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of AUGUST 201



AUGUST 31, 2018


    LIMA, PERU  -- - -  Peru on Tuesday declared a health emergency at its northern border as thousands of Venezuelans, fleeing economic crisis and hunger at home, continued to stream into the country despite tightening entry requirements. Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra declared a 60-day emergency in two provinces on Peru's northern border, citing "imminent danger" to health and sanitation due to immigration. The decree, published in the government's official gazette, did not give more details on the risks. The exodus of Venezuelans to other South American countries is building toward a "crisis moment" comparable to events involving refugees in the Mediterranean, the United Nations said this week.

    Top immigration officials from Peru, Colombia and Brazil have been meeting in Colombian capital Bogota for a two day summit to discuss how to cope with the influx. There are close to 1 million Venezuelans now living in Colombia and more than 400,000 in Peru, the countries said in a joint statement on Tuesday after the meeting. Just 178,000 of those in Peru have legal permission to stay or are being processed. The Venezuelan government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro has warned migrants they face difficult conditions abroad and invited them to return home. On Tuesday, it said it had repatriated 89 citizens who had migrated to Peru but sought to return after suffering "humiliation and cruel treatment."

    The group had approached the Venezuelan embassy in Lima to seek repatriation and was flown back to Venezuela on state-run airline Conviasa, the government said. Oscar Perez, an activist who works with Venezuelan migrants in Peru, said the repatriation was a publicity stunt by the Venezuelan government. "The return of Venezuelans is part of a well orchestrated show by Nicolas Maduro," Perez said on Monday via Twitter. An official at Peru's Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the repatriation, saying the country was focused on regional solutions to address the situation. Colombia and Peru said on Tuesday they will share information about migrants in a database, in an effort to track arrivals and fairly distribute aid.


       Managua, NiCARAGUA   --   A United Nations report released Wednesday on four months of unrest in Nicaragua describes a comprehensive effort of repression by the government that extends from the streets to the courts. The report by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights calls on the government of President Daniel Ortega to immediately halt the persecution of protesters and disarm the masked civilians who have been responsible for many of the killings and arbitrary detentions. More than 300 people have been killed in violence since mid-April in this Central American nation. Neighboring Costa Rica has been flooded with thousands of requests for asylum by people fleeing Nicaragua.

    The report describes illegal arrests, torture and closed trials. Doctors, professors and judges who have spoken out or protested have been dismissed from their jobs to discourage people from participating in or supporting the protests. "The level of persecution is such that many of those who have participated in the protests, defended the rights of the protesters, or simply expressed dissenting opinion, have been forced to hide, have left Nicaragua or are trying to do so," according to the U.N. report. Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the U.N. human rights chief, told reporters in Geneva that "repression and retaliation against demonstrators continue in Nicaragua as the world looks away."

    Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the report "highlights what we have been saying for months: Ortega is terrorizing his own people." "Until the Nicaraguan people are able to use their voices freely and peacefully, the international community must continue to pressure the regime. Failure to do so will lead to another Venezuela," Haley said. Ortega's government dismissed the report as baseless and relying on anti-government media accounts. It denied accusations of excessive use of force against protesters. "The report is biased and slanted with subjective assertions," the government said in its response to the U.N. office, also noting that it included no mention of the attempted coup d'etat alleged by Ortega. It said the U.N. had not been invited to evaluate the human rights situation, but rather to accompany the verification commission established as part of the national dialogue.


CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --   Supermarket and pharmacy shelves across Venezuela were left empty and hundreds of workers lost their jobs as the new economic measures adopted by the Venezuelan government to reactivate the country’s economy turned one week on Monday. Almost 25 types of basic food supplies, for which prices were regulated by the government earlier last week, disappeared from virtually all shops in Caracas and the satellite cities of Guarenas, Guatire and Los Teques. Meat refrigerators of several supermarkets in Caracas, which should be filled with beef are completely empty and covered with protectors.

    Only processed hamburger meat and chicken croquettes were available as their pricing is not included in the new regulation. A butcher who asked for anonymity said that the shop he works for will not receive any meat on Monday and that it is “unclear” when new product will arrive. The refrigerators for dairy products are also empty, with only some of the delicatessen such as cheeses, ham and sausages available, as well as two varieties of fish which are considered a luxury because of their high costs.

    According to the economic vice president, Tareck el Aissami, the measure of the so-called agreed prices was achieved after signing an agreement with "the 33 largest agroindustries" in the country, however, this agreement has been denied by the businessmen who assured that the prices were "imposed" by the Government. In the social networks, images of empty shelves of supermarkets in several regions of the country have been disclosed, a phenomenon parallel to the price drop ordered by the government.

AUGUST 30, 2018


    NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK  -- - - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, said today that international pressure, especially the regional one, took a long time to activate in the case of Venezuela and that an earlier reaction would probably have stopped the current crisis . "The real pressure of the Lima Group (a group of 17 countries gathered to find a way out of the Venezuelan crisis) began just a year and a half ago," Zeid said at a meeting with journalists, commenting on some of the most worrisome situations. of human rights in the world. He recalled that before that "the expressions of concern were limited to the human rights machinery, the Government of Spain and the United States."

     Zeid said that the politicization of the Judiciary, the arbitrary detentions and what happened with the political leaders (opponents) should have been denounced much sooner, perhaps it would have stopped (the crisis) before ". In this regard, the high commissioner recalled that "after the first warning signs" his Office began to denounce the deterioration of human rights in Venezuela almost alone, without the governments of the world echoing it. Zeid has been asking the Government of Caracas for four years to offer him an official invitation for him and his collaborators to visit the country, a mission that he will no longer be able to fulfill given that in two days he ends his term as high commissioner.

    Zeid said he expects his successor, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, to maintain the focus of her office, which has been to denounce relentlessly human rights violations. "A central point of my office has been to keep a follow-up job. I suspect that certain countries believe that if the Office of Human Rights produces a report and they ignore it, others will do the same and that the UN will stop dealing with the issue, but that will not happen. It will continue to monitor and denounce, "he said. Zeid also reiterated that "it is difficult to think that Venezuela is a democratic country", a comment that was made a few months ago and that attracted the wrath of the government of President Nicolás Maduro.


        BRASILIA, BRAZIL   --   The president of Brazil, Michel Temer, authorized the use of Army troops in the state of Roraima, bordering Venezuela, to guarantee security before the arrival of thousands of Venezuelan immigrants in recent months. The Brazilian Armed Forces were already present in Roraima when participating in the "Operation Welcome", of a humanitarian nature and serving Venezuelans fleeing the political, economic and social crisis of their country and decide to rebuild their lives in Brazil.

    The president signed today, however, a decree through which guarantees the conditions for the Army to also act in security-related operations in Roraima, one of the poorest states in the country and that has been overwhelmed by the exodus of Venezuelans, according to regional authorities. The decree will be in force from Wednesday, August 29 until September 12, as reflected in the document signed by Temer, whose term expires on January 1, 2019, when he will hand over power to the winner of the October elections. "I authorize the use of the Armed Forces today" to "offer security to Brazilian citizens and Venezuelan immigrants fleeing that country in search of refuge" in Brazil, expressed Temer in a statement in Brasilia.

    The head of state said that he made that decision to complement the social actions promoted by the central government in Roraima given the "ever more intense flow" of immigrants from the Caribbean nation. He also indicated that with these measures they try to "minimize the impacts of the humanitarian disaster", "the result of the terrible living conditions to which the Venezuelan people are subjected". "It is urgent to find a way to change that situation. (The crisis) moved across the border of several countries and threatens the harmony of the entire continent, "he said. "We are going to analyze all the efforts in all the international forums to alter that dramatic situation. We are going to seek support in the international community to support firm diplomatic measures to solve this problem, "he added.


CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --  Venezuelan pensioners protested today against the announcement of President Nicolás Maduro that pensions will be paid through the so-called "carnet de la patria", and demanded that the right to identify himself only with his identity card be respected. Although Maduro yesterday retracted, the old people had not heard and protested in front of the headquarters of the Ivss throughout the country. The president of the Federation of Retirees and Pensioners, Emilio Lozada, told reporters that "Maduro's measure is criminal because it violates our human rights" because for many "the pension is their only income" and not all have the card designed by government.

     According to Maduro, this payment will be made through the "digital wallet" system accessed through the web portal of the country's card, which, according to Lozada, "generates uncertainty and confusion among those who do not know about technology". "We do not all know how to use the internet transfer mode, so we want if they pay the pension in cash," Lozada said as one of the main demands of retirees. This card with QR code was launched by Maduro last year when he asked all Venezuelans to register to obtain it, because through this document they would make bonus payments and control of the delivery of social benefits.

    The opposition has interpreted this tool as a method of social control and blackmailing the poorest because electoral campaigns have promised monetary rewards in this way in exchange for votes. Local media reported that after the announcement by the head of state, the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (Ivss), the body that governs the pension system, has not defined what the mechanism for payment will be. This decision is part of a package of measures that Maduro launched this month among which stands out the increase in the minimum wage that is now 35 times higher than the previous one and which is also part of the implementation of a monetary conversion that took away five zeros al bolivar, reviewed Efe.

AUGUST 29, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- - - South Korea and the US will resume joint military exercises in April in a move that could jeopardise burgeoning attempts at diplomacy on the Korean peninsula. Defence officials in Seoul on Tuesday said the two allies would restart the Foal Eagle and Key Resolve drills, which were postponed while South Korea hosted the Winter Olympic Games in February. The long-running exercises typically provoke fury from North Korea, which views them as a rehearsal for a US invasion

      The development comes amid a flurry of diplomacy ahead of a proposed summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s supreme leader. Mr Trump has said he would meet Mr Kim “by May”, although observers now believe the summit will probably take place later. Neither the venue nor the agenda has been decided. The defence ministry in Seoul said the drills would restart on April 1 “on a similar size in previous years”. South Korean army soldiers during a joint military training exercise in September last year © Bloomberg However, it did not specify how many troops would participate in the field exercises and computerised simulations, nor when they would end.

     Experts say the drills are likely to conclude before the end of April when South Korean President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to meet Mr Kim to lay the groundwork for the summit between Washington and Pyongyang. “The drills are likely to be scaled down this year ahead of the summits between the two Koreas and between North Korea and the US,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “The nature of the exercises will be more defensive and pragmatic,” he added.


        BOGOTA, COLOMBIA  --   Colombia’s President Ivan Duque announced on Monday that his government has notified the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) of its decision to withdraw from the bloc as the South American organization failed to denounce Venezuela’s “brutal treatment” of its citizens. “I want to inform the Colombians that today, with precise instructions, the Foreign Minister of the Republic sent Unasur the letter where we denounce the constituent treaty of that entity and in six months the withdrawal of Colombia from this organization will be effective,” Duque told media.

     The president said that the South American bloc, formed in Brazil in 2008, was created “to fracture the inter-American system” and pointed out that it served as a “joker” for “the purposes of a dictatorship.” He added that Unasur “never” denounced the “abuses” committed by the government of President Nicolas Maduro against his people and that the bloc did not exercise its duty to guarantee that those actions did not “constitute the elimination of the freedom of the citizens,” and therefore Colombia considers Unasur the “greatest accomplice of the dictatorship of Venezuela.”

    On Aug. 10, Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo announced that the country took “the political decision” to withdraw from Unasur, a promise that Duque had already made during his presidential campaign. According to Trujillo, Colombia was in “consultations” with other member countries such as Peru, Argentina and Chile to make a joint withdrawal from the organization.  “We will continue working within the framework of regional multilateralism and we will do so by supporting the inter-American democratic charter signed by Colombia, which defends freedoms and the balance of powers and is also the guarantor of a participatory and plural society,” Duque said on Monday. Other Unasur countries include Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.


SANTIAGO, CHILE  --  More than 147,000 Venezuelans entered Chile between January and July of this year, a figure that is close to the 177,000 they did during the entire past year, according to the police. According to a report by the Investigative Police of Chile (PDI) published Monday by the newspaper La Tercera, between January 1 and July 31, 147,429 Venezuelans entered Chile. Throughout 2017, a total of 177,347 persons of that nationality had entered the country. In the first semester, which includes the period from January 1 to June 30, the number of Venezuelans who entered the country reached 124.501, according to a list of the PDI sent to the AFP.

    In the same period, 1,950,546 Argentines entered Chile, mostly passing; 940,872 Peruvians and 413,242 Bolivians, the latter due to the intense traffic in the common border. In addition, 287,539 Brazilians and 139,109 US citizens entered Chile, mainly for tourism purposes. Of the total number of Venezuelans who entered Chile since April 16 - when the government of the conservative Sebastián Piñera imposed the condition - and until August 20, 9,626 did so with the so-called "democratic responsibility visa", which has been requested in this period, 64,932 Venezuelans, although still 42,000 were in process.

     The visa, which must be required at the consulates of Chile in Venezuela, gives Venezuelans a residence permit for one year, which allows them to access a work contract in the country. This permit can be extended for another additional year before being able to request permanent residence. "Chile was ahead of the rest of the South American countries in implementing the visa. Despite being criticized in the beginning, it has proven to be efficient so that Venezuelans who have problems can emigrate, "Rodrigo Ubilla, the Chilean government's undersecretary of the Interior, sai. The UN points out that more than 2.3 million Venezuelans live abroad (7.5% of the population). Of them, more than 1.6 million left their country as of 2015 due to the resurgence of the economic and political crisis of the once prosperous oil nation, according to the organization.

AUGUST 28, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- - - A major shipping route located between Oman and Iran where nearly one-third of the world's sea-traded oil passes through daily may become a new flashpoint after a top Iranian Navy general said Monday that the country has taken full control of the Strait of Hormuz. The head of the navy of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Alireza Tangsiri, said that Iran had full control of both the Persian Gulf itself and the Strait of Hormuz that leads into it.

      The Strait of Hormuz is where most of the oil from Saudi Arabia passes through, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The Saudis have constructed pipelines to bypass the strait, but a majority of crude oil is shipped by sea, meaning that any action by Iran to halt shipping may impact consumers across the world. "The blockage of the Strait of Hormuz, even temporarily, could lead to substantial increases in total energy costs," At the beginning of August, Iran began a large-scale exercise in the Strait of Hormuz involving more than 50 small boats, practicing “swarming” operations that could potentially shut down the vital waterway if ever deployed for real.

     The drill came after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of a landmark nuclear accord with Iran and leaders of both countries exchanged fiery rhetoric. The country routinely operates small boats in the Strait of Hormuz and the surrounding area, and has often threatened to shut down the highly traveled waterway. A check of conditions on on Monday showed that conditions appeared to be normal, with heavy maritime traffic.


        WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  State-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) appealed on Friday a US court ruling that would allow a Canadian mining company to seize shares of the US subsidiary of the oil company, Citgo, as payment of a $ 1.2 billion debt. The case dates from 2011, when the government of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez nationalized a mine that had been granted to Crystallex, but did not compensate the company despite an agreement reached in an international arbitration panel. US federal judge Leonard Stark ruled on Thursday that Crystallex could collect the debt by taking shares in Citgo, a subsidiary of PDVSA in the United States.

     The court has not yet ordered when its decision will be effective. In arguing the ruling, known on Friday, the judge rejected PDVSA's argument that it is an entity independent of the Venezuelan government and should not be held liable, instead favoring Crystallex's claim that Citgo is an "alter ego" of the government. Consulted by journalists, the Minister of Information of Venezuela, Jorge Rodríguez, refused on Friday to comment on the case. The decision is another blow for the government of Nicolás Maduro, besieged by the collapse of the once prosperous oil nation, now in default. Thousands of Venezuelans leave the country daily, malnutrition and lack of medicines are common and the International Monetary Fund said that inflation could exceed 1,000,000% this year.

     This judicial ruling could open the door for other creditors to collect the debts of Venezuela, which together with PDVSA has been declared in partial default by several rating agencies due to delays in debt bond payments. PDVSA, considered the jewel in the crown of the Venezuelan economy, has reduced oil production to its lowest level in 30 years, amid debts, accusations of corruption and lack of investment. Losing Citgo, which in addition to refineries has a vast network of gas stations throughout the United States, would deprive the Venezuelan government of one of its last sources of foreign revenue. But Citgo, headquartered in Texas, is already at risk: almost 50% of its shares were delivered by Venezuela to Russia's Rosneft as a guarantee for loans of 1.5 billion dollars, and the rest serves as support for holders of the 2020 bonus of PDVSA .


--  "From now on, every month we will pay the pensions through the digital wallet, so that the elderly do not have problems and have their resources freely", with this phrase the Bolivarian DICTATOR =, Nicolás Maduro, flagrantly violates the National Constitution of Venezuela. And with that, the Citizen and Human Rights of all Venezuelan senior citizens, whether they are for or against the ruling party. Neither in the Social Security Law nor in the National Constitution of Venezuela there is any mention that forces the elderly to have an identity card of a political party to collect the pension that they paid during their working years and their age.

      The announcement, made this Sunday , has not yet been published in the Official Gazette, however the claim to do it without consultation and mandatory, is one of the practices of the Bolivarian government. In spite of being said by Maduro, the Venezuelan News Agency, AVN, affirms that "the activity will be carried out in all public and private banking entities of Venezuela according to the identity card terminal".

     Forcing Venezuelans to remove an instrument of political control translates into a monumental scam. Remove the right of the elderly to collect their pension freely is the most recent obligation imposed by the Bolivarian government that adds to the use of it to pay subsidized gasoline; without even the opposition political parties demonstrating in bloc against a new violation of Venezuelan laws. The Bolivarian government changed the date of payment of pensions, then divided it into three parts and now it will demand a card that is not in the Law. All this added to the fact that the collection of pensions is not a "gift" but a right established in the National Constitution in article 80.

AUGUST 27, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- - - John McCain, who shed a playboy image in his youth to become a fighter pilot, revered prisoner of war and both an independent voice in the Republican Party and its 2008 presidential nominee, died on Saturday, little more than a year after he was told he had brain cancer. He was 81. McCain’s office said in a statement "Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28 p.m. on August 25, 2018." He announced on July 19, 2017, that he had been diagnosed with a glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain tumor. On Friday his family announced he was discontinuing treatment.

     "With the Senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years," McCain's office said in the statement. His daughter, Meghan McCain, said in a statement that "I was with my father at his end, as he was with me at my beginning." "All that I am is thanks to him. Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love,” she said.

      McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, tweeted: “My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved.” She said he died in "the place he loved best." In his 36 years in Congress, McCain became one of the country's most respected and influential politicians, challenging his fellow lawmakers to reach across the aisle for the good of the country, and often sparring with reporters with a biting if self-deprecating wit. On a variety of issues — torture, immigration, campaign finance, the Iraq War — McCain was often known as the moral center of the Senate and of the Republican Party.


        WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  Several Miami properties frozen by prosecutors are listed under companies linked to Fernando Valero who died in a skydiving accident last week. The properties are among 17 homes, with a combined value of $35 million, cited in the $1.2 billion money laundering indictment filed by federal prosecutors in Miami last Friday. The four homes linked to Valero, who was not chraged in the case, include three houses in Coral Gables. a leafy residential district, and an apartment in the Brickell Avenue banking district.

Valero, 42, died on Thursday after jumping with a parachute from a plane at 13,000 feet near the Higuerote aerodrome in Miranda state, east of Caracas. One witness told Univision that two stepsons of President Nicolás Maduro witnessed the tragedy on the ground. The children of the first lady, Cilia Flores, Yosser Gavidia Flores, and his brother Yoswal, were close to Valero and shared his passion for skydiving, the source said. One witness described them in tears after the accident.

That friendship and the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Maduro's government did not prevent Valero from investing in the United States, including high end jewelry and watch store, Vagú, in Miami's fashionable Design District, according to public records. The store also has offices in Venezuela, Colombia and Switzerland, offering luxury brands such as Rolex, Hublot and Roger Dubuis. "We are a family business dedicated to luxury," Valero wrote in his LinkedIn profile.


WASHINGTON, D.C.   --   The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), presented a report in which they reveal that the economy in Latin America will have an expansion of 1.5% in 2018, with the exception of Venezuela, which will have a contraction of -12%, that represents five years of retreat. According to the agency, "The accumulated contraction of GDP, when comparing the estimates of 2018 with the value of 2013, would be more than 40%."

     Likewise, they affirm that the businesses and the transport sector have been affected by the situation in Venezuela. "Sectors such as transportation have been affected by problems in the supply of spare parts and fuel, while cuts in the supply of electricity affect production and trade in general." The report, which is called the Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean, highlights that tax revenues, not related to oil, registered a fall of 77% in 2017. There was also a fall in the collection of taxes Income (84%) and, in Value Added Taxes (78%).

     The agency attributes the poor performance of Venezuela to the reduction in oil production, which compared to 2017, reports a decrease of 31%. "The fall in oil production has accelerated in 2018, and when comparing the levels of production of June 2017 with those of June 2018 there is a decrease of 31% (...) The financial difficulties of PDVSA and the problems created by the departure of trained personnel from the sector makes it difficult to maintain the wells in operation and the refineries in operation. "

AUGUST 26, 2018


    MIAMI, FLORIDA -- - - As THE DICTATOR OF VENEZUELA, DICTATOR Nicolas Maduro, has pushed forward with his plan to rescue Venezuela’s cratering economy, U.S. prosecutors are looking into whether members of his family were simultaneously benefiting from what they contend was a scheme to siphon off $1.2 billion from the state-owned oil company, two people familiar with the U.S. investigation told The Associated Press. The investigation, which gained momentum this week with a key guilty plea in Miami federal court, is part of a vast, multi-year effort by U.S. prosecutors to close the net on Maduro, who has largely dodged the allegations of corruption that have resulted in charges against several senior officials.

     In court documents filed Wednesday, a Swiss banker named Matthias Krull admitted that he plotted with men identified only as “Los Chamos” — Venezuelan slang for “the kids” — to launder a $200 million slice of stolen funds from the oil company PDVSA. Los Chamos actually are Yoswal, Yosser and Walter Flores, the children of First Lady Cilia Flores from a previous relationship and thus Maduro’s stepsons, according to the two Americans who discussed the case with the AP. In a criminal complaint unsealed last month and as part of a factual statement filed with Krull’s plea agreement, he and prosecutors refer to them as the “stepsons” of “Venezuelan Official 2,” who the two Americans said is Maduro.

     Maduro, his wife and her sons were not named in the complaint. But both sources said prosecutors are looking for any links between the first couple and what they believe is a network that funneled hundreds of millions of Venezuela’s oil wealth into south Florida luxury real estate, at a time of widespread shortages and hyperinflation in the South American nation. Several of those assets already are being targeted for seizure, as well as about $45 million at City National Bank of New Jersey and accounts in the Bahamas, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The two people familiar with the case said Conspirator 7 is Raul Gorrin, who became president of Globovision shortly after he and others in 2013 purchased the popular network and softened its anti-government news coverage.


        WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  terday during his morning radio show on Miami’s Spanish-language Zeta 92.3. A total of $800 million has been seized and proven to belong to Diosdado Cabello.Among the 12 seized properties is a luxury apartment on New York City's Central Park, Haza added.

    The information could not be confirmed independently by el Nuevo Herald, but the Trump administration a few weeks ago put Cabello on the Treasury Department’s blacklist, which in essence allows officials to freeze his U.S. banks accounts and property sales. Treasury accused him of corruption, narco-trafficking and mineral smuggling. Cabello, former president of the Venezuelan legislature, was upset by treatment of his daughter when she landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told her that her visa had been canceled and put her on a plane to Venezuela.

     The confiscations of Cabello's properties are part of U.S. government efforts to identify and freeze the wealth of Maduro regime officials linked to corruption and drug trafficking. Cabello was sanctioned last month along with his brother, Jose David, his wife Marleny Josefina Contreras, and his business partner, Rafael Sarria. “Aside from money laundering and the illegal export of minerals, Cabello is also directly involved in drug trafficking activities,” said the Treasury statement said, announcing his addition to the sanctions list.


WASHINGTON, D.C.   --   The social, economic and political crisis in Venezuela has ceased to be a problem unique to the Caribbean country and has become a headache for the entire region. The main powers have pressed in vain in recent years to achieve an exit to the authoritarian drift of Nicolás Maduro. The problem goes now further. The migration of Venezuelans, a flood that exceeds 2.3 million since 2014, has put the governments of Latin America in check, which see how the massive arrival of citizens in their countries can overwhelm local systems and start generating xenophobic outbreaks.

      The regional powers are trying to achieve a coordinated response to the crisis, which, taken for granted, will be accentuated after Nicolás Maduro's latest economic measures. "There is a widespread concern about a problem of humanitarian dimension in its entirety," summarizes a senior official of one of the main powers of the Lima Group, the group of countries that decided to unite to achieve a political and negotiated solution to the Venezuelan crisis before the failure of the participation of the Organization of American States (OAS). So far, each country has applied individual measures, but the situation becomes untenable.

      Colombia is the thermometer in which all governments are measured. Since the crisis began in the neighboring country, it has already received almost one million Venezuelans. Most have entered by land through official passages, but some 45,000 have used the irregular roads that hide in the more than 2,000 kilometers of joint border. To respond to this humanitarian crisis, the government of former President Juan Manuel Santos devised a migration card that allowed citizens to pass through. This first registry served to create a migratory census, still in development. Through this system, migrants have access to the health, education and labor market system on a regular basis.

AUGUST 25, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C.   -- - -  A federal judge ordered that the shares of the parent company of Citgo Petroleum Corp. in the United States be sold at auction, unless Venezuela issues a bond in compensation. In an order activated Thursday, Judge Leonard P. Stark of the Wilmington, Delaware, district court ordered the sale process to begin after a hearing with several interested parties who requested his intervention, including Citgo and the Russian giant. Rosneft, which has pledged to share Citgo shares as collateral for a loan, The Wall Street Journal reported .
      For Venezuela, which has liquidity problems, losing control of Citgo could jeopardize one of its only sources of oil revenues (US), the newspaper added. If Venezuela wants to hold on to PDVH - the company that contains Citgo - during a continuous appeal process, it will have to put up a bonus, the judge said. It is unclear whether Venezuela or any of its entities will be able to afford the funds, because the country is already in general default of 6,000 million dollars in debt and has resorted to paying the creditors by other means, including giving away bonds that it has kept in reserve. .

     That increases the likelihood that a sale can happen sooner rather than later. Normally, in such cases, the amount of the bond is the award plus interest and is a means to assure the plaintiffs against the possibility that there is no money left to pay a judgment once the appeal process is over. But federal judges have the discretion to reduce that amount. The shares are being sold as part of a case with an extinct Canadian mining company, Crystallex International Corp., which is seeking to collect a $ 1.2 billion arbitration award related to Venezuela's nationalization of its assets under former president Hugo Chávez.


        QUITO, ECUADOR  -- - - Ecuador announced on Thursday (23.08.2018) its withdrawal from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA) in response to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and the subsequent exodus of Venezuelans who, in their judgment, "a solution of all nations "of the region. "Ecuador will not continue its participation in the ALBA," said Foreign Minister Jose Valencia in an appearance before the media, in which he stated that the country wants to "strengthen" the search for a solution to the Venezuelan problem.

     He stated that Ecuador has a "principled position" and that it does not agree with those of a "particular group" in the proposal that the problem of Venezuelans will be resolved among them in the democratic framework. " But he did not represent the notorious frustration of his country" for the lack of political will, first by the Government of Venezuela, to open the doors. A Democratic solution. " Valencia stressed that the massive influx of Venezuelans arriving in the Ecuadorian area is a problem that" can not be addressed individually by one country ", but requires" an answer from all the nations in the region," and that the withdrawal of Ecuador from ALBA, is to promote this solution.

     "The exit of Venezuelan citizens from their country is a consequence of the economic and political crisis in Venezuela. The impact will be regional, but Ecuador will always be in solidarity, "he said, describing the Venezuelan government's action as" inhumane "as it allowed millions of people to leave. ALBA was established in 2004 as a mechanism for cooperation Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean based on solidarity and complementarity of economies, in an alternative to the Free Trade Area for America (FTAA) promoted by the United States at the time.


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK   --   The exodus of migrants from Venezuela is building toward a “crisis moment” comparable to events involving refugees in the Mediterranean, the United Nations migration agency said on Friday. Venezuelan migrants rest as they arrive from the northern city of Piura to the bus terminal in Lima, Peru August 24, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo Growing numbers are fleeing economic meltdown and political turmoil in Venezuela, threatening to overwhelm neighboring countries. Officials from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will meet in Bogota next week to seek a way forward.

     Ecuador and Peru have this month tightened entry rules for Venezuelans, requiring them to carry passports instead of just national ID cards. In Brazil, rioters drove hundreds back over the border. Describing those events as early warning signs, International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Joel Millman said funding and means of managing the outflow must be mobilized. “This is building to a crisis moment that we’ve seen in other parts of the world, particularly in the Mediterranean,” he told a news briefing. Venezuelan migrants arrive from the northern city of Piura at the bus terminal in Lima, Peru August 24, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

     On Thursday, the IOM and U.N. refugee agency UNHCR called on Latin American countries to ease entry for Venezuelans, more than 1.6 million of whom have left since 2015. Peru’s top immigration official, Eduardo Sevilla, said Peru will exempt some Venezuelans from the passport requirement, including parents with children seeking to join the rest of their family, pregnant women and the gravely ill. But Sevilla said authorities would also be vigilant of attempts to evade the new rule by claiming refugee status. “Is UNHCR going to take responsibility if that person commits a crime?” Sevilla said to Reuters on Friday. “Our priority is to contribute to security and internal order by clearly identifying people.”

AUGUST 24, 2018


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA   -- - -  The National Assembly agreed: According to a press release issued by the magistrates appointed by this National Assembly on August 15, 2018, the decision to convict Nicolás Maduro Moros was announced for 18 years and three months in prison for corruption, along with a fine plus the sentence to reimburse to the Republic the amount of thirty-five thousand million United States dollars, a decision that, however, has not been published yet.

      That the announced decision signed by the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice, appointed and sworn in by this National Assembly, demonstrates that corruption became a widespread practice during the Nicolás Maduro regime, as this National Assembly has declared in various Agreements and in accordance with investigations conducted by the Permanent Comptroller's Commission.

      In this regard, he agrees: To ratify that, by agreement dated January 7, 2017, the National Assembly declared the abandonment of the position of citizen Nicolás Maduro Moros as President of the Republic, which resulted in the absolute lack of said office, and express political support of this Parliament to the announced decision signed by the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice, appointed and sworn in by this National Assembly, on August 15, 2018. To urge the State's security organs in compliance with the agreements of this National Assembly in which Nicolás Maduro Moros, the President of the Republic, is dismissed from office, which has been endorsed by the Attorney General of the Republic and the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice duly appointed by this body.


Venezuelan refugees. In a bitter feud with the U.S., Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has refused all American aid. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced the decision on Friday after a visit to Bogotá, Colombia where he had breakfast with President Iván Duque. The Pentagon confirmed on Monday that Duque had requested the assistance to relieve stress on Colombia’s healthcare system.

      An estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled their country in the wake of a devastating economic crisis that has caused shortages of food and medical supplies. Over one million of those refugees have crossed the border into Colombia, creating what Mattis called a “destabilizing impact” on the country. “It is an absolutely a humanitarian mission, we’re not sending soldiers, we’re sending doctors,” Mattis told reporters. “And it’s an effort to deal with the human cost of [Maduro and his increasingly isolated regimes.”

      Pentagon spokesperson Col. Rob Manning said on Monday that the ship will be the 894-foot long USNS Comfort, one of two U.S. Navy hospital ships and one of the largest trauma centers anywhere in the United States. The Comfort has a long history of responding to humanitarian disasters. “The hospital has a full spectrum of surgical and medical services including four X-rays, one CAT scan unit, a dental suite, an optometry and lens laboratory, a physical therapy center, a pharmacy, an invasive angiography suite and two oxygen-producing plants,” the Navy said. “Five thousand new migrants enter Colombia each and every day, real-time, day after day,” Green said earlier this month after a visit to the region. “They’re desperately seeking food, emergency medical care. They’re seeking survival.”


BEJING,  CHINA   --   The “Daishan Dao” or “Peace Ark”, a Chinese Navy hospital ship, is to visit Venezuela, while the humanitarian crisis and attendant health-sector labor unrest worsen in the oil-rich nation. The “Ark of Peace” will “operate” in Venezuela in coordination with the local military, the Venezuelan Armed Forces Strategic Operational Command reported Friday. Asian giant became involved in the oil rich nation almost two decades ago under President Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s mentor and predecessor. In spite of Venezuela’s myriad problems, Venezuela is still one of China’s main commercial and cooperation partners in the Western Hemisphere.

      China has lent Venezuela more money, to the tune of $60 billion (of which over $20 billion is still outstanding) and has even extended a “period of grace” on debt service since 2016. The visit to Venezuela by the Chinese Hospital Ship will be part of an itinerary that also services ten other countries, including Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Columbia, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic and Ecuador, to provide humanitarian medical services.

     The ship will also have a stop in Chile to participate in the Chilean Navy's 200th founding anniversary celebration activities. The hospital onboard the Peace Ark has 120 medical staff working in 18 clinical departments and 5 auxiliary ones. The hospital ship is also equipped with ship-borne heli-ambulances and during war carries . Now in its 10th year, the ship has visited 37 countries where the doctors onboard have provided humanitarian medical service for more than 180,000 people, according to the Chinese Navy.

AUGUST 23, 2018


    BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA  -- - -  The Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, confirmed this Sunday that he will present, together with other South American leaders, a request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate possible crimes committed in Venezuela. In an interview broadcast on Sunday by the CNN news channel, the Argentine head of state said that the initiative has the support of his Colombian counterparts, Iván Duque; from Chile, Sebastián Piñera; and from Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez. "In Venezuela, human rights are systematically violated. The value of life has been lost, "said Macri.

     The Argentine president considered that up to now any attempt to improve the political and social situation in Venezuela has been "frustrating" and mentioned that the realization of the complaint before the ICC will be "in a few weeks" reviews the Deutsche Welle. The International Criminal Court is a court of justice that judges people accused of committing crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war and aggression, according to their statute. Its headquarters is in the city of The Hague, in the Netherlands.

     "In Venezuela, human rights are systematically violated by running over the opposition and everyone, not only the opposition, but the citizens in general. The value of life, the care of people, the abuse of power have been lost [...] We have spoken in Lima at the last summit and we are in times of changes of government, but there is more and more consensus about taking more measures. forceful to help the Venezuelan brothers "told the interviewer Oppenheimer. The Argentine president, in as much, put in doubt the veracity of the presumed attack that the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, said to have suffered the 4 of last August in Caracas during an official act. "I do not have exact information but in light of how he behaved afterwards and (the opposition leaders) whom he raided and ran over, it shows that it must have been unlikely that it was (an attack) seriously," Macri added.


         SANTIAGO, CHILE   --  - - The Government of Chile showed on Monday in favor of taking the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, before the International Criminal Court (ICC), together with other countries, so that that body could investigate the human rights violations suffered by that country. "The idea is that we are a group of countries that present this issue before the International Criminal Court to investigate cases of human rights violations," said Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero told local radio Cooperative.

      "The issue, in truth, is being discussed for some time with other countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and Canada," said the head of Chilean diplomacy. The foreign minister of the southern nation recalled that "Chile was the first country in the region to support the Organization of American States (OAS) to present a report of a group of experts before the International Criminal Court." Ampuero said that President Sebastián Piñera sent a very clear letter to the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro.

     "The situation in Venezuela has not improved, on the contrary, it continues to get worse," he said. In this same line, the Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, said on Monday that, probably with other South American countries, he will ask the ICC to investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela by the Maduro Government. "It is true. It is in process. I have no doubt that in Venezuela human rights are systematically violated, trampling the opposition and citizens in general, "Macri said in an interview broadcast on Sunday night by the US network CNN when asked about if you will go to the International Criminal Court. The Argentine president pointed out that the request will be made "in weeks" and that it will probably be done together with Colombia, Chile and Paraguay.


        LIMA, PERU
  --   The International Criminal Court (ICC) will receive a request within two weeks to investigate "human rights violations" against President Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan government, said Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio. whose country is one of the sponsors of the measure. Speaking yesterday to the press at the headquarters of the Peruvian Foreign Ministry in Lima, Popolizio said that this measure to "deepen the pressure" against the Venezuelan Executive is being coordinated and is supported by Peru and the Governments of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay is expected to "almost certainly" be incorporated, EFE reported.

     "Nothing else is missing from the text that we agree and is actually circulating, The President of Paraguay has just taken office, and once he evaluates if there are no changes, it will be done. (...) It is a matter of diplomatic coordination, It takes a while, but maximum in two weeks we will be presenting the complaint, "he said. Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced on Monday that "probably" a group of countries would ask the ICC to investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela, an announcement that was also confirmed by the Chilean government.

    According to the Peruvian Foreign Minister, the fact that it is a group of signatory countries of the Rome Statute that submit the request for an investigation will allow the preliminary process to be advanced and obliges the judges of the ICC to set a deadline to carry out the investigations. In that sense, he said that this procedure will be the first time it is used in that international tribunal. The ICC is a permanent international court of justice whose mission is to try people accused of committing crimes of genocide, war, aggression and crimes against humanity.


AUGUST 19, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- - -  The Pentagon is preparing to dispatch a hospital ship to Colombia and possibly other parts of South America to help relieve strain on health care systems overloaded by an influx of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have fled that crisis-racked nation, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday."It is absolutely a humanitarian mission," he told reporters returning with him to Washington after a six-day tour of South America. Mattis would not say when the USNS Comfort would arrive off the coast of Colombia, but it apparently will not be in the next few weeks. Dana W. White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman, said it would be "in the fall," but she would not be more specific.

     As a result of a dire economic and health care situation, rising numbers of Venezuelans are joining an exodus that has set off alarms across Latin America. The United Nations said earlier this week that an estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the crisis-torn country as of June, mainly to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. Mattis said Colombian President Ivan Duque embraced the Comfort proposal during talks Friday morning in Bogota. "They not only agreed in principle, they gave details on how we might best craft the cruise through the region," Mattis said.

     Some details of the plan for dispatching the Comfort from Norfolk, Virginia, have not yet been worked out, Mattis said. The ship may visit other South American countries also feeling effects of the refugee problem. "We are going to go where the need is greatest," he said, but that will not include Venezuela. The Comfort has 12 fully-equipped operating rooms, a 1,000-bed hospital facility, digital radiological services, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, a CAT scan and two oxygen-producing plants. The ship also is equipped with a helicopter deck capable of landing large military helicopters. It has a side port that enables the crew to take on patients at sea.


         CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --  - - The Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela approved the extradition of former Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz and former Minister of Petroleum, Rafael Ramírez, both dissidents of the ruling party, to prosecute them for various crimes. The highest court reported Friday in a statement that it was appropriate to ask Colombia for the extradition of Ortega Díaz, who was dismissed in August last year by the ruling National Constituent Assembly and who shortly after fled to Bogotá. The decision against the former prosecutor comes a few days after a group of Venezuelan magistrates of the s "Supreme Court in exile" sentenced President Nicolás Maduro to 18 years and three months in prison for his involvement with acts of corruption of the construction company Brazilian Odebrecht, a process led by Ortega Díaz from Colombia.

     The former prosecutor has also taken action against Maduro and other senior Venezuelan officials before the International Criminal Court for alleged human rights violations. In a statement the Supreme Court, indicated to be controlled by the government, indicated that it approved the extradition of Ortega Díaz to prosecute her for her alleged participation in the crimes of treason, misappropriation of functions, use of false public documents, use of false seal, concealment and retention, false denunciation and association.

     Also, the highest court decided to ask Spain for the extradition of Ramírez, former president of the state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) and former Ambassador in the United Nations, for his alleged participation in the crimes of embezzlement, evasion of bidding procedure and association. Ramírez left the Venezuelan embassy at the United Nations in early December after Maduro asked him to resign and his whereabouts are unknown. The departure of Ramírez came shortly after Venezuelan authorities detained Diego Salazar, cousin of the former ambassador, for an investigation into the use of accounts in an Andorran bank suspected of laundering about 1,602 million dollars. Ramírez, who led the oil industry for 12 years during the term of the late President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) and was the economic vice president and chancellor of the Maduro government, has become a strong critic of the Venezuelan president in recent months.


        CARACAS, VENEZUELA       --
   Different economists of the country expressed this Saturday, through social networks, their concern about the new economic measures announced yesterday by the dictator Nicolás Maduro, which consist of a wage increase anchored to the value of the petro, the increase in Al Value Added (VAT), from 12% to 16%, and the goal of a "zero fiscal deficit". They agreed that these will only cause more inflation. Luis Vicente León, president of Datanálisis, said that the government has recognized the need to anchor the economy to a variable external to its control, such as the international price of oil, which he described as an appropriate decision, but "it does so camouflaged in a vehicle battered and without confidence as is the Petro ".

     "It recognizes the need to legalize the parallel market and has used a value close to its current rate (six million BsF / $) to fix the initial price of Petro. It promises total fiscal discipline and zero deficit. Although it is an interesting proposal, its application is imposible, since it would represent pulverizing a fifth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). " He said that the minimum wage increase in thousands per cent is really the announcement most "inconsistent with its objective of fiscal discipline and makes it very difficult to consolidate".

     "If we add that the increase in gasoline has been postponed, it is not understood how the gap will be closed soon. The impact of the salary increase, absolutely unprecedented in percentage and absolute terms, impacts retroactive social benefits in such a way that it pulverizes the assets of the majority of the private sector, "he said. He also assured that he would not be optimistic about the impact of the announcements on the effective control of devaluation, inflation and investment in the coming months, however, he said that, in his opinion, the Government recognized the black dollar, fiscal irresponsibility and "partially" the importance of the market. Yesterday the National Executive announced that the minimum wage will be increased at 1,800 Bolívares Soberanos (Bs.S) or its equivalent to 0.50 petros, a salary scale that pensioners will also charge.

AUGUST 18, 2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- - -  The United States on Friday condemned the alleged arbitrary arrests and forced confessions by the Venezuelan government in its investigation into the failed drone attack on August 4 against President Nicolás Maduro. In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States condemns the "political violence" of August 4, which Caracas claims was an attempt by the opposition to assassinate Maduro. He also urged the Venezuelan leader to respect the rule of law in the investigation of the incident.

     "The response of the Venezuelan government to this incident has been arbitrarily detaining some people and not following due process," he said. "In addition, there have been violations of parliamentary immunity, which is protected by the Constitution of Venezuela. The United States condemns the alleged use of torture to obtain confessions. Venezuela has arrested 14 people for the controversial attack, including an opposition politician, a general and a colonel.

     Maduro has said that the explosions that day were made by drones loaded with explosives in the framework of a conspiracy to assassinate him, although opposition figures accuse the president of fabricating the incident to intensify the repression. Nauert said the United States supports the international community's calls to form a commission of independent experts to investigate the incident, and reiterated his country's call for "the immediate release of all those who have been arbitrarily detained, including political prisoners." Maduro has accused the country's opposition and former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of the assassination attempt, adding that some of the attackers were hiding in the United States.


         BOGOTA, COLOMBIA   --  - - The Secretary of Defense of the United States, James Mattis, announced yesterday that he would meet with the new president of Colombia, Iván Duque, with whom he would address "the tragic situation in Venezuela", among other issues. "I am going to meet with the newly elected President Duque and I know, from what our embassies have discussed that we are going to address a series of security concerns, which comes as no surprise since his country borders Venezuela," said Mattis on Thursday while he was flying in his official plane heading to Bogota.

     The head of the Pentagon lamented that despite being "a country with great potential due to its oil reserves", Venezuela is in a "tragic situation" because of a government "hungry for power." Mattis expressed his wish that his visit to Bogota, the fifth and last city he will visit during the tour he is making these days in South America, will serve to reinforce the unity of the different democracies against the "regime" of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. "Maduro has threatened his neighboring countries that have pointed to the failures of his regime. He should know that in this hemisphere the problems are not solved like this, "he said.

     In any case, the US official, who landed late yesterday in the afternoon in Bogota, stressed that "first of all" his travel to Colombia is to "listen", which, he said, is especially important considering that Duque just assumed the Presidency 0f the country on the 7th of August. "I cannot anticipate what he woud have in mind," admitted Mattis. After the meeting between the two leaders, which took place early in the morning, the secretary was scheduled to leave for Washington and conclude his first tour of the region, which has led him to visit Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile.


        brasilia, BRAZIL      --
   The foreign ministers of Brazil, Aloysio Nunes, and Ecuador, José Valencia, expressed the "concern" of their governments for the situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua, for which they want an exit aligned with human rights. "We share our concern for the Venezuelan emigrants" and for the "generalized repression" in Nicaragua, Nunes declared in a statement with Valencia, with whom today he headed a meeting of a bilateral commission held in Brasilia.

     According to the Ecuadorian chancellor, in the case of Nicaragua, the international community should try to collaborate with the "search for an understanding that will help a solution", in full respect of human rights. Brazil and Ecuador have received in the last year and a half thousands of immigrants who have left Venezuela to leave behind the complex political, social and economic situation in which the nation has sunk.

     In this sense, the foreign ministers announced that technicians from both countries will meet soon to exchange "experiences" regarding the attention of these immigrants, within the framework of the "humanitarian" effort that they maintain in favor of the Venezuelans. On a bilateral basis, the ministers explained that they analyzed issues of mutual investment, fluvial integration and trade, a section on which they highlighted the "dynamism" of the exchange, which in 2017 reached almost 1,000 million dollars, with an increase of 21% to the previous year.

AUGUST 17, 2018


    MANAGUA, NICARAGUA -- - -  Thousands have taken to the streets of the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, to demand the release of hundreds arrested during nearly four months of anti-government protests in the country. "Freedom, freedom!" demonstrators chanted as they marched on Wednesday, some carrying signs that read "justice and freedom" for those arrested.

     According to the Civic Alliance, an organisation representing the protesters, about 400 people who have been arrested since the protests began in Nicaragua in mid-April remain in detention. Nearly 140 have been charged with crimes, including terrorism and organised crime, the organisation said. Anti-government protests began on April 18 after a now-scrapped pension reform proposal was introduced. The protests have since mushroomed into a broad campaign against Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.

     According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), 317 people have been killed by police and groups loyal to Ortega. The government puts the death toll at 197, including 22 police officers. Ortega, whose supporters have also taken to the streets in recent months, has denied allegations that he controls the pro-government paramilitaries that rights groups claim work with police. He accused Nicaraguan political groups of heading rival anti-government groups. Ortega said he will serve out his term until 2021, maintaining that moving up the elections - a demand of the protesters - would "make things worse".


       CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --  - - Dozens of police detained for two hours the march of workers from the health sector of Venezuela who WERE trying to go today from the JM de los Rios hospital in Caracas to the Miraflores Palace to demand salary improvements and provision of materials and medicines. The mobilization, led by a child in a wheelchair (patient of that health center) accompanied by his mother, was held a few meters from his exit by dozens of policemen guarding the route planned by the demonstrators, about three kilometers .

     The doctor Carlos Prósperi informed, megaphone in hand, that a high official of the Ministry of Health went to the place and proposed that they appoint a commission of five people to move to the Vice Presidency to discuss the requirements. However, this idea was shouted out by the many protesters who have decided to resist under the sun until they personally address senior representatives of the health portfolio and the Government to receive the document they intended to deliver in Miraflores.

     With slogans such as "which, which, which revolution? If we do not have cotton in hospitals, "dozens of protesters reject government policies that, they believe, do not respond to the health needs of the population that must also face the severe economic crisis. The workers insist that they want "decent wages" that at least cover the basic food basket, which in June reached 654,214,674.03 bolivars, 2,629.64 or 163.15 dollars, depending on the exchange rate used.


        brasilia, BRAZIL      --
   Brazil’s Attorney General Raquel Dodge filed on Wednesday an objection against the presidential candidacy of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva before the Superior Electoral Court, after the Workers’ Party officially named him as its presidential candidate in the October election. The prosecutor said in her objection filed to Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Barroso that Lula “is not eligible” because his conviction has been upheld on appeal, according to a statement posted on the Public Prosecutor’s Office’s website.

     The Workers’ Party registered Lula on Wednesday as its presidential candidate even though he is serving a prison sentence of 12 years and one month on corruption charges, which bars him from running for office, according to the country’s laws. Accused of receiving a luxury seaside apartment as a bribe in a massive corruption scandal at Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras, Lula was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison by Judge Sergio Moro in a lower court for passive corruption and money laundering.

     The Brazilian appeals court, Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region (TRF-4), subsequently upheld Judge Moro’s sentence and increased it to 12 years and one month, based on a law called the “Clean Sheet Act.” According to a statement from the prosecutor’s office, Dodge said in the objection that the Superior Electoral Court “has already consolidated the understanding that convictions such as the one by the TRF-4 are cause for ineligibility.” “The convicted will only retake the passive electoral rights eight years after fulfilling the sentence” and, in Lula’s case, he only began serving his sentence in April this year.

AUGUST 16, 2018


    BRASILIA, BRAZIL  -- - -  Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday cast Venezuela’s ongoing wave of 1 million refugees fleeing across its borders so far as a destabilizing, anti-democratic force in South America, but he stopped short of offering military assistance to what he defined as a regional crisis.“We stand with Brazil and others in the region against this instability that is crossing borders, just as we stand with the people of Venezuela, in the midst of the tragedy forced on them by a power-hungry, oppressive regime that forces refugees into Brazil, Colombia, and elsewhere,” Mattis said at Brazil’s War College .

     The Pentagon has mostly avoided responding to the outpouring of Venezuelans fleeing food and medicine shortages in the nation led by President Nicolás Maduro. Instead, the United States has provided more than $60 million in overall assistance, something defense officials have emphasized particularly since President Donald Trump announced last summer that he was not ”ruling out a military option” to solve the Venezuelan crisis. Later, en route to Buenos Aires, Mattis told reporters that despite his discussions on the topic with South American defense ministers, the Venezuelan crisis is “not a military matter.”

“     The regime’s actions in Caracas are of concern all across the hemisphere from Ottawa to Buenos Aires. This is not what we stand for in the Americas; we stand for democracy, freedom,“ he said. “The resolution of this is ... to get back to democratic principles inside Venezuela.“ In his speech, the retired Marine general who has fought alongside international coalitions in Afghanistan and the Middle East, continued his support of a regional assistance approach to the humanitarian crisis, hailing Brazil’s “prudent response to Venezuela’s destabilizing actions” through a regional response in the so-called Lima Group and through the Organization of American States.


       BOGOTA, COLOMBIA   --  - - The president of Colombia, Iván Duque, asked on Tuesday that free elections be held in Venezuela so that in that nation there is a "transition to democracy" that allows citizens to "recover their country." "I hope that the international community continues to work, and we are part of it, so that a transition can be made to free elections that will allow many Venezuelans to recover their country and return to their land with hope," said the head of state. to journalists.

     "Colombia must be prepared, first to take care of the brothers who are coming to our country, and at the same time so that the day this transition to democracy is made, it can also play an important role in the reconstruction of that country with others. members of the international community, "said the president. The Colombian government, when the president was Juan Manuel Santos, did not recognize the triumph of Nicolás Maduro in the Venezuelan elections held on May 20 because he considered that there were no "guarantees".

     Maduro won the presidential elections last May with little more than 6 million votes on a census of more than 20.5 million voters, a triumph not recognized by several countries in the region and the world considering that the guarantees for the election were insufficient . On the other hand, Duque reiterated that Colombia must help those "who have come seeking refuge from the situation in that country." According to a Colombian Migration report released last July, some 870,000 Venezuelans, in the process of regularization and irregular, have moved to live in the country. Of that number, 382,000 are legally residents, just over 442,000 are in the regularization stage and some 46,000 live in Colombia irregularly.


        CARACAS, VENEZUELA      --
   During the transmission of her program Contigo Radio Radio Caracas 750, MARIA CORINA Machado rejected the information disseminated by the media about a private meeting in which Maduro asked officials of the National Armed Forces (FAN) to stay away from their family members to "conserve" their military career. "Does Maduro really believe that trust is bought and loyalty is ordered? He's wrong. He lost the support of the Armed Forces and with his threats to the generals, he is demonstrating that he already knows, "said Machado. Machado explained that the military is suffering from the crisis in the country and that it does not matter that they try to manipulate them with salary increases because, it is her opinion that the soldiers are still the worst-paid members of the FAN in Latin America.

     "Maduro summoned the military to threaten and blackmail them. He offered to raise their salary: how much can they be increased? If within a couple of days is salt and water and the military are the worst paid in Latin America, "she said. The National Coordinator of the Freedom Party also spoke about the protests in the country and assured that Venezuela is in a single protest. María Corina spoke with Miguel Lara, an electrical engineer, about the electrical situation in Zulia state and affirmed that to achieve a better electric service, a political change is necessary in the country.

     "The electric crisis is like inflation: unstoppable. Failures are increasing and if there is no change, this will continue to get worse. There will be more cuts and they will last longer, "said the engineer. Finally she called on the public not to lose hope despite the difficult times the country is going through. She argued that Venezuelans must stand firm in their desire to achieve political change. "They are difficult and dark hours, but you must keep going. This is how tyrannies end and we must prepare ourselves to build the prosperous, free and democratic country we have dreamed of, "he said.

AUGUST 15, 2018


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA  -- - -  DICTATOR Nicolás Maduro announced that the transportation census for private and public units will be to add to those enrolled in a direct gasoline subsidy system, and that those who are not included in said census, will have to purchase the fuel at an international price. "Fuel prices will be carried at international prices to avoid smuggling. For that is the direct subsidy and the transportation census, "said the dictator." Anyone who does not want to register for the gasoline census will have to buy it at an international price," he added.

    He described as necessary the inclusion in the system to eradicate fuel smuggling on the border with Colombia. Maduro also commented that to date, more than 17 million people have already registered in the census made through the Carnet de la Patria. He said that those interested can only be included until this week. However, it has not been announced when the new prices will be established.

    However, economists reacted against the internationalization of the price of gasoline.The president of Datanalisis, Luis Vicente León, through Twitter exalted that the increase in the price of gasoline was "predictable", but that everything focused on a "subsidy speech focused on those who have two unusual things: the license of the country and car. " For that reason, he said that the government "wants to pressure the middle class to sign up for the country's subsidy card," which in his opinion represents a "mechanism of political control." He said that the objective of the fuel price increase is "fiscal and rational," while noting that "the subsidy is more a discourse to reduce the political cost of the measure, but its penetration will be clearly minority".


       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --  - -  Venezuela chief prosecutor, Tarek Saab, said on Tuesday two high-ranking military officers were arrested for their alleged involvement in drone explosions during a speech by President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month. The South American country's government has accused opposition politicians and anti-Maduro activists abroad of scheming to assassinate the leftist leader with the drones, which were laden with explosives, during a military parade. Fourteen people, including a lawmaker and several young men, have been arrested, while another 20 suspects remain at large, including in neighboring Colombia and the United States, according to authorities.

     Saab said Colonel Pedro Zambrano and General Alejandro Perez had been presented in court on Monday. Further details were not immediately available about the detainees. The Information Ministry, which handles media inquiries on behalf of the government, did not respond to a request for comment. Reuters was unable to contact the two officers. The alleged involvement of military officials in the drone incident is notable in the convulsed oil-rich nation where the armed forces have long been powerbrokers.

     Open calls for military intervention have grown after massive anti-government protests last year failed to unseat Maduro and he was re-elected in a May vote widely decried as a sham. Scores of soldiers have been detained on accusations of conspiring against Maduro or of desertion, as they too sometimes struggle to eat three square meals a day amid the worst economic crisis in the country's history and a severe food shortage. The government has said the drone attack was carried out by 11 hit men recruited during anti-Maduro demonstrations and trained across the porous border with Colombia. Maduro's critics say he is using the incident to stifle dissent and cement his power in the oil-rich nation amid the economic crisis that has brought with it salary-destroying hyperinflation and frequent power cuts.


        MEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK       --
   About 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country as a result of the crisis, according to the UN, who warned of the lack of food and medicine suffered by the population. EFE Most people who have left Venezuela have gone to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters at his daily press conference.

     The figure of 2.3 million is an estimate made by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as of June 2018, although the United Nations did not specify the calculation start date. Dujarric explained that most of the emigrants cite the lack of food as the main reason for their departure, with reports that 1.3 million people suffer from malnutrition. In addition, there are severe shortages of basic medicines and medical equipment, which has led to a sharp deterioration in the quality of care in hospitals, the spokesperson added.

     According to the OCHA, more than 100,000 HIV-AIDS patients are at risk due to lack of access to necessary medications and previously eradicated diseases such as measles, malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria have returned and are on the rise. The UN and its humanitarian partners also warn that the population that has escaped from the country needs assistance with their legal status, documentation, shelter, access to health care and other basic services. Dujarric, in any case, highlighted the "great generosity" demonstrated by neighboring countries and hoped that other governments could also contribute in helping displaced Venezuelans.

AUGUST 14, 2018


    BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- - -   After the revelation of a video with a supposed confession of the deputy detained in Venezuela, Juan Requesens, another video appeared on Friday, through social networks, in which Requesens appears in private clothes and posing for a camera without saying a word. Given this situation, the Venezuelan exparlamentario, Julio Borges, who is in Colombia, indicated that the "poor deputy Requesens was subjected to coercion and was drugged" in the first video, something that was demonstrated, according to Borges, with the second video. "A few hours after the first video was published, another video was leaked where Juan Requesens was totally drugged. In these impressive photos you can see that he is clinging and can not hold and his pupils are dilated, "said Julio Borges during an interview with DW in Spanish.

       Likewise, Borges affirmed that the images of Requesens were provided by the same police officers "outraged by what is happening", which shows, according to the exparlamentary, that "all the testimonies in Venezuela are the product of coercion and torture". The Voice of America got a statement from Rafaela Requesens, sister of Juan Requesens, about the video broadcast by the government and agreed with Julio Borges when he said that "we do not know if he was under threat or had any substance, the only thing he demonstrates is that they want to subdue and humiliate a personlike Juan. "

"     This is a persecution and a kidnapping. There were no lawyers there, there was nothing that could support that Juan was fine. The images that were shown are images that showed this regime without even us being able to have the opportunity to see it ", said Rafaela Requesens. According to a clinical analysis published in The Pin, the signs presented by Requesens in the videos suggest alteration of cognitive conditions that may be associated with the use of drugs that affect consciousness or will, uncoordinated movements, pupillary dilation, as well as loss of autonomic functions such as toilet training. The clinical analysis was published on his Twitter account, the opposition deputy Juan Manuel Olivares.


       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --  - -  The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference issued a statement before the delicate situation that the country is experiencing. "They want to establish a spiral of violence and promote the breakdown of justice, particularly when everything that has to do with it is out of control of laws and legal procedures, to be framed in the arbitrariness that leads to the physical persecution, intimidation, and the abuse of the rule of law ", begins the pronouncement.

      The statement adds that the country must reject violence "wherever it comes from, implemented to people, institutions or the people themselves, it must be rejected in all its aspects. With peace we can achieve everything, with violence the destruction ". Bishops emphasize that "persecuting, submitting and prosecuting arbitrarily, is the component that is observed, while there is a multitude of people asking for food, medicine, electricity, public transportation, gas, decent wages, stop inflation."

      Last week the Commission of Justice and Peace of the CEV affirmed that "the apprehensions of parliamentarians, civil servants or citizens based on indications or presumptions of the criminal responsibility, should not lead to arbitrary detentions, cruel or inhuman treatment, tortures or forced disappearances, suppositions that attempt against any event against the physical and psychological integrity of Venezuelans ".


        CARACAS, VENEZUELA       --
    OPEC has just published the Monthly Bulletin of the Petroleum Market corresponding to August 2018, in which it shows the sustained collapse of the production of the state oil company PDVSA, standing at 1,278 million barrels per day (bpd) last July, according to its independent or secondary sources. A reduction of 47.7 thousand bpd (3.54%) compared to June. In 7 months, Venezuela lost 467 thousand bpd, an accumulated fall equivalent to 27% that in terms of income to the PDVSA cash flow represents a fall of $ 870 million.

      According to the direct communication with the Ministry of Petroleum, Venezuela's production fell by 62 thousand bpd, standing at 1,469 million bpd. If Venezuela maintains this level of production, the year-on-year fall will be at 42% in December. In addition, Venezuela produced 694 thousand b / d for non-OPEC quota of 1.97 million b / d. For the executive director of Inter-American Trends, Antonio de la Cruz, " the sustained drop in oil production in Venezuela is unstoppable. It will be [Venezuela] producing around 1 million barrels by the end of the year . "

      In addition, the executive director of Inter-American Trends added that in July "Venezuela exported 480,000 bpd to the US, according to the US Energy Information Agency." A reduction of 102 thousand bpd compared to the previous month, and 254 thousand bpd less in relation to July 2017. The company Baker Hughes reports in its report " International Rig Count " of May that the drilling activity in Venezuela increased 2 drills in the works on land. Of the 28 drilling platforms, 26 on land and 1 on the lake were associated with the oil area, and 1 in the gas area. Regarding the price of a barrel of Venezuelan oil, OPEC indicated that Merey-type crude (Venezuelan marker) was $ 70.37 for the month of July, an increase of 1.6% over the previous month.

AUGUST 13, 2018


     WASHINGTON, d.c.   -- - -   The US Department of State considered today "illegal" the arrest of the opposition deputy Juan Requesens, accused of the attack against Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, and defended that this action is only "the last example of a long litany of human rights abuses."

      Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Paco Palmieri, made those statements in a Twitter message sent on Saturday night. "Maduro and his secret police continue to ignore the rule of law with his arrest and illegal retention of the constitutionally elected member of the National Assembly, @JuanRequesens. The last example in a long litany of abuses #Human Rights. # 11Ago #Venezuela, "said Palmieri.

     The Venezuelan government has accused Requesens of being an accomplice to the alleged drone attack that occurred last Saturday while Maduro gave a speech during an act celebrating the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB, militarized police). Requesens was arrested on Tuesday along with his sister, Rafaela, by officials of the State intelligence service (Sebin). This Friday, the Minister of Information of Venezuela, Jorge Rodríguez, presented at a press conference a video in which the deputy confesses allegedly having participated in the plot at the request of former president of the Venezuelan Parliament Julio Borges, exiled in Colombia.


       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --  - -  YESTERDAY, AUGUST 12, IN THE MORNING HOURS,  we were contacted by telephone through a CANTV line by Juan Requesens. In this call Juan told us about his condition and made some requests of articles for personal hygiene.

       We want to emphatically state that we do not know under what conditions Juan made this call, since it seems strange to us that even more than 120 hours after his abduction by SEBIN we have been denied any possibility of seeing him, to verify his physical condition, that his lawyers can talk with him, but on the contrary the only thing we have known about the physical state of Juan Requesens is the video that the country and the whole world saw through social networks, a situation that keeps us extremely concerned about his physical and psychological integrity.

      We want to point out that our right is to see Juan in person, that Juan also has the right to have contact with his lawyer and that we reject this type of actions that simply confirm that Juan Requesens is a hostage of Nicolás Maduro regime and that he is used and manipulated in violation of his will to try to create matrices of opinion that he is in perfect condition and that his rights have been guaranteed. The arrest of Juan Requesens in the first place is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, since only the National Assembly can break parliamentary immunity; in the second place, it is ILLEGAL, since he was not in flagrante delicto; and finally, it is a FORCED DISAPPEARANCE, because their situation was not informed, legal assistance was not provided or his location was informed. At the time we issue this statement we do not know and we cannot attest to the physical, health and psychological conditions of Juan Requesens since the regime keeps him kidnapped so we reiterate our demand to be able to see him as we should.


        QUITO, ECUADOR      --
    The Municipality of Quito confirmed today that it decreed a state of humanitarian emergency to face the massive influx of Venezuelans in a situation of human mobility, enabling several temporary shelters. Alexandra Ortiz Mosquera, responsible for Communication told Efe today that, in line with the declaration made by the Government this week, the Municipality has decided to follow these steps and proceed in the same manner, as it activates temporary transit centers for people in situation of vulnerability. "In each shelter we will place 20 people who make up family groups and will not separate the parents from the children," said the municipal spokeswoman who said there are half a dozen of these centers in the city.

      She estimated that there are currently 240 family groups of Venezuelan migrants in Quito, of which 57 members are in a "double jeopardy" situation, that is, they are people with disabilities, pregnant, minors or elderly. The decision adopted by the Quito Mayor's Office also implies the mobilization of resources in accordance with the needs of the groups in mobility in order to cover basic humanitarian needs such as a place where they can sleep, primary health care and food.

     The mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas, made a tour on Saturday night around the points where migrants are concentrated and reported that the Metropolitan District, through a resolution had decreed the state of humanitarian emergency in the city, as reported in a communiqué from the Municipality. Since Friday, a special code has been activated to coordinate the work of the different municipal entities, national and local authorities and United Nations officials to meet the needs of migrants. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned on Friday that, according to recent data, since the beginning of this month more than 5,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador daily.

AUGUST 12, 2018


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA   -- - -   Deputy Juan Requesens, arrested by the security forces of Nicolás Maduro's regime in spite of having parliamentary immunity, appeared on Friday in a video confessing that the former president of the National Assembly Julio Borges asked him to help him enter the country. One of the people involved in the drone attack last Saturday. But another video later disclosed through social networks shows a Requesens in underwear stained with excrement, giving sustenance to the theory that the deputy was tortured to extract the confession.

      Previously, the Maduro regime had announced that it had asked Interpol to issue a red code for the capture of Borges, disclosing during the press conference a recording of Requesens' statements. "Several weeks ago I was contacted by Julio Borges, who asked me the favor of passing a person from Venezuela to Colombia. It was about Juan Monasterios. I contacted him through the messenger, "Requesens said in what appeared to be a filmed interrogation. "I was in San Cristóbal, once I wrote to Mauricio Jiménez, immigration supervisor, and I made the request and he immediately contacted Juan Monasterios to make the pass from San Antonio to Cúcuta," he added.

     Requesens said that he had no physical contact with Monasteries and that all the management was handled through messaging. The video was shown by Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez, who described it as proof that opposition deputies were involved in the alleged plans to liquidate Maduro. "It is the necessary accomplice of the operation Juan Requesens who confesses his complicity in the assassination in degree of frustration, but at the same time he denounces and confesses that he did it on the orders of Julio Borges, that is why we have requested a red code", as the deputy is in Colombia, said Minister Rodríguez.


       BOGOTA, COLOMBIA     --  - -  The former president of the National Assembly, Deputy Julio Borges, was received by the president of the Congress of Colombia senator Ernesto Macías, who offered him all the support of that institution after the accusations and abuses of Nicolás Maduro against him and the young man Deputy of Primero Justicia Juan Requesens. After the meeting, Borges described as unjustifiable the imprisonment of his party comrade, saying that "he was kidnapped, his human rights were violated and he was detained against the law."

      He indicated that "while the fraudulent Constituent illegally removes the parliamentary immunity to Juan Requesen and me, the Colombian Congress welcomes us to support us in our struggle for democracy. Maduro we will see you out of power, imprisoned and forced to return what they have stolen; You are a dictator and a corrupt one. " "They have accused us of everything for years, from flying a plane to bomb Caracas to having a network of trafficking in white, but I will stand firm in my positions, those that have done so much damage to Maduro and his cruel dictatorship.

      We have managed to promote the sanctions, the international siege of all the government debt and we refuse to sign the anti-democratic agreement in the Dominican Republic and that is what hurts them. We will continue forward until we achieve the change that the whole country yearns for. " Finally, Borges said that the only promoter of violence in Venezuela is Nicolás Maduro and his government; He explained that there will be no way out of the humanitarian and economic crisis suffered by the country until they leave Miraflores who are in power today. He assured that the change passes through the people and that he will continue fighting until the possibility of freely choosing and returning democracy is opened.


    BOGOTA, COLOMBIA    -  --
    The announcement was made only three days after Ivan Duque was sworn in as president of Colombia. Newly-elected President Ivan Duque had previously expressed he would abandon the South American regional integration mechanism. On June 30, during an official visit to the United States, Duque invited other South American nations to leave Unasur. “I expressed my desire to continue to strengthen the Inter-American system and, in that sense, South American countries have much to do. The first thing is to invite countries to leave Unasur, which has really been an organization that has become an accomplice to Venezuela’s dictatorship,” Duque said in Washington D.C.

       The announcement was made as the Venezuelan government was revealing new evidence tying former opposition legislator Julio Borges to the frustrated assassination attempt against democratically elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Aug. 4. Borges is currently living in Colombia's capital city, Bogota. The Venezuelan government had also requested Colombia to extradite Borges so he can be tried as the intellectual author of the attack. This seems unlikely after the recent "irreversible" announcement by Colombia's Foreign Affairs minister.

      Trujillo also said the Colombian government is currently holding diplomatic conversations with Peru, Argentina, and Chile "who apparently wish to take the same path." Colombia's announcement deepens the crisis Unasur is facing, which began in April, when the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, six of the international body’s 12 member states announced their “temporary” withdrawal. Since January 2017 the presidency of Unasur had remained vacant because governments were unable to reach consensus on who would replace former Colombian president Ernesto Samper.

AUGUST 11, 2018


     WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- - -   A U.S. federal judge authorized the seizure of Citgo Petroleum Corp. to satisfy a Venezuelan government debt, a ruling that could set off a scramble among Venezuela’s many unpaid creditors to wrest control of its only obviously seizable U.S. asset.Judge Leonard P. Stark of the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., issued the ruling Thursday. However, his full opinion, which could include conditions or impose further legal hurdles, was sealed. A redacted version is expected to be available at a later date.

     The court order raises the likelihood that Venezuela’s state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA, will lose control of a valuable external asset amid the country’s deepening economic and political crisis. The decision could still be appealed to a higher, federal court. Crystallex International Corp., a defunct Canadian gold miner that filed the legal action, is trying to collect on a judgment over lost mining rights involving Venezuela’s government. It has targeted Citgo, an oil refiner, because this is the largest U.S. asset of the cash-strapped and crisis-riven country.

     Many other creditors of Venezuela are also circling Citgo, but Crystallex is the first to win a judgment authorizing its seizure. Crystallex had argued that Citgo was ultimately owned by PdVSA, which is an “alter ego” of Venezuela that is liable for the South American country’s debts. The judge’s decision in favor of Crystallex allows it to take control of shares of Citgo’s U.S.-based parent company, the first step toward a sale of the company.


       BRUSSELS, BELGIUM     --  - -  The European Union (EU) called for a "thorough and transparent investigation" on the alleged attack on Saturday against the dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, "in order to clarify the facts, in full respect of the rule of law and human rights". "Recent events have further increased tensions in Venezuela. The European Union rejects any form of violence and hopes that a thorough and transparent investigation will be carried out on the attack with drones last Saturday in order to clarify the facts, "said the European External Action Service (EEAS).

     On the other hand, the EU "expects the recognition of the constitutional powers of the National Assembly, including full respect of its prerogatives with respect to the parliamentary immunity of its members in accordance with established rights, legislation and constitutional procedures." "The EU reiterates its support for a negotiated, democratic and peaceful solution to the multiple crises that affect the country as the only way forward," European diplomacy reiterated.

     Dictator Nicolás Maduro suffered an attack last Saturday when he headed a military parade in Caracas with two drones that exploded leaving 7 wounded. The attorney general, Tarek Saab, said that at least 19 people are linked by this fact and that the Public Ministry is processing the extradition request to Colombia and the United States. of the "financiers" of the attack.


    WASHINGTON, D.C.   --
    The United States demanded Wednesday of Michelle Bachelet, the next UN Human Rights official, to raise her voice to the abuses that occur in countries such as Venezuela, Cuba or Iran. The ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, reacted to the appointment of Bachelet through a statement, in which she urged the Chilean president to "avoid the failures" that, in the opinion of Washington, has had the organization in the field of human rights .

     Haley recalled that the US decided this year to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council in part because of its inaction in the face of "extreme abuse" in the Americas, "in Venezuela and Cuba in particular." For the diplomat, the high commissioner "can have a strong voice on these key issues, even when the Human Rights Council does not comply with her name." In addition, Haley argued that the United Nations has not adequately responded to serious human rights crises in Iran, North Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere, nor has it put an end to its "disproportionate obsession with Israel."

    After several threats, the US withdrew last June from the Human Rights Council, a Geneva-based body that has been criticized by the US government for its condemnations of Israel and for the participation of countries with questionable histories. Bachelet was nominated on Wednesday by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, to occupy the post of High Commissioner for Human Rights and is expected to be ratified by the General Assembly on Friday. She will replace the Jordanian Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, who has criticized US President Donald Trump on numerous occasions for his immigration policies or his comments against the press.

AUGUST 10, 2018


     BOGOTA, COLOMBIA  -- - -    Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is to blame for his country's economic and humanitarian ruin, and indirectly for a recent drone assassination attempt on him, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley charged Wednesday as she visited a border crossing where newly impoverished Venezuelans stream into Colombia. Haley announced an additional $9 million in U.S. aid for Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia, atop some $60 million already committed. The money will go for water, medical supplies and other immediate needs, Haley said.

     She spoke at the foot of the Simon Bolivar bridge where about 2,500 Venezuelans cross daily, many of them to receive a hot meal and medical care or to shop for food before returning to Venezuela. Maduro should leave power, Haley said, but she did not call for any U.S. intervention. Other Latin American nations must step in and apply pressure on Maduro, she said, arguing that if the region gives Maduro the cold shoulder other nations and international organizations will follow suit.

     "At some point, Maduro is going to have to be dealt with. I have long said that it's time for Maduro to go," Haley said. President Donald Trump has raised the possibility of U.S. military action against Maduro, but the official U.S. policy does not call for U.S.-assisted regime change. Latin America analysts say U.S. pressure such as Haley's border visit may draw international attention to the spreading crisis, but may also play to Maduro's narrative that he and his country are under siege from Washington. Maduro has blamed Colombia and outside enemies for the alleged assassination attempt Saturday, a charge that both the Colombian and U.S. governments reject as ridiculous.


       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --  - -  A super-legislative body loyal to President Nicolas Maduro revoked the immunity of two Venezuelan opposition lawmakers, Julio Borges and Juan Requesens, in order to put them on trial for allegedly masterminding a drone "assassination" bid on the leader. Maduro, who has systematically sidelined the opposition as he tightens his grip over his troubled nation, accuses the opposition and Colombia of being behind Saturday's drone "attack." He has singled out Borges, former speaker of the opposition-dominated legislature who now lives in exile; and Requesens.

      Requesens was seized by intelligence officers overnight, while Venezuela's Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Borges' arrest. The Constituent Assembly — a body set up last year by Maduro to arrogate powers from the elected legislature — followed up by stripping Borges and Requesens of their immunity. The elected body, called the National Assembly, has said it will dismiss any attempt to remove its members' immunity as unconstitutional. Its past decisions, however, have been annulled by the Supreme Court.

     Attorney General Tarek William Saab said moves were being made to put Requesens on trial, while Maduro is pressing Colombia and the US to extradite opposition figures he alleges are plotting to topple him from abroad, including Borges. The embattled president says he was targeted by two drones carrying C4 explosives. Live images on Saturday showed Maduro halting his speech at a Caracas military parade because of a detonation that immediately prompted dozens of soldiers in front of him to run away in panic. Borges, who on Tuesday attended the swearing-in of Colombia's new president, Ivan Duque, called Maduro's accusation against him "a farce." "Everyone knows that it's a set-up to persecute and convict anybody that opposes your dictatorship," Borges wrote on Twitter. Venezuela's diplomatic isolation also deepened, with most countries in the Americas slamming Maduro as undemocratic and increasingly dictatorial.


    Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the arrest of a prominent opposition leader in connection with an alleged assassination attempt against President Nicolas Maduro. In addition to seeking the arrest of Julio Borges, the court also called for the prosecution of another opposition lawmaker, Juan Requesens, who police detained a day earlier. The moves threaten to deepen the country’s political crisis as opposition lawmakers accuse the government’s ruling part of using the alleged attack to clamp down on the opposition.

      The moves threaten to deepen the country’s political crisis as opposition lawmakers accuse the government’s ruling part of using the alleged attack to clamp down on the opposition. Video circulating Tuesday on social media showed Venezuela’s political police arresting Requesens, a 29-year-old deputy in the opposition-controlled National Assembly. Supporters say he was kidnapped from his apartment. On Wednesday, the supreme court ordered the arrest of Borges, accusing him of “flagrant crimes,” including public incitement, treason to the fatherland and the attempted homicide against Maduro.

     During a national television broadcast Tuesday, Maduro accused Requesens and Borges of complicity in weekend drone explosions that he contends were an attempt on his life. Borges has been living in exile in Colombia. The head of Venezuela’s pro-government constitutional assembly said he would have the body take up a proposal to strip both lawmakers of their immunity protections, drawing cries from anti-government lawmakers that such a move would be unconstitutional.

AUGUST 9, 2018


     BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- - -    The lawyer Iván Duque was sworn in on Tuesday as president of Colombia for the period 2018-2022 in a ceremony that took place in the Plaza de Bolívar, in the center of Bogotá. "I swear by God and before the Colombian people, defend the Constitution and the laws of Colombia," said Duque during the oath that was taken by the president of the Senate, Ernesto Macias, who then imposed the band with the colors of the National flag.

     In this way, Duque, 42 years old and belonging to the Uribe Democratic Center party, succeeds Juan Manuel Santos, who served as head of state in two consecutive terms of four years that began on August 7, 2010. Immediately after, Duque took the oath to his vice president, Marta Lucía Ramírez, the first woman in the history of Colombia to assume that position and who was received with applause from the assistants and with a hug from the new president. "Yes, I swear to God and the Constitution works night and day for the well-being of Colombians," Ramírez promised.

     Some 4,000 guests attend the investiture ceremony, including ten Latin American heads of state and representatives of 17 other countries around the world, including the president of the Congress of Deputies of Spain, Ana Pastor. The first speech of the afternoon was that of Senator Macías, who provoked an ovation from those present when he said that he was paying "a tribute to former President Álvaro Uribe for his greatness". Uribe, who was president between 2002 and 2010 and present at the event, along with his wife, Lina Moreno, made a gesture of thanks, after which Macías continued his speech.


       CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --  - -   Dictator Nicolas Maduro has accused two opposition legislators of having a role in the alleged drone attack that Venezuelan officials have called an assassination attempt on the leader, and his allies are moving against the accused. The head of Venezuela's pro-government constitutional assembly, Diosdadoo Cabello, said he would have the body discuss a proposal Wednesday to strip the lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution. During a national television broadcast Tuesday night, Maduro said that statements from some of the six suspects already arrested during the weekend attack pointed to key financiers and others, including Julio Borges, one of the country's most prominent opposition leaders who is a lawmaker but is living in exile in Colombia. "Several of the declarations included Julio Borges. The investigations point to him," Maduro said, though he didn’t provided any details on Borges' alleged role.

     Agence France-Presse says Borges tweeted that the alleged assassination attempt was a staged farce. "Neither the country nor the world believe you when it comes to this farce of an attack, we all know that it was staged, it was a hoax, to persecute and repress those of us who oppose your dictatorship," Borges wrote on Twitter. according to AFP. The president also named opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens, who was seen in a video widely circulating on social media being arrested by Venezuela's political police force. The Reuters news agency cites opposition figures as saying his sister, Rafaela Requesens, a student leader, was arrested with him but later released.

     Critics of Maduro's socialist government had said immediately after the attack that they feared the unpopular leader would use the incident as an excuse to round up opposition politicians as he seeks to dampen spreading discontent over Venezuela's devastating economic collapse. have arrested six people who face charges of treason, attempted murder and terrorism. As elected lawmakers, Borges and Requesens enjoy immunity from prosecution under Venezuelan law. But Diosdado Cabello, the powerful socialist party leader and president of the National Constitutional Assembly, said in a tweet that he planned to introduce legislation stripping lawmakers of this protection.


    The opposition parliamentarian Juan Requesens, whom President Nicolás Maduro linked Tuesday with an alleged attack against him, was arrested by the intelligence service, denounced his Primero Justicia party. "They were kidnapped by 14 men of the Sebin (Bolivarian Intelligence Service), with beatings, the deputy Juan Requesens" and his sister Rafaela, said the political group in his Twitter account.

     The complaint came at a time when Maduro implicated the legislator and former president of the Parliament Julio Borges in the alleged drone attack “loaded with explosives,” from which he claimed to have left unharmed last Saturday during a military parade in Caracas. In exile, Borges is one of the most connoted figures of the Venezuelan opposition, which also integrates the Primero Justicia party of former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles. Earlier, Requesens delivered a blistering speech in which he promised to keep pushing to get Maduro out of power.

     "We are going to get rid of Nicolás Maduro, to get out of this tragedy," said the 29-year-old politician during an intervention in the Legislative, which has an opposition majority. "We will be able to receive all Venezuelans who are crazy to return to the country, and we are here we have no choice but to continue stretching this rope until it breaks and we can get Nicolás Maduro out," he added. This Tuesday, during an extensive broadcast on mandatory radio and television, Maduro linked Requesens and Borges with the alleged assassination attempt. The socialist leader said that several raids were under way in the framework of the investigations.

AUGUST 8, 2018


     NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK -- - -    In Venezuela, inflation is on track to hit one million percent. In Nicaragua, the government is shooting protestors in the streets. But there is overlooked good news in Latin America. Colombia, a country once plagued by violence, has just had the most peaceful and democratic election in its history. The June election of Ivan Duque as the new president of Colombia was the first since the signing of a historic peace agreement that ended half a century of war.

      Colombians turned out in record numbers to elect Duque, giving him a solid mandate with 54 percent of the vote. Their message was clear: The Colombian people are ready to move forward along the path outlined by their inspiring incoming president. This is not just good news for the Colombian people. It is good news for the United States. Our future is bound up with our neighbors in Latin America. Their prosperity is our prosperity, and their security is our security. Stopping drugs, organized crime, and terrorists from crossing our borders mean stopping these threats at the source.

     And that means cultivating freedom, democracy, and the rule of law in Latin America. The election of President-elect Duque seals the emergence of Colombia as a strong democratic partner for the United States in combating drug trafficking and promoting regional security. Contrast the success of the Colombian election with the meltdowns now occurring in Colombia’s neighbor, Venezuela, and in nearby Nicaragua.Under the toxic dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has descended into failed-state status. Venezuelans are starving and the May vote that supposedly “re-elected” Maduro to another six-year term was recognized internationally as a sham.


    WASHINGTON, D.C.    --  - - The Trump administration accused the head of Iran’s central bank of funneling money to Hezbollah and designated him as a global terrorist on Tuesday, placing further financial constraints on Tehran a week after President Trump called for reimposing sanctions that were lifted as part of an Obama-era nuclear deal. The new designation is separate from the nuclear sanctions that were reinstated last week against Iran. But after Mr. Trump announced his decision to back out of the nuclear deal, he promised to impose sanctions on any companies — including banks — that do business with Iran.

     Last week, the United States Treasury Department, in coordination with the United Arab Emirates, sought to disrupt an Iranian currency exchange network that transferred money to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to help fund Hezbollah, which the United States considers a terrorist group. The exchange system worked with Iran’s central bank, and the Treasury Department said Tuesday’s actions were a continuation of attempts to disrupt it. It is rare to place a governor of a central bank on the global terrorist list. The Treasury Department said the governor of Iran’s central bank, Valiollah Seif, “covertly funneled millions of dollars” to support Hezbollah from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps through Iraq’s al-Bilad Islamic Bank.

     Also newly included on the United States’ global terrorism list was Ali Tarzali, another senior official at Iran’s central bank, and al-Bilad Islamic Bank in Iraq and its chairman, Aras Habib. Mr. Habib recently won a seat in the Iraqi Parliament under the coalition headed by the prime minister, Haider al-Abadi. “The United States will not permit Iran’s increasingly brazen abuse of the international financial system,” the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said in a statement on Tuesday. “The global community must remain vigilant against Iran’s deceptive efforts to provide financial support to its terrorist proxies.”


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  --
    The United States has rejected a European request for some of its key businesses to be exempt from US sanctions on Iran. Ministers from Germany, France, the UK and European Union last month requested broad carve-outs from Washington's Iran sanctions for sectors including health care, finance, automotive and energy doing business with Iran. In a letter to European nations, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected the appeal, NBC News reported, citing US and European officials.

      "We will seek to provide unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime," the letter stated. It also said the United States would only make exemptions if it served its own national security interests.
Washington's refusal, while widely expected, adds to already strained trans-Atlantic relations after President Donald Trump launched repeated verbal broadsides against long-time US allies and threatened to escalate a brewing trade war.

     It comes as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on Europe and other countries to cut economic ties with Iran over what Washington called Tehran's support for terrorism and spreading of regional instability. In May, Pompeo issued a 12-point list of demands from Iran, including halting its ballistic missile program and ending interventions in Syria and Yemen. Analysts and former US officials told DW at the time that the Trump administration revealed that it had little desire for a diplomatic solution, but looked rather to be pursuing a policy of economic pressure designed to topple the Iranian regime.

AUGUST 7, 2018


     OTTAWA, CANADA- -   Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, who participates in a world conference in Canada on the human rights of LGBTI people (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersex), affirmed on Twitter that " Venezuela is creating a lost generation: without education, food, medicines or rights because of a dictatorship that clings to power at the expense of the well-being of its people. "

     Almagro, who participated in the Gay Pride Parade in Vancouver this Sunday along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, expressed doubts about the official version of the incidents that occurred on Saturday in Caracas. Venezuelan authorities have indicated that ultra-rightist groups supported by the Colombian government tried to assassinate President Maduro on Saturday with "drones loaded with explosives" during a military march. But, according to a government spokesman, the drones did not reach their final objective and exploded away from the box in which Maduro and other high civil and military officials of the Venezuelan regime were seated. The Maduro regime announced in the last hours the arrest of six people related to the failed attack.

     Almagro said on Twitter this Sunday that "the null credibility of the Maduro regime prevents knowing the truth of what happened. In any case, we reiterate: the General Secretariat of the OAS will always condemn the use of violence as a political tool. " Just today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, thanked Almagro for the work he is doing at the head of the OAS, especially in relation to the crisis in Venezuela and the defense of democracy in the South American country. Freeland's words came during the opening of the World Conference of the Coalition for Equal Rights on Human Rights and Inclusive Development of LGBTI people, which also included Almagro and Chilean Foreign Minister, Roberto Ampuero.


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --  - -Venezuela is a hotbed of opinions after the alleged attack this Saturday against Nicolás Maduro. Public opinion does not believe that Maduro suffered an attack on his life, as the president and the Bolivarian government claim from the rooftops. Many believe that it was a self-coup by the president himself, to achieve the sympathies of the hungry and hopeless people. "It was a show, to which the clown who governs the country has accustomed us," José Alfredo states on social networks.

     And he adds "it was a ridiculous spectacle to see the soldiers fleeing, without facing the possible" enemy "and without defending their president ... (...) for the only thing they are good at is to injure and kill their own countrymen". Laura F. says: "The transmission chain was not cut, so Maduro wanted everything to be seen, because it was an attack prepared by the government itself." "Pure theater," says Marta in a phone call. "It was a circus show to distract the people now that gasoline rationing is coming."

     "The same thing always happens. They invent an attack to blame the opponents and thus be able to imprison people who are uncomfortable. Maduro has about four backs guard rings, most of them are Cubans, so at least it was one of his relatives, I believe that everything was an invention prepared by the communist laboratories". "Maduro had prepared this act, he does not flinch when the artifact explodes and the guard had the protective shields ready, as seen in the videos.Nobody else is protected by the bodyguards.The First Combatant (Celia Flores) remains as a ... absolutely "discovered to the danger" ... Go defense of the poor woman, while Maduro is almost covered by shields, surely eating empanadas in secret, to pass the moment ".


    Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro, has survived an apparent and – if true – audacious assassination attempt when, according to official reports, drones loaded with explosives flew towards the president while he was speaking at a military parade in Caracas. But many are now wondering: who could have been behind the attack? According to Maduro, the plot was concocted by an international cabal of rightwing schemers. He claimed the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, was “behind the attack”, supported by a network of plotters and financiers based in Florida, adding that a group of hired assassins had already been captured

     Maduro, whose country is in economic and political turmoil, with inflation predicted to reach 1m% this year, has long accused the international community of waging economic war on him. He regularly lambasts the US as “imperialist” and says it is out to destroy socialism while taking over Venezuela’s oil – of which it has the largest reserves in the world. The opposition within Venezuela is also a regular target. Maduro claims it wants to undo the social reforms brought about by previous president Hugo Chávez, the charismatic revolutionary who died in 2013. Maduro has jailed and sidelined many opposition activists, regularly accusing them of plotting to overthrow him.

     It is this conspiracy that Maduro claims will be unearthed in an ongoing investigation. No one has claimed responsibility for the alleged assassination attempt outright, though one group – Soldiers Franelas – suggested involvement in a tweet. “We have shown [the government] is vulnerable,” the group said. “[The attack] wasn’t achieved today but it is just a matter of time [until it is].” Little is known about Soldiers Franelas beyond their Twitter presence, where the group regularly posts anti-Maduro tweets. Some observers are suspicious of Maduro’s account of events, saying it seems a little too neat in a country where the government has long twisted the truth to its own ends.

AUGUST 6, 2018


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA - -   The dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, backed by the military, is ready to respond with an iron fist to the assassination attempt he claims he was a victim, raising fears of a repressive wave against his adversaries. "We remain unharmed and clinging to the convictions that characterize us, supporting unconditionally and with unrestricted loyalty to our commander-in-chief," Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said Sunday along with the military high command.

     In a statement to the press, the general endorsed Maduro's claim that he was targeted on Saturday for an attack with drones laden with explosives, from which he escaped unharmed. However nobody reported having observed an object in the sky. Only Cilia and Maduro detected "something" in the sky. With great political and economic power, the Armed Forces are considered the main support of Maduro, confronted with a huge popular rejection by the economic debacle. Interior Minister Néstor Reverol confirmed on Sunday that there are six detainees for the events that occurred when Maduro made a speech during a military stop on a busy avenue in Caracas.

     After the incident, Maduro promised to go against all those responsible, "no matter who falls". "Justice! Maximum punishment! There will be no forgiveness, those who have dared to go to the personal attack to forget forgiveness, we will chase them and capture them where they are going to hide. I swear! "He warned Saturday night in a speech to the country . Maduro blamed the attack on the "extreme right", as it refers to the opposition, and the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos. The president recalled an interview with Santos on Monday with the AFP, in which he said he saw his fall "close". "I have no doubt that the name of Juan Manuel Santos is after this attack," he said.


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --  - - The dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, who has suffered a sharp deterioration in his popularity, seemed eager to project himself as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the OPEC member country devastated by the crisis, when he was heading Saturday to the National Guard. One of the main avenues of Caracas was closed to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, with giant screens displaying commemorative videos and a Nicolás Maduro in a suit, dressed with presidential ribbon with the colors of the flag and surrounded by high military commanders.

      But just as the leftist leader said goodbye promising the recovery of the country's economy, his wife Cilia Flores looked at the sky, apparently alarmed. She stepped back, the camera shook, the audio of the state television broadcast was cut off and the camera showed hundreds of soldiers in military formation. However, suddenly, the formation was broken quickly and dozens of soldiers began running before the live broadcast was replaced by recordings of a vehicle census.

     At least one explosion shook the place and the government said it was a failed assassination attempt against Maduro with drones loaded with explosives. Hoever, the explosion was a result of a gas deposit in a nearby apartment. The incident did not seem to generate any wave of spontaneous support among traditional government supporters, many of whom were trying to defend themselves from hyperinflation, frequent water shortages, electricity and food shortages. "This incident makes Maduro look vulnerable, but the truth is that his circle has the power to repress the enemies because they still control all the power levers," said Raúl Gallegos, associate director of Control Risks consultancy. "Any fragility that is presented will be compensated by the excuse that Maduro now has to end his internal enemies, real or perceived," the analyst added.


    A senior White House official today denied that the United States was behind the alleged drone attack during a military act chaired by Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro on Saturday. "I can say unequivocally that there is no participation of the United States government in this at all. " John Bolton, National Security Adviser to the White House, said in an interview with Fox News. In fact, Bolton suggested that Maduro's own government could be behind the explosion. "There could be many things (behind what happened), from a pretext established by the Maduro regime itself to something else," Bolton said, adding that there were no Americans injured in the explosion.

      Also, Bolton was open to the Venezuelan authorities provide the United States with any information that may be linked to the episode and if there is a violation of US law to investigate the case. "If the Government of Venezuela has reliable information that they want to present to us that shows a possible violation of the US criminal law. We will analyze it seriously, "added the adviser to President Donald Trump. The Venezuelan president has on numerous occasions blamed the United States for plotting against his government, although on this occasion he attributed the authorship of the alleged attack to the outgoing Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, and to the "extreme right" of Colombia and Venezuela.

      According to the Minister of Information of Venezuela, Jorge Rodríguez, the attack took place with "drone-type flying devices that contained an explosive charge". The official explained that several drones detonated in the vicinity of the platform where Maduro offered a speech on the occasion of the celebration of the 81 years of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB, militarized police). An alleged anonymous group was pronounced on Twitter to attribute the authorship of "Operation Fénix", name with which he referred to the attack. The alleged perpetrators, who are called "Soldiers of Franela", assure in that social network that they are a group of "military and civil patriots and loyal to the people of Venezuela (...) based on legal and constitutional arguments." Despite statements from the unknown group and the government, there was no visible airplanes or drones activity on the skies.

AUGUST 5, 2018


     SAO PAULO, BRAZIL   - -  Brazil’s Workers Party (PT) officially named former President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva as its presidential candidate on Saturday even though he is in prison on a corruption conviction that will almost certainly bar him from running. Members of Workers' Party (PT) wear masks depicting Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during the National congress of the party in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 4, 2018. REUTERS/Nacho Doce Lula has been jailed since April but leads in opinion polls when included as a candidate. Unable to attend the convention, he addressed the party in a letter striking a defiant tone.

     “Today our democracy is threatened,” Lula wrote. “They want to make the presidential election a rigged card game, excluding the name that is ahead in popular preference in all polls. The convention ended without the PT declaring a vice presidential candidate, pushing electoral deadlines to the brink and adding a further degree of uncertainty to what is already Brazil’s most wide-open election in decades. Parties have until Sunday to hold conventions and name candidates, although the consequences for missing that deadline are unclear with a separate filing deadline on Aug. 15 to declare nominees to the election authority.

     PT leaders, including party president Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, denied they have a Plan B candidate to stand in Lula’s place should he be barred from running as is widely expected. Election law disqualifies people from standing for office if they have corruption convictions held up on initial appeal. At least eight other parties held conventions on Saturday, largely ratifying expected presidential tickets or backing allied parties’ candidates. Silva and Alckmin are polling second and third behind far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in early polling that excludes Lula. Alckmin, who lost to Lula in 2006, said 14 years of Workers Party rule had left Brazil 13 million unemployed in a sputtering economy suffocated by an oversized government. “Nobody tolerates a state infested by corruption anymore. We are going to unlock the economy by downsizing the state,” he told the party convention in Brasilia.


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --  - - This Friday, S & P Global Platts published its monthly survey that tracks the crude oil production of OPEC member countries. According to the survey, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries produced an average of 32.66 million barrels of oil per day last month, an increase of 1 percent since June. Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer and its de facto leader, produced 10.63 million bpd on average last month, its highest level since August 2016.

    At the other extreme, Venezuela produced just 1.24 million bpd in July, a drop of 60,000 bpd compared to June, which is a drop of 670,000 bpd in one year and the lowest in the 30-year history of the survey. OPEC Platts, except for a labor strike in late 2002 and early 2003. Only 4 of 15 OPEC members reduced their production in July. Venezuela was the one with the highest fall, followed by Libya, Iran and Congo, the most recent member of OPEC, when it was incorporated at the end of June.

     Meanwhile, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates produced the largest amount of oil since December 2016, according to survey data. Nigeria increased its production by 80,000 bpd compared to June. On June 23, OPEC and 10 non-OPEC producers (known as Opec +) agreed to increase combined production by one million bpd, but left it unsolved as to how it would be distributed. In the Opec agreement of Vienna in 2017, Venezuela agreed to produce 1.97 million barrels per day. The oil production in Venezuela is done through the own effort of PDVSA and the foreign companies associated with it in specific projects. In 1999 PDVSA production by own effort was 3.1 million bpd, while in July 2018 it barely reached 0.65 million bpd.


    MOSCOW, RUSSIA--    The press reported that the Russians used their confidential communication with the Pentagon to propose to Washington the reconstruction of Syria and the return of refugees. However, Russia accused Saturday that the United States had allowed the leaking of a confidential letter sent by a top Russian general to his high level American counterpart, which contained proposals for cooperation in Syria. "We are disappointed by the inability of the American side to respect our agreements on the publication of the contents of our contacts that could be made public only with the approval of both parties." the Russian Ministry of Defense stated a statement as cited by the AFP.

     Several Western media reported on Saturday that Russia used its "confidential communication channel" with the Pentagon to propose Washington’s cooperation in the "reconstruction of Syria" and the return of refugees. The Ministry of Defense "confirms" that a letter was sent n July by the head of the Russian General Staff, general Valery Gerasimov, to the Chief of the American staff, general Joseph Dunford, according to the statement. The Russian side informed the Americans about "the steps being taken by Russia and the Syrian Government to stabilize the situation in Syria," according to the same source.

     Among other measures, was to ensure the safety of the refugees in the camps of Rukban, located in the zone controlled by the United States, not far from the US base at Al-Tanf, in the South, and "create the necessary conditions for its" return," said the text. Russia also proposed the "coordination of issues surrounding the GICHD, notably Raqa'i", exbastion of the State Islamic jihadist group. In July, Russia, which intervenes militarily in Syria since September 2015 to support the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, has already announced that it has proposed to the United States its cooperation to ensure the return of Syrian refugees, especially those who are in Jordan and Lebanon.

AUGUST 4, 2018


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA   - -   Venezuelan transporters today rejected the announcement by President Nicolás Maduro about the vehicle census started on Wednesday for the supply of gasoline through the so-called "card of the fatherland", a card promoted by the Government, and pointed out that the measure will promote its resale. "The intergremial command of the transport sector does not support, strongly rejects a census that has not been consulted, that no one has crystal clear on what are its scope, general objectives," said the president of the United Suburban Transport Block, José Luis Trocel to journalists .

    The spokesman of the transporters criticized that the Government realize this census through the "card of the mother country, when it was supposed that the card of the mother country is a social program". "We do not understand how they are going to give the card of the homeland to a person who has three last model trucks, a yacht to make gasoline cheaper, or that is not understood," said Trocel, as the Government requested to all the owners of vehicles to register with the meat for a "rational use" of gasoline.

     The carrier noted that this measure is "promoting the bachaquerismo (resale)" of gasoline. "Whoever has the card of the country is going to throw gasoline and is going to sell it to anyone who does not have it," he said. Venezuelan public transporters have held meetings this week to evaluate the convocation of this census, since, as they have indicated, they have gone to similar processes on other occasions. Trocel today asked the Government of Maduro to resolve and address the situation of "emergency" of spare parts of vehicles that are in short supply in the country. According to spokesmen of this union, 90% of transport units are paralyzed.


    BOGOTA, COLOMBIA   --  - - Colombia legalized on Thursday the situation of more than 442,000 Venezuelans who registered in a census and who had Entered the country irregularly, granting them a temporary residence permit for two years and access to basic health, education and work services. More than a million people emigrated from Venezuela to Colombia in recent months, fleeing from the social , economic and political crisis affecting the neighboring oil nation.

     Currently, more than 870,000 Venezuelans are in Colombian territory, of which 382,000 entered with a visa, stamped passport or temporary permit and more than 46,000 did so illegally. Colombia conducted a census of Venezuelans who were in the country irregularly and outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree to legalize their stay. "We will continue to support the Venezuelans and the Colombian returnees, as we have been doing so far," Santos said in a statement in which he assured that the next government of Iván Duque will receive regularized the situation of more than 820,000 Venezuelans. .

     The migration authority estimates that more than 250,000 Colombians who lived in Venezuela returned to the country in search of better living conditions. The Government of Colombia was forced to implement a humanitarian assistance plan to provide food, health, education and housing to thousands of Venezuelans, most of whom entered through the land border of 2,219 kilometers through illegal roads or crossings. Santos announced a budget of 6.9 million dollars for the payment of debt to hospitals that have served Venezuelans and for other assistance programs for immigrants from the neighboring country.


    Maduro promised earlier this week to launch a new plan to alleviate the economic crisis and hyperinflation in a televised speech to the nation that was delayed due to a power outage of more than three hours in the capital, Caracas. After the lights of Caracas came back on, Maduro said his next plan would alleviate the economic crisis that has caused a rampant shortage of basic consumer goods and limited access to basic services. But he did not provide details of his plan.

     Maduro said: "I am committed and with a new national hydrocarbon policy we will have enough money, cash, in this country to invest in everything our people need," Maduro said at the cabinet's televised meeting. "We will have money to spare." Maduro, of course, did not say that gas prices would rise, but warned that people who do not participate in a national car census that begins this Friday would not be eligible to receive state subsidies for gasoline.

     Venezuela's real gross domestic product is expected to decline by 18 percent this year, which would be the third consecutive year of a double-digit GDP decline, "driven by a significant drop in oil production and widespread micro-distortions. level as well as large macroeconomic imbalances, " Alejandro Werner, Director of the IMF's Western Hemisphere Department , said last week . Maduro does not offer the reduction of government spending or inflationary financing of the huge fiscal deficit. No. Maduro offers that he will have "money to spare". A good listener few words. It is easy to understand that this money will come out of the pocket of Venezuelans.

AUGUST 3, 2018


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA   - -  The president of the Association of Professors of the UCV, Víctor Márquez, announced that the “Frente Amplio Venezuela Libre” promotes the constitution of a "national committee of conflict", an instance that should coordinate with the sectors of the country to organize a national strike "in defense of the living and working conditions of Venezuelans "and to seek the" restoration of constitutional rights. "

    He stressed that the right to strike is within the Magna Carta and said that when a government disrespects the Fundamental Text "we must face it with all the courage". He also said that the newly announced committee will reveal the date on which the general strike will be executed. On the other hand, he indicated that from this instance the actions will be carried out to demand human rights in Venezuela. "Yesterday we saw many demonstrations in Caracas, one of them was peasants who were going to Miraflores to protests and they were prevented from doing so, they were citizens participating in a peaceful demonstration," he said.

    Meanwhile, councilor Robert Garcia rejected the use of the so-called "Carnet de la Patria" as a key to access government services and enjoy public services and reminded that it is the national identity card is the only document that identify citizens as Venezuelans. "The government is lying to the population because the government knows already the database of the country's automobile fleet. All it wants to do with the census is to blackmail all Venezuelans, "he added. Similarly, he urged citizens not to participate in the National Transportation Census days.


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --  - - The Venezuelan regime has for many years provided gasoline for next to nothing at the pump, but the socialists in power are now so desperate for cash that they want to sell abroad what oil they have available. In an admission that the heavily subsidized gasoline is unsustainable, dictator Nicolás Maduro has called for a vehicle census to ration how often Venezuelans can fill their tanks. On July 25, the Venezuelan strongman announced a new economic plan to counter the country’s major inflation and shortage crises. One of the measures, which goes into force on August 20, limits access to subsidized gasoline. According to Maduro, Venezuelans are buying gallons almost for free and smuggling them across the border to Colombia. “

    The production systems we have tried so far have failed, and it’s our fault—my fault,” Maduro admitted during a ruling-party meeting on July 31. The regime will conduct a three-day national census in August to register all private vehicles and collect drivers’ information. Then United Socialist Party officials will grant the right to receive the gasoline subsidy to holders of the “motherland card” (carnet de la patria). This is a controversial social-security ID card that Maduro launched in January 2017 to monitor recipients of social programs and ration food. The political opposition condemns it as simply a means to enable social control.

     Maduro did not explicitly announce a gas price hike—a taboo in a country that boasts the world’s largest oil reserves—but he did suggest that current prices don’t cover production costs. Currently, one liter of gasoline (around 0.26 gallons) sells for just US$0.01 at the black-market exchange rate. According to Venezuelan economic analyst Henkel García, though, higher gasoline prices are definitely part of the new economic plan. Haiman El Troudi, a ruling-party congressman, has even proposed alternatives to looming hikes at the Chavista-controlled National Assembly. Francisco Monaldi—a fellow at the Baker Institute at Rice University in Houston—argues that the hike will be substantial even if Venezuelans get a rationed portion through the ID card.


    From the Chamber of the Constitution of the Colombian Congress the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice in exile took place on Thursday the first hearing against President Nicolás Maduro Moros, in which the prosecutor dismissed by the Cuban Constituent, Luisa Ortega Díaz , requested the highest judicial body to apply the pertinent measures to definitively issue Interpol with the international arrest warrant for Nicolás Maduro. During his statement of motives, Ortega Díaz reviewed the relevant facts for the accusation: "I accuse him for legitimizing capital in the Odebrecht case. First time we are going to judge him and you, judges, will have to give your decision. "

     "Maduro is responsible for the pain and death of millions of Venezuelans. Benefit to Odebrecht by paying more than 1,800 million dollars for two unfinished works. She blamed Nicolás Maduro for the situation in Venezuela in which the Odebrecht company profited from unfinished public works in the country and for which he canceled a large sum of millions of dollars. "The money that should be destined for public services and solve the problems of the population are in the pockets of Maduro. 35 billion dollars and 35 billion euros can be considered four times the international reserves of Venezuela," she affirmed. "Suitcases of money handed Maduro to Mónica Moura. At least 10 million dollars in cash was given to Moura for the campaign of Hugo Chávez, "she said. "Maduro executed actions in conjunction with the Odebrecht company and allowed them to obtain economic benefits for what is an accomplice," she said.

    The president of the Supreme Court in exile, Miguel Ángel Martín, explained that the hearing is sponsored by Luisa Ortega Díaz and deals with the prosecution "for serious cases that determine the need for a debate in accordance with the guidelines provided" in the legal system. Therefore, it will seek to "verify the liability or not" of Maduro "who has been the subject of a formal accusation". He assured that in Venezuela there are "situations that are very sad", since "there is a humanitarian crisis that is causing great harm" to the population and stressed that "there is an institutional crisis that is affecting the normality of all citizens and society in general." "Now a lethal weapon has been presented, which is the hopelessness to lower the struggles for democracy and the freedom that the people of Venezuela are carrying out with great strength and height," assured Martín.

 AUGUST 2, 2018


     BOGOTA, COLOMBIA  - -  The outgoing president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, said he sees the fall of Nicolás Maduro's regime in Venezuela close, despite the "effective repression" he has exercised over the population. "I see it close, a country with the inflation that Venezuela has," say a million percent the International Monetary Fund that is going to arrive, "that regime has to fall apart," said the outgoing president on Monday in an interview. with the AFP at the seat of government.

     Eight days after leaving power in the hands of his opponent, right-winger Ivan Duque, Santos believes that the best thing that could happen to Venezuela and Colombia, which share a 2,200-kilometer border, is that Maduro falls, hopefully "peacefully" . A country with the inflation that Venezuela has, that regime has to fall apart. If this has not happened yet, it is because, according to Santos, the Venezuelan government exercises an "increasingly effective repression", which has even deterred new massive protests. "There is a paradox: the more the population that is susceptible to being repressed suffers, and that is what the Maduro regime has maintained," he said.

     However, Santos insisted, "I hope tomorrow" same end the government of Maduro, against which "Colombia would be more than willing and ready to help in every way possible." Maduro is in a state of denial that is already irrational. In that sense, he recalled that his government has offered Maduro "humanitarian aid, food or medicine" for Venezuelans who "are physically dying of hunger." But Maduro is "in a state of denial that is already irrational, because he says no, that there is no crisis, that he does not need help, then in this situation it is very difficult to do something additional to the pressure for that regime to change. hopefully peacefully as soon as possible, "he added. Throughout his eight-year term, Santos went from recomposing to practically freezing relations with the Maduro regime, guarantor of the peace pact with the now defunct FARC guerrilla and ongoing negotiations with the Guevarist rebels of the ELN.


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --  - -   Last Thursday, July 26, in a PanAm Post article entitled “The Removal of Zeros by Maduro, a Well-known scam in Argentina“, we have already warned our readers that if there are no fundamental changes in the economic structure of Venezuela, the new currency that will be launched in August would be doomed to failure.

    What we never imagined is that it would fail even before its launch, at the time of the official announcement. But Nicolás Maduro has done so, and appears headed straight into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most laughably incompetent launch of a “new” currency. In a public announcement to the eager public, Maduro announced his exciting plans to finish “nationalizing” the economy and again pledged to intimidate anyone seeking to stand in the way of his grand schemes. But besides the usual bravado, Maduro was dedicated to presenting the spectacle of Venezuela’s new currency: a brilliant plan to remove five zeros from Venezuelan bank notes.

     Trying to show power and capability, the Chavista disciple proclaimed that Venezuela already “has ten times more bills than the country needs.” His eager horde of paid supporters applauded, as if it were good news. “We already have them printed, in your hand. Here compadre,” gestured Maduro, showing off his new monetary arsenal. The speech was part an attempt at serious political discourse, and part comedy routine. What is readily apparent to all, is that Maduro does not have the faintest idea about the nature or root causes of hyperinflation. Maduro is now nearly completed isolated, even within the realm of the Latin American left.


    This Monday, the deputy to the National Assembly (AN) for Vente Venezuela , Dignora Hernandez said that "One year of the constituent scam in every corner of Venezuela is heard only Out Maduro!" With which the madurism again defrauded the laws of the Republic with the sole purpose of perpetuating himself in the presidential chair.

     For Hernandez "despite the fact that some robbers of Venezuelan politics denatured the popular mandate given by the Venezuelan population on July 16, 2017, in which more than 7.6 million Venezuelans expressed their decision to ignore the call for constitutional fraud and for Following its results, attending electoral comedies and false dialogues, the majority of the population referendo their decision to leave the dictatorship on May 20, 2018 ".

     For the parliamentarian today the Venezuelan people reject any action that comes from the madurismo or part of any factor that pretending to represent the opposition direct its operations to increase the days of the dictatorship. A year ago , Smartmatic , the company in charge of electronic elections in Venezuela, pointed out that the results presented by the National Electoral Council (CNE) on the occasion of the constituent fraud of July 30 were manipulated, all this is evidence that no election has been called by this regime is a guarantee of trust: It is a fraudulent, putrefying and cheating system, which is designed to legitimize the dictatorship and needs collaborators to materialize "if that is well known by all, I do not understand why some factors that are said of opposition validate it. The assemblywoman said.

AUGUST 1, 2018


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA -- - Much of Caracas and areas of neighboring states such as Vargas, where the main airport of Venezuela is located, Miranda and Aragua remained without electricity on Tuesday due to an electrical fault in a substation located outside the Venezuelan capital. "At the moment there is an interruption of electric service in 80 percent of Caracas. The fault has its origin in Santa Teresa. The government is working to replace the service, "said the Minister of Electric Energy, Luis Motta Domínguez, in a message on Twitter. Although the minister did not offer details of other states, opposition deputies and local newspapers reported that areas of Vargas, Miranda and Aragua also remained without light. "The blackout extends throughout most of Caracas.

      Electric failures are reported in the five municipalities of the metropolitan area, and even in the state of Vargas, "opposition deputy Juan Andrés Mejía said in a message on Twitter. In the middle of the blackout, mobile phones have also registered faults in the signals, and as a result, communications have been affected. The electrical failures are constant in a good part of the country, and although in Caracas they register with less intensity, during the last months the blackouts have been more constant in some sectors. A brief power cut interrupted Monday a working session of the IV Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), although the day continued despite the failure of the service, which is frequent in the Caribbean nation.

     The failure of the service, which was broadcast live on state television VTV, occurred when the first vice president of the PSUV, the chavista Diosdado Cabello, proposed the ratification of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro as head of the group. The vote was suspended and television cut the transmission after the power cut, although after a few minutes later the contact was resumed and it was reported that Maduro was finally ratified "by acclamation" as president of the PSUV with "all the faculties, powers and authority "to make all the changes that he considers necessary. "Absolute trust in the comrade Nicolás Maduro," added Cabello.


    CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --  - -   Dictator Nicolás Maduro acknowledged on Monday his "responsibility" in the serious economic crisis in the country and estimated that it would take two years to "achieve" a recovery with "high level of stability." "The productive models that we have implemented so far have failed, and the responsibility is ours, it is mine (...), we have to push forward that economic power we have," said Maduro in a workday of the fourth congress of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Despite its enormous wealth in resources, Venezuela is going through a severe economic crisis that translates into a shortage of basic foods and medicines, a deficient provision of public services and a very high inflation that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates will close at 1,000,000. % this 2018.

      Frequently, the Venezuelan government blames the bad performance of its economy on a "war" led by the United States together with internal and regional opposition factors, but today Maduro himself asked his ministers to change the excuses for results. "That imperialism assaults us? Enough of whining is worth (...), you do not see me whining, I do not even name them anymore, they do not see me whining in front of imperialism. That it attacks us, it is up to us to produce with aggression or without aggression, "he added. To tackle the crisis, Maduro announced last week a series of measures that include abolishing 5 zeros to the bolivar, revise the law of changes, census the automotive park to promote the "rational use" of gasoline and lift taxes on the importation of capital goods.

     The president said today that of this recovery program, which he estimates shows "the first symptoms of new prosperity" in two years, there are "many things" that he must "go on administering", although he requested the support of the party to spread the information among the communities. Analysts consulted by Efe said last week that Maduro's recovery plan is "insufficient", among other things, for not having international financial aid. However, Maduro insisted on Monday that "Venezuela has everything to be an average power in the Latin American context" and ratified that his Government has the goal of raising oil production, the driving force of the nation's economy, to 6 millions of barrels per day. "Breaking the oil dependence does not mean that we are not going to develop the oil industry at the highest level," he said.


     LIMA, PERU  --
    Peru's Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio announced that several countries in the region are evaluating the possibility of requesting a preliminary investigation into the human rights situation in Venezuela from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, in an interview published today in Lima. Popolizio explained that "there are countries with which we have talked and agree with the initiative. So far we have four and we will give the final form to the request in the coming weeks, "he told El Comercio newspaper.

     The Peruvian foreign minister added that the preliminary investigation, unlike the examination of the Venezuelan case that prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is already carrying out, "it is expeditious and automatic to begin the investigation. And if we include more countries of the region, it would be very positive. " The Foreign Minister recalled that a series of actions were taken from the Lima Group to pressure Venezuela to seek a way out of the political crisis, but that they did not reach a positive conclusion, given that the talks with the opposition failed.

     Along with these actions and a resolution of the Organization of American States (OAS) to implement the Democratic Charter, Popolizio noted that there is an expert report on the violation of human rights in Venezuela with extrajudicial executions attributed to the government of Nicolás Maduro. In this regard, the Peruvian Foreign Minister trusted in the conversations he has with countries in the region, members of the Rome Statute, to present a joint proposal before the Criminal Court. A year after the election of the ruling National Constituent Assembly (ANC), a body that is not recognized by many governments of the world, a general climate of protests persists in Venezuela, overwhelmed by a serious economic and humanitarian crisis that has led to an massive exodus of its citizens to neighboring countries.