” said Almagro. “The suffering of the people, in this induced exodus, that it is driving, means that diplomacy remains the first option but we can’t exclude any action,” he continued. It is the first time that the Lima group, founded last year to help bring an end to the Venezuelan crisis, has publicly disagreed on a major issue with Almagro.

COLOMBIA ACCUSES VENEZUELAN SOLDIERS OF CROSSING BORDER WITHOUT PERMISSION

  BOGOTA, COLOMBIA    --    Colombia Accuses Venezuelan Soldiers of Crossing Border Without Permission
Colombia's foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had sent a letter of protest to Venezuela, accusing it of allowing helicopters and soldiers to cross the shared border without permission over the weekend. "There was a violation to Colombia's sovereignty on the part of two military helicopters, identified with the acronym of the Bolivarian National Guard, and some 30 armed soldiers," Colombia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

    The Foreign Ministry said it confirmed a "violation of the national territory" occurred on September 13, when Venezuelan military entered the Colombian island Maipures 3, in the department of Vichada on the Orinoco River (east), and detained three citizens. The personero of the municipality of Cumaribo, to which the islands belong, Rosendo Rey, affirmed on Friday that it is common for members of the Bolivarian National Guard to cross the border to "steal" the locals. Rey said that this time the Venezuelan troops captured the three Colombians falsely accusing them of being criminals to show results to their government.

    The ministry sent a letter to the Venezuelan embassy in Bogota expressing its "most energetic protest" against the incident, which took place in the Tibu municipality in Norte de Santander province on Sunday, the statement added. Venezuelan soldiers have repeatedly crossed into Colombia without permission, exacerbating long-standing tensions between the neighbors. Colombia is a top destination for Venezuelans fleeing food and medicine shortages amidst their country's deep economic crisis.

SEPTEMBER  17,  2018

DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO AFFIRMS HE GOT FRESH CHINA LOAN, BUT IN CARACAS THEY ARE ALL GAGA OVER A STRAY EQUINE

  
 CARACAS, VENEZUELA   -- - fIVE firefighters in Merida state, Venezuelan Andes region, were arrested Thursday for allegedly posting a video of themselves addressing a donkey as “Presidente Maduro” and leading the animal on a mock inspection visit of a fire station. The firefighters were detained by the the DGCIM military counter intelligence service, local media reported. The offending firemen were identified as: Carlos Baron and Ricardo Prieto. Merida state governor Ramon Guevara Tweeted the information, saying the firefighters had been arrested “in connection” with the viral video and adding that he hopes the human rights of the arrested firefighters and due process will be respected.

     News of the equine escapade overshadowed reports of Maduro getting $5 billion in fresh financing Friday morning. The money is giving Maduro much needed respite, as oil production has fallen to new lows and Venezuela has already defaulted on some $6 billion in foreign debt bonds. But the donkey news is giving humanitarian-crisis impacted Venezuelans a much needed respite as well, from their everyday, hyperinflation-hit lives. “Good afternoon companions, as you can see we are receiving the visit of President Maduro Moros in station eight of Apartaderos and he is currently making the inspection rounds”, a man in a deep Andino accent intones ceremoniously at the beginning of the video, as a grey donkey can be seen trotting by an emergency vehicle and into the station, following a seemingly female firefighter in an uniform that reads “Bomberos Merida” or Merida fire department.

      The narration continues: ”Here he is, walking down the hallway, Presidente Maduro, making the inspection of selfsame hallway, and giving us instructions, noting the state of the station and the dotation which he is bringing, or will offer or will bring, for the station of firefighters, Merida state”. As the donkey begins to graze on some grass, the running commentary adapts: “you can see, he is by himself verifying the state of the grass, if it is in a proper state or not”. Near the end of the video, the narrator says: “He doesn’t talk much, hard to say what is his opinion, maybe that is because we are asking for too much”.

THE IMPUNITY OF LEFTIST LATIN  AMERICAN DICTATORSHIPS

     WASHINGTON, D.C.     --Faced with an exodus of biblical proportions, with millions of Venezuelans fleeing their country as a result of the social, economic, political and existential cataclysm wrought by el chavismo and the Maduro dictatorship, propped up by Cuba, the governments of Latin America have thus far sought to mitigate the effects of this humanitarian crisis, but they are not helping Venezuela to address what is behind it; that is, they are struggling with the branches, but not the root.

      Fourteen countries met in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where government representatives made good proposals on how to provide assistance to Venezuelan migrants, but did not take concrete measures against the regime of Nicolás Maduro. They said nothing of isolating him diplomatically, or of demanding that he and his henchmen step down. They did ask him to accept humanitarian aid to stem the tide of emigrants from the country. Though Latin America's wave of populist governments – totalling 13 in 2011 – has subsided, and the region is now predominantly ruled by liberal democrats, why is no one acting against the chavista tyranny, or that in Nicaragua, or that in Cuba, as was done against Pinochet, who suffered concerted international isolation?

    Only five populist or communist governments remain in the region: Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela, El Salvador and Cuba, with 46 million inhabitants, just 7% of the region's 635 million. Why do not the remaining governments mention even Castroism, the mother of all the autocracies of the left in the region? Cuban intelligence and military counterintelligence in Venezuela are what prevent the necessary military uprising against Maduro. Without Castro's military and political intervention in Venezuela, Maduro and his narco-government would have been overthrown. There would be no humanitarian crisis. Are the Latin American leaders so naive that they do not know that?

THOUSANDS IN ANTI-ORTEGA PROTEST MARCHED IN NICARAGUA DEMANDING THE DICTATOR'S  RESIGNATION

  MANAGUA, NICARAGUA      --    Thousands of demonstrators marched Sunday through Nicaragua's capital Managua to demand the resignation of President Daniel Ortega and the liberation of hundreds detained during months of deadly government repression. Whole families -- including young children and the elderly --took part in the so-called "Rescuing the Homeland" march, many sounding noisy vuvuzelas, waving Nicaraguan flags and shouting slogans as they made their way through the streets.

     Months of turmoil in the Central American country has left more than 300 people dead, according to rights groups. The march, called by opposition groups, began in the northeast of the capital, monitored by hundreds of riot police. Some of the marchers shouted "murderers" as they passed in front of police cordons blocking streets. "We want Ortega to leave because he has done so much damage to Nicaragua," one of the demonstrators, Javier Franco, 49, told AFP.

     "He has to go, whether he wants to or not. We want the elections to be brought forward," said Mario Jiminez, another demonstrator. Nicaragua's descent into chaos was triggered on April 18 when relatively small protests against now-scrapped social security reforms were met with a government crackdown, backed by armed paramilitaries. Catholic Church-brokered peace talks broke down in June after Ortega rejected a key opposition demand to step down and bring forward presidential elections.
hace 11 ańos, ha rechazado anticipar los comicios como salida a la crisis generada por la represión a las protestas que iniciaron el 18 de abril. Los opositores acusan a Daniel Ortega y a su esposa la vicepresidenta Rosario Murillo de instaurar una dictadura marcada por la corrupción.

SEPTEMBER  16,  2018

THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE OAS SAID THAT A "MILITARY INTERVENTION" IN VENEZUELA SHOULD NOT BE RULED OUT

  
 WASHINGTON, D.C.    -- -The OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, said on Friday that one should not rule out "a military intervention" in Venezuela to "overthrow" the government of Nicolás Maduro, which he blames for causing a humanitarian and migratory crisis. "As for military intervention to overthrow the regime of Nicolás Maduro, I think we should not rule out any option," said Almagro at a press conference in the Colombian city of Cúcuta, on the border with Venezuela. The head of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose attitude Maduro has described as "interventionist", justified his statement in "human rights violations" and "crimes against humanity" committed by the Venezuelan government against his people.

     "In (the) suffering of the people, in the induced exodus that is driving, makes diplomatic actions are in the first place, but we should not rule out any action," he said. Almagro, who ended Friday a three-day visit to Colombia to see by himself the migratory wave of Venezuelans, questioned the "dictatorship" of Maduro for refusing to receive humanitarian aid in the face of the deep conomic crisis suffered by Venezuela. We have never seen a more immoral regime like Venezuela that denies humanitarian aid to its people at times of the worst crisis the Americas have seen. The international community can not allow a dictatorship.

     He also pointed to the Chavez government to repress its people in a different way to "the other dictatorships" that have been in America. "In this case it is misery, it is hunger, it is the lack of medicines, as repressive instruments to impose a political will on the people, that is inadmissible," he said. Venezuela is mired in a deep economic crisis that has caused 2.3 million people to leave the oil-producing country since 2014, according to the UN. Colombia has received more than one million. The secretary had said on Thursday, after meeting with Colombian President Ivan Duque, that the migration crisis affecting the region was resolved with "democracy" in Venezuela.

CRYSTALLEX ACCUSES PDVSA OF TRYING TO "LOOT" CITGO BEFORE THE IMMINENT SALE OF ITS SHARES

     WASHINGTON, D.C.     -- In a 49-page document delivered this Friday to the Delaware court, the lawyers of the transnational Cristallex International Corp. asked the judge to deny the motions proposed by Petróleos de Venezuela SA where the suspension of the court's mandate is requested to proceed with the sale of the shares of CITGO Petroleum Corp., a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company in the United States, and whose funds would serve to settle the debt that the Bolivarian Republic has with the claimant company for the expropriation of its assets in the Las Cristinas mines by the late President Hugo Chávez.

     In the petition for the court to deny the motions of Petróleos de Venezuela, Crystallex's attorneys say that the award order made by Judge Leonard P. Stark against the shares of PDV Holding, Inc, the entity that owns Citgo, should be executed immediately. The document says that after a month of issuance of the order for the aguacilios of the United States to proceed with the procedures for the auction of the shares, on August 31, 2018 "Petróleos de Venezuela, SA filed a petition to prevent proceed to offer the share capital in accordance with the provisions of the law. The lawyers of the Canadian company say that PDVSA did not offer bail and did not guarantee that the shares of PDV Holding are sufficient to satisfy Crystallex's judgment against the alter ego of PDVSA, which is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

      They say that PDVSA did not offer any means to guarantee that "PDVSA and Venezuela will not plunder PDV Holding while they maintain control of that company and its subsidiaries, because with the ruling of the court they no longer have any long-term interest in the success of those companies. " The litigants remembered that before the court issued its order authorizing the sale of Citgo shares, PDVSA made transactions with "intention". . . to hinder the actions of creditors. The document says that "PDVSA does not offer in its appeal any legitimate reason why Crystallex, which has already spent years waiting for Venezuela to satisfy the ruling and the arbitration award in its favor, has to give PDVSA and Venezuela more time to dispossess even more. to its US subsidiaries of the value they have at this time. "They ask that the PDVSA motion be denied immediately by Judge Stark.

FORMER SPAIN PRESIDENT JOSE LUIS ZAPATERO LINKS EXODUS OF VENEZUELANS TO THE SANCTIONS IMPOSED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT

   SAO PAULO, BRAZIL .      --    Former President of the Government of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, linked the intensification of the migratory flow of Venezuelans by several Latin American countries to the economic sanctions imposed by the United States. "As always happens with the economic sanctions that produce a financial blockade, who, ultimately, ultimately pays it is not the Government, but the citizens, it is the people.

    This should lead to a certain amount of reflection and consideration, Zapatero said in an interview with Efe after participating in a forum in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.The former president celebrated "the attitude of solidarity" towards the Venezuelan people. the eleven Latin American countries that met in Quito earlier this month to try to "coordinate actions and, of course, the principles of human rights, of social assistance, be fulfilled".

    In his opinion, in those conversations it would also be necessary to include Venezuela because "it will be difficult to order, if that is the objective: to rationally order and help all this population that leaves, even one that returns", if there is no "dialogue" "with the country of origin of immigration. The United Nations Organization (UN) calculates that, until June of this year, at least some 2.3 million Venezuelans have left the country due to the political, social and economic crisis that the oil nation is going through, and emigrate mainly to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.

SEPTEMBER  15,  2018

VENEZUELA HANDS CHINA MORE OIL PRESENCE, BUT NO MENTION OF NEW FUNDS

    BEIJING, CHINA    -- -Venezuela gave China another stake in the OPEC member's oil industry and signed several other deals in the energy sector, but Beijing made no mention of new funds for Caracas during President Nicolas Maduro's visit to his government's key financier on Friday. Maduro's leftist government sold a 9.9 percent stake in the low-cost Sinovensa joint venture, where China National Petroleum Corporation has a 40 percent share, to China, it said in a statement. The statement also said China and Venezuela had signed a "memorandum for cooperation in Ayacucho bloc 6," located in Venezuela's vast oil-rich Orinoco Belt, without elaborating.

    China will drill 300 wells in Ayacucho and extend $184 million in financing for the joint oil venture Petrozumano, the statement added. A source at Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA , who asked to remain anonymous because he is not allowed to speak to media, said oil services and procurement at Sinovensa would be handled by Chinese companies. It was unclear what China, which has ploughed more than $50 billion into Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements, was giving in return. PDVSA and Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for information about the deal. Maduro said on Thursday he was going to China on a four-day trip with "great expectations" and promised to return with "big achievements."

     Venezuela's finance ministry in July said it would receive $250 million from the China Development Bank to boost oil production but offered no details. Venezuela previously accepted a $5 billion loan from China for its struggling oil sector but has yet to receive the entire amount. Venezuela's opposition politicians say Maduro's desperate government is ceding oil assets on the cheap to stay afloat despite U.S. sanctions and falling oil production. "This acknowledges that oil policy to date has been a failure in which PDVSA shows it is a highly inefficient and corrupt company that is incapable of increasing production and so needs more financing, as in this case," said economist and opposition legislator Angel Alvarado. In a separate meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Maduro said Venezuela was willing to "explore effective financing methods" with China and strengthen cooperation in the energy sector, Chinese state media said, citing Maduro without elaborating.

LUIS ALMAGRO MAKES A THREE-DAY VISIT TO COLOMBIA TO DISCUSS VENEZUELAN IMMIGRATION CRISIS

     BOGOTA, COLOMBIA     -- The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, said today in Cartagena de Indias that the "repatriations" of Venezuelan emigrants promoted by the Government of Nicolás Maduro are "a lie of the regime", which he called "immoral" "Trying to sustain that lie through, for example, repatriations by the tens when the forced exiles of the country are millions, it is definitely an immoral act, it is an immoral act that tries to perpetuate a lie that they can no longer hide," said Almagro during a joint statement to the press with the Colombian president, Iván Duque.

    On September 8, 90 Venezuelans returned to their country, coming from Lima, after embarking on a plane sent by the government of Maduro to Peru as part of their repatriation plan "Vuelta a la Patria". This initiative foresees that Venezuelans who are in countries such as Peru, Ecuador and Argentina will be repatriated in search of a better future after leaving theirs in the midst of the severe economic crisis that they are going through. Almagro and Duque met today in Cartagena de Indias to analyze the Venezuelan migration crisis and its impact on the countries of the region. In that sense, Almagro stressed that this crisis is part of the lie that the Venezuelan Government cannot hide. "This is the part of the Venezuelan lie that has escaped its control, which has generated a humanitarian and migratory crisis that definitely affects the living conditions and possibilities of service and development of all the countries of the region," he added.

    The secretary of the OAS also said that Venezuelans "seek solutions abroad that they can not find in their country." "The Venezuelan immigration crisis is an absolutely immoral crisis because it marks the indolence of a Government, it marks the lies of the Venezuelan Government when it comes to dealing with the problems of its people, its people needs in terms of food, health, basic needs, "he added. According to UN estimates, 2.3 million Venezuelans have been forced to leave their country in the face of the sociopolitical crisis that exists there. Of them, close to one million have settled in Colombia, a country that 35,000 Venezuelans cross every day, many in search of essential goods and others to emigrate permanently.

COLOMBIA AFFIRMS THAT IT IS ABLE TO RESPOND TO VENEZUELA "IN ANY  CASE"

    BOGOTA, COLOMBIA.      --   The Colombian government assured on Thursday that national sovereignty is guaranteed against the current situation in Venezuela and that it has an armed forces capable of responding "in any case." "We have a permanent monitoring on the borders," said Defense Minister Guillermo Botero, speaking at the National Congress of the Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecámaras) that was installed in Cartagena de Indias by the president of Colombia, Iván Duque . He added that the country has "some (military) forces that have the capability to respond in any case"

    The head of the defense portfolio stressed that Colombia is not a provocative country but is aware that "the situation in Venezuela is extremely complex." He added that in the face of "that disorder and that crisis that many governments are living in, they seek to attack their neighbors as a way to solve their internal problem and turn it into an external problem." Botero insisted that motivating patriotism is a strategy that Colombia already knows and that therefore "we will not let it ever provoke" but stressed that "national sovereignty is guaranteed."

    The Colombian chancellor, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, went to the remote border town of Vetas del Oriente on September 1, where two helicopters and about 30 Venezuelan soldiers entered on August 21. On that occasion, Trujillo raised the Colombian flag there. In the same place the neighbors denounced in November last year that soldiers and members of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB, militarized police) of Venezuela entered Colombian territory and told them to burn some of their belongings. However, Venezuela denied the incursion denounced by Colombia and assured that there had been no "act violating the national sovereignty" of the neighboring country, which Chancellor Trujillo considered proved.


                                                                                                                                                    SEPTEMBER  14,  2018

CHINA EXPRESSES ITS WHOLE CONFIDENCE IN THE VENEZUELAN SITUATION BEFORE THE VISIT OF DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO

  
 BEIJING, CHINA    -- -The Government of China expressed its WHOLE confidence in the political and economic situation of Venezuela, before the state visit that begins today the DICTATOR of that country, Nicolás Maduro, in which cooperation agreements will be signed. “After a presidential election without setbacks, the situation in Venezuela has improved and his Government is actively promoting financial and economic reform,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Thursday (13.09.2018) at a press conference. from the beginning of Maduro’s visit, four days.

    “China trusts that the Government and people of Venezuela will be able to deal with their internal affairs within the legal framework,” the official source added, recalling that the country is a “strategic partner” for Beijing. The spokesman said that during the visit of Maduro, which ends on September 16, the president will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and both will witness the signing of several bilateral agreements whose content did not want to advance. On possible financial aid contracts from Beijing to Caracas, Geng only said that the financial cooperation “benefits the local (Venezuelan) population and is working well” and “follows the principles of mutual respect, in line with international standards.

    The Venezuelan president, who travels to China when his country is experiencing serious economic difficulties, will also meet in Beijing with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and with the president of the Legislature, Li Zhanshu. Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, will give a banquet in honor of Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, and the Venezuelan leader will preside over the sixteenth meeting of the high level committees for the bilateral relations of both countries. Maduro’s trip “will further increase mutual political trust, deepen friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas and elevate it to a new level, opening new perspectives to bilateral ties,” spokesman Geng said.

VENEZUELAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AFFIRMS THAT NICOLAS MADURO TRIES TO AVOID DEFAULT WITH CHINA

     CARACAS, VENEZUELA    -- The president of the Parliament of Venezuela, the opposition Omar Barboza, said today that the head of state, Nicolás Maduro, traveled to China with the intention of "avoiding the default (recession of payments)" and that his government give him "more extension "For the payment of the obligations that it maintains with that country. "So far China's credit announcements have not been such, China has done is to buy oil in the future, and at this time, I think, the negotiation is aimed at avoiding the default with China, which will give more extension for the payment and the obligations he has with that country, "Barboza told reporters. |

     The deputy who runs the National Assembly (AN, Parliament), with opposition majority, answered the question about whether Maduro traveled to China to process a new loan of 5,000 million dollars, as some international media report. Maduro left for China yesterday and is expected to return next Sunday on a trip that, he said, is to "advance new agreements" in the economic, commercial, energy and financial fields, among others. I go and come, I go with great expectations and see you in a few days with great achievements," said the head of state before leaving.

     Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said today that "after a smooth presidential election, the situation in Venezuela has improved and his government is actively promoting financial and economic reform." He said that during his visit, Maduro will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and both will witness the signing of several bilateral agreements. China and Venezuela have strengthened ties in recent times, especially at the time of the late President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), relations that Maduro has intensified during his administration. 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 crude oil, an energy source of which the South American country has the largest reserves on the planet.

TWO DEFENDANTS ARE CONVICTED OF BRIBES RELATED TO OPERATIONS OF PDVSA IN THE US

    WASHINGTON, D.C.      --   Two cases implicated in the corruption scheme of the state-owned company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), indicted in the United States, pleaded guilty before a federal judge to a charge of bribery, the Justice Department reported today. A former director of a US company and an official of the oil company admitted his guilt in crimes related to bribes, according to a statement. The former executive of the American company Juan Carlos Castillo Rincon, whose nationality was not specified in the note, acknowledged having committed a crime of international bribery to secure and extend contracts in a corrupt manner with the Venezuelan energy company. Castillo was arrested in Miami on April 19 accused of conspiring with others to weave this alleged payment network in exchange for favoring his company, based in Houston in contract awards.

     The statement of José Orlando Camacho, the PDVSA official who was bribed by Castillo, who faces a charge of money laundering, adds the note, which in this case did not specify the circumstances in which he was arrested. Camacho reached an agreement with the court to confess his responsibility for that crime in July 2017, but it was made public this Thursday. As part of that agreement, Camacho admitted that while he was an employee of PDVSA or some of its subsidiaries, he accepted bribes from Castillo and the company he administered in exchange for favoring contracts with the Venezuelan energy company. Camacho also admitted that he conspired with Castillo to launder money from the bribes. The sentence of both that will fix the sentence to fulfill is programmed for the 21 of February of 2019.

    With these two statements of guilt are already 14 defendants in this case who have reached such agreements with the US Justice. There are four others charged in the same case who have not reached agreements to plead guilty. According to the media, such as The Wall Street Journal, the investigation of PDVSA affects Venezuelan leaders, including the president of the ruling National Constituent Assembly (ANC), Diosdado Cabello, which Washington links to the Cartel de los Soles. The Department of Justice has not revealed who the main figures of the investigation are, although it confirmed the existence of these investigations for the first time in February of this year.

                                                                                                                           SEPTEMBER  13,  2018

THE NEW YORK TIMES URGES TRUMP NOT TO ENCOURAGE A MILITARY COUP IN VENEZUELA

    WASHINGTON, d.c.  --  The New York Times (NYT) urged the US president, Donald Trump, to "stay out of Venezuela." In the text of the article, the American media advises Trump not to encourage a coup against President Nicolás Maduro. They also say that "the United States should not be in the business of blows." On the other hand, the NYT reported last weekend that US diplomats met secretly three times with Venezuelan military officers planning a coup against Maduro.

    However, Washington did not grant any material support to the dissidents, and plans for a coup fell apart after the recent arrest of dozens of some military personnel. In that regard, the NYT believes that "it is not unreasonable" for US diplomats to meet with all factions, including military mutineers, "but to hold several meetings with the planners (at one blow) begins to look like collaboration."

    The Times assures that any US involvement in an overthrow of Maduro could be counterproductive because it would grant ammunition to the Venezuelan government, which blames the United States for the country's ills, as reported by AFP. He also estimated that it would affect the moral authority of Washington to defend democracy in other countries of the world, "already compromised by the trampling of democratic norms by Trump at home, and his enthusiasm for foreign tyrants." The Times recalled the "historic loss" of US invasions and support for coupists of the last century in Latin America, and said that "Trump and other leaders must continue trying to encourage a transition through the adjustment of sanctions directed against Maduro and his accomplices"

DICTAtOR NICOLAS MADURO TRAVELS TO CHINA TO "IMPROVE RELATIONS" IN THE ECONOMIC FIELD

      CARACAS, VENEZUELA     -- -The plane that TOOK him to the People's Republic of China, for a state visit, which he described as "necessary", will have the purpose of "elevating the relationship" between that country and Venezuela. From the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetía, Vargas state, the chief executive assured that there are "great positive expectations for Venezuela" for this visit to the Asian country, and then comment that progress will continue on "the strategic partnership agreements in the commercial, energetic, financial, technological and communicational fields,", as to" deepen "the political, cultural and diplomatic relations between the President of China, Xi Jinping, and the Venezuelan dictator, all within the framework of the Economic Recovery Plan promoted by Maduro.

    "Today we are in better conditions, the Economic Recovery Plan has been activated, the 10 lines are riding in the reality of new balances necessary for the economic life of the Venezuelan family." I go with great hopes and expectations to improve, expand and deepen the relations with this great world power, the People's Republic of China, "he added.

    It should be noted that the Executive Vice President, Delcy Rodríguez, is in China since Monday, "reinforcing" bilateral ties with the Asian giant. Rodriguez came to make an official visit where, in addition to meetings with senior Chinese officials, he attended the XVI High Level Meeting between China and Venezuela, reported the Venezuelan vice president in the social network Twitter. "China and Venezuela will be able to maximize their areas of cooperation for the benefit of our peoples, and together we will build a world of balance, multipolar and multicentric," he wrote in the aforementioned network.

UNITED NATIONS DENOUNCES SHAMEFUL REPRISALS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS IN RUSSIA, CHINA, VENEZUELA, CUBA AND 34 OTHER COUNTRIES

    UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK     --   The United Nations Organization listed on Wednesday 38 "shameful" countries, including China and Russia, which said that they had retaliated or intimidated people who cooperated with the agency in human rights, through assassinations, torture and arbitrary detentions. The annual report of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, also included allegations of ill-treatment, surveillance, criminalization and public campaigns of stigmatization against victims and human rights defenders. "The world owes a debt to those brave people who defend human rights, who have responded to requests to provide information and get involved with the United Nations, to ensure that their right to participate is respected," Guterres wrote. "Punishing individuals for cooperating with the United Nations is a shameful practice."

     The 38 countries included 29 countries with new cases and 19 with ongoing or continuing cases. The new cases occurred in Bahrain, Cameroon, China, Colombia,
Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Myanmar, the Philippines, the Federation from Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Venezuela. Governments often accused human rights activists of terrorism or of cooperating with foreign entities or of damaging the reputation or security of the state, he said.

     "There is a disturbing trend in the use of national security arguments and anti-terrorism strategies by states as a justification to block access of communities and civil society organizations to the United Nations," the report said. Women who have cooperated with the United Nations had denounced threats of rape and being the target of smear campaigns online and UN workers have often met with people who are too afraid to talk to them, even in New York and Geneva. . UN Under-Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour, who will present the report to the Human Rights Council next week, said in a statement that the cases in the report were the tip of the iceberg.

SEPTEMBER  12,  2018

THE UNITED STATES DENOUNCES DIOSDADO CABELLO AND NICOLAS MADURO AS LEADERS OF CORRUPTION IN VENEZUELA

    UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK  --  THE BRILLIANT AND GREATLY RESPECTED US ambassador before the UN, Nikki Haley, directly accused the current president of the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, of being responsible for a drug trafficking network that carries drug shipments from Venezuela to Europe. Haley made the accusation during an informal meeting of the Security Council on corruption in Venezuela. The United States, which occupies the rotating presidency of the Council, presided over the informal meeting held through the so-called Arria formula to focus on corruption in the South American nation, which it says has led to instability and a serious humanitarian crisis.

     Haley said his country has imposed specific sanctions on Venezuelan officials, including Cabello, to prevent them from moving their stolen assets into the international financial system. "Corruption is not just something we should dismiss as a foreign problem, it is at the heart of the protests that are affecting international peace and security, Venezuela is a wake-up call, and we urge all our colleagues, both in the Council of Security as outside him, to pay attention to him, "said the US ambassador.The diplomat also said that: "Hugo Chavez's perverse vision of a socialist paradise in Venezuela has transformed into a criminal narco-state that is robbing the Venezuelan people blindly." |

     "Another US official accused Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro of" rapacious corruption "and" a kleptocracy "on a rarely seen scale that includes not only misuse of the state oil company but theft of a government program created to feed to millions of hungry people, referring to the so-called CLAP. Marshall Billingslea, undersecretary of the US Treasury for the financing of terrorism, argued at the informal meeting of the UN Security Council that the corruption of Maduro, his wife Celia Flores and his inner circle "have crushed what was once a great nation and they have impoverished millions. ""The result," he said, is "a humanitarian crisis that threatens regional stability," an almost collapse of Venezuela's oil production and an economy "now spiraling to death."

US AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: THE GOVERNMENT OF VENEZUELA TRIES TO DISTRACT ATTENTION FROM THE GRAVE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS OF THE COUNTRY

      UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK     -- -THE US AMBASSADOR  TO THE UN, Nikki Haley, affirms that the Venezuelan national government seeks to divert attention from the problems of Venezuelans with the information that was published in the newspaper The New York Times. United Nations.- The UN ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, accused the national government on Monday of trying to "distract" the situation in the country, after its protests by the alleged meetings of US officials with military rebels to discuss a possible coup d'etat. "It's no surprise that Venezuela continues to talk about everything it can to distract from what is happening on the ground ," Haley told reporters, asked about those meetings.

     These meetings, reported by The New York Times on Saturday, are not something that the US government is "recognizing," the ambassador said. The White House has not confirmed the holding of the meetings, but has not denied the newspaper's information and has defended the need to participate in a "dialogue with all Venezuelans who express the desire to restore democracy," in order to " bring a positive change to a country that has suffered a lot under the Government of (Nicolás) Maduro. "

     Haley insisted today that his country will continue to denounce the "abuses of human rights" in Venezuela, the "corruption" and "how Maduro is at the center of this." "He can distract in any way he wants, but we are determined to strongly support the Venezuelan people," he said, after presiding over a meeting on corruption in the UN Security Council, Efe reported. In it, Haley put the Executive of Venezuela as an example of a "corrupt" government that is generating instability and creating a crisis that deserves international attention. On Sunday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza described as "absolutely unacceptable and unjustifiable" meetings between US officials and rebel Venezuelan military.

COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT IVAN DUQUE SAYS THAT IN VENEZUELA EXISTS A DESPICABLE DICTATORSHIP AND REQUESTS REGIONAL SUPPORT

    BOGOTA, COLOMBIA    --   The president of Colombia, Iván Duque, declared today in the Panamanian capital that Venezuela is a "despicable dictatorship", and that the support "of the entire continent" is necessary to face the humanitarian and migratory crisis that this country is experiencing. "Today more than ever it is necessary that the eyes of the world open and ignite the alerts on a migratory crisis that has been detonated by a despicable dictatorship," said the Colombian president after meeting with his Panamanian counterpart, Juan Carlos Varela, in the framework of of a visit to the Central American country. Duque said that the flight of thousands of Venezuelans from his country because of the generalized crisis is "an unprecedented exodus in our continent," and said that "we are always going to preserve the principle of fraternity with the Venezuelan brothers."

    According to UN calculations, about 2.3 million Venezuelans have left their country due to the socioeconomic situation, of which almost one million have settled in Colombia. The Colombian president welcomed the fact that the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) addressed the problem of Venezuelan migration last week in an extraordinary meeting, and asked that the issue be addressed during the UN General Assembly to be held. in the next few weeks in New York. "I believe that raising this discussion at the level of the Organization of American States as it was achieved last week is important and it is also important to do the same within the framework of the United Nations Assembly," he added.

     The Panamanian president acknowledged that the Venezuelan migration crisis "is having a very strong impact in our region" and that it is necessary to return to the dialogue to solve it. "Once again we will work together making a firm call for political dialogue, the return to the democratic system and the search for specific understandings that will allow this humanitarian situation that affects millions of Venezuelans to stop," he said in a language less belligerent than Duque. . Both Panama and Colombia are part of the so-called Group of Lima, composed of about a dozen countries in the continent that reject the Venezuelan elections of May 20, in which Nicolás Maduro was reelected president, and condemn the president to prevent the entry into the country of humanitarian aid.

  SEPTEMBER  11,  2018

U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS NIKKI HALEY SLAMMED A RECENT OPINION PIECE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

    UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK  --    U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed a recent opinion piece in The New York Times written by an anonymous official in President Trump's administration. Haley wrote her own editorial in The Washington Post that says the anonymous writer is doing a disservice to the country. "I, too, am a senior Trump administration official. I proudly serve in this administration, and I enthusiastically support most of its decisions and the direction it is taking the country," she wrote in the editorial published Friday. "But I don't agree with the president on everything. 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."

    The anonymous editorial — titled "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration" — argued that most executive branch staffers are "working to insulate their operations from his whims," as Mr. Trump's "impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back." The Times said in an editor's note that it knows the author's identity but agreed not to reveal it because the person's job would be jeopardized.

     "What this anonymous author is doing is very dangerous. He or she claims to be putting the country first, and that is the right goal. Everyone in government owes a greater loyalty to our country and our Constitution than to any individual officeholder. But a central part of our democracy requires that those who work directly for the president not secretly try to undermine him or his policies," she added. "As a former governor, I find it absolutely chilling to imagine that a high-ranking member of my team would secretly try to thwart my agenda. That is not the American way. It is fundamentally disloyal, not just to the chief executive, but to our country and our values."

JULIO BORGES WILL ATTEND THE MEETING OF THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL ON VENEZUELA

      UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK     -- - Former President of the National Assembly (AN), Julio Borges, will attend the meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations (UN) on Monday on the crisis in Venezuela, reported on Sunday his party, Primero Justicia (PJ) ). PJ said in a statement that the meeting aims to "visualize how the establishment of corruption networks within the Venezuelan State institutions have generated an unprecedented crisis in the country."

    The meeting will also seek to "articulate actions that curb the regional threat that Venezuela represents today", while it will be debated whether the oil nation can be considered a "failed state", it is added in the text. Venezuela is the country with the largest proven oil reserves on the planet, but suffers from a severe economic crisis that translates into scarcity and hyperinflation, as well as a political crisis that, according to the opposition, has more than 300 politicians behind the bars, reviewed Efe.

    Borges, who presided over Parliament in 2017, undertook an international tour this year to denounce the presumed violations of the Government of the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, a fact that – the deputy himself has assured – cut funding and support for the Venezuelan president . Last August, the government linked Borges with an attack against President Maduro, so the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), an organ that is integrated only by affections to the ruling party, withdrew parliamentary jurisdiction. The Venezuelan Prosecutor's Office then announced that it is taking action to request Borges to extradite from Colombia, where he currently resides. Borges has denied these accusations and warns that they only seek to criminalize dissent in the country.

THE UNITED STATES URGES DANIEL ORTEGA TO RELEASE ALL DETAINEES HELD ARBITRARILY

    WASHINGTON, D.C.    --   The US Department of State demanded on Friday that the Nicaraguan government release “all persons arbitrarily detained.” The US made that request in a statement, aimed at condemning the “arbitrary” arrest of six students, of whom five have been released. “We demand the release of all persons arbitrarily detained, and we also call on the (Daniel) Ortega Government to guarantee the safety of all those who choose to exercise their universal rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,” said the spokeswoman for the Department of State Heather Nauert.

    “All governments,” Nauert continued, “should promote democracy, good governance and human rights for the greater well-being of their citizens, we will continue to support the people of Nicaragua and we will make the Ortega Executive respond for their repression and violence.” The six students referred to in the State Department statement include: Ariana Moraga, Iskra Malespin, Judith Mairena, Gracia Rivera, Alejandro Centeno and Edwin Carcache, the latter a member of the opposition Civic Alliance and the only one remaining in the custody of the authorities. For Nauert, these students are the “last example” of the thousands of people who have protested against Ortega, only to be “harassed, detained, disappeared or even killed.”

    The protests against Ortega and against his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, began on April 18 amid failed social security reforms and became a demand for his resignation, after 11 years in power, with accusations of abuse of power and corruption.  The crisis, the most difficult in Nicaragua since the 1980s, has left between 322-448 dead, according to figures from humanitarian groups, while the government counts 198 fatalities. In a recent interview with the EFE in Managua, Ortega denied that he had suppressed the protests with repression, and said he did not feel responsible for the deaths in the streets during the last months and blamed the US and drug traffickers for financing, supporting and arming violent groups.

SEPTEMBER  10,  2018

NEW YORK TIMES: US GOVERNMENT HELD "SECRET MEETINGS" WITH VENEZUELAN MILITARY

    NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK  --    The New York Times published yesterday a note about some "secret meetings" that the Donald Trump government had held last year with "rebels of Venezuela" and that they finally decided not to back their plans. The NYT affirms that "the Venezuelan military officers sought direct access to the US government during the presidency of Barack Obama, only to be rejected," said the US authorities. Narrates the NYT, that in a series of concealed meetings abroad, which began last fall and continued this year, the military officials (Venezuelans) told the US government that they represented a few hundred members of the armed forces who had displeased with the authoritarianism of Maduro. The officials asked the United States to provide them with encrypted communication radios, citing the need to communicate securely, while developing a plan to install a transitional government to run the country until the elections could be held.

     US officials did not provide material support, and the plans were undone after a recent campaign that led to the arrest of dozens of the conspirators, says the NYT. After much discussion, we agreed that we should listen to what they had to say, "said a senior administration official who was not authorized to talk about the secret talks. Initially, the Trump administration considered the possibility of sending Juan Cruz, a veteran official of the Central Intelligence Agency who recently resigned as top White House policy officer in Latin America. But White House lawyers said it would be wiser to send a career diplomat. The US envoy was instructed to attend the meetings "purely in listening mode," and was not authorized to negotiate anything substantial on the ground, according to the senior US administration official.

     After the first meeting, which took place in the fall of 2017, the diplomat reported that the Venezuelans did not seem to have a detailed plan and showed up at the meeting in the hope that the Americans would offer guidance or ideas, officials said. As the crisis in Venezuela worsened in recent years, US officials debated the pros and cons of opening lines of dialogue with rebel factions of the military. There were differences of opinion, "said Ms. Mari Carmen Aponte, the former diplomat of Latin America under Mr. Obama. "There were people who had a lot of faith in the idea that they could generate stability, help distribute food, work on practical things." But others, including Ms. Aponte, saw considerable risk in building bridges with the leaders of an army that, in Washington's opinion, has become a pillar of the cocaine trade and human rights abuses.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ASKED POPE FRANCIS TO INTERCEDE FOR VENEZUELAN POLITICAL PRISONERS

      Caracas,  Venezuela    -- - The National Assembly (AN) asked the Pope francis to intercede for the "political prisoners" of the country and help promote, along with the international community, "the restoration of democracy" in Venezuela. The president of the AN, Omar Barboza, made these requests to the Supreme Pontiff during a closed-door meeting held on Saturday, September 8 at the Vatican and from which few details went beyond, the Parliament said in a statement.

     Barboza, delivered the list of 349 political prisoners in the country, indicating the place of imprisonment of each of them," reported in the text. After his meeting with the Pope, the Venezuelan deputy held a meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state of the Vatican and who was apostolic nuncio in Venezuela, who, according to the statement, spoke "extensively" about Venezuelan democracy. The NGO Penal Forum, which defends many of those considered "political prisoners" of the country, figures in at least 280 people who remain in prison for crimes of conscience.

     The opposition leader Leopoldo López and the deputy Juan Requesens, arrested the latter under the accusation of being implicated in an attack against the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, are the most visible faces of this group, which the Venezuelan government describes as prisoners common. In the framework of a plan of "reconciliation" with the opposition, President Maduro has ordered the release of some of these detainees, who would number close to 300 since last December, according to the Attorney General of the Republic, Tarek William Saab. Last August, Saab, who also chairs the Truth Commission of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), said that new cases are being studied to "produce new releases." It is time to impose economic sanctions to Dictator Maduro.
 

SOME 80 VENEZUELANS, OUT OF 2.3 MILLION WHO HAD ALREADY ESCAPED FROM THEIR COUNTRY,  RETURNED AFTER A LYNCHING IN BRAZIL

    RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL     --   Some 80 Venezuelans living as refugees in Roraima, a border state in the north of Brazil, returned to Venezuela on buses chartered by Venezuela on Saturday, due to the tension generated by the lynching suffered on Thursday by an immigrant accused of to have stabbed a Brazilian. The repatriation was coordinated by consular authorities of Venezuela, in Brazil, who offered buses to those who wanted to return by free and spontaneous will to their country, admitted some of the immigrants who accepted the proposal. The immigrants who returned lived in improvised houses with wood and plastics in a poor neighborhood of Boa Vista, the capital of the state of Roraima, and which has become the main destination for Venezuelans who enter Brazil to escape the economic crisis, political and social policy of his country.

     The refugees who live in this neighborhood have expressed fears of reprisals after the lynching suffered by a Venezuelan accused of having murdered a Brazilian who was persecuting him after allegedly stealing from a small store. The lynching occurred ten days after the president of Brazil, Michel Temer, announced the mobilization of 3,200 soldiers to strengthen security in the border region and in Boa Vista, after an attack by the local population against Venezuelan immigrant camps. In those violent protests, residents of the town of Pacaraima, the only border crossing between Brazil and Venezuela, burned tents and personal belongings of some immigrants. The tension experienced in Pacaraima caused at least 1,200 Venezuelans to decide to return to their country the next day.

     According to official data, since 2017, 154,920 Venezuelans have entered Brazil via land through the town of Pacaraima, but slightly more than half (79,402) have left the national territory, of which 54,560 left by land borders and the others 24,842 took international flights. Of those who decided to stay in Brazil, about 5,200 are in one of the shelters built in Boa Vista and currently depend on humanitarian aid, and another 1,507 have been moved from Roraima to other cities in the country. This relocation process is an initiative of the Government to reduce the migratory pressure on Roraima, one of the poorest states of the country and whose public services have been overwhelmed by the arrival of Venezuelans.

SEPTEMBER  8,  2018

THE UNITED STATES URGES DICTATOR NICOLAS MADURO TO ADMIT HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AND ACCEPT INTERNATIONAL AID

    WASHINGTON, D.C.   -- - - The US ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Carlos Trujillo, urged the government of dictator Nicolás Maduro to admit that he has a humanitarian crisis and accept help to stop the growing migration of Venezuelans. The working group created at the OAS to address Venezuelan migration is a positive step to evaluate the best way to address the issue, said Trujillo. But we also have to focus on what is the cause of the migration. In Venezuela, there was not a hurricane or an earthquake. The cause is the disaster of Nicolás Maduro. Lack of democracy, poor administration, violations of human rights have caused the migration that we have seen throughout the region.

In the OAS we are frustrated too. The first thing the Venezuelan government has to do is acknowledge that it has a humanitarian crisis and accept help so that people do not have to go to neighboring countries. At the OAS (on Wednesday), the ambassador (Samuel) Moncada at no time recognizes the crisis, neither talked about migrants, lack of medicines and access to food, water. He focused his debate on attacking the United States and did not recognize all the bad things that are happening in his country, which is unacceptable. Chavist leader Diosdado Cabello said the images of Venezuelans crossing the borders to South American countries are part of a "Hollywood-type" campaign against Maduro.

He does not believe that himself. Anyone can go to the Venezuelan border with Brazil, with Colombia. Talk to the two million people who had left in the last 36 months. In Venezuela, diseases that had disappeared years ago are appearing again due to the lack of vaccines. The Maduro government says that this is due to US sanctions. But the US has not imposed any economic sanctions against the oil industry. Oil in Venezuela, before the disaster of the Maduro regime, produced 95% of GDP. They are saying that in the 5% that we have attacked we have caused 100% of the damage. The only one responsible for the total economic disaster in Venezuela is Nicolás Maduro. As the president (Donald Trump) and the administration have already said many times, the United States is committed to the return of democracy in Venezuela.

NATIONAL STRIKE IN NICARAGUA IN PROTEST AGAINST DANIEL ORTEGA 

      MANAGUA, NICARAGUA   -- - - Nicaragua woke up almost completely paralyzed on Friday in protest against President Daniel Ortega, whom various sectors of society blame for the sociopolitical crisis that has left hundreds dead since last April. Streets, markets, private schools, shopping malls, bus terminals and other points downtown in different cities, sported unusually bleak Friday morning due to an apparent majority of Nicaraguans decided to join the protest against Ortega throughout Nicaragua. Although initially only a minority of companies had announced that it would add to unemployment, social pressure as boycotting them not to emit made these announcements informing joining the protest, a few hours before the start of the strike.

      The national strike, which began at midnight this Friday, will last 24 hours, according to the call of the Civic Alliance, a counterpart of the Government in the national dialogue that seeks to overcome the crisis, with the Episcopate as mediator. The Civic Alliance is composed of entrepreneurs, students, academics, peasants and civil society, some of whom have been arrested by the Government. The objective of the national strike is to press for the freedom of "political prisoners", calculated at least 135, but that could be between 400 and 500 if missing persons are included, according to local humanitarian organizations

     In an interview with Efe in Managua this week, President Ortega denied that there are political prisoners in the country and said that the inmates are people who committed various crimes. This is the third national strike in Nicaragua against Ortega, after one on June 14, which forced the Government to allow the presence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and another on July 13, to show its rejection of the annual Sandinista celebration known as "El Retiegue". The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Acnudh) has blamed the government for "more than 300 deaths", as well as extrajudicial executions, torture, obstruction of medical care, arbitrary arrests, kidnappings, sexual violence, among other human rights violations. These accusations were also denied by Ortega, who has maintained that it is an attempt at a "coup d'état".

DOCTORS REVEAL POSSIBLE "NEURO-WEAPON" USED IN ALLEGED ATTACKS IN CUBA

     WASHINGTON, D.C.    --   Three doctors who evaluated U.S. personnel affected by alleged attacks in Cuba believe that they were carried out with a weapon that uses directed energy and is capable of causing a “cavitation” effect. “Neuro-weapons” can be biological, chemical, or in the case of the incidents in Havana, “directed energy weapons,” Dr. James Giordano told National Defense magazine. He is a professor in the departments of neurology and biochemistry at the Medical Center of Georgetown University Medical Center, and an expert in “neurotechnology” and its use in the military.

     On Thursday, U.S. Department of State officials said in a congressional hearing that investigators still do not know how the attacks against U.S. personnel at the embassy in Havana were carried out or who the perpetrators are. The attacks began in late 2016 and the most recent was reported in May. But three doctors that are part of a team put together by the State Department believe that those affected by the attacks may have been exposed to a directed energy weapon, which can cause injury by creating “cavitation,” or air pockets, in fluids near the inner ear.

     The bubbles can travel quickly through two pathways that carry blood to the brain from the inner ear — the cochlear and the vestibular — and “function as a stroke,” Giordano said. So far, 26 Americans have been affected with symptoms ranging from hearing loss, balance and cognitive problems, to brain damage. The team created by the government includes an expert in brain trauma and otolaryngology, Dr. Michael Hoffer of the University of Miami, and Dr. Carey Balaban, professor of otolaryngology, bioengineering and neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Giordano, Hoffer and Balaban independently studied the first tests taken by those affected.

SEPTEMBER  7,  2018

DIVIDED UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSESS NICARAGUA CRISIS FOR THE FIRST TIME

    NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK   -- - -  A divided UN Security Council on Wednesday for the first time took up discussion of the crisis in Nicaragua, with the US and its allies denouncing the actions of the Daniel Ortega government and countries such as Russia accusing Washington of interference. “With each passing day, Nicaragua travels down a familiar path. It is a path that Syria has taken, it is a path that Venezuela has taken,” said US Ambassador Nikki Haley. “The Security Council should not and cannot be a passive observer as Nicaragua continues to decline into a failed, corrupt and dictatorial state,” she added, going on to say that Ortega and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro are “cut from the same corrupt cloth.”

     The US, which pushed for the session to take advantage of the fact that this month it is presiding over the Security Council, insisted on comparing the situation in Nicaragua with that of Venezuela, a case it already tried to place on the body’s agenda without much success last year. Haley was the most critical of the Ortega government, but other countries also denounced the repression by the Nicaraguan regime and expressed their concern over the high number of victims since anti-government protests erupted in the Central American nation in April. That was the stance, for example, of France, the Netherlands and other members of the European Union, as well as Peru, one of the two Latin American nations on the Council at this time.

     A majority on the Council insisted on the need for dialogue so that Nicaragua can overcome its current crisis and backed the efforts of the Organization of American States in that regard. The US also invited the participation of Nicaraguan academic Felix Maradiaga, accused by his country’s National Police of organizing criminal bands, and he used his time before the Council to denounce the Ortega government’s “crimes.” The Nicaraguan government, meanwhile, was represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Denis Moncada, who said that the session constitutes “interference” in his country’s internal affairs and is a violation of international law. Moncada had the backing of several member states who made clear their opposition to the Council concerning itself with the Nicaraguan situation, claiming that it is an internal matter that does not endanger peace or international security. Among those nations are Russia and China, two of the Council’s five permanent members, who – like the US, France and the United Kingdom – hold veto power over the body’s decisions.

VENEZUELAN REFUGEE CRISIS REQUIRES CONCERTED REGIONAL RESPONSE  

Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. They should consider adopting a uniform temporary protection regime to afford security and legal status to Venezuelans seeking protection. Venezuela’s deepening crisis has triggered the largest migration flow of its kind in recent Latin American history.

     The 33-page report, “The Venezuelan Exodus: The Need for a Regional Response to an Unprecedented Migration Crisis,” documents efforts by South American governments to address the massive numbers of Venezuelans crossing their borders, as well as recent setbacks that threaten Venezuelans’ ability to seek protection. In some Caribbean islands, Venezuelans are subject to arbitrary arrests and deportations. Xenophobic incidents are a growing concern. “While many governments have made exceptional efforts to welcome fleeing Venezuelans, the growing scale of the crisis requires a uniform, collective response,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Governments should adopt a consistent response to ensure people forced to flee Venezuela get the protection they need to start anew.”

     In July and August 2018, Human Rights Watch conducted research missions to Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil, where we interviewed United Nations and government officials and dozens of Venezuelans who had crossed the border. The report is also based on a thorough review of government and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) publications and additional interviews with Venezuelans who have recently fled to other South American countries and the Caribbean, as well as lawyers, experts, and activists. Over 2.3 million Venezuelans out of an estimated 32 million total population have left their country since 2014, according to the UN.

OAS WORKING GROUP WILL TRAVEL TO COLOMBIA NEXT WEEK TO ADDRESS VENEZUELAN MIGRATION CRISIS

     
WASHINGTON, D.C.    --   The working group that approved the Permanent Council of the OAS on Wednesday to address the Venezuelan crisis will travel to Colombia next week to begin its mission, the secretary general of the organization, Luis Almagro, announced on Thursday wiith Colombian chancellor, Carlos Holmes Trujillo. After a meeting between the two leaders, Almagro told the press that the Organization of American States (OAS) will proceed on Friday to issue an executive order for the creation of the group, which will be headed by former Venezuelan mayor David Smolansky. "We have a very busy agenda with Colombia, because Colombia is a very important reference in regional issues," said Almagro, Efe reported.

The head of the OAS stressed that although countries such as Ecuador and Peru are receiving a strong flow of Venezuelan immigrants, Colombia is "the country that carries the main weight, the main burden and the main responsibility in attending to Venezuelan migration." That is why Colombia has already extended the invitation to the agency to send the working group, which also plans to move to the rest of the countries affected by the Venezuelan migration crisis to prepare a report on the situation, with the aim of designing a regional strategy. Almagro said that "he will have to visit all the countries, we have received the invitation of Colombia, which we very much appreciate, to visit the country next week, and it will be the first action that the group will have, because the coordinator of the group will accompany us on that visit. "

For his part, Holmes Trujillo thanked and applauded the creation of this group through the OAS, which he described as "a transcendental step for Colombia". The Colombian foreign minister indicated that his country is already addressing the Venezuelan migratory crisis at the national level, and that the decision of the OAS on Wednesday is "recognition of the regional impact of the migratory crisis from Venezuela." "It will strengthen our capacity to face the crisis and will allow us to act jointly in the multilateral space, starting with what we will do together in the next Assembly of the United Nations," he added, referring to a call promoted by his country to create an international crisis assistance fund.

SEPTEMBER 6,  2018

"U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION" IS NOT THE WAY FOR VENEZUELA, SAYS COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT IVAN DUQUE

    BOGOTA, COLOMBIA  -- - -  While President Trump continues some saber rattling in regard to Venezuela, whose economic implosion has caused a migration surge to neighboring countries that overshadows his concerns about the US border with Mexico, Latin America leaders are firmly against. The latest to give the notion a thumbs down is Colombia ’s newly elected president Iván Duque, who said on Monday, September 3 that military intervention led by the United States is not the answer. Duque leads a country ravaged by over 50 years if internal warfare and knows the cost of fighting unwinnable wars against determined insurgents. The president, who will receive his US counterpart, In November, advocated a strategy that “diplomatically isolates the government of Nicolás Maduro “and allow the Venezuelans to move towards a democratic “transition “.

      “I think the United States is the first to understand that a military intervention is not the way “, emphasized Duque less than a month after taking office In an interview with Caracol  Radio, the head of state added that the “international pressure” It has to lead to “the Venezuelan people themselves, including their institutions – or what remains of them- to allow that transition “towards a new government. Colombia, the main destination of Venezuelan migration leads the efforts in the region to try to corral Maduro, by disqualifying his government as a dictatorship The Venezuelan crisis has triggered hyperinflation that may reach 1,000,000% this year, according to the IMF, and an acute shortage of food and medicines, and has hit South America, with the massive arrival of people fleeing from the situation.

    Around 2.3 million Venezuelans (7.5% of the population of 30.6 million) live abroad, of which 1.6 million have emigrated since 2015, when the economy worsened, according to the UN. However, Maduro denies the immigration crisis and even its vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, says these versions are a plan “to justify intervention” in their country. The issue of Venezuela will be on the table at the meeting of Duque and Trump, who in the past evoked the option to intervene militarily in Venezuela, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world. “Military interventions, especially today in the context of Latin America, do not have any kind of support and should not be the way, “Duque insisted.

NICARAGUAN PRESIDENT DANIEL ORTEGA ACCUSES LATIN AMERICAN RIGHT OF SABOTAGING REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS  

       MANAGUA, NICARAGUA ---  Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega accused right-wing governments in Latin America of sabotaging regional cooperation organizations during an interview with EFE published on Tuesday. Ortega told EFE’s president, Fernando Garea, that Latin America was being a victim of a lack of democratic attitude on the part of right-wing governments, which he claimed have provoked a rift in the region’s blocs and increased polarization. “There had never been such a weakening of regional cooperation organizations such as the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) – which was created when there was a different correlation of forces – up until now, when right-wing governments dominate Latin America,” Ortega said.

      In Ortega’s opinion, this proves “the tolerance and maturity of left-wing governments and our democratic attitude: being in the majority, we don’t act with the arrogance of seeking to exclude or sabotage right-wing forces; on the contrary, we try to unite.” The Nicaraguan leader, a member of the ruling democratic socialist Sandinista National Liberation Front, said that the CELAC, which had been created in 2010 under the auspices of then-Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was now being destroyed by “the intolerance of right-wing governments acting under marching orders from the United States.”

     According to Ortega, this was reminiscent of the time the OAS (Organization of American States) used to invade and occupy countries such as the Dominican Republic, in reference to the US-led military intervention in the Caribbean country in 1965-66. “Among the liberating troops led by the yankees were the troops of (former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio) Somoza, to counter the threat of communism,” Ortega said. “This history is repeating itself.” Asked about Venezuela, Ortega said he had a good relationship with President Nicolas Maduro and added that the country was being a “victim of the same interventionist policy that countries such as Cuba or Nicaragua have also suffered.”

COLOMBIAN SENATOR ALVARO URIBE: I HOPE THE INTERVENTION PROPOSAL MOVES FORWARD  AND STOPS THAT TRAGEDY IN VENEZUELA

      BOGOTA, COLOMBIA    --   The former president of Colombia Álvaro Uribe explained on Tuesday in a right of speech why he considers necessary an intervention of the international community in Venezuela, based on legal mechanisms. The New Granada senator indicated that approximately 450 thousand Venezuelans have arrived in Chile, mostly by land, crossing the borders of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. "That gives the reason to those who believe that in our country there should be a million Venezuelan brothers, this exceeds all the capabilities of the country."

      He noted that "hopefully" more than 300 million dollars that were allocated during the government of President Santos to fight drug trafficking in an agreement with the United Nations, could be used "to the crisis of the Venezuelan brothers." He reiterated that several congressmen support the president Iván Duque Márquez to demand "the dictatorship of Maduro (Nicolás) before the International Criminal Court". The former president of the neighboring country emphasized that the border line with Venezuela "continues to show a refuge for terrorists", who remain in arms despite the peace agreements. Uribe asked if the process of nonintervention prevails, or are there the factual, ethical and legal circumstances for the intervention in the terms proposed by President Ivan Duque ?.

     The senator exhorted the signatories of the international conventions to demand that the democratic obligations of the nations be complied with. "In these circumstances in which the dictatorship of Venezuela is, effective cause of that exodus, that dictatorship loses all legitimacy and forces the states to take measures to overcome this dire situation," he said. "Hopefully the intervention of the terms proposed by the president of Ivan Duque advances, stop that tragedy of Venezuela, overcome that dictatorship and the sister nation begins to recover." Finally he clarified that the principle of non-intervention is an unacceptable excuse.

SEPTEMBER 5,  2018

THE USA WIL RETURN THE SITUATION IN VENEZUELA TO THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

    NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK    -- - -  USA announced the organization of an informal meeting of Council of Security of the UN on the situation inVenezuela a format he used last year to bring the crisis to Latin America to the United Nations. The American ambassador of the organization, Nikki Haley explained that the meeting would take place next Monday. will attend a few members of Venezuelan civil society. "

     The goal has said that he Council of Security should share how the president Nicolás Maduro ] is" systemically corrupt and how it's resources of the people [19659000]] USA will convene an official meeting of Council ] of Security in which the role of corruption as a destabilizing element and the root of armed conflicts will be addressed in a general way. Washington, much criticism of Maduro, already had another informal session in 2017 Venezuela invested, facing the opposition of other countries in the Council Security Security ]
     On this occasion, several countries like Russia, China and Bolivia Prefer to Boycott Venezuela does not represent a threat to peace and international security and therefore the problem is beyond the scope of ] This argument was the same as those and other countries used today to reject a meeting of Nicaragua proposed by the United States. Despite widespread opposition, Washington – this month presides the of Security decided to convene that meeting tomorrow. In the case of Venezuela Haley today demanded that "corruption be one of the worst humanitarian crisis in a generation."

THE CUBAN MODEL DOES NOT WORK FOR CUBA OR ANYONE

       WASHINGTON, d.C.  --- The Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, praised on Tuesday the stability prevailing in the Americas, where, with some exceptions, he said."There are exceptions and we know it: Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. But even Castro knows now that Cuba's model no longer works for Cuba, or for anyone else, "said the head of the Defense portfolio during an appearance before the media at the Pentagon.

     Mattis stressed the importance of his recent trip to Latin America, where he visited Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, and whose main objective was to strengthen their partnerships in the region. "Despite the problems that we obviously face in this hemisphere, we are fortunate to witness the growing democracy and prosperity in this region despite an unstable world," the Pentagon chief said.

      To maintain this "status quo", Mattis said that Washington will continue to "work" with its "friends" in the region, citing as an example the next deployment in Colombian waters of the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship whose goal will be to help alleviate the crisis humanitarian caused by the arrival of thousands of Venezuelans. The situation in Venezuela is such that, according to the Secretary of Defense, the country's president, Nicolás Maduro, is also "discovering" that the Cuban model has no future.

VENEZUELAN RETIREES FORM ENDLESS LINES TO COLLECT THEIR WELL EARNED PENSIONS

      CARACAS,
VENEZUELA    --   Thousands of Venezuelan retirees were getting in long lines on Monday outside banks to collect their WELL EARNED pensions, the first time since the new amount of 1,800 bolivars was decreed by the government two weeks ago, the equivalent of $30 at the official exchange rate.The monthly amount will be paid in four installments. EFE found that pensioners in Caracas waited in front of banks for up to five hours before they opened, a fairly normal practice in this country. The retiree Maritza Alvarez said the payment system “is a joke,” after demanding the complete payment of her first fraction of 450 bolivars ($7.50).

      “They only gave me 90 bolivars (in cash)... the rest I have to spend with a debit card,” the 78-year-old woman told EFE after collecting her partial pension at a private bank in the Venezuelan capital. At the same bank, pensioner Maria Roa, 70, who traveled from the satellite city of Guatire – some 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Caracas – to collect her money, told EFE that the amount she received Monday wasn’t even enough to buy the medicines to treat her hypertension, which cost over 90 bolivars. “You have to get up at the crack of dawn, pay the expensive fares to get here... this government ought to have a little more consideration for us seniors,” she said.

     The long lines began two days after angry protests by pensioners demanding cash payments following the confusion caused by several government announcements. The new amount, which equals the minimum wage, is one of several measures launched by President Nicolas Maduro two weeks ago in an attempt to rescue his country from its economic crisis. Besides the boost in pensions and wages, the government decreed a price-freeze on 25 products of the basic food basket, restructured the currency by eliminating 5 zeros from the conversion rate of the newly christened “sovereign bolivar,” and is pushing a “savings plan” in gold, with Maduro himself as its first investor.
 

SEPTEMBER 4,  2018

A REGIONAL MEETING TO DISCUSS THE HISTORICAL VENEZUELAN MIGRATION BEGAN IN QUITO

    QUITO, ECUADOR    -- - -  The acting Ecuadorian chancellor, Andrés Terán, today opened a regional meeting called by Quito to exchange experiences on migration issues and analyze mechanisms to deal with the "historical" flow of Venezuelans affected by the crisis in that South American country. The "Regional Meeting on Human Mobility of Venezuelan Citizens in the Americas", which will end tomorrow and in which there are no delegates from Venezuela, brings together thirteen countries of the region. The meeting is expected to exchange information, criteria, knowledge, experiences and good practices with a view to "trying to harmonize responses" from Latin America and the Caribbean to the "considerable and unusual increase in the migratory flow of Venezuelans," Terán said.

      He recalled that the region currently faces a migration crisis, stemming from the flow of Venezuelans forced to leave their country due to the crisis in that nation. With figures from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), he said that almost 2.5 million Venezuelans have left their country in the last four years. He added that the Venezuelan migration crisis has been "particularly serious" in the course of this year. Terán, who replaces Chancellor José Valencia, who was traveling to Japan, said that from 2014 to the present more than one million Venezuelan migrants have entered Ecuador. He pointed out that only in 2018, some 600,000 Venezuelan citizens have entered Ecuador, a country in which more than 215,000 have remained.

     Also, he explained that from 2014 to the present, Ecuador has granted 90,000 visas to Venezuelans. The representative of the United Nations Organization in Ecuador, Arnaul Peral, congratulated Ecuador's decision to convene the meeting, which will end tomorrow with a final declaration. And he expressed his hope that countries will find the best conditions and agreements that guarantee the protection of the human rights of people in mobility and that they will develop specific protection routes for children. Also, that agreements are reached to fight against discrimination and xenophobia, among other issues.

PRESIDENT IVAN DUQUE SAYS THAT VENEZUELA MIGRATION IS A GREAT CHALLENGE FOR COLOMBIA

       BOGOTA, COLOMBIA   --- The president of Colombia, Iván Duque, described on Monday as "challenging" for his Government the exodus of Venezuelans who arrive fleeing from the crisis that is lived in the neighboring country. "Today we have a migratory situation that is very challenging for the Colombian State," Duque said in an interview with Caracol Radio on the occasion of the station's 70th anniversary, while noting that the country cannot ignore this situation "minimizing the impact". Every day tens of thousands of Venezuelans cross the border crossings with Colombia, a country that has already hosted nearly one million of them, while others undertake long walks on the roads to try to reach Ecuador or Peru, and even other nations, from the south of the continent in search of a better life.

     Duque mentioned as an example the reception in Germany of more than one million Syrian immigrants and assured that the European country had to make "extraordinary decisions" to guarantee the attention of that population. According to UN calculations, about 2.3 million Venezuelans have left their country in the face of the crisis that exists there. Of them, almost a million have settled in Colombia, a number to which the nearly 35,000 that cross the border every day, many in search of food and medicine and others to leave their country permanently.

    When touching the topic of Venezuela, Duque was asked about the visit that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, will make before the end of the year to Colombia, and a possible request for help to intervene militarily in the Caribbean country, to which He responded that this route is not the solution to overcome the crisis. "Military interventions today in a Latin American context do not have any kind of support and that should not be the way; What we are ready is for all the defenders of the Inter-American Democratic Charter to make every effort to isolate that dictatorship, "he added, referring to the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

THE VENEZUELAN OFFICIAL GAZETTE ANNOUNCES THAT THE MINIMUM WAGE IN THE COUNTRY IS NOW Bss 1,800 ($30.00)

      
VENEZUELA, CARACAS   --   The new minimum wage announced in 1,800 sovereign bolivars, was fixed in the Official Gazette 41,472, dated August 31, 2018. The decision circulated in the gazette under decree No. 3,601, salary that must be paid from this September first. Likewise, the ticket or food voucher basket was stipulated in 180 sovereign bolivars, according to decree N ° 3.602 (equal to $3.00)

     On August 17, the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, announced an increase in the minimum wage based on the new economic system that has an anchorage to the Venezuelan cryptocurrency, Petro; "the minimum salary will be half Petro, 1,800 Sovereign Bolivars", equivalent to 180 million bolivares fuertes.
"I have decided to implement a new minimum wage based and anchored in the Petro, so I have set the minimum wage for all salary tables Bs.S 1,800 or 0.50 Petros, basis for the salary update, petrolizando salary," he explained.

    In this regard, he affirmed that the Government will assume the difference of the minimum wage -product of the increase- for 90 days. "I have decided and I have decided to assume for the next 90 days the differential of the payroll of all the small and medium industry of the country," said the president; this with the objective of "avoiding a greater impact on inflation". He reported that the value of Petro was set at 3,600 Sovereign Bolivars, according to the price of a barrel of oil, which, in turn, has a value of 60 dollars, currently. "Now the Petro, is the anchor point of the Sovereign Bolivar, which will have a value of Bs.S. 3,600 ($0,30) and will be the fluctuating unit of account to fix the value of labor and the price of consumption goods," he said.


SEPTEMBER 3,  2018

VENEZUELA'S AMUAY REFINERY UNIT STOPS GASOLINE PRODUCTION 

    CARACAS, VENEZUELA   -- - -  The catalytic cracking unit of the Amuay refinery, the largest in Venezuela, stopped production due to low inventories of one of its main components, two PDVSA executives, a union leader and two workers told Reuters on Saturday. The Amuay plant, key in the production of gasoline, was left without the VGO input (vacuum gas oil), which limits its production of finished fuels. "Amuay refinery catalytic cracking plant is halted due to low inventories of indispensable products for processing. Tremendous beginning for the newly established prices of gasoline, "union leader Iván Freites told Reuters.

      Another source at the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) said that the vacuum gas oil load was lowered to the Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit to redirect the product to the El Palito refinery's gasoline production unit, capable of processing some146,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). "They ran out of what they had in tanks and since there are also problems in distillation plants, such as plant 2 and plant 4, they took out of service catalytic, the plant cannot work," said another operator, who asked not to be identified.

     The Amuay delayed coking plant also went out of service on Monday, after restarting operations on Tuesday last week after six months of shutdown, a worker said. Together with its neighbor Cardón, Amuay integrates the Paraguaná Refining Center (CRP), one of the largest in the world with the capacity to process 955,000 bpd. The Venezuelan oil refining and improvement circuit operates intermittently due to unit failures, incidents and lack of supplies, at a time when the Venezuelan oil company desperately seeks to increase its production.

ECONOMIC CRISIS CAUSES CLOSURE OF 7 McDONALD'S STORES IN VENEZUELA

       CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --- The economic crisis that plagues Venezuela has put in check restaurant chains and international companies and McDonald's has not been the exception. As a result of the "red packet" imposed by the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, 'to beat' the crisis that Venezuela is experiencing today; Seven McDonald's restaurants in the Caribbean country have been forced to close their doors to diners. Although it is still not the definitive abandonment, Arco Dorados, the company that runs the North American brand McDonald's in Venezuela, admitted that: "we have recently closed a reduced number of restaurants ".

     Through the social network of Twitter several users have informed of the closure of several McDonald's, the majority in the city of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. The journalist Beatriz Adrián corroborated that that seven restaurants of McDonald's in Venezuela had closed during the month of August. "They closed McDonald's restaurants in La Florida, La Yaguara, Mariche Ranges, Sabana Grande (Villa Flor) in Caracas, and in the interior: Valencia in Bolivar Avenue, Aragua Park shopping center, Llano Mall Mall Acarigua (only this month). Also Classe La Florida store and many others are closing, "wrote Adrián in the social network. Aragua park shopping center, Llano mall Acarigua shopping center. (Only this month) I also shop Classe La Florida and many are closing.

      The communicator shared a video in which employees are seen disarming McDonalds' famous playground. It is worth noting that one person in the recording said that the closure of the restaurant is due to the last economic measure that Maduro made, such as increasing the minimum salary to 1,800 sovereign bolivars (180,000,000 bolívares fuertes), an amount difficult to pay to the workers. In the statement of Arcos Dorados highlights that they will remain committed to Venezuela and that no company can openly close by the pressure of the Government of Nicolás Maduro. A few months ago, the multinational Kellogs closed its doors in Venezuela. That same day, Nicolás Maduro requested that they open the locks to produce the same corn flakes with the same personnel that the company had left.

ENOUGH OF CHEATING, WE WANT OUR PENSIONS!  THE CRY OF GRANDPARENTS THROUGHOUT VENEZUELA
 
      
VENEZUELA, CARACAS   --   Senior adults block a street during a protest tON, Saturday, September 1, 2018, in Caracas. Venezuelan pensioners protested in front of the banking entities and blocked avenues today demanding the payment of their pensions in cash, after President Nicolás Maduro announced that they could collect from this Saturday a part of the total payment. Miguel Gutiérrez informed. The Venezuelan senior citizens protested in front of the banking entities and blocked avenues today demanding the payment of their pensions in cash, after President Nicolás Maduro announced that they could collect a portion of the total payment from this Saturday on.

     Maduro said on Thursday that from this September 1 the pensioners would begin to charge 25% of the new amount of pensions, ie 450 sovereign bolivars (7 dollars according to the official rate), because due to the process of monetary reconversion that took five zeros to the currency and after the abrupt increase of the retirements, during this month the payment will be of fractioned form. Maduro's announcement caused hundreds of grandparents to wake up making long lines in front of the agencies of the public and private banks that do not open their doors during the weekends.

      "I feel disappointed because President Nicolás Maduro (...) said that today was the day of payment and the 7 and then the 14," Maria Oliveros, 62, told Efe from a protest in downtown Caracas. Oliveros also complained because she is a resident of the Venezuelan state of Cojedes (center) and traveled about four hours to the Venezuelan capital to collect the pension, as she claims that the bank in her region has been ordered to charge for the ATM that she does not understand how to use it. Among slogans like "Enough of deception, we want our pensions" and signs in which one could read "there is hunger", some pensioners used debris to block avenues, while others were posted in the streets, with canes or crutches, singing the national hymn.

SEPTEMBER 2,  2018

FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT LULA DA SILVA BARRED FROM UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

    BRASILIA, BRAZIL.   -- - -  Brazil's electoral court has voted to bar ex-president Lula da Silva from running in October's election. Lula was considered the front-runner, despite currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for fraud. Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva saw his hopes of a renewed leadership bid all but ended on Friday, after a majority of judges on the country's electoral court found he was ineligible to run. After several hours of debate, six of the court's seven justices voted to annul the imprisoned leftist's candidacy.

     Lula is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for graft and money laundering. Under Brazilian law, Lula was deemed unable to run for the presidency after his conviction was upheld on an initial appeal. "What is at stake here today is the equality of all citizens before the law and the Constitution," judge Og Fernandes said as he cast his vote declaring Lula ineligible. Lula's left-wing Workers' Party (PT) nevertheless registered him as its presidential candidate for the October 7 vote, given his seemingly unbridled popularity among supporters. He launched his candidacy in mid-August from prison. The former leader's attorneys still hope to get the ban overturned by appealing the decision before Brazil's supreme court. PT officials also vowed to "fight with all means" to secure Lula's candidacy.
Once the favorite, now disqualified.

     The latest polls actually showed Lula enjoying a sizable lead over his rival candidates, claiming around 39 percent of voter support. His closest contender is the far-right former general Jair Bolsonaro on 19 percent. "We will present all appeals before the courts for the recognition of the rights of Lula provided by law and international treaties ratified by Brazil," the party said in a statement. PT has 10 days to swap the candidate names on the ticket, according to Friday's court ruling. Lula's vice presidential running mate and former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad is the favorite to take over the ballot. However, with PT struggling to regain lost voters, the party had little choice but to resort to the ever-popular Lula. The ex-president's most faithful supporters have also maintained his innocence.

UNITED NATIONS CALLS FOR A REGIONAL RESPONSE TO THE EXODUS OF VENEZUELANS BEFORE ITS MAGNITUDE

       CUCUTA, COLOMBIA ---The resident coordinator of the United Nations System in Colombia, Martín Santiago, asked on Saturday for a regional response to the crisis caused by the exodus of Venezuelans before its scale, magnitude and consequences. Santiago told reporters in the border city of Cúcuta, the consequences "are not only for Colombia", but also "for the countries of the region", so it is necessary to look for "answers to a situation that is already excepual" because the migratory movement has exceeded the parameters that were projected at the beginning, reported Efe.

     According to the UN data, about 2.3 million Venezuelans have left the country in the face of the deep crisis they are experiencing. Of these, close to one million have settled in Colombia, although 35,000 more cross the common border daily, many to buy basic goods and others to leave Venezuela permanently. In this regard, Santiago said that the UN seeks to "accompany and articulate responses in different areas," but especially in terms of "effective public policy" for Venezuelans arriving in the territory, as well as for the communities that receive them and Colombians they return to their country.

     He also acknowledged the government of President Ivan Duque for having placed "as one of the priority issues on the agenda" the attention to the exodus of Venezuelans and thanked Colombia for its "generosity" in receiving migrants. "This determined attitude of the Colombian authorities is an act of generosity, an example for the world and a determination of how an ethical and global imperative is shown in the global agenda, a clear example of humanity," Santiago concluded.

EUROPEAN UNION REPROACHES DECISION OF DANIEL ORTEGA TO FINALIZE WORK OF THE UNITED NATIONS MISSION

       VIENNA, AUSTRIA
 --   The European Union (EU) criticized the decision of the Government of Nicaragua to terminate the work of a mission of the United Nations Organization. "The decision of the Government of Nicaragua to suspend the presence of the mission of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Acnudh) goes against the objective of rendering accounts for the violations of human rights and serving as a justice to the victims of violence, "says a statement from the European External Action Service.

     The EU trusts that "the authorities will seriously consider the results of the report issued by the UNHCHR and take urgent measures to implement the recommendations." Specifically, he expects that "the dismantling and disarmament of groups that support the Government will take place, the end of all illegal detentions and the release of those who have been arbitrarily detained." They emphasized that the presence of international human rights organizations in Nicaragua has been requested by "all parties in the national dialogue and is essential to restore confidence."

     They added that "full cooperation and access to the missions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights should also be given." The Government of Nicaragua on Friday concluded the work of a UN mission following a report in which it points out the Nicaraguan State as the main responsible for serious violations of human rights. The Acnudh mission arrived in Nicaragua last June to hear about the events of April, and on Wednesday it issued a report in which it denounced the "high degree of state repression" in the protests against the Government, in which they have registered "More than 300 dead and 2,000 injured."

SEPTEMBER 1ST., 2018

LATE SENATOR AND NATIONAL HERO JOHN McCAIN RETURNS TO US CAPITOL FOR FINAL FAREWELL

    WASHINGTON, D.C.   -- - - The remains of the late Senator John McCain will lay in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda Friday as Americans continue to mourn the loss of the long-time legislator and war hero. McCain's remains were flown Thursday to Washington from Arizona, the southwestern U.S. state he represented in Congress since he was first elected in 1982. Hundreds of members of Congress are expected to attend a ceremony in the rotunda, an honor that has been bestowed upon just 30 Americans throughout the country's history. McCain's coffin will rest on a wooden platform known as a catafalque, which was first used in 1865 to support the casket of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

     President Donald Trump was not invited to Friday's ceremony or McCain's funeral on Saturday, a decision viewed by many as a rebuke of Trump. A bitter feud between Trump and the two- time presidential hopeful took root during Trump's 2016 campaign, when he mocked McCain for getting captured during the Vietnam War and said McCain was not a war hero. Vice President Mike Pence will, instead, speak at the ceremony and other administration officials will be present, as will McCain's widow, Cindy, his seven children and his 106-year-old mother, Roberta McCain. After Friday's ceremony, McCain will lie in state for the rest of the day for public viewing in the rotunda, where his flag-draped coffin will be presided over by a Capitol Hill Guard of Honor.

     Two former presidents, Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, will deliver remarks at Saturday's memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington. McCain lost the Republican presidential nomination to Bush in 2000 and the presidential election to Obama in 2008. The former aviator who was a prisoner of war for more than five years will be buried Sunday at his college alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy in nearby Annapolis, Maryland. Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday described his old friend as a man who lived by an ageless code of honor, courage and duty for his country. Three former NATO secretaries general have called for the alliance’s new $1.4 billion Brussels-based headquarters to be named McCain. "Despite his being a U.S. Senator, across Europe we all felt that John McCain III was one of our own," they said in a letter to the British paper The Times.

DANIEL ORTEGA ORDERS UN HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION TO LEAVE NICARAGUA

       Managua, NiCARAGUA   --  Two days after the UN published a critical report on human rights in the Central American state, the delegation was given two hours to leave. They had called on the government to end harassment and intimidation. According to human rights workers in Nicaragua, the Managua government sent the UN delegation a letter on Friday giving them two hours to leave the country. Marlin Sierra, executive director of the Nicaraguan Center of Human Rights (CENIDH) said: "This signifies an expulsion because they haven't finished their work in the country."

     The UN report released on Wednesday called on the government of President Daniel Ortega to end "harassment, intimidation and criminalization."
It also called on "the Government to immediately dismantle and disarm pro-government elements, halt all unlawful arrests, and release all those who have been arbitrarily detained." The report covered the months since protests beganover pension and social security changes in April. It outlined disproportionate use of force by police, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, detentions, torture and violations of freedom of opinion and expression.
"Repression and retaliation against demonstrators continue in Nicaragua as the world looks away.

     The violence and impunity of these past four months have exposed the fragility of the country's institutions and the rule of law, and created a climate of fear and mistrust," said High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who ended his term at the UN on Friday. The government claimed the report was biased and did not take into account what it claims was a coup attempt. Ortega claims the protesters are working with domestic and international elements which want him removed from office. He said the UN had only been asked to accompany a commission working to end the crisis, not to evaluate human rights. Ortega also accused Roman Catholic bishops involved in mediation talks of also working with elements preparing a coup.

EUROPEAN UNION ELEVATES DIPLOMATIC COMMITMENT TO HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN VENEZUELA

       VIENNA, AUSTRIA
 --   The head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, gives a press conference in the context of the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna (Austria) today, August 31, 2018. The High Representative of the European Union (EU), Federica Mogherini , said today that Brussels has decided "to increase its diplomatic commitment " with the neighboring countries of Venezuela that welcome migrant flows and showed its concern for the humanitarian situation that the country is going through. . "We have decided to increase our diplomatic commitment with the countries of the region to promote dialogue.

     We are worried about the humanitarian situation in the country and in the neighboring countries that are receiving massive waves of Venezuelans in their territories, " Mogherini said today. The head of European diplomacy made the remarks at the end of the meeting of foreign ministers that ends today in the Austrian capital, where the matter was introduced in the agenda of the debate at the request of Spain and Portugal. Community sources told Efe that during the debate several ministers were in favor of immediately exploring "all diplomatic possibilities" to advance in the resolution of the conflict and favor humanitarian aid. Colombia with a million immigrants and Peru with some 400,000 , are the two countries that most Venezuelans have received since an exodus began, quantified by the UN in 2.3 million people who have left Venezuela since 2014 due to the economic and humanitarian crisis that country faces.

       The European Commission (EC) announced in June the granting of a new package of emergency humanitarian aid and development of 35.1 million euros to assist the Venezuelan people, as well as neighboring countries affected by their socio-economic crisis. Of the announced funds, five million will be destined mainly to cover the basic needs of Venezuelans and another five will support conflict prevention measures to reduce social tensions. The EU is currently imposing sanctions against high-ranking officials of the Venezuelan government, who froze their assets and prohibited them from entering, because of the "repression" in the country following the holding of the last presidential elections. To these measures are added an arms embargo and a veto of material that can be used for "internal repression" in Venezuela.

 

 

 

 

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