JUNE  30,  2018 


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --  The coordinator of Vente Venezuela, María Corina Machado, denied the accusations made by the president of Nicolás Maduro against her, and assured that if she wants Maduro out of power. "Mr. Nicolás Maduro, I do want him out of Miraflores, but allive so he can pay for everything he has done to Venezuelans. When you leave office, I am going to take charge of preserving your life and facing justice, said the opposition leader. She added that "it is not the first time that the regime accuses her. Four years ago they kidnapped Lieutenant Colonel José Gustavo Arocha who was tortured until he was forced to testify against her, she said.

On the possibility of an arrest warrant against her, she explained that "anyone in this country can be detained, this is a dictatorship because there is no State of Law", although she assured that she does not know of a new arrest warrant, although she has received threats. " According to leaks of documents, Machado was linked to the 23 detainees who are singled out for assassination attempts against the President and the Operational Strategic Commander A. J. Remigio Ceballos. "I want to clarify that I have seen the file to which they refer to, but I have not had contact with any of the military that have been mentioned in the reports that have been published so far."

    On these statements, the US Senator Marco Rubio warned Maduro that arresting Maria Corina Machado would bring serious consequences in the middle of the regime's efforts to link the opposition leader with a supposed military plot. "The US and the international community must take note and enforce severe sanctions if their lives are in danger," Rubio added. Maduro kills the FANB with hunger and humiliation "Maduro attacks the FANB because he knows that he has neither respect nor leadership in the military institution. It has subjected officers and soldiers to hunger and humiliation. Here the economy is broken, the salary is worth nothing. The silent obedience in the BANB was broken. This is the collapse of the regime, "he said.


        QUITO, ECUADOR   -- 
The vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, called on Thursday to the Latin American countries to take action to isolate the Government of Venezuela, an adversary of Washington that is going through a deep economic crisis. Pence met in Quito with the Ecuadorian president, Lenin Moreno, as part of a tour of Latin America, which included a meeting with Venezuelans in Brazil, who left their country in the absence of food, medicine and other shortcomings. "We respectfully urge Ecuador and all our allies in the region to take steps to isolate the (Nicolás) Maduro regime even more," Pence said in a joint statement with Moreno.

    "A special threat to our security is something that concerns my president, my people and also that you (Moreno) feel it in your heart and in your mind, which is the collapse of Venezuela and the shortcomings imposed by this dictatorship. "He added through a translator. Pence reported that he offered an economic aid of 2 million dollars to Quito to meet the growing influx of Venezuelans who arrive daily in the Andean country, amid the general concern about the massive exodus.

    Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro described Pence on Thursday as "sick" and "obsessive", after qualifying him the day before as "poisonous snake" and vowing to defeat him in what he says are attempts to end his government. "He's out there in Latin America (...) Mike Pence is campaigning for the votes of Florida. Now he has failed in this mini-tour he did in South America, "Maduro said after assuring that the US official is a presidential candidate.


       WASHINGTON, D.C.   --The elect president of Colombia, Iván Duque, requested this Friday in Washington the support of heads of state of the region for the denunciation that the OAS sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Venezuela. Duque said that it was "supremely valuable" that the report prepared by independent experts at the initiative of the OAS Secretary General on Venezuela "receive a co-adjutancy from several heads of state."

    On May 30, in a voluminous 400-page report, a group of experts recommended that Venezuela be reported to the ICC for crimes against humanity in the context of anti-government protests as of 2014. The OAS Secretary General , the Uruguayan Luis Almagro, already referred the conclusions of that report to the ICC and called on countries in the region to support the allegations. Duque met with Almagro on Friday at the OAS headquarters and at the end of that meeting told the press that the report sent to the ICC was "very valuable and very important." "Now what we have to look for several heads of state is the reaffirmation of these complaints, and ask that the investigations be accelerated," said the president-elect of Colombia.

    Duque also expressed his hope that this document is "vital for the ICC to be able to advance in rapid investigations." The idea of Almagro is that the countries of the region that are members of the Treaty of Rome also co-sponsor the denunciations contained in that report so that the ICC will open a formal investigation against Venezuela. Likewise, Duque reinforced his call for the countries of the region to leave the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). According to the president-elect, that group of nations "has really become an accomplice of the Venezuelan dictatorship."

JUNE  29,  2018


      WASHINGTON, D.C. -  Senate leadership's goal of holding a floor vote on the farm bill this week is now in doubt, as key farm-state lawmakers work to resolve a new demand from Sen. Marco Rubio over a provision that would promote agricultural trade with Cuba. The Florida Republican on Wednesday declared on Twitter that he’d block any new amendments to the farm bill unless the Senate votes to strike a provision that would allow USDA funding for foreign market development programs to be spent in Cuba — or until senators adopt his proposal to ban U.S. taxpayer dollars from being spent on businesses owned by the Cuban military.

      After a full day of debate on Wednesday, the Senate had only cleared a manager’s package by unanimous consent that contains 18 mostly uncontroversial amendments, including new protections for pollinators and provisions that would increase funding for the milk donation program and raise the catastrophic coverage level under an insurance program for milk producers. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) scored a win for some taxpayer watchdog and sustainable agriculture groups by securing a provision that would allow only one manager per farm to qualify for commodity subsidies under eligibility criteria set by USDA that require a person to be “actively engaged” in a farm's operation.

      But no votes on standalone amendments are expected to be held until Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) can reach an agreement with Rubio, as well as fellow Cuba hard-liners Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), both of whom support efforts to change U.S. economic policy in relation to Cuba, are also involved in talks to break the impasse.


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday called U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a "viper" and vowed to defeat what he called Washington's attempts to force him from power. Pence, who arrived in Ecuador on Wednesday as part of a tour of South America, is seeking to boost regional pressure on Venezuela following Maduro's reelection in May in a vote that the United States said was fraudulent. "Every time the poisonous viper Mike Pence opens his mouth, I feel stronger," the socialist leader said in a televised speech. "We have defeated you and we are going to defeat (you) wherever you are."

     Maduro insists that the United States is seeking to overthrow his government in order to seize the OPEC nation's oil and mineral wealth, and accuses Washington of leading an "economic war" against the country. U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed economic sanctions on Maduro and members of his cabinet on accusations they are undermining democracy and violating human rights. With the impulse of the US vice president, the OAS declared "illegitimate" at the beginning of the month the re-election of Maduro on May 20 in votes boycotted by the opposition, which denounces them as "fraudulent".

      "We have defeated you and we are going to defeat you, wherever you are, where you travel, Mike Pence," Maduro responded after handing over the National Journalism Award, controlled by the government. The president also attacked the European Union, which on Monday approved financial sanctions against several Venezuelan officials, including the new Vice President Delcy Rodríguez, after considering his re-election "lacking in credibility." The United States has issued similar measures against Maduro himself and other officials, in addition to prohibiting his citizens from negotiating new debt from Venezuela and his state oil company PDVSA. By rejecting the sanctions, Maduro said that "the European Union is on its knees before Donald Trump", with the objective of "putting his hand" on the natural riches of the South American country, with the largest oil reserves in the world.


       LIMA, PERU   -- The regional director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Diego Beltrand, highlighted the efforts of the countries of the region to address Venezuelan immigration and prevent its situation from worsening. During his participation in the First International Congress on Immigration, which runs until Friday in Lima, Beltrand said that in the last three years, Venezuelan immigration amounts to two million citizens, of which at least half remain in Colombia.

     "We exhort the countries that are receiving the Venezuelan brothers to attend to their regularization," said the IOM head of state in a press release from the Peruvian migration office, Efe reported. The representative of the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) in Peru, Juliana Bello, added to the request of Beltrand, who pointed out that the States have the responsibility of assisting migrants through mechanisms of refuge or regularization of migration.

     The speakers agreed that the phenomenon of Venezuelan migration to the countries of the region should be addressed in a regional manner, through policies that facilitate their integration into society and protect their fundamental rights. The National Superintendent of Migration of Peru, Eduardo Sevilla Echevarría, revealed that in Peru, to date, there are more than 353 thousand Venezuelans, of which only 53 thousand have a Temporary Permit of Permanence (PTP), a document that regulates their migratory status and with which they can work and pay taxes, as well as access basic services.

JUNE  28,  2018 


      KREMLIN, RUSSIA --  Kremlin officials say there is an agreement for Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump to hold a summit in a third country. The announcement came Wednesday as U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton was in Moscow for talks with Putin and other senior Russian officials. Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said details about the venue for a Trump-Putin summit would be announced Thursday.

The meeting is expected to take place after Trump attends the NATO summit July 11 and 12 and visits Britain on July 13. Vienna and Helsinki are among the venues being considered. Earlier, Putin told Bolton that his visit to Moscow increased the chances of a restoration of Russian-U.S. relations. Putin said relations between the two countries were "not in the best shape." Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters "the sad state" of bilateral relations between the two countries would be discussed, as well as a range of international issues.

    Bolton had said he hoped his one-day visit would lay the groundwork for what would be the first summit between Putin and Trump. Trump and Putin have met twice on the sidelines of international summits and have spoken several times by telephone. Washington-Moscow relations have been strained by Russia's role in the conflict in Syria and Russia's suspected poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Relations between the two countries had already deteriorated over issues such as Russia's seizure of Crimea and Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election


        MANAUS BRAZIL  -- 
The vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, visits Wednesday in Manaus, Brazil, a reception center for Venezuelan migrants, after announcing an additional aid of 10 million dollars to address the migratory flow caused by the crisis in the Caribbean country. It is the Santa Catarina Shelter, administered by Cáritas of the Archdiocese of Manaus, capital of Amazonas, with the support of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The center has 86 Venezuelan migrants, mostly families with children, who arrived in May from Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima, border state with Venezuela and main point of entry, within the framework of a program of the Brazilian government voluntary relocation of migrants, said UNHCR.

     In addition to shelter, the center offers food, Portuguese classes, psychological support, legal advice, vaccination, processing of documents and work permits, as well as support for refugees to get work. Pence, who met President Michel Temer in Brasilia on Tuesday, announced the handing over of another 10 million dollars for the reception of Venezuelans in Brazil (the US had already contributed more than 10 million dollars). Thousands of Venezuelans began arriving since December 2016 to the Amazonian capital, where the situation is less precarious than in Roraima, according to UNHCR.

    Since January 2017, the Manaus Federal Police has registered 7,080 asylum applications by Venezuelans. The authorities of Manaus "responded quickly, in a very fast and coordinated way, to the needs of Venezuelans," praised the spokesman of that UN agency in Brazil, Luiz Fernando Godinho. More than 32,000 Venezuelans have sought refuge in Brazil and another thousand temporary residence in the last three years, although the numbers increase as the social, economic and political crisis in the neighboring country intensifies. After the visit to the center of Santa Catarina, Pence will fly over the free zone of Manaus and the Amazon forest, before heading to Quito, and then to Guatemala.


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA   -- The VENEZUELAN basic family basket exceeded the barrier of 300 million bolivars in May, according to calculations made by the Documentation and Social Analysis Center of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers (Cendas-FVM). The variation with respect to the month of April was 116.9%, to be located at 301,138,353.05 Bolivars, which means that more than 300 minimum wages were needed, which for May was equivalent to one million bolivars, after increase decreed by the national Executive on April 30 and which became effective as of May 1.

     The previous week the national chief executive returned to increase the minimum salary up to three million bolivars and the food bonus raised it to Bs. 2,196,000, so that the minimum integral remuneration reached 5,196,000 bolivars, which could be acquire only 1.73% of the products that make up the basket. These calculations of the Cendas-FVM are made taking into account basic items of food, services, medicines, clothing and footwear, as well as toiletries and cleaning, to meet the needs of a family of five people.

    In May all the products that make up this basket went up, however the category that increased the most was the one corresponding to the personal hygiene and cleaning products that showed an increase of 221.7%. They also reported that the variation with respect to the month of May 2017 was 21,012.3%, which shows the worsening of the socio-economic crisis that crosses the country that entered hyperinflation for the first time in its history since last month. November.

    JUNE  27,  2018 


    WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  The Supreme Court of the United States validated on Tuesday the decree of President Donald Trump that places obstacles to the entry of citizens of six countries and specific officials of Venezuela, in a clear victory of the White House. By five votes to four, the court considered valid the latest version of the decree, which affects the entry of citizens of five countries mostly Muslim (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen), as well as North Korea, and also some specific officials of Venezuela.

     The Trump government considered the decree a necessary measure in the face of concerns for national security. "In short, the language ... is clear and the decree does not exceed any limits of the president's authority," wrote Judge John Roberts. The approved version of the decree applies to some 150 million people, inhabitants of the six countries, being considered "anti-Muslim" by their opponents. "This decision is also a time of deep vindication, after months of hysterical comments from the media and Democratic politicians who refused to do what was necessary to protect our border and our country," he said in a statement.

     "The State presented a sufficient justification in terms of national security," says Roberts in his rationale. The text in question is the third version of a decree that had provoked a wave of global rejection after being abruptly enforced by the White House on January 27, 2017, a week after Trump assumed the presidency. During a solemn hearing devoted to the text in April, the four progressive judges of the high court expressed their concern over the accusations that it was a measure against Muslims, when the US Constitution prohibits religious discrimination.

        BRASILIA, BRAZIL  -- 
The vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, said today with the Brazilian leader, Michel Temer, that "it is time to press" and "act more firmly" to "restore democracy" in Venezuela. "The United States asks Brazil to adopt firm attitudes against the regime of (Nicolás) Maduro," which "destroyed democracy and has built a brutal dictatorship," which "has made Venezuela a poor country," the vice president declared after a meeting. with Temer, who received him today in Brasilia.

     According to Pence, the United States will not be a "spectator" of the "collapse of one of its neighbors", that "it was already one of the richest countries and today it is broken, rotten", and suffers a "humanitarian crisis" that has "repercussions on the whole region. " The vice president valued the role of Brazil in the "struggle" for the "redemocratization" of Venezuela in both the diplomatic and humanitarian fields, and highlighted the assistance that the Government of Temer provides to some 50,000 Venezuelans who have arrived in the country.

     "Thanks to Maduro, the Venezuelan people go hungry, suffer, flee" and today it is the "biggest mass exodus in the region", giving "the drug cartels and human traffickers new opportunities," he said. Pence announced that the United States Government plans to increase financial support for Venezuelan refugees, since "it is a town that deserves to recover its right to freedom," and that "it will continue to work with Brazil and its allies for Venezuelan democracy." The vice president of the United States plans to travel tomorrow to the Amazonian city of Manaus, where he will visit a shelter that the Brazilian authorities have installed to receive Venezuelans who cross the border.


     BRUSSELS, BELGIUM   -- José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, former Spain president, does not represent the EU in its mediation in the Venezuelan crisis, according to the High Representative of the European Union for foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, in a written reply to ALDE MEP Beatriz Becerra. "The answer to the three questions her ruling gives is negative," Mogherini said in response to a written question from the Honorable Member about whether Rodríguez Zapatero was a recognized conversation partner to speak on his behalf if he had been considered and if the representative had kept recent contacts with him about the Venezuelan crisis.

The head of Community diplomacy demonstrated that mediation like Zapatero and the presidents of Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández and Panama Martín Torrijos conducted "conducted under the auspices of the Union of South American countries." And he recalled that the goal of finding a negotiated political solution to the Venezuela crisis "has repeatedly been supported" by the conclusions of the EU Council since July 2016. [19659003] Then the ministries fully "supported" the work of the three ex-mandarians to "facilitate urgent, constructive and effective dialogue" in Venezuela.

      This political solution has also been directly sought by EU representatives "through a series of contacts with people involved in the efforts to promote this negotiated solution," Mogherini said. Becerra declared in a statement that the figure in the former Spanish president has been associated with the EU in the context of the political crisis in Venezuela. and the various processes of dialogue. Rodríguez Zapatero followed the last election in Venezuela, where Nicolás Maduro was re-elected saying that it was a peaceful process while admitting that the defeated candidates could compete for the results. For the EU, these elections were "neither fair nor free."

  JUNE  26,  2018 


    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM --   The EU on Monday hit the Venezuelan vice-President and 10 other officials with sanctions over rights abuses and irregularities in the re-election of dictator Nicolas Maduro, which the bloc condemned as "neither free nor fair". Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez is the most senior member of Maduro's regime targeted by the travel bans and asset freezes, while other top cadres are sanctioned for grave human rights transgressions including torture.z

     The 28 EU states pledged last month to "swiftly" punish Caracas with sanctions over the May re-election of Maduro, which returned him to office until 2025. It was boycotted by the main opposition and denounced as a sham by the United States and many of Venezuela's Latin American neighbours."The persons listed are responsible for human rights violations and for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela," the European Union said after its 28 foreign ministers backed the move at a meeting in Luxembourg. "The elections held in Venezuela on 20 May 2018 were neither free nor fair and their outcome lacked any credibility as the electoral process did not ensure the necessary guarantees for them to be inclusive and democratic."

      Alongside Rodriguez, former vice-president Tareck El Aissami is also sanctioned for his role overseeing the Venezuelan intelligence service, where the EU said he was responsible for "serious human rights violations ... including arbitrary detention, politically motivated investigations, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture". The UN rights chief on Friday called for an international investigation of atrocities in Venezuela, condemning the government's refusal to provide security officers over the killing of civilians. Venezuela's economy has collapsed into chaos under Maduro since 2013, with falling oil prices leading to chronic shortages of food and medicine and hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the country.

        WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  The United States announced Saturday that it has reunited 522 immigrant children with their families who were separated after crossing the Mexican border, in what is the first tangible consequence of the executive decree signed by the US President.The Department of Homeland Security released a statement which also gives some details on its plan to reunite immigrant families that were separated as a result of the “zero tolerance” policy of Donald Trump, which began to be implemented in April.

     According to the statement, up until 20 June the Department of Health and Human Services had 2,053 minors in their custody, although only 17 percent of whom were separated from their parents while the remaining 83 percent were children who travelled alone to the US. A group of Democratic Congressmen from Florida on Saturday visited a shelter for undocumented immigrants in Homestead, south of Miami, and reported it to be in good condition.

     Following the visit and during a meeting with the press outside the center, the Congressmen said that the question now was when the 70 children living in the center, after getting separated from their parents at the border, will be reunited with their families. Senator Bill Nelson, part of the group, pointed out that the staff of the center, which has a total of about 1,200 undocumented children between 13 and 17 years of age, have informed him that the vast majority of the 70 children have been able to speak on the phone with their parents, which was “good news.”


      MANAGUA, NICARAGUA    -- The Catholic Church of Nicaragua on Saturday urged the country’s president to hold early elections to facilitate dialogue to end continuing unrest in the country that has left over 200 dead since mid-April. In a letter on Saturday, the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua urged Daniel Ortega to expedite general elections from 2021 to March 2019, keeping in mind the sentiments of a majority of the Nicaraguan people.

     On June 13, Ortega, in response to a proposal by the Catholic leaders on June 7, had expressed his “willingness to listen to a proposal” within “the constitutional framework of the laws of the country” which provide for general elections to be held every five years. Saturday’s letter comes a day after member countries of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), with the exception of Venezuela, backed a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that had blamed the Nicaraguan government for the ongoing violence that killed at least 212 people, and injured 1,337.

     Since early Saturday, violence had re-erupted in the country with government forces clashing with protesters in eastern and southwestern parts of Managua and the city of Masaya, which led to the deaths of six people, including a child, reported Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights. The country’s Civic Alliance had announced on Saturday that it could call for a 48-hour general strike to pressurize Ortega to stop the repression. Since April 18, Nicaragua has been steeped in its worse socio-political crisis over a set of reforms suggested by Ortega’s government.

              June 25,  2018                               


--   The OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, participates in the press conference of the Organization of American States (OAS) with a panel of independent international experts who will present their conclusions and recommendations on "whether crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela ", In Washington, USA.

     The secretary of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, reported on Sunday June 24 that the report was already sent showing the crimes against humanity committed by the Bolivarian government in Venezuela.
He published this in his networks, where he stated that this was achieved thanks to the support of several countries in the region and the National Assembly."With the support of several countries in the region and the National Assembly, we have sent the report of independent experts on crimes against humanity in Venezuela to the International Criminal Court.

     Truth, punishment to the guilty and justice are an imperative, "Almagro wrote via Twitter. The account of at least 505 people who have been repressed by members of the State security forces. It also denounces the generalized impunity of the Bolivarian government in the face of these crimes. The National Assembly approved on June 12 the agreement on the ratification of this report presented by this Organization. In the document, in which a global study of the situation in Venezuela takes shape, the intervention of the International Criminal Court is requested.

        CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --  The dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, called on Sunday to the military to close ranks against the "betrayal", while denouncing an alleged plot from Colombia to divide the Armed Forces and propitiate his fall. "Alert, Army !, Alert, Armed Force! To close ranks, knee to the ground in combat against treason, in combat against the oligarchy," said Maduro during the commemoration of Army Day.

     The dictator said that Colombian sectors conspire to see "divided and confronted" the Venezuelan armed forces for "envy and hate." "Let no one be fooled by the songs of betrayal that sound from Bogotá, closed formation, civic-military union, there is a lot of history that we defend," he said prior to a parade in the state of Carabobo in which some 15,000 troops participated .

     "Venezuela has on the horizon to become a power of peace and we need a united military power, disciplined, subordinate, loyal to the country, loyal to the Constitution, loyal to the glorious people of Venezuela, loyal to its legitimate commander-in-chief," Maduro stressed. . The president warned that from Bogota, Colombia, is "mounting a false plot to alter the order in Venezuela." He stated that the plan involves "retired military who do not represent the Venezuelan nationality."


      BRUSSELS, BELGIUM   -- The European Union ministers expect to approve today new sanctions to personalities close to the Government of the DICTATOR of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, for the crisis in that country and after the holding of elections that the EU did not consider "neither free nor fair". At the end of May, the ministers reached a political agreement to adopt new "restrictive measures" against Venezuela, by expanding the list of people already sanctioned.

    In his opinion, "the prohibitions and other obstacles" to the participation of the opposition, as well as the "non-compliance with democratic standards", the "electoral coercion" and the "unbalanced access to the media", led to elections that resulted in his trial "lacks credibility." It is expected that today the Council of Community Ministers will give the green light to the new sanctions and detail who happens to swell the list. "In May, the Council took a clear position on the latest events and said it would act quickly in that direction," community sources said.

    Last January the ministers already decided sanctions against seven high officials of the Maduro government for the "repression" in the country, including his "number two", Diosdado Cabello; the president of the Supreme Court, Maikel Moreno, and the Minister of Interior and Justice, Néstor Reverol. These restrictive measures will be added to those imposed in November, consisting of an arms embargo and a veto of material that could be used for "internal repression" in Venezuela. The EU has always maintained that "selective" sanctions are not an end in themselves and that with them, without harming the citizens, they are trying to increase the pressure on the Government of Caracas to seek a democratic solution to the crisis experienced by the country. country.

                                                                                                                         June 24,


--   Brazil’s Supreme Court dismissed on Friday a motion by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to be freed on bail or granted house arrest while he pursues further appeals of a corruption conviction. The dismissal was announced by Justice Edson Fachin. Lula’s Workers Party had hoped to see him out of jail by next Tuesday so he could formally launch his campaign for the October presidential election.

    The 72-year-old former head of state has been in custody since April 7, serving a 12-year sentence. Despite the corruption conviction, the PT is still seeking to have Lula’s name included on the October presidential ballot. Lula, who governed Brazil from 2003-2011 and left office with sky-high approval ratings, would be the clear front-runner if he were allowed to run. But election authorities are not expected to allow his candidacy.

    A three-judge appellate panel ruled in January that there was sufficient proof that Lula accepted a triplex in Guaruja, a resort town near Sao Paulo, from construction company OAS in exchange for helping that firm secure contracts with Brazilian state oil company Petrobras. The case against Lula, who denies any wrongdoing, was based largely on plea-bargained testimony from people already convicted as part of the sprawling Petrobras investigation.

        MANAGUA, NICARAGUA --  At least five people were killed including a baby on Saturday (Jun 23) when pro-government forces clashed with opponents in Nicaragua, according to reports from young people, the church and humanitarian groups. "We are talking about five deaths" at this time "including the baby, but there may well be more," in the worst incident, said Georgina Ruiz, an activist with the Nicaraguan Human Rights Center. The rights group says that more than 200 people have been killed in protests demanding President Daniel Ortega's exit from power that started just over two months ago.

     Starting after midnight, police and paramilitary forces flooded six neighborhoods in the east of the capital Managua, as well as the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) where scores of students are holed up. Two students were killed in the university area, the rights group said. The rest of the deaths were in the six districts. The baby was killed when his mother was taking him to a babysitter. "He was killed by a police gunshot. I saw them. They were police. Nobody told me," his mother, Kenia Navarrete, told news channel Cien por Cien Noticias.

     UNAN is one of several student protest camps in Managua. About 450 students have been living there under plastic tarp tents and in class buildings, surrounded by empty bottles, old food and used rounds from their homemade mortars. "Ortega's government continues to repress and kill young people," the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) said on Twitter. According to Alvaro Leiva, secretary of the Nicaraguan Pro-Human Rights Association, the attack against the university was linked to a march planned for Saturday afternoon in memory of victims of the violence. The message "is to plant terror in the population," he said.


      MADRID,  SPAIN    -- The Council of Ministers of Spain, on the proposal of the Justice Minister, Dolores Delgado, approved Friday the extradition to the United States of the Venezuelan citizen Rafael Ernesto Reiter Muñoz, where he is claimed for alleged crimes of "criminal organization and money laundering." "Agreement that approves the delivery in extradition to the United States of the Venezuelan citizen Rafael Ernesto Reiter Muñoz, for alleged crimes of criminal organization and money laundering," details the decree of the Council of Spanish Minister published this Friday, June 22.

     Rafael Ernesto Reiter, former director of Security and Prevention of Losses of Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), was arrested in Madrid on October 27, 2017 along with a former high-ranking government official Hugo Chavez and three former directors of Venezuelan public companies and he is currently in provisional detention. According to information reported in the press release of the Spanish Council of Ministers, the events for which Rafael Reiter is claimed by the United States for prosecution took place between 2011 and 2013.

      According to the accusation against him, in those years it partnered with a group of high-level officials of the oil company to solicit bribes from sellers and companies that did business with it in exchange for advantageous conditions in the bids and collection of invoices during the Venezuelan liquidity crisis. They also point out that the profits obtained were laundered through a series of complex international financial transactions and, in some cases, real estate investments in the United States. Among the companies affected by this criminal practice are some located in the state of Texas.

June 23,  2018


--   The solution to the Venezuelan crisis inevitably passes through the exchange of powers by Nicolás Maduro, confirming Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in an interview with Efe, pointing out that it is "very difficult" with a neighbor like that. "Undoubtedly. Maduro resignation is a necessary condition for a change in the regime and for returning to Venezuelans by their democracy," said the President to answer a question as to whether Maduro's departure is necessary to resolve the crisis.

     Santos, who will hand over power on August 7 to Ivan Duque, who was elected president on Sunday, said the world has seen "Venezuela has moved towards a dictatorship." "Today is a dictatorship," he said, adding that the Maduro regime "stopped democratic institutions, has done nothing but violating the human rights of Venezuela and that is something Colombia can not applaud." He explained that you can not therefore be a member of a government like Venezuela, a country that Colombia shares a limit of 2119 kilometers. "We can not be in the sense of partner in Venezuela, that is why we have distanced ourselves and we have a very difficult relationship," he said.

    He also said that with the Maduro government, the Colombians have been and will be "unforgivable" and will continue to "push every way to seek changes in that regime and a situation that allows Venezuela to regain its freedoms and its democracy. " Santos came to power in August 2010 and one of his first achievements in foreign policy was to rebuild Colombia's relations with Venezuela and Ecuador, two of its five neighbors, broken under his predecessor's government, Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010), but the deterioration of Venezuelan democracy put them on the verge of breaking again. "We maintained cordial relationships until the moment they really began to destroy democratic institutions. The breakpoint, what exceeded the cup, was the constituent assembly (…) that was the confirmation or beginning of the end of democracy in Venezuela," says Santos.

        NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK --  The serious and systematic abuses committed in Venezuela and the widespread impunity in most of these violations require greater involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to identify the perpetrators and grant justice to the victims, according to the Office of the High Commissioner of the UN for Human Rights. In its second report, the Venezuelan authorities denied the agency access to the country - on the situation of fundamental freedoms in Venezuela, presented today, the agency denounces hundreds of homicides, alleged summary executions, excessive use of force against demonstrators, torture and arbitrary detention by government security forces.

    "Given that the State does not seem to have the capacity or the will to prosecute those responsible for the serious violations of human rights, there are solid reasons to consider a greater involvement of the ICC in this matter," said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, in a statement. In February of this year, the ICC prosecutor announced the opening of a preliminary examination to analyze the alleged crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela in the context of the protests and political turmoil from April to July 2017.

    The Office has already delivered to the ICC the report it made on the protests and will soon submit the one presented today and, based on pre-established agreements, will give more information and contacts if required. "Our investigations show certain patterns of human rights violations that in some cases, such as arbitrary detentions or cases of torture, have been systematic and are repeated in various parts of the country, not isolated events. And this can lay the foundations for the investigations that the Criminal Court is doing, "one of the authors of the text, Carlos de la Torre, told Efe.


      BRUSSELS, BELGIUM    -- The People's Party (PP) MEP Agustín Díaz de Mera will lead one of the delegations that the European Parliament will send from June 25 to the border with Venezuela to calibrate the humanitarian challenge of the exodus of the population to Colombia and Brazil, the countries neighbors. Diaz de Mera, who will be in charge of the mission to Colombia, will travel with eight other MEPs from different political groups, including the also popular Spanish Veronica Lope.

    They will meet with organizations that serve them as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Red Cross, in addition to holding meetings with local authorities, including the mayor of Cúcuta, Cesar Omar Rojas, and the governor of the region. North of Santander, William Villamizar. In addition, the delegation of MEPs will meet in the Colombian capital, Bogota, with the coordinator of the Presidency of this country for the crisis with Venezuela, Felipe Muñoz, and with the foreign ministers, Maria Angela Holguín; of Interior, Guillermo Rivera; and Defense, Luis Carlos Villegas.

     The two border delegations are the alternative to sending a mission directly to Venezuelan territory, an option that the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, does not give the green light. According to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), almost 945,000 Venezuelans have left their country between 2015 and 2017, of which most, about 820,000, did so to move to Colombia. In a statement, Díaz de Mera said that "the European Parliament has always shown its solidarity with the displaced and Venezuelan refugees and their appreciation for the humanitarian attitude of Colombia." "The tragedy that immigrants face is the result of a fratricidal policy against the noble Venezuelan people by their government," he added.

June 22,  2018


--  Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro announced Wednesday night that he will triple the minimum wage, in the midst of a plan to counter what he calls an economic war against the oil country, hit by hyperinflation. The new salary floor, which would be equivalent to just over one dollar according to the exchange rate for remittances, will come into effect immediately, along with modifying the public administration income table.

    "The first elements of the economic program is to protect the income, for that reason I am going to decree today the increase of the minimum wage to three million bolivars," Maduro said at a public ceremony. Venezuelans face almost daily increases in the value of various foods, which has reduced purchasing power. The president announced in recent days an adjustment in his cabinet and appointed a new vice president of the economic area to face the galloping price hike, which he claims is induced by his adversaries to destabilize him.

      "You throw hard for the war, we throw hard too, until we stabilize and balance, and we will achieve it," Maduro said. By adding some food stamps, the integral salary would rise to 5.2 million bolivares (about 2.4 dollars a change for remittances), an increase of 103 percent, said the president. According to the National Assembly, controlled by the opposition, the annualized inflation until May was 24,571 percent and it would close the year by 300,000 percent.

        MANAGUA, NICARAGUA --  Nicaragua invited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the European Union to visit the country during the crisis that has already left 200 people dead, various sources reported on Wednesday. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Central America confirmed in a press release that “our office has received the letter from the government giving us access to the country, our team is coordinating the logistics for the visit and we will promptly inform the details.”

    IACHR Executive Secretary Paulo Abrao, for his part, announced on Twitter that experts from the Special Follow-up Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) will arrive in Managua next Tuesday. He explained that the task of the monitoring team will be to accompany the Verification and Citizenship Commission formed as part of the national dialogue and support civil society. Abrao further added that a group of international observers will arrive in Nicaragua in the first week of July to investigate the deaths and the violent incidents that transpired in the country since April 18 as well as to identify people responsible for those atrocities.

    The government also agreed to grant an EU human rights delegation access to Nicaragua, which was part of the requirements to unblock the national dialogue, a member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy said. After the dialogue was temporarily suspended on May 23 and later reinstated on June 15, the government agreed to invite “immediately” the IACHR, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the EU and the Secretariat General of the Organization of American States (OAS) for a visit to Nicaragua. With Daniel Ortega as the president, Nicaragua has for 64 days been embroiled in one of the bloodiest sociopolitical crises in its history, leaving at least 200 people killed.


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA    -- Former Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz denounced on Wednesday that several soldiers are being tortured by order of the Venezuelan government to "force" them to testify against opposition leader María Corina Marchado, whom they want, she said, to implicate in an alleged plan to " conspiracy". "I have information that in the last hours they have tortured several soldiers to force them to testify, to make a montage (...) where they want to implicate another Venezuelan citizen, a leader, María Corina Machado, in a supposed conspiracy," said Ortega from Colombia , via Skype, before the Commission of Internal Policy of the Venezuelan Parliament.

     The former prosecutor, dissident of Chavism, who did not offer more details about the alleged “conspiracy”, also indicated that there are a large number of soldiers who are being "persecuted", "degraded" and "dishonored" by "the simple suspicion that they intended to execute actions for the restoration of democracy" in the country. The complaint by Ortega Díaz coincides with that made by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who said on June 14 that the Government of Nicolás Maduro "wanted to" link Machado "to a supposed action of a number of military against figures of the regime ".

     This Tuesday, former heads of State and Government of Spain and America, members of the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA), spoke on this "new abuse" against Machado and made an "urgent appeal" to the international community for the "criminalization" of the opposition. This "very serious nonsense" "compromises the peace of Venezuela and regional democratic security" underline the signers of the declaration, noting that "the attacks on human rights that affect the Venezuelan people are systematic and widespread."

June 21,  2018


   -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will use a joint statement in Washington at 5p.m. to announce and explain the departure from the 47-member council. Speaking to Fox News, a senior official said that the UNHRC protects human rights abusers, allows them to serve on the council and shows bias in rendering decisions. The official claimed that countries like China, Egypt and Russia worked to undermine U.S. reform efforts and that the council has passed more resolutions this year condemning Israel than Iran, Syria and North Korea combined.

    Trump has long been critical of the UNHRC, which he has accused of showing a bias against Israel. Haley last year slammed the body for its “relentless, pathological campaign” against Israel. Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton opposed the creation of the body when he served as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush.

    The UNHRC, meanwhile, opened its session on Monday with a blistering attack by Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, on Trump’s immigration policy – calling the policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. southern border “unconscionable.” Trump is facing intense criticism – both domestically and on the international stage – over that policy. The move to exit the UNHRC extends a broader Trump administration pattern of stepping back from international agreements and forums under the president's "America First" policy.

        MANAGUA, NICARAGUA --  At least six people killed and 35 injured were registered on Tuesday in Masaya, according to information from the Nicaraguan Human Rights Association (ANPDH). The city has been attacked by several paramilitary and anti-riot squads, which went in after dismantling the dam at 14 at the entrance to Ticuantepe. The death was caused by bullet impact.

    The villagers, who build more barricades, report that the city is surrounded by these groups led by the government. The paramilitaries arrived hooded and armed with shotgun and AK 47. Without compassion. The attacks on Tuesday left horror scenes in the city. One of those who circulate on social networks is the one who, like a group of riot police, cried crying in front of Marcelo Mayorga's body: "Help me! Help me! He's not a dog." But despite her tears, no agent moved to help her While the villagers did not come close to fear of being shot by the agents.

    After several hours of attacks by paramilitaries and rebel police against settlers, in Masaya there is a relative calm. Masayas, however, indicate that they will build more barricades and strengthen those they already have because they fear the night attacks of the Orteguista shock forces. Helicopter. The bloody operation that the government conducted against Masaya on Tuesday was to remove deputy chief of police from that city, Commissioner Ramón Avellán, who had been anchored in the police command for more than two weeks. There are unofficial versions that indicate that Avellán was taken by plane in a helicopter and transferred to the military hospital.


      BOGOTA, COLOMBIA    -- The Attorney General of the Republic in exile Luisa Ortega Díaz said that the Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will be accused on June 28 before the Supreme Court of Justice also in exile, for the crimes of corruption and legitimation of capital. In an exclusive interview with , Ortega specified that she will present his conclusive act of accusation and expects the highest court to give Interpol a red alert order to capture the head of state.

    "Maduro is a corrupt man, and for that reason we are going to present charges against him ... Nicolás Maduro is corrupt, he appropriated the money of Venezuelans, with Oderbrecht he received 35 million dollars from Venezuelans," he said. The former Attorney General noted that there is a series of actions prior to the aforementioned accusation, such as the international arrest warrant that in her opinion should already be in the office of the International Police. She added that within her letter she will request that the TSJ (in exile) execute the orders that she has agreed upon.

    In another point, the head of the criminal action explained that her last speech made two weeks ago where she exhorted the civil and military security forces to restore democracy in Venezuela has had "an important" impact. She recalled that the men and women who serve the nation "have a historic commitment to the country and Venezuelans," and stressed that in the event that they (civilians and military) execute an action to restore constitutional order, they will be recognized by history and therefore not be penalized.

June 20,  2018


 CARACAS, VENEZUELA    -- Former Heads of State and Government signed a document in which they express their full support to the national coordinator of Vente Venezuela, María Corina Machado.

     "It is well known that the Venezuelan dictator (Nicolás Maduro) exercises total control over the Administration of Justice, especially over military jurisdiction, and today he intends to criminalize once again the opposition civilian leader María Corina Machado, General Coordinator of the Movimiento Vente Venezuela and a fundamental part of the opposition platform Soy Venezuela, we make an alert and urgent call to the international community of the States, to the Prosecutor before the International Criminal Court, and to the same public opinion, about this very serious nonsense, that it compromises the peace of Venezuela and the regional democratic security, "the statement said.

    They add that "the attacks on human rights that affect the Venezuelan people are systematic and widespread. Of particular note are incarcerations for political reasons, which include acts against the physical and moral integrity of the victims, as narrated and described in the aforementioned OAS report; victims who, in addition, are tortured to incriminate other victims and deprive them equally of freedom, as in the case of María Corina Machado, in experience that becomes repetitive ".


        MANAGUA, NICARAGUA --  The dialogue between the government and the opposition to solve the sociopolitical crisis accumulates 180 deaths in two months, fell on Monday in land undermined after the Conference of Nicaraguan Bishops (CEN) left it on hold until international human rights bodies are invited , review AFP. The plenary session of the dialogue scheduled for Tuesday was suspended after the bishops asked the government to "send urgently" an invitation to international human rights bodies according to an agreement made last Friday.

     "When the government sends us a copy of these invitations and the international organizations send us their reception," the resumption of the working groups and the plenary session of the dialogue will be convened, the communication states. The United States joined the pressure for the presence of international organizations as agreed on Friday and for the advancement of the elections to shorten the mandate of Ortega. "We note a widespread demand by Nicaraguans for early elections. The United States believes that advancing the elections represents a constructive way forward, "the State Department said in a statement late Monday.

    The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy left the working groups on Monday after accusing the government of breaching an agreement to invite international organizations to help investigate violence against the bloody protests. Already when the delegates entered the headquarters of the meetings, there was a grim atmosphere due to the death of six members of a family over the weekend in an attack attributed to paramilitary bands and civilians related to the government of President Daniel Ortega. On Tuesday, "we will rejoin the plenary of the national dialogue and we will demand the fulfillment of the agreement as an indispensable condition to continue working," the opposition said when it withdrew.


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA      -- The US ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker, said today that Jesus Santrich, a leader of the Colombian FARC party whose extradition for drug trafficking has been requested by the United States, will have the guarantees to defend himself against the charges presented by the United Syates against him . "He, at the time of being extradited, will have access to defend himself because it is the responsibility of the State, that is, of the United States, to verify that we are right," Whitaker said in Bogotá during the presentation of the report "Colombia exploitation of muddy gold" .

     The diplomat acknowledged that for the extradition of the former guerrilla leader, whose real name is Seuxis Paucias Hernández, "there are steps that must be completed in Colombia. "Once that is done, as expected, the decision about his guilt remains in the hands of United States Courts," said Whitaker. On June 7, the US embassy in Bogotá formally filed the request for Santrich to be extradited to itscountry.

     Santrich was captured by the Prosecutor's Office on April 9, based on a red Interpol circular at the request of the United States, who accuses him of having an agreement to export ten tons of cocaine to the country after the FARC signed the agreement. peace agreement, on November 24, 2016. On May 17, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which is responsible for judging the crimes committed during the Colombian armed conflict, suspended the extradition process to the United States of Santrich. Later, the JEP sent the Colombian Constitutional Court the request for non-extradition to the United States Santrich to resolve the conflict of jurisdiction over this case.

June 19,  2018


 NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK   -- The UN requested today that a commission be created to investigate the human rights violations that occur in Venezuela and confirmed that, in the meantime, it will continue to monitor the situation in this country at a distance. "We firmly believe that the Human Rights Council needs to establish a commission of inquiry," said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, in presenting his global report at the opening session of this forum. , when referring to Venezuela.

    Zeid lamented the persistent refusal of the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to make a direct assessment of what is happening there. "Given the seriousness and extent of the violations of human rights in Venezuela, and the persistent refusal to give access to my Office, we will continue to monitor and report from a distance," explained the official.

    The Zeid Office will publish its second report on human rights in Venezuela in the coming days, which it has prepared based on the information that its experts have collected from various reliable sources, including testimonies and interviews in bordering countries with Venezuelans who have left the country. country. The government has issued three invitations since last June to various UN human rights experts, the first in 22 years. "However, the authorities have ignored a long list of requests for other mandates that are particularly important in assessing the current human rights crisis in the country," Zeid said.


        MANAGUA, NICARAGUA --  At least eight people were killed yesterday in Managua, police sources said, raising to 178 the number of deaths in anti-government unrest that began two months ago in Nicaragua. Six of the dead were members of a single family whose home was burned down at dawn after a group of hooded armed men threw a Molotov cocktail, while the other two were attacked while clearing road barricades, police said in a statement.

    Two inhabitants of the house survived by throwing themselves from a balcony, one of them a woman in serious condition and the other a child admitted to the hospital with burns, according to neighbors. “This act of terror is a crime against humanity and cannot go unpunished,” tweeted Luis Almagro, head of the Organization of American States. Protests for two months have escalated in a bid to pressure President Daniel Ortega to exit — upheaval the government has met with brutal repression.

    The latest violence comes as the country’s Catholic bishops attempt to reboot fragile negotiations between government and civil society representatives. In a surprise announcement late Friday, the clergy said rival government and civil delegates had agreed to create a “verification” commission and invite independent international bodies to probe the violence. Under the new agreement, Managua would urge the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights — an autonomous branch of the Organization of American States — to investigate “all deaths and acts of violence, the identification of those responsible and a comprehensive plan for the victims so that effective justice is achieved,” Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes said.


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA      -- PDVSA's operations this year have been affected by problems ranging from the rapid decline in crude production and limited refining due to the lack of equipment, to the obstacles to export oil in the midst of port bottlenecks and financial sanctions. Only a few units of the refinery have been operating since May, when US oil company ConocoPhillips tried to seize PDVSA's inventories and assets in the Caribbean. No shipment of Venezuelan oil has been sent to the facility since the end of April and the state has not planned shipments in June, according to internal company business reports seen by Reuters.

    But new cargoes of crude could be received by the Isla refinery through transfers from tanker to tanker, which would be added to existing inventories, whose processing is scheduled for the next few weeks, according to sources. PDVSA began using maritime transfers earlier this month to alleviate tanker bottlenecks in its main ports, which has affected oil exports to customers from the United States to China.

    The transfer from ship to ship or STS could help PDVSA avoid a new seizure in Curacao, where Conoco temporarily withheld inventories last month until a local court ruled that the oil to be processed in The refinery should not be subject to legal action, nor should the fuel produced, as it should continue to be distributed on the island. The money resulting from the sale of the fuel in Curaçao will remain in custody until the dispute between Conoco and PDVSA is resolved, as decided by the court last month. Since then, the Venezuelan company has avoided sending oil to and from at least three Caribbean islands.


June 18,  2018


 BOGOTA, COLOMBIA   --  Ivan Duque, a 41-year-old political newcomer, won Colombia’s presidency Sunday promising to revitalize the country’s economy and overhaul a historic peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. According to initial results, Duque beat Gustavo Petro, the leftist former mayor Bogotá, by more than 10 point A U.S.-educated lawyer, Duque worked at the International Development Bank in Washington, D.C., before becoming a senator in 2014. A virtual unknown just a few years ago, he rose to prominence thanks to the support of former President Alvaro Uribe and his Centro Democrático political party

     On the campaign trail, critics accused Duque of being Uribe’s “puppet” and wanting to destroy the fragile peace deal with FARC. Now, as president, he’ll have to assuage those fears and convince critics that Uribe — who is both popular and polarizing — will not have undue influence in the new administration.With 98 percent of the ballots counted, Duque was winning 54 percent of the vote versus Petro's 42 percent, the government said. Even before the results came in, Sunday’s election was a historic one. It marked the first time in more than half a century that voters in Colombia have chosen a president without the threat of the FARC — once the hemisphere’s largest and bloodiest guerrilla group — hanging over their heads.

    It also marks the first time that a woman will hold the job of vice president. Duque’s running mate is Marta Lucía Ramirez, a former senator and minister of defense. Despite some scattered problems, the government said Sunday's vote had been one of the safest and most transparent on record. After casting his vote Sunday, current President Juan Manuel Santos — who has been in office since 2010 but was ineligible to run again — noted that both Duque and Petro have been vehement critics of his administration. That the opposition candidates, both from opposite ends of the political spectrum, were able to run without government interference was a testament to Colombia's democracy, he said.


        MANAGUA, NICARAGUA --  A man protesting against President Daniel Ortega’s government was killed Sunday by a gunshot in the Nicaraguan city of Masaya, the “autoconvocados” protesters said. The victim was identified as Darwin Potosme, who was guarding a barricade as part of the anti-government protests when he was shot in one of his eyes, according to witnesses and colleagues.

     The man’s body was transferred by friends to his house in the indigenous neighborhood of Monimbo, which has been revolted since April against the government. According to the versions of the “Autoconvocados”, Potosme was killed by a sniper from the National Police located in the vicinity of the central park of Masaya, 28 kilometers southeast of Managua and one of the Nicaraguan cities where there have been more acts of violence in the two months of crisis.

    Nicaragua is mired in a sociopolitical crisis that, according to humanitarian agencies, has left between 178 to 200 dead, the bloodiest since the 1980s, when Daniel Ortega was also president. The protests against Ortega, who has been in power for eleven years, and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, began on April 18 due to failed social security reforms, and became a demand for resignation with accusations of abuse and corruption.


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA      -- The former head of the Government of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, met on Sunday in Caracas with part of the opposition in Venezuela and said he will maintain his support for the Venezuelan reconciliation because he has "committed to the task." "I have met with Timoteo Zambrano, Vicente Díaz and Luis Aquiles Moreno," Rodríguez Zapatero told Efe when referring to three opposition leaders.

     Maduro approved the release of 43 opponents last Wednesday, who join another group that was released earlier this month and according to the NGO Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV) was made up of 53 people and not 80 as stated by the ruling party. The former president of the Government of Spain was in Venezuela as a companion to the presidential elections held on May 20, in which the head of state, Nicolás Maduro, was reelected, some elections questioned by most of the opposition and by of the international community. “

     The alliance of opposition parties Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) -which did not participate in the presidential elections- criticized the presence of Rodríguez Zapatero through his Twitter account @unidadvenezuela. In a message posted on the social network, the coalition said that the intention of the Spanish politician "is to wash the face of Maduro to lower the sanctions (which the US and other countries have imposed) against the corrupt." "Zapatero has shown that he is not a mediator, his performance has always been adjusted to the interests of Nicolás Maduro and not of Venezuelans," the MUD added in another message.

June 17,  2018


  CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --  Embattled Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro again accused Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of preparing a series of “incidents” aimed at creating “an armed conflict” between the two neighboring countries.

     Santos did not recognize Maduro’s May 20th reelection, questioning the fairness of the recent Venezuelan Presidential vote. Colombia has received hundreds of thousands of the estimated 4.1 million Venezuelans that have left their oil-rich but humanitarian-crisis and hyperinflation wracked country in the last few years, according to the Organization of American States.

    “We cannot let our guard down not even for a second, it is being prepared from the Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos a set of incidents, military in character, aimed at generating an armed conflict between us,” Maduro said Friday during a televised event. The Venezuelan head of state asked Colombia's military to disobey the orders of Santos, their commander in chief, asking them “do not lend yourself for a confrontation between brothers.”


      CARACAS, VENEZUELA      -- The high costs of maintenance, the decrease in the import of spare parts, a galloping inflation and the scarcity of cash have the Venezuelan transport system in check, while the population suffers the effects of this crisis with an unstable passage and long waiting times for move.

    Pedro Jimenez, president of the Transportation Block of the Southwest of Caracas, assured that more than 80% of the units that cover routes throughout the country are paralyzed by the lack of spare parts and because the government does not pay attention to them, which affects the mobilization of thousands of citizens. He considered that the sector is in its worst crisis in 50 years. "We are already listed as the oldest automotive park in South America and we are equal to nations such as Cuba and Haiti."

    Jiménez, who represents the route drivers of Caricuao, El Paraíso and Montalbán, said that of the 47 lines of per posts in that sector of Caracas, with more than 3,000 associates, there are less than 800 operational vehicles, which is why which citizens are running out of options. He questioned the case of dump trucks and 350, that although they are used in the construction area, have been transformed into informal transport with the name of "kennels" and "rirrinchincheras". Unofficial figures indicate that 10% of the park Transportation was withdrawn from the metropolitan area, and the other 10% of the fleet remains parked, because the activity is not profitable. Consecutive adjustments to the passage do not solve the situation, he said in a press release.

        NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK  -   A U.S. judge on Friday refused to overturn the conviction of two nephews of Venezuela’s first lady on charges that they tried to carry out a multimillion-dollar drug deal to help their family stay in power. Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores had argued in a motion challenging their conviction that they were entrapped in a sting operation and that their trial was tainted by a witness who perjured himself.

    But U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan rejected those arguments. “The Court is not in any better a position than the jury was to find the facts of this case, nor do the interests of justice require that the verdict be set aside,” he wrote. Attorneys for Flores de Freitas and Campo Flores did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Flores de Freitas, 31, and Campo Flores, 30, were convicted by a Manhattan jury in November of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States. The two men are nephews of Cilia Flores, the wife of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

    Days later, Maduro blasted the conviction in a speech as an instance of “U.S. imperialism.” The two men were arrested in Haiti in November 2015 and flown to the United States following a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation. Prosecutors said the two men plotted to use a Venezuelan airport’s presidential hangar to send 800 kgs of cocaine to Honduras for shipment into the United States. They said recordings of meetings with two DEA informants showed the nephews wanted the cash to counteract money they believed the United States was supplying to Maduro’s opposition before Venezuela’s December 2015 National Assembly elections.

June 16,  2018


  WASHINGTON, D.C.   --  U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. Trump has long vowed to fulfil his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for billions in tariffs could complicate his efforts to maintain China’s support in his negotiations with North Korea.

     Trump met Thursday with several Cabinet members and trade advisers and was expected to impose tariffs on at least $35 billion to $40 billion of Chinese imports, according to an industry official and an administration official familiar with the plans. The amount of goods could reach $55 billion, said the industry official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter ahead of a formal announcement.

     If the president presses forward as expected, it could set the stage for a series of trade actions against China and lead to retaliation from Beijing. Trump has already slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies, and his proposed tariffs against China risk starting a trade war involving the world’s two biggest economies. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Friday that China’s response would be immediate and that Beijing would “take necessary measures to defend our legitimate rights and interests.” Geng gave no details. Beijing earlier drew up a list of $50 billion in U.S. products that would face retaliatory tariffs, including beef and soybeans, a shot at Trump’s supporters in rural America


      SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA      --  The Deputy Treasury Prosecutor's Office of Costa Rica confirmed on Friday that it received a report from the United States on alleged money laundering at the Venezuelan company Alunasa, orchestrated by the Chavista leader Diosdado Cabello. The Public Prosecutor explained to Efe that on June 7 the Costa Rican Institute on Drugs (ICD) transferred the report to the Deputy Prosecutor's Office for Money Laundering, but indicated that the detail of the case is kept confidential by law.

     "No investigation has been opened on the company in question and no freezing of assets has been ordered either; In addition, it is unknown if another judicial or administrative authority did so and on what grounds, "said the Public Ministry. Costa Rican media reported today on the document published last May by the US Department of the Treasury, which states that in 2016 Cabello laundered money through the company Aluminios Nacionales SA (Alunasa), based in the Costa Rican province of Puntarenas (Peaceful).

    An investigation by the US Treasury Department concluded that Venezuela's strong man, Chavez Diosdado Cabello, laundered money in Costa Rica through the company Alunasa, located in Juanilama de Esparza, Puntarenas, reports La Nación . The events date back to December 2016, says a statement issued on May 18. According to the investigation, Cabello ordered the Venezuelan Army to designate employees at the Aluminios Nacionales SA (Alunasa) factory to supervise the money laundering operation, which was carried out under the direction of the ex-governor of the State of Bolívar, Francisco José Rangel Gómez.

        CARACAS, VENEZUELA  -   Former presidential candidate Henri Falcón reiterated that he will go to international bodies to demonstrate the "illegitimacy" of Maduro, following the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice that declared "inadmissible" the appeal filed against the presidential elections held on last May 20th.

    Falcon said that the appeal filed "contains all the arguments, evidence of the greatest shamelessness seen before in an electoral event, where the President fulfilled what was promised: buy the vote for those who are now dying of hunger."

    It will also demand "nationally and internationally" to "repeat the elections, with impartial institutions, international observation and without the vices imposed by the government process after process." He stressed that in the elections there was a fraud and that "all participating institutions know it, they were part of that perverse move by the Government.

June 15,  2018


  CARACAS, VENEZUELA     --  Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro replaced his vice president and several ministers on Thursday as part of a partial renewal of his government team after the May 20 presidential election in which he was re-elected for a six-year term. The president of the ruling Constituent Assembly and former chancellor, Delcy Rodríguez, was appointed vice president to replace Tareck El Aissami, who will now head the new Ministry of Industries and National Production, Maduro said on Twitter

     The victory in the elections of May 20 "forces us to a new beginning" and consequently decided "a partial and profound renovation" of the executive cabinet. Rodriguez, along with his brother, Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez, are among Maduro's closest collaborators and are part of an ideological circle that has gained power in the ruling political movement founded by now-deceased President Hugo Chávez, which includes army supporters , state workers and left civilians. The daughter of a socialist leader who died in police custody in the 1970s, Rodriguez, a lawyer by training, is one of a handful of officials who have so far escaped US sanctions. However, earlier this year, Canada added it to its list of officials blamed for destroying Venezuelan democracy.

     The 43-year-old Aissami, who occupied the Interior Ministry during the mandate of the late President Hugo Chávez, will have the responsibility to recover the productive forces of Venezuela, the president said in another tweet. The now former vice president was sanctioned in February 2017 by the US Department of the Treasury, accused of attempting to send drug shipments from Venezuela, including controlling planes departing from that country as well as controlling routes, among other alleged crimes. The United States, the European Union and several countries in the region called the re-election of Maduro illegitimate.


     MANAGUA, NICARAGUA     --  President Daniel Ortega will not be on Friday in the resumption of the national dialogue to overcome the socio-political crisis that has left at least 154 dead in Nicaragua, as reported by the Presidency of the Republic today. In the place of Ortega, the delegate for the Government in the dialogue with the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, will be Foreign Minister Denis Moncada, said Vice President Rosario Murillo, through government media. "We are confirming, ratifying, our people and the beloved families of Nicaragua, that there will be the delegation of the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity, chaired by the fellow chancellor Denis Moncada," said the first lady, the afternoon of this Thursday.

     The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN), which acts as mediator, quoted the dialogue for Friday, after having suspended it on May 23, due to Ortega's refusal to address the central issue, which is the "democratization" of the country. .The CEN issued the appointment after receiving a response from Ortega to a letter in which the bishops asked him to return to dialogue to discuss "democratization", which he has refused, because it means his departure from power. Ortega has not returned to the dialogue table since the inauguration a group of university students faced him and referred to him as a murderer.

     Ortega is reported by various sectors of the population and by national and international humanitarian organizations as responsible for at least 154 deaths and more than 1,300 injured in demonstrations against him, including "extrajudicial executions," according to the Amnesty International movement. Nicaragua has experienced the bloodiest sociopolitical crisis since the 1980s, with Ortega also as president. The protests against Ortega and Rosario Murillo, began on April 18 for failed social security reforms and became a demand for resignation, after eleven years in power, with accusations of abuse and corruption, with a balance of 154 dead in less than two months.

        BOGOTA, COLOMBIA  -   More than 1 million people migrated from Venezuela to Colombia in the past 15 months, of whom 819,000 are Venezuelans without the right to remain permanently, a Colombian migration official said on Wednesday. Nearly 250,000 Colombians returned home in the period, Felipe Muñoz, a migration service official, told reporters.

      The migrants include 376,572 Venezuelans with legal residence in Colombia, while another 442,462 filed forms with the Administrative Registry of Venezuelan Migrants (RAMV) between April 6 and June 8. These people “will be given some kind of temporary visas in the next two weeks,” Muñoz said. According to RAMV data, a total of 353,575 families have entered the country which means that a portion of the 442,462 migrants still have close relatives in Venezuela.

     “Eighty-eight percent of these people said they have entered Colombia in the past 16 months,” Muñoz said. Minors account for 27 percent of migrants registered with RAMV, and 11 percent of them are 5 or younger. “Forty-seven percent of the Venezuelans who filed registration papers are living in the seven (Colombian border) provinces” of La Guajira, Cesar, Norte de Santander, Santander, Arauca, Vichada and Guania.

June 14,  2018


  MANAGUA, NICARAGUA     --   Nicaragua's top civic alliance called TODAY for a nationwide 24-hour strike to protest "extreme conditions" under President Daniel Ortega, who has yet to decide on reviving talks over the crisis that has left at least 148 dead. The day-long strike was set to begin today at noon (1800 GMT) "in solidarity with the victims" of the two months of unrest, which has seen brutal clashes between anti-government activists and security forces loyal to Ortega.

    "This is a national and peaceful civil strike that covers the entire country and all economic activities, except those related to the preservation of life and the coverage of basic services for the population," announced the National Alliance for Justice and Democracy, a key player in the now stalled crisis talks. The coalition also demanded an "immediate" decision from Ortega on the prospect of reviving negotiations mediated by Nicaragua's influential Catholic bishops.

     The country has not heard from its leftist leader since last week, when he met with top clergy members, who presented him with a plan to expedite the poll and institute electoral and constitutional reforms -- key activist demands. "Dialogue is the way to review the political system of Nicaragua from its root to achieve an authentic democracy and justice," the civic alliance said. The announcement comes after the country underwent a sharp escalation in violence in recent days, as police and pro-government paramilitaries attacked activists wielding slingshots and homemade mortars in an attempt to trample the uprising against Ortega. But some Nicaraguans appear ready to take up arms.


     CARACAS, VENEZUELA     --   Bets on a Venezuelan default are climbing as international reserves slump toward $10 billion amid anti-government protests and President Nicolas Maduro’s push to rewrite the constitution. The implied probability of the country missing a payment over the next 12 months rose to 56 percent in June, according to credit-default swaps data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest level since December. The odds of a credit event over the next five years increased to 91 percent last month.

    Maduro, who has faced three months of violent protests that have left almost 80 dead, has drastically cut imports of food and medicine in order to conserve the cash needed to pay bondholders with declining oil prices and production. That hasn’t stopped a drop in reserves, which usually provide investors with a certain degree of assurance that the government will avoid default in the short-term. Recent deals to provide the government with liquidity have only resulted in minor spikes that have disappeared quickly.

     The country faces payments on principal and interest of more than $5 billion in the remainder of the year, although no large sums are due before October. Venezuela’s opposition alliance is planning to hold an unofficial plebiscite on July 16 to gauge support for a national unity government. Voters will be asked if they support Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution, what role the armed forces should play in restoring order and whether they would back a unity government. The referendum will occur just weeks before a July 30 vote for delegates for the constitutional convention that is opposed by two-thirds of voters and that critics worry could shift the country further toward Cuba-style authoritarianism.

        CARACAS, VENEZUELA  -   Antigua and Barbuda is among countries to be affected as Venezuela’s PDVSA says it is suspending petroleum deliveries to about half of the Caribbean countries in its Petrocaribe agreement. The move comes due to falling crude production and low refinery utilisation, according to a Venezuelan Oil Ministry report. PDVSA, according to the report, is indefinitely suspending a combined 38,000 b/d of refined products deliveries to eight of the 17 countries that make up Petrocaribe: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and St. Kitts & Nevis.

     However, PDVSA will continue to supply 45,600 b/d of refined products in June to Cuba’s Cubametales, including 95 octane gasoline, aviation fuel, diesel, LPG, and residual fuel. Cuba has been one of the countries that has most benefited from the PetroCaribe agreement, receiving average deliveries from PDVSA of 95,000 b/d of crude and refined products. Under the PetroCaribe agreement, Venezuela sells petroleum to Central American and Caribbean nations on favorable terms. Venezuela inaugurated the plan in 2005 with Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas , Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Guyana – which subsequently pulled out, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Suriname.

     The original agreement contemplated a supply of up to 185,000 b/d of crude oil and products under preferential conditions. In 2017, Venezuelan shipments of petroleum via Petrocaribe dropped by 40%, or 54,400 b/d, from 136,000 b/d exported in 2015. The Oil Ministry report also said even though PDVSA does not have Mesa 30 crude available in June to supply Cuba, it is evaluating the possibility of buying light crude from third parties. In February, March, and April, PDVSA bought 4.2 million barrels of Urals crude for Cuba. PDVSA has been operating its refineries below capacity because of a shortage of crude feedstock and various unscheduled shutdowns. PDVSA this month plans to process 499,000 b/d through its refining system, or 31 percent of its 1.6 million b/d capacity.

June 13,  2018


  WASHINGTON, D.C.     --   In an agreement signed Tuesday in Singapore, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” while U.S. President Donald Trump “committed to provide security guarantees” to North Korea. The document also calls for the two countries to jointly work on efforts to build a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, to establish new U.S.-North Korea relations and to recover the remains of prisoners of war and military members missing in action. The two sides also promised to hold follow-up negotiations. “We’re going to denuke North Korea,” Trump told VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren.

     He also said neither side issued ultimatums and that the agreement Tuesday was the result of months of negotiations. “You know that could have ended in a war, that could have ended with many millions of people — you know North Korea very well, Seoul has 28 million people, that could have ended with millions of people dead but we ended with a deal,” he said. Trump also told VOA that U.S. troops stationed in South Korea will remain in place, but announced one concession long-sought by North Korea. "We are going to get out of the war games that cost so much money," he said.

     Trump said at later news conference that existing U.S. sanctions will remain in place until North Korean nuclear weapons "are no longer a factor." As for verification, Trump said he and Kim discussed the issue and that monitoring denuclearization efforts would be achieved “by having a lot of people there.” He also predicted Kim would begin work right away to “live up to” the agreement. Asked if the talks included specifics on the size of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, Trump said “what they have is substantial.” On human rights, Trump said Tuesday’s meetings only very briefly touched on the topic, but that the two sides would discuss it more in the future. When asked about thousands of people imprisoned in labor camps, Trump said he thinks he has helped them because things in North Korea will change. “I think they are one of the great winners today,” he said.


     WASHINGTON, D.C.     --   Former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli has been extradited back to his country by the United States to face trial for crimes of political espionage committed during his 2009-2014 term in office. Martinelli will be taken to El Renacer, the prison outside the capital where former dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega was imprisoned, the Public Security Ministry announced. The former president’s attorney, Sydney Sitton, told EFE earlier than expected that this same Monday Martinelli will be submitted to a hearing before the Supreme Court.

      In his hearing, Martinelli’s defense is expected to plea on grounds of his chronic health problems that he be allowed to avoid jail pending trial. The former president will arrive in Panama 3½ years after leaving and after a year behind bars in a US federal prison due to the extradition request in the case of illegal wire tapping of more than 100 members of the opposition. “Mr. Martinelli is coming back because of the crimes he is accused of: political espionage and embezzlement,” Deputy Foreign Minister Luis Miguel Hincapie stated this Monday.

     The US State Department approved his extradition under the rule in the bilateral treaty on the subject that has been in force since 1905, and which specifies that the former head of state can only be tried in his own country for the crime of political espionage, one of more than 10 criminal cases against to be judged by the Supreme Court. Given his position as legislator of the Central American Parliament, Martinelli will be tried by the Supreme Court of Panama.

        BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -   In full day of support for the candidacy of Ivan Duque, in Cesar, a swarm of Africanized bees attacked the crowd. The events occurred in the village of La Loma, in the municipality of El Paso, at the time when the former president and senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez was preparing to go to the stage and give his speech. "The event began and Uribe was going to speak, when the bees attacked all the attendees. It was terrifying to see mothers with children running. There were moments of panic, "said Heriberto Urbina, who witnessed the event.

     About 60 people were affected by the bites of this type of insects, whose venom causes very acute allergic reactions due to its toxic effects. The assistants were evacuated from the place and 15 seriously wounded were registered; They were taken to the nearest hospital, which did not have the necessary medicines and supplies to respond to what happened.

     Those affected were able to get be help in a nearby health post, but two of them were sent to the capital of Cesar to receive specialized care. The mayor of La Loma, Hidalfo de la Cruz, said that the situation could be caused by "the noise of the helicopter or the smoke that caught the runway, nor can we rule out that it is a sabotage." deadly victim, as reported by the representative to the Chamber, Cristian José Moreno, who, along with other congressmen, supported the event.

June 12,  2018


  WASHINGTON, D.C.     --   Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, have arrived in Singapore two days before a historic summit over the fate of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. North Korea’s state media said on Monday the pair would discuss a “permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism” on the Korean peninsula, denuclearisation of the peninsula and other issues of mutual concern.

     The report by Korean Central News Agency said Kim was accompanied by his foreign minister Ri Yong-ho, defence minister No Kwang-chol and sister Kim Yo-jong. The US president travelled on Air Force One, which landed at Paya Lebar airbase where he was greeted by the Singapore foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan. The trip follows a tumultuous G7 meeting in Canada, where Trump personally attacked the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau and refused to sign a previously agreed joint communique.

     Kim arrived at Changi airport several hours earlier onboard a commercial Air China plane, after intense speculation with the public tracking three separate aircraft leaving Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. It is the farthest Kim has travelled since taking power in 2011, and only his third known trip outside the country since then, with the use of a Chinese plane raising questions over the state of North Korea’s ageing fleet of Soviet-built aircraft.


     WASHINGTON, D.C.     --   The mere fact of meeting Trump is a diplomatic coup for the young leader, who is seeking to cast himself as a serious statesman on the international stage. Kim’s push for rapprochement has already weakened sanctions, with China relaxing controls. As Kim’s black Mercedes arrived at the St Regis hotel, it was almost surrounded by bodyguards in suits jogging alongside the car. The scene is reminiscent of Kim’s summit with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, in April when bodyguards flanked Kim’s car as it left the venue.

     Kim met the Singaporean prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, briefly on Sunday, smiling broadly as the two posed for photographs. “The entire world is watching the historic summit between [North Korea] and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts ... we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit,” Kim told Lee through an interpreter. Trump is expected to meet Lee on Monday. About 2,500 journalists from around the world registered to cover the event, according to Singapore’s ministry of communications.

    Security in the city-state has been placed on high alert and traffic has been slowed to a near-standstill on the roads near the hotels where Kim and Trump are staying. Tuesday’s meeting will take place at the Capella Hotel, on the island resort of Sentosa. The summit will cost Singaporean government more than £11m, Lee said. Two South Korean journalists were deported on Saturday after they were arrested for trespassing at the home of the North Korean ambassador earlier in the week.

        CARACAS, VENEZUELA--   Venezuelans have been suffering over the past five years through the collapse of the public transportation system, which has been decimated by rising prices and the scarcity of spare parts, as well as by the lack of government investment. The crisis is forcing thousands of users to either walk wherever they need to go or stand in long lines waiting for the “perreras,” cargo trucks that belong to the Caracas Mayor’s Office or private citizens but without any safety measures for transporting people, since there are very few public buses available.

     The situation has prevailed in virtually all Venezuelan cities since the end of last year, when hyperinflation began to beset the country, rapidly eroding purchasing power and worsening the already-terrible economic crisis by leading to a lack of basic goods, including food, medicines and auto parts. Climbing onto a “perrera” may well be taking your life in your hands, since they don’t have any doors and at least 50 people often try to cram themselves on board the ramshackle vehicles as they creep along dangerous roadways on hills and mountains.

      “Every day it’s the same: it’s chaos,” Jesus Garcia, a 59-year-old government employee living in Barrio Paez, told EFE. “Taking a taxi is impossible, we don’t get paid enough,” he said, given that an average monthly salary amounts to 2.5 million bolivars – $32 at the official rate, but just $1 at the black market rate – and a taxi can cost up to twice that much, depending on the route. The majority of the routes in the capital used to be covered by buses owned by Colectivos del Norte, which used to operate 80 vehicles but which now has only two on the streets due to the lack of spare parts. Most of the buses are almost 50 years old, but about a third of them could return to service if the parts were available.

June 11,  2018


  WASHINGTON, D.C.     --    U.S. President Donald Trump warned Saturday that his meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12 is a "one-time shot" for the reclusive leader. Before leaving the international Group of Seven summit in Quebec, Trump told reporters that he expects to know right away if Kim is serious about giving up the country's nuclear weapons. "Within the first minute I'll know," he said. "It's what I do."

     He has described his planned meeting with Kim as a "mission of peace" and expressed optimism about North Korea's future. "We think North Korea will be a tremendous place in a very short period of time," Trump said. On Friday, Trump defended his readiness for the summit, telling reporters, "I've been preparing for this all my life." Before departing Washington for the G-7 talks, the president said he was taking along "15 boxes of work" he will be reviewing for his meeting with Kim.

     The president himself sparked discussion about his preparations Thursday, when he told reporters that although he believes he is well prepared for the talks, "I don't think I need to prepare very much. It's about attitude, it's about willingness to get things done." The Trump administration is seeking the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In exchange, Pyongyang is believed to be seeking relief from international sanctions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted Thursday that Congress might be given a say in any deal Trump may reach with the North Korean leader.


         WASHINGTON, D.C.   --  -- The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, assured that the resolution that was approved in the 48th General Assembly against the government of President Nicolás Maduro means an important advance in the defense of democracy and human rights and that Venezuela is being represented in the body by an illegitimate government.

    "Specifically in the case of Venezuela, it is a very strong resolution, which declared illegitimate the elections held on May 20," in which Maduro was "reelected" as president, he declared in an interview with CNN en Español. He indicated that the decision adopted last Tuesday is the third resolution approved by the organization declaring that the "elections" of May 20 lack validity for the regional body.

    He recalled that the first resolution was approved in April 2017 that declared the alteration of the constitutional order in Venezuela and again reiterates that concept that opens actions by member states with measures and sanctions in the economic, financial and political fields against the Venezuelan government "We have to think about the representative measures for Venezuela to be present in the OAS," he said.


         CARACAS, VENEZUELA--   The opposition party Free Venezuela Broad Front (FAVL) launched on Friday a series of protests to be held every week as a way of denouncing the economic crisis the oil-producing country is going through, as well as the deterioration of public services under the government of President Nicolas Maduro. FAVL spokesman Nicmer Evans told EFE that these Friday protests will “unify us by showing the power of mobilization and social protest with regard to the political realities.”

     “Citizens demand more mobilization and that a popular leadership emerges in the streets that will demand their rights,” the dissident from Chavismo said at a demonstration in Caracas about the lack of drinking water that currently afflicts the entire country. Evans noted that “every day there are protests” in Venezuela, and believes these conflicts will continue to increase as long as there is no water, medicines, food products, democracy or freedom” and “the government deteriorates absolutely everything. However, the FAVL spokesman at that moment was addressing no more that 30 demonstrators, but with the weekly protests his party hopes the discontent will become more evident.

    He said that simply for the lack of a drinking water supply, elementary schools and high school around the country have had to suspend classes in recent months, and that this reality affects hospitals to an even greater degree, “where the demand for water is greater.” Another 10 people went to the office of the Organization of American States (OAS), also on the east side of Caracas, to deliver a document supporting the resolution approved by 19 of the 34 member countries that questioned the validity of the reelection of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The documents expressed an “unconditional support” for OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro, and asked him to continue “insisting on achieving a decision favorable for the people of Venezuela in this agonizing situation.”

June 10,  2018


  CARACAS, VENEZUELA    --    The board of directors of the National Assembly (AN), headed by its president, Deputy Omar Barboza, received the visit of the charge of business of the United States Embassy, Christopher Lambert, who reiterated that the Government of his country recognizes this entity legislative as the legitimate representation of the people of Venezuela.

     The information was disclosed yesterday by the press office of the AN, in a note in which he indicated that the deputy Omar Barboza said that it was "a visit of courtesy and support to the National Assembly", at the same time he thanked the official of USA UU "Your interest because the Venezuelan parliament can continue to fulfill its constitutional functions and the will to maintain the best relations with the government of the United States."

    Barboza said that the US diplomat is a person with much experience, "who knows the Venezuelan reality well, that the United States has the concern, like all governments of the world, about the serious crisis that Venezuela is going through," he adds. information. "The Chargé d'Affaires of the United States Christopher Lambert, has ratified the will of the government of the United States to be a factor that can contribute to finding peaceful and democratic solutions to the crisis that the country is experiencing. As well as continue to make efforts to restore democracy and the validity of the Constitution in Venezuela, "Barboza added, according to the press release.


          JERUSALEM, ISRAEL --  -- Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and accused the Iranian supreme leader of threatening to destroy Israel.

    Iranian leader Ali Khamenei on Monday accused Israel of using “economic and psychological pressures” to target his country and urged the development of missile systems to defend the Islamic Republic. “The day before yesterday Ayatollah Khamenei, the ruler of Iran, declared his intention to destroy the State of Israel. Yesterday he explained how he would do this – with the unrestricted enrichment of uranium in order to produce an arsenal of nuclear bombs,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.

     Meanwhile, Khamenei wrote to his official Twitter account on Sunday: “Our stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen.” Israel opposes Iran’s nuclear agreement (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the US, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, that limits Tehran’s atomic program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.


         BOGOTA, COLOMBIA--   On the same day of his capture, Santrich began a hunger strike in protest against what he considers a "montage," for which he was transferred to the El Tunal Hospital, and then held at the headquarters of the Paths of Liberty Foundation, an institution of the Episcopate. Colombian for "humanitarian reasons"

    The Embassy of the United States in Bogota today formally filed the request for Jesus Santrich, one of the leaders of the FARC party, to be extradited to be tried for a drug trafficking case, the Colombian Foreign Ministry reported. The request was forwarded to the Ministry of Justice, as well as to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which had suspended its extradition, and to the General Prosecutor's Office, details the Foreign Ministry in a brief statement.

     "The Embassy of the United States of America in Bogotá filed the formal request for the extradition of Mr. Seuxis Paucias Hernández Solarte, which had already been sent to the Ministry of Justice and Law, to the Judicial Secretariat of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and to the General Prosecutor's Office of the Nation, "explained the Foreign Ministry The guerrilla ex-leader, whose name is Seuxis Paucias Hernández, was arrested on April 9 in Bogotá based on a red circular from Interpol at the request of the United States Department of Justice. , which accuses him of having an agreement to export ten tons of cocaine to that country after the FARC signed the definitive peace agreement on November 24, 2016.

June 9,  2018


  WASHINGTON, D.C.     --    A massive flow of desperate Venezuelans into neighboring Colombia is impacting Bogata's implementation of a historic peace accord, the US military's top officer for the region warned Thursday. Under a 2016 deal, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) disarmed its 7,000 fighters in order to join the political process and end the country's 50-year civil war.The deal also is meant to ensure thousands of former fighters are reintegrated into Colombian society.

      But according to Admiral Kurt Tidd, who heads the US military's Southern Command, some of those reintegration funds are being diverted to care for Venezuelans who have fled their crisis-hit country. "A lot of resources that were going to go into reintegration of former FARC members into society... have had to go into taking care of Venezuelans who have fled the economic devastation of Venezuela," Tidd told reporters at a Washington event.

     He said the biggest concern about Venezuela was the "enormous outflow" of desperate Venezuelans without food, medicine or the means to support themselves, and the impact on neighboring countries. "We've seen tens of thousands in Peru. We've seen tens of thousands down in Brazil," Tidd said, noting that "probably" at least a million Venezuelans had gone to Colombia. US President Donald Trump in August said he was mulling a range of scenarios for Venezuela -- "including a possible military option if necessary."


          CARACAS, VENEZUELA --  -- The deputy to the National Assembly and president of the International Commission of Parlasur, Williams Dávila, said that only three Caribbean countries "see with good eyes the electoral farce of May 20," added the parliamentarian in reference to the position within the bloc continental of Bolivia, Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. "The reality is that 11 countries abstained, which means that those governments also do not recognize the legitimacy of the 20M elections among these Ecuador and Nicaragua, traditional allies of the Government."

     Dávila, member of the national directorate of Acción Democrática, said that "the entire American continent is aware of the very serious violations of human rights in Venezuela. After the electoral farce on May 20, Nicolás Maduro remains more and more alone; it no longer has allies at the level of the Inter-American System. " The Adeco leader rejected the government's statements in which they question an eventual suspension of Venezuela because since April of last year they initiated a procedure to withdraw from the hemispheric body.

     "If something was clear in the resolution of the OAS, it is that there were no elections in Venezuela and there is no de facto or de jure president, he has no legitimacy of origin. As a result, they can not remove the people of Venezuela from the OAS. " In relation to the proposal of Ecuador, Dávila was pronounced by the appointment of a new National Electoral Council, with international observation to submit to popular consultation the result of the elections of May 20. The parliamentarian asked the OAS to send to the International Criminal Court the report prepared by the experts of the regional body to open an investigation into the crimes against humanity committed by the Government.


         MADRID, SPAIN --   Spanish police have arrested a son of one of Venezuela’s wealthiest businessmen on suspicion of involvement in money laundering, sources close to the investigation told EFE on Wednesday. UDEF Central of the General Commissioner of Judicial Police has arrested on Wednesday businessman Roberto Roberto Rincon, son of Venezuelan tycoon Roberto Enrique Rincon Fernandez, living in the United States and after being arrested in 2015 confessed before the courts of that country to have bribed officials so that his company was adjudicataria of certain supplies for the state oil company PDVSA.

     Two courts in Madrid were investigating, in coordination with authorities in Portugal and Andorra, several cases linked to the laundering of money originating in Venezuela, the sources said. The operation, which is ongoing, was initiated in mid-2017 by National Court Judge Carmen Lamela, and is currently probing seven suspects, the sources said.

    The investigation was triggered by a whistleblower who lodged a complaint against managers responsible for Venezuela’s state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) when the late Hugo Chávez was president. Lamela had passed the case on to two Madrid courts who have continued to investigate the alleged siphoning-off of some 6 billion euros ($7.1 billion) by senior officials in Venezuela’s Energy Ministry, of which several million are suspected to have been diverted through Spain, the sources said. Rincón has been under investigation for links to bribery payments made to PDVSA, the sources said.

June 8,  2018


  WASHINGTON, D.C.     --   The decisions of the 48th OAS Assembly held during the past June 4 and 5, pose for the government of President Nicolás Maduro and for the country as a whole a picture that reveals a geopolitical situation regarding Venezuela's relations with the rest of the nations of the region, which are subject to considerations on the part of experts in the international field. In the document, the OAS asks the Government to restore the authority of the National Assembly, respect human rights, allow humanitarian aid, especially in health, and urges member states to adopt political, economic and financial measures to restore democratic order In Venezuela.

     Lastly, apply the Inter-American Democratic Charter that would imply the suspension of Venezuela from the OAS. Suspending Venezuela from the Organization of American States (OAS) is a "complex diplomatic process" that requires the support of two thirds (24) of the 34 member countries, said the secretary general of the organization, Luis Almagro. "The value of the suspension is its character of political and moral sanction of some governments over another, rather than the practical consequences of not participating in the activities and programs of the OAS," he added.

    Article 20 of the OAS Democratic Charter determines the lines that lead to a process of diplomatic efforts to promote the normalization of democratic institutions that, if unsuccessful, would result in the application of article 21 of the continental regulations, said the specialist Mariano of Alba. In the first place, any of the member states or the general secretary "may request the immediate convocation of the Permanent Council for a collective assessment of the situation and adopt the decisions it deems appropriate."


          CARACAS, VENEZUELA --  -- The dictator of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, congratulated on Thursday the Chancellor of the Republic, Jorge Arreaza, and his team, for the victory obtained in the Organization of American States (OAS), an instance in which "imperialism did not get the votes to achieve the expulsion of Venezuela from the bloc. " "Two years ago we defeated them in the Dominican Republic when they tried to approve a document to expel us and they did not succeed, in 2017 it was in Cancun Mexico, and now in Washington where we were victorious because they did not win the votes," he said. He decided to retire because of the abuses. "

     "We have received the greatest pressure and international aggression," he added. In this sense, the dictator added that "if the coup rightist dares to try to assault power in Venezuela, he would act". "The Bolivarian revolution would activate a special plan to radicalize in all senses and would be the beginning of the end for the Venezuelan opposition, I say it in time and what I say I keep it," he said. On the other hand, the AA of the Republic delivered to Chancellor Jorge Arreaza the replica of the sword of the Liberator Simón Bolívar "for the truth and to defend the Republic before the empire".

     Earlier, the head of state, met the communal sectors and stressed the "importance to organize and beautify each place." social to detail that I will launch forcefully in a few weeks to drive the great changes that the people want and the country needs, I want to put the Petro in the communal banks, to boost a new economic life with our cryptocurrency ".In addition, as part of the dialogues with sectors of the opposition, people prosecuted for political violence during the years 2014-2017 will continue to be released in the coming days.


          WASHINGTON, D.C.   --  The deputy to the National Assembly (AN), Julio Borges, reported on Thursday that, during his international tour to denounce the economic, political and social crisis that Venezuela is going through, he has visited about 15 presidents from both Europe and America.

    During a Skype interview on the First Page program broadcast by Globovisión, the leader of Primero Justicia (PJ) indicated that there is a "huge" international concern about the situation in the country."They are measures that do not have to go back, on the contrary, they will continue to increase, because there is a very clear determination of all the democracies of the world, and that is that there must be a democratic change in the country.

    The goal of all those who are helping Venezuela is that there be respect for human rights, humanitarian aid and free elections, "said Borges from Washington, USA. He said he is convinced that in the short term, there will be a "political change" in the country. "Venezuela wants to be open to the world, to be a modern country, of work, development and work," he said.

June 7,  2018


  BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA    --  On a visit to Buenos Aires, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court referred to the denunciations of the repression in Venezuela. Today, she is the woman most feared by a war criminal. As prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, born in Gambia 57 years ago, has the power to bring to justice those who committed crimes against humanity or human rights violations in any of the 123 countries within her jurisdiction.

    In February of this year she began to collect information about the repression of the opposition marches in Venezuela last year. On a visit to Buenos Aires, where she gave several lectures for the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the ICC, Bensouda explained how she is investigating the Venezuelan case. We received allegations that the Venezuelan State security forces used excessive force to suppress demonstrations and imprisoned members of the opposition. For now we are in what we call "preliminary examination". Then we will see if an investigation is justified.

    In the first stage we will collect information from credible sources about crimes committed by either party, the State or the opposition. Bensouda assured no one is above the law and if Nicolás Maduro was ever formally accused, she would initiate the corresponding investigations. In no case does it matter if the official is actually in government or not anymore. For example, in Africa, we have issued two arrest warrants for war crimes against the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, and the president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has already had to appear before the ICC. The position the individual holds does not give immunity to anyone, she concluded.


           MANAGUA, NICARAGUA --  -- The death toll in Nicaragua from protests against the country’s president has risen to 127, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said on Monday. Speaking from the IACHR’s headquarters in Washington DC, the group’s Executive Secretary, Paulo Abrao, said that, in addition to the deaths, close 1,000 people had been injured during the civil unrest against Daniel Ortega’s rule, which began in mid-April. “According to our data, a total of 130 people have died in the course of protests and nearly a thousand have been injured,” Abrao said IACHR.

     To illustrate the scale of the fatalities, Abrao pointed to the bloody demonstration in 2017 that gripped Venezuela, a country six times larger than Nicaragua, which left 112 people dead. He added that the Nicaraguan authorities’ response to the protests has been “very disproportionate,” and was aimed at creating an atmosphere of “intimidation and terror.” Last week, the Organization of American States agreed with the IACHR and Nicaraguan government to create a commission to investigate the unrest.

    Over the weekend, in the city of Masaya, 28 kilometers (17 miles) southeast of Managua, clashes between protesters and the police, supported by pro-government groups, left at least 10 dead, including a police officer, 62 wounded and 10 missing, according to a report by the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights. The National Police condemned the “terror acts committed in the country by these criminal groups” and the death of the officer.


          CARACAS, VENEZUELA   --Jailed lawmakers Gilber Caro and Renzo Prieto rejoined the opposition-controlled Venezuelan Congress on Tuesday after the Nicolas Maduro government ordered their release as part of a reconciliation plan. Prieto and Caro, who were two of the three lawmakers set free over the weekend, arrived at the legislature in downtown Caracas accompanied by several others of their freed colleagues, including former San Cristobal Mayor Daniel Ceballos and Raul Emilio Baduel, son of Raul Isaias Baduel, who served as defense minister under late President Hugo Chavez.

    The two were welcomed with applause by opposition lawmakers to a session where a debate was scheduled on the situation of political prisoners in Venezuela, who according to government critics number more than 400. As they took their places in Congress, Caro took down a banner that had been hanging for months in the congressional chamber, and on which were counted the days he was held prisoner, while Prieto was sworn-in to his position, since he was imprisoned before he was elected.

    The third of the released lawmakers, Wilmer Azuaje, is a regional legislator from the western state of Barinas. Azuaje was arrested for “illicit possession of weapons of war,” “illicit munitions trafficking” and the “wrongful wearing of a military uniform.” Gilber Caro was arrested on Jan. 11, 2017, by agents of the Sebin intelligence service, allegedly in possession of a weapon, explosives, and other military materiel. Prieto had been arrested in 2014 accused of the violence that occurred in anti-government protests in February of that year.





June 6,  2018


  WASHINGTON, D.C.   -Washington.- The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved on Tuesday a resolution that opens the doors to the suspension of Venezuela from the organization and  does not recognize the legitimacy of the elections of May 20, in which dictator Nicolás Maduro was reelected as president. The resolution, the most forceful gesture of the OAS against Maduro, was approved with 19 votes during the General Assembly of the OAS, the most important meeting of the organization.

    The vote was voiced with the abstention of 11 countries, among which were traditional allies of the Nicolás Maduro regime, such as Nicaragua, while four other nations voted against, led by Venezuela, whose chancellor Jorge Arreaza said he voted " flatly against ". This is the first time that a resolution on the Venezuelan crisis has been approved in a General Assembly, a topic that already centered the previous OAS General Assembly in Cancun (Mexico), but that ended without a condemnatory declaration because, at the last moment, the Caribbean support shifted to Venezuela.

    The resolution approved today was prompted by the United States and the 14 countries of the Lima Group, a bloc that accounts for more than 90% of the American population: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia. Those 15 countries voted in favor of the resolution, a group joined by the Dominican Republic (traditional ally of Venezuela), as well as the Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados, three Caribbean countries that had previously voted in favor of pronouncements on Venezuela in the OAS. The resolution needed 18 votes to be approved and got the support of 19 countries. Meanwhile, eleven countries abstained: Suriname, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Uruguay, Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti and Nicaragua.


           WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  -- The United States on Monday called on members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to suspend Venezuela from the group and ramp up pressure on DICTATOR Nicolas Maduro’s government with new sanctions. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and fellow foreign ministers participate in the Organization of American States (OAS) 48th meeting of the General Assembly in Washington, U.S., June 4, 2018. Maduro won re-election in a May vote that the Venezuelan opposition, along with the United States and other Latin American nations, have decried as a sham cementing a dictatorship which has devastated a once-prosperous economy.

    “Suspension ... would show that OAS backs up its words with action and would send a powerful signal to the Maduro regime: Only real elections will allow your government to be included in the family of nations,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo participates in the Organization of American States (OAS) 48th meeting of the General Assembly in Washington, U.S., June 4, 2018. “We seek only what all the nations of the OAS want for our people: A return to the constitutional order, free and fair elections with international observation, and the release of political prisoners,” he told the 34-member OAS’s general assembly in Washington.

    Pompeo said OAS member states should apply new sanctions on Venezuela to further isolate it diplomatically after the May 20 election, in which Maduro’s two most popular rivals were barred from standing. After Pompeo’s comments, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza accused the U.S. of violating international law. Maduro calls the OAS a pawn of U.S. foreign policy and last year said he would pull Venezuela out of the organization.


          CARACAS, VENEZUELA   -- The dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, said today that he will declare as a national holiday the date on which his country definitively leaves the Organization of American States (OAS) which, it is estimated, will occur in April of next year. "On that day we are going to have a national party, when Venezuela leaves the OAS we are going to have a town party, we are going to declare a holiday for the entire country," Maduro said during a meeting with authorities of the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV). in Caracas.

    The declarations of the Chavista leader take place while the United States and similar countries try in Washington to make a special session prosper, in the framework of the OAS General Assembly that started today, to suspend Venezuela from the organization, for which they need the support of 24 of the 34 member states. Maduro said that Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza attended the OAS session today and ordered him to answer "all the grievances" of the United States and from other countries to defend the "dignity of the Venezuelan people, even if I have to speak a thousand times".

    It is "the last General Assembly in which a Venezuelan chancellor participates, because we denounce the OAS and we leave the OAS, the ministry of colonies," the dictator continued, recalling that his government began proceedings in April of last year. abandon the instance, a process that takes 24 months. "We are leaving the OAS, ratified, and it is 13 months out of the 24 that we have to wait for it to become effective," he stressed. The dictator of the so-called Bolivarian revolution said that the OAS is useless, "the most boring thing" in the world and "where time is lost most" for being "kidnapped by US imperialism."

June 5,  2018


  WASHINGTON, D.C.   --Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday called for freedom in Cuba, saying the country's youth wants opportuniies to "achieve their potential to deliver bright future for themselves." Pompeo's remarks came during a meeting of the Organization of American States, an organization headquartered near the White House that brings together political leaders from across the Western Hemisphere. The secretary of state took the opportunity to mention issues across the Americas, including the situation in Cuba where he said the country's youth desire freedom not found under Communist rule.

     "In Cuba today, we see an expectation that change is inevitable and that it can't come quickly enough," Pompeo said. "Young Cubans, born under a dictatorship, are uninterested in hollow revolutionary slogans." He said young Cubans demand opportunities not currently found under the leadership of President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Raúl Castro, the country's former president and the current First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.

     "They demand educational opportunities, free from political constraints or a totalitarian regime's repression. They want what youth everywhere else wants: opportunities to use their talents, to exercise their voice, achieve their potential to deliver bright future for themselves," Pompeo said. "As Democratic societies, we must support young people in Cuba and elsewhere in the Hemisphere in their hopes for Democratic change." Cuba has been controlled by its Communist Party regime for nearly 60 years. As a result, many Cubans have spent their entire lives not knowing what the country was like without a totalitatrian regime running the island nation.


           WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  -- Argentina, Brazil , Canada , Chile , the United States , Mexico and Peru proposed Monday to begin the procedure to eventually suspend Venezuela from the Organization of American States, due to the breakdown of democratic order, according to a document at the 48th Assembly of the organization. in Washington DC

     The "Draft resolution on the situation in Venezuela", presented by the permanent missions of these seven countries to the OAS, proposes to apply the mechanisms provided for in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which may lead to the suspension of the participation of a member state when there is an "alteration of the constitutional order that seriously affects its democratic order". Point 10 of this bill specifically calls for the application of the provisions of Articles 20 and 21 of the Charter to "promote the normalization of democratic institutions".

     These mechanisms range from diplomatic efforts to the eventual convocation to an extraordinary general assembly that, by two thirds of votes, may decide to suspend a member state. Diplomatic sources said that it is expected to discuss the draft resolution on Monday and vote on Tuesday in the plenary of the general assembly. To pass a resolution in the OAS, it is necessary to have a simple majority, that is, 18 votes. The OAS has 35 members, although only 34 are active since Cuba does not participate. The session was called again for this Tuesday at 10:00 am.


          WASHINGTON, D.C.   -- In an exclusive interview with the Voice of America, the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, assured that four countries of the hemispheric organization plan to denounce Nicolás Maduro before the International Criminal Court. His pronouncement took place hours after publishing a letter, sent by himself to the prosecutor of the body that prosecutes cases in which there are crimes against humanity and war crimes.

     The letter contains the conclusions of a panel of three independent experts, to whom the General Secretariat of the OAS had asked to analyze whether there is sufficient evidence that in Venezuela, under the government of Nicolás Maduro, crimes against humanity have been committed. The forcefulness of the considerations supports the action of the Secretary General, Luis Almagro.

     Although legally the letter only adds arguments to other complaints before the International Criminal Court, its content and its foundations would contribute to strengthening a subsequent complaint initiative that comes from at least one country, as required to open the formal case against Nicolás Mature before the Court. Although the Venezuelan crisis is one of the multiple issues that is being addressed by the representatives of hemispheric diplomacy, the level of democracy degradation in Venezuela and the precarious living conditions faced by millions of its nationals, requires new actions by the OAS.

June 4,  2018


    WASHINGTON, D.C. --  The Trump Administration has launched to corral the Venezuelan Government through an economic and political asphyxiation that, as expected, serves to tear down what he considers to be the greatest risk to the continent since the irruption of communist Cuba. In parallel to the harsh sanctions directed at the elites of the regime, the second major offensive points to the growing marginalization of Caracas in each of the political and diplomatic spheres. The last major objective would be the suspension of Venezuela of all the organs within the Organization of American States (OAS), for which it pressures the countries that can decant a possible vote in the assembly that begins tomorrow in Washington. This is what reviews

     The American claim will be visible from the first hour. Vice President Mike Pence plans to make a "personal appeal" to the ambassadors of the Latin American institution in a morning ceremony at the White House. For this, the number two of the State Department, John Sullivan, has been responsible for bringing together the delegations participating in the 48th OAS General Assembly. The message will be direct. He will appeal to all of them to take advantage of the meeting, which is held from Monday to Wednesday, to vote for the exclusion of Venezuela from all the activities of the organization. In practice, it would be the expulsion of the Government of Maduro, a political punishment of undoubted impact.

     If approved, the decision would place Venezuela at the same level as Cuba, suspended in 1962 as a result of the arrival of communism in power at the hands of Fidel Castro. In addition to not participating in any body, Havana is excluded from all agency programs, such as anti-corruption, security and rights promotion. The other precedent affected Honduras in 2009, although only for two years, in retaliation for the coup d'état that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The departure of the OAS, either by expulsion or by its own decision, requires a long process that can last between two and three years. Precisely, the Government of Maduro requested in April 2017 the march of the entity, which is in process. Something that is not going to subtract forcefulness to a suspension that diplomatic means qualify as "sanction and international reaffirmation against the regime."


           WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  -- The United States obtained support in the Organization of American States to vote a resolution that does not recognize the re-election of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela; also, pave the way to suspend the country's regional body, said on Sunday the US ambassador to the OAS, Carlos Trujillo. "We have the 24 votes to approve the agenda and the 18 to support and pass the resolution" in the OAS General Assembly that begins on Monday, the diplomat told AFP, stating that this is "a step" towards the suspension of Venezuela of the organism by rupture of the democratic order.

     Trujillo declined to say what the countries are, but said that it is expected to present a resolution on Venezuela on Monday. "He will talk about humanitarian issues, that nobody will recognize the elections as legitimate and on the subject of the suspension" of Venezuela of the OAS, he said. "Passing the resolution is the first step to get to pass the suspension," he added. The draft agenda for the 48th annual OAS meeting, which will be held on Monday and Tuesday at the headquarters in Washington, already includes in point 24 dealing with "the situation in Venezuela." But the inclusion of the issue in the official agenda of the meeting must be approved by two thirds of the Member States in a vote scheduled early Monday.

      The elections of May 20, in which Maduro was re-elected, were boycotted by the majority of the Venezuelan opposition and unknown by the United States, which denounced them as a "farce", as well as by the European Union, 13 Latin American countries and Canada. . The situation in Venezuela has already played a leading role in the discussions of the last two general assemblies of the OAS - in the Mexican resort of Cancún last year and in Santo Domingo in 2016 - but never as part of the official agenda. The OAS has 35 members, although only 34 are active since Cuba does not participate. For the OAS to adopt a resolution on Venezuela, it must have a simple majority of its 35 member states.


          MANAGUA, NICARAGUA -- A U.S. citizen was found shot to death in the capital Saturday as violence and social unrest continue to grip Nicaragua. The body of Sixto Henry Vera was lying in a street beside two burned vehicles with a bullet wound to the head, the state forensic medicine institute said. Employees at the Managua bar owned by Vera, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said he left late Friday to help a friend who was being attacked. U.S. Ambassador Laura Dogu offered condolences via Twitter on Saturday to "the family of a U.S. citizen who died," saying the death of a U.S. citizen is of "great concern" for the embassy.

      Vera's death occurred at a tense time for Nicaragua. More than 110 people have been killed in the country since mid-April amid clashes between forces loyal to President Daniel Ortega and opposition groups demanding his removal. Streets across the country are often deserted after dark as armed groups circulate in vehicles without license plates, shooting and robbing. On Wednesday, more than a dozen people died in shootings that erupted around protests on Mothers' Day in Nicaragua. Gunmen firing into crowds sent thousands of demonstrators running for cover at the marches, which were led by mothers of victims who died in recent protests.

      Civil society groups alleged the attackers were members of paramilitary groups loyal to Ortega. Government officials blamed the opposition groups who are seeking to oust Ortega. The rise of criminal gangs has led residents in several cities to organize neighborhood watch groups with barricades. The Red Cross reported that two people manning barricades in the city of Masaya were fatally shot Saturday. "I beg the people of my city, Masaya, to not go out onto the street and to protect themselves in their homes, the situation is very dangerous," Managua's auxiliary Roman Catholic bishop, Silvio Baez, said via Twitter.

June 3,  2018


--  The Trump administration is expected on Monday to call on partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to stop talking about Venezuela and suspend the country from the Organization of American States, McClatchy has learned. Vice President Mike Pence will deliver the strong message at a reception with allies where he will promise to take notice of countries who don’t stand with the United States on a vote Tuesday to kick Venezuela out of the United Nations-like organization of Latin American countries. “Dictatorships thrive on the indulgence of regional divisions,” a White House official told McClatchy.

    “The Maduro regime will only further consolidate autocratic power at the cost of democracy and freedom if OAS members lack the courage to act.” The more than 30 nations will convene Monday and Tuesday for the 48th annual OAS General Assembly where Venezuelan is expected to be the focus of two days of discussions in Washington.Tuesday’s vote will be a significant test for the Latin American and Caribbean diplomats who have been reluctant to take punitive measures against one of their own. Venezuela has said they're already leaving the OAS announcing last year it would begin the withdrawal process.

    But under the OAS charter, it takes two years for a nation to quit the organization and officials could change their mind. Venezuela sits on the world's largest oil reserves, but the once-thriving nation has plummeted into a deepening humanitarian and economic crisis amid food shortages and an inflation rate that has quadrupled in recent months. Despite Venezuela’s dramatic economic collapse, the country can still count on the support of many Caribbean nations. Some remain loyal to Maduro personally; others are reluctant to set a precedent out of fear that they could be the next one targeted.


           WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  -- Vice President Mike Pence on Monday asked the countries of the Western Hemisphere to suspend Venezuela from the 35-nation Organization of American States. Pence also urged member states to cut off Venezuelan leaders from their financial systems and to enact visa restrictions. “To uphold the democracy and freedom, we call the members of the OAS to suspend Venezuela from the Organization of American States,” said Pence, the first U.S. vice president to address the group since Al Gore in 1994.

     Pence asked Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to suspend the May 20 presidential election, which he called “no more than fraud and sham.” Pence also urged Maduro to “open Venezuela to international aid, and do it now.” Venezuela has refused to allow international aid, alleging that would amount to foreign intervention. The South American nation also denies there is an ongoing humanitarian crisis, even though thousands of Venezuelans have fled to other countries in the region.

     Venezuela did not send an official to hear Pence’s speech, but minutes later Samuel Moncada, Venezuela’s deputy foreign relations minister for North America, called Pence remarks a “farce” and a “monstrosity.” Moncada said in April 2017 his country started a two-year process to withdraw from the Washington-based Organization of American States. “We want to leave. We are counting the days so we can leave, but this is the most dangerous place in the world for Venezuela and I have to show up to defend Venezuela,” he said.


          HAVANA, CUBA -- Cuba’s national assembly named former President Raul Castro on Saturday to head the commission charged with carrying out changes to the constitution that would provide legal backing to the island’s economic and social opening Cuba's former President Raul Castro (C-L) waves as he arrives for the extraordinary session of the Cuba's National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, June 2, 2018. Marcelino Vazquez Hernandez/ACN/Handout via REUTERS

The nomination of Castro, 86, adds to signs that the presidential handover in April to 58-year old Miguel Diaz-Canel does not herald a sweeping change to the island’s one-party socialist system, one of the last in the world. Castro is slated to remain head of the Cuban Communist Party until 2021. The current constitution, adopted in 1976 during the Cold War and amended three time since, calls the party the country’s guiding political force - a definition that Castro has said will not change in the rewrite.

     “As I said when I took this office last April 19, comrade and army general Raul Castro Ruz will lead the major decisions on the present and future of the nation,” Diaz-Canel told the national assembly, which was holding an extraordinary session outside its usual twice-yearly July and December meets. “Correspondingly, the Council of State proposes that it is he who presides this commission.” The new constitution is expected to include age and term limits for political leaders proposed by Castro and to reflect other changes in society like broader rights for the gay and lesbian community. “What is coming is an “update” of Cuba’s constitution, not the prologue to a “transition” or an otherwise dramatic break,” said Michael Bustamante, an assistant professor of Latin American history at Florida International University.

June 2,  2018


--  In an exclusive interview with the Voice of America, the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, assured that four countries of the hemispheric organization plan to denounce Nicolás Maduro before the International Criminal Court. His pronouncement took place hours after publishing a letter, sent by himself to the prosecutor of the body that prosecutes cases in which there are crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    The letter contains the conclusions of a panel of three independent experts, to whom the General Secretariat of the OAS had asked to analyze whether there is sufficient evidence that in Venezuela, under the government of Nicolás Maduro, crimes against humanity have been committed. The forcefulness of the considerations supports the action of the Secretary General, Luis Almagro. Although legally the letter only adds arguments to other complaints before the International Criminal Court, its content and its foundations would contribute to strengthening a subsequent complaint initiative that comes from at least one country, as required to open the formal case against Nicolás Mature before the Court.

    The Summit of Foreign Ministers of the organization in Washington, as assured the Secretary General, Luis Almagro, analyze in political sphere, a motion that seeks to approve the convocation of an extraordinary assembly, to analyze the suspension of Venezuela of the organism. Although the Venezuelan crisis is one of the multiple issues that will be addressed by the representatives of hemispheric diplomacy, the level of democracy degradation in Venezuela and the precarious living conditions faced by millions of its nationals, requires new actions by the OAS.


           CUCUTA, COLOMBIA --  -- Latin American parliamentarians urged, in a joint session with Venezuelan assembly members carried out in the National Assembly of Colombia located in Cúcuta, the revocation of visas and freezing of assets of Venezuelan officials of the Nicolás Maduro regime in their respective countries. As the deputy to the National Assembly , Tomás Guanipa, announced on May 29, the assembly members want to show the world " the drama that Venezuelans who are crossing the border are living , and the amount they have to leave because they do not find opportunities in Venezuela. "

    The session began with words of welcome from the President of the Colombian Senate , Efrain Cepeda Sarabia , later, Rodrigo Lara Restrepo , the highest authority of the House of Representatives of the Coffee Republic, continued with his speech. "The history of Venezuela and Colombia has been linked forever, both peoples have fought together for freedom, now we fight together against a dictatorship disguised as a revolution," Lara said . He also said that "it is unacceptable that this nation has been destroyed by the illusions of populism, not only imposed a regime of dictatorship, but it plunged Venezuela into a crisis without precedents."

     "Every day there is more misery in a country that is naturally rich, " he added. The authority exclaimed that the Government of Maduro has stripped Venezuelans of their right to decide, "that is not democracy, that is dictatorship." " Putting a Constituent Assembly to ignore the popular will is not democracy, it is tyranny, therefore re-establishing the national assembly is a priority for all parliaments present "We tell the regime that the National Assembly of Venezuela is the only legitimate spokesperson of the people and the only body to legislate, " he said. "Those who violate human rights, participate in corruption and drug trafficking, will not find approval, impunity and peace in any of our countries . " Our countries will not be a refuge for criminals, and their assets, " he said. " United in one will, I'm sure we can make a difference to support the Venezuelan National Assembly ," Rojas concluded.


          CARACAS, VENEZUELA  -- Venezuela's interior and justice minister Néstor Reverol said on Thursday that by order of the head of state, Nicolás Maduro, 12 tons of "humanitarian aid" will be sent to Cuba to deal with the destruction of the storm Alberto, a gesture that has generated reactions of rejection in the South American country. "Our President @NicolasMaduro has instructed us to support our Cuban brothers who have suffered serious damage with the passage of the subtropical storm #Alberto, affecting 5 provinces of the sister island," Reverol posted on his Twitter account.

     The Minister of Interior accompanied the message of several photos in the international airport of Maiquetía, which serves Caracas, where he was accompanied, among other persons, by the Cuban ambassador to the oil country, Rogelio Polanco. The subtropical storm Alberto has flooded the central area of the island causing four deaths and damages not yet calculated in infrastructure, housing and crops. In the center of the island, the worst part of the floods caused by the heavy rains that have caused communications cuts and the evacuation of thousands of people have been taken.

    The donation generated rejection comments on social networks and within the opposition ranks that have requested the opening of a humanitarian channel to enter Venezuela medicines and basic foods that for several years have been scarce or simply do not exist in the oil country. The opposition deputy Tomás Guanipa, for example, said in his Twitter account: "While Venezuelans are dying of hunger for lack of food and medicines and the regime prevents humanitarian aid for our country, they send humanitarian aid to Cuba (... ) This is a crime against humanity! "

June 1st.,  2018


Nicaraguan Health Minister Sonia Castro confirmed Thursday that 15 people have died and 199 have been wounded over the past two days of anti-government protests around the country. At public and private health centers nationwide "(medical) attention was provided to 199 people who were injured and we also have 15 fatalities," said the minister at a press conference together with other top public officials. This is the second time since the eruption of the crisis on April 18 that the Daniel Ortega government has confirmed fatalities resulting from the protests, although humanitarian organizations say that the death toll so far stands at about 100.

    The first time the government acknowledged protest deaths was when Vice President Rosario Murillo spoke of 10 fatalities in an April 20 appearance before reporters. The assistant director of the National Police, Francisco Diaz, on Thursday at the press conference read from a report specifying that of the 15 deaths over the past two days, seven occurred in Managua, four in Esteli, three in Chinandega and one in Masaya. On Thursday, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights released a preliminary report in which it lists at least 11 deaths and 79 people injured during the incidents on Wednesday and Thursday, and it energetically condemned the acts of violence and repression "ordered" by the government.

    Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said that the government is "confronting with reason and the law this criminal wave" and denied the existence of "shock troops or paramilitary groups aligned with the government," adding that the Ortega administration had not and will "never" provoke such "sorrowful and tragic events." He urged the "authorities to coordinate the effort for national dialogue, call for calm and cease all violence, with an eye toward continuing to work for security, justice and peace." Nicaragua is mired in a socio-political crisis that began with protests over government-sponsored social security reforms but continued even after the Ortega administration cancelled the reforms, exacerbated as a result of the demonstrators killed.


           WASHINGTON, D.C. -- 
The U.S. Embassy in Managua will be closed to the public on Thursday as civil unrest continues across Nicaragua. The decision was taken considering the traffic disruptions and unpredictable violence that happened on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Central American nation. It was closed on Tuesday as well. The embassy will, however, provide emergency services by telephone and all other appointments will be rescheduled at the earliest, an official statement read. “The U.S. Embassy in Managua reminds U.S. citizens in Nicaragua that several Nicaraguan laws could be construed to prohibit foreigners from participating in demonstrations, marches, and protests,” the statement said.

    Nicaraguan constitution prohibits foreign interference in the internal matters of the country. Migration law also lists two activities that could cause foreigners' lawful residence in Nicaragua invalid: participating in activities that destabilize Nicaragua economically or politically and/ or participating in national politics. The statement said, “Additionally, we are aware of Nicaraguans with a second nationality who have received threats from Nicaraguan government officials due to their foreign nationality combined with their participation in recent demonstrations. We ask that you keep these factors in mind when deciding whether to participate in demonstrations.”

     The embassy has also advised the U.S. government personnel in Nicaragua to remain in their homes and avoid unnecessary travel. It also asked them to avoid Rotunda Metrocentro, Rotonda Universitaria and the vicinity of all universities over concerns of violence when the embassy is open to the public. Until further notice, the embassy will not be providing routine visa services and American citizens who need emergency U.S. travel documents can visit the embassy between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. local time (9.30 a.m. and 12 p.m. EDT). The embassy was receiving a high number of calls regarding people’s welfare and hence it requested U.S. citizens to keep family and friends back home informed.


          VATICAN CITY, ITALY -- 
‘A kilogram of milk powder costs more than the average monthly wage. How can the Venezuelan mothers to feed their children?’ “A kilogram of milk powder costs more than the average monthly wage. How can the Venezuelan mothers to feed their children?” asked Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, at a May 31, 2018, press conference in Caracas organized by Aid to the Church in Need in partnership with the association Venezuela Little Venice.The Cardinal denounced the plight of Venezuela, putting the blame on the government.

    “Already in 2010 I said that the political Marxist totalitarian system that the current administration has imposed would lead to ruin our country and so it was,” said Cardinal Savino. “Bankruptcy decisions of the government and especially the failed economic policies have meant that we were in these tragic conditions. And we cannot even hope in the opposition so that everyone who is opposed to the regime is imprisoned or exiled. ” The Cardinal noted how the situation has drastically fallen over the past four years, especially for children:”It is very painful to see children rummage through the garbage looking for food.” According to Venezuela Little Venice, nearly 17 percent of the nation’s children are malnourished.

     In the current circumstances, the Venezuelan Church tries, even with limited resources, to meet the needs of the population. “In many parishes, the Church feeds Venezuelans through ‘solidarity pots,’” the Cardinal said. “Our priests and our religious are really the heroes alongside the poor of Venezuela.” Bishop Oswaldo Azuaje Pérez of Trujillo, near the border with Colombia, said “My priests live the gospel with missionary spirit and experience the same conditions of the faithful. Even in the Diocese of Trujillo, the ‘pots in solidarity’ offered by parishes are needed to feed the population. In some areas, malnutrition is the cause of children’s death…In these crime and drug trafficking areas because of insecurity. A few days ago a priest was attacked.”

May 31, 2018


A report accusing the Venezuelan government of crimes against humanity will be sent to the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, while the head of the Organization of American States said he expects increasingly severe sanctions to attack the regime of President Nicolás Maduro soon. Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the OAS, said he expects at least one country to sponsor the report of his organization, which would trigger a formal investigation by the ICC, within a month. He declined to say which country would likely sponsor the effort, although he said four countries have expressed interest in doing so.

    An accusation by the ICC would put Maduro's government on a par with the regimes of Omar al-Bashir in Sudan and the late Moammar Al Qaddafi of Libya. "We expect justice" for the Venezuelan people, Almagro said in an interview on Wednesday on Bloomberg Television, a day after a panel of experts convened by the OAS concluded that Maduro's government was involved in multiple murders and at least 12,000 cases of imprisonment and arbitrary detention. He also accused the authorities of torture, rape, political persecution and enforced disappearances.

     Almagro said that Maduro and his allies are increasingly isolated from the difficult economic and humanitarian situation of the country, which has been affected by hyperinflation, shortages of food and other basic goods, as well as the decline of the oil industry. Venezuelan The top officials of the regime now depend more on the income derived from illicit activities, such as drug smuggling, than the legal ones, he added. "No one could do worse" when governing Venezuela, said Almagro, and asked that the country has a democratic transition. Canada, the United States and the European Union will probably continue to increase sanctions against Venezuela in the coming weeks and months, he said, adding that the goal is to "make the sanctions as stringent as possible to bring them to the negotiating table."


           WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Manuel Ventura Robles and Santiago Cantón participated in the press conference of the Organization of American States (OAS) with a panel of independent international experts who presented their conclusions and recommendations on "if crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela." "Nicolás Maduro can be imprisoned for human rights violations committed by his regime," is the statement of Santiago Cantón, who heard testimony, read reports and crossed information on the crisis in Venezuela for months.

    Cantón was one of the experts to whom the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, commissioned to prepare a report to determine if there were grounds to denounce Maduro and his collaborators before the International Criminal Court. Hague. The report, presented on Tuesday, concluded that yes. The Argentine delegate lists hundreds of extrajudicial executions and cases of torture ranging from rape, enforced disappearance, and political background persecution. It estimates that there are more than 20,000 victims, the worst human rights crisis in Venezuela.

    "And the humanitarian crisis that affects the entire population, and that the government takes advantage politically because it gives food to those on one side, and not to the other," says Cantón, in an interview with LA NACION. -It is a very serious situation. One thing we also identify in the report is the absolute absence of justice in an obscene manner. Several prosecutors who left the country tell us that they received calls directly from the presidency to imprison the mayors from the opposition. Justice is a 100% tool to imprison you, torture you, for everything. It is a very important difference. In Venezuela there is nothing that allows to say, well, there is going to be justice. There is nothing. It is an important fact.


           Montreal, Canada -- The Foreign Policy Office of Canada confirmed that 14 members of the Bolivarian government have been sanctioned "in response to the illegitimate and undemocratic presidential elections held in Venezuela on May 20.The 14 individuals identified by the new Canadian sanctions are: Tania Valentina Díaz González , vice president of the Cuban constituency; Fidel Ernesto Vásquez Iriarte , secretary of the Cuban National Constituent Assembly; Carolys Helena Pérez González, undersecretary of the Cuban constituent; Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro , wife of Nicolás Maduro; Erika del Valle Farías Peña , mayor of the Libertador municipality of Caracas; Ramón Darío Vivas Velasco , deputy of the Cuban constituent; Christian Tyrone Zerpa , magistrate of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.

     - Fanny Beatriz Márquez Cordero , magistrate of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice; Malaquías Gil Rodríguez, vice president of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice; Indira Maira Alfonzo Izaguirre , magistrate of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice; Jhannett María Madriz Sotillo , magistrate of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice; Carlos Enrique Quintero Cuevas , substitute rector of the National Electoral Council and member of the National Electoral Board; Xavier Antonio Moreno Reyes , general secretary of the National Electoral Council; and Carlos Alberto Rotondaro Cova , former president of the Board of Directors of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS).

    "These sanctions send a clear message that the anti-democratic behavior of the Maduro regime has consequences. Today's announcement is proof of our commitment to the defense of democracy and human rights throughout the world and our rejection of Venezuela's fraudulent presidential elections. Canada is as determined as ever to support the people of Venezuela in their search for a more peaceful, democratic and prosperous future, "said Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

May 30, 2018


In their report and executive summary presented today, a panel of independent international experts designated by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) found that reasonable grounds exist to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela dating back to at least February 12, 2014. The panel of experts - Santiago Cantón (Argentina), Irwin Cotler (Canada), and Manuel Ventura Robles (Costa Rica),– recommended that:

     The 400-page report, supported by 400 pages of Annexes, is divided in two parts. Part I, written by the OAS General Secretariat, includes material provided by witnesses who testified during the public hearings conducted in September, October, and November 2017, and material collected from interested parties, Venezuelan civil society and intergovernmental organizations. Part II of the report was written by the Panel of Independent International Experts, and provides a legal assessment of the information gathered, an examination of relevant international jurisprudence and precedent, as well as their conclusions and recommendations.

     Neither the Panel nor the OAS General Secretariat have had the possibility of undertaking field missions to the territory concerned in order to consult with national authorities, victims, civil society organizations, or other interested parties. The publicly available version of the report includes sections that have been redacted to protect the identity of victims and/or their family members who fear reprisal for testifying about crimes and abuses. Crimes against Humanity are defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute as “specific crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population with knowledge of the attack”. Venezuela is a State Party to the Rome Statute, and the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over any crimes committed in the territory of Venezuela or by Venezuelan nationals since July 1, 2002. More information on the process is available at the top of on site.


           OSLO, NORWAY -- 
The former MAYOR AND political prisoner, Antonio Ledezma, offers statements in a Forum that takes place in Oslo, Norway, on Human Rights, where he asked and invoked the International Community the principle of humanitarian intervention. "I ask and invoke the international community the principle of humanitarian intervention. I come to ask for a country that is being torn by a tyranny and a dictatorship that is killing its citizens with hunger, "said the former mayor during his speech.

     In addition, he described the crisis in the country, claiming that "we have a humanitarian crisis, a humanitarian disaster outside the law, we have no separation of powers and the constitutional powers were lost. They took control of finances, of the media, it's a narco-dictatorship." "The tragedy of not having medicines at hand, of not being prepared to be able to give birth to a new life, to offer security is a violation of Human Rights," said Ledezma regarding the "viacrusis" her daughter lived when gave birth.

     He also confessed that currently "I do not feel completely free, nor happy, because when I see my daughter breastfeeding my grandson, I think of all the children who are malnourished in my country." The crisis not only affects pregnant women. The diseases also lash Venezuelans and, apparently, without contemplation. Currently there are women who are buried daily due to breast cancer, because they do not have chemotherapy services or medicines, "he said. Ledezma, who was held in the Ramo Verde prison, highlighted the unjust detention of more than 300 political prisoners, the persecution and the disqualification of several opposition leaders.


           CARACAS, VENEZUELA -- 
Embattled Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro promised to release all political prisoners right after he was reelected for a second six-year term on May 20th in what the European Union termed fraudulent elections. In spite of releasing 22 prisoners and reiterating his promise on Monday, the number of total political prisoners rose to 355 May 28th from 338 on May 17th. Even after the release of high-profile US Mormon missionary Joshua Holt and his Venezuelan wife Thamy on Saturday, Maduro keeps the Cuban-style prisoner revolving door going: releasing one, arresting two.

     New arrests mean that there are now MORE political prisoners in Venezuelan than before Maduro made his promise -- not less. To make matters worse, Maduro again conditioned the release of all political prisoners, this time saying they will have to sign a written promise to abandon “the road of the arms” and take up a democratic struggle instead. And even after voters chose not to partake in the May 20th election in record numbers -- marking a new record for abstention in a Presidential vote with around 54% according to official figures, more if you ask independent analysts and the opposition -- Maduro still can’t bring himself to utter the words “presos politicos”.

     “I will soon take decision to free political actors in prison”, he said, again resorting to euphemism, “that have engaged in violence. Let that be a lesson so that they abandon the road of the arms, of the complot and conspiracy.” Seemingly channeling John Lennon (Maduro is a confessed rock music fan, although he mixes up his U.S. and British artists), the head of state said: “I will give peace a chance. Then it will be up to them, if they incur again, in the short or long term.” Maduro also promised more control of the economy, bringing municipal food markets under the control of the central government.

May 29, 2018


The countries of the European Union (EU) reached a political agreement on Monday to adopt new sanctions against the country after the holding of presidential elections that they do not consider "credible" and called for the holding of new elections "free and transparentm." "The EU will act quickly, in accordance with the established procedures, with the aim of imposing additional directed and reversible restrictive measures, which do not harm the Venezuelan population, whose difficult situation the EU wishes to alleviate," the European Foreign Ministers said. a joint statement.

    Gathered in Brussels, the holders of the EU gave the green light to the adoption of new "restrictive measures" that will mean sanctions "to a list of people" involved in the holding of the elections, although they are not expected to make the names officially known. until his next meeting in June, reviewed Efe. The Spanish Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, explained upon his arrival at the meeting that the objective of the meeting was "to put in place the procedures to expand the circle of people affected by the restrictive measures", after the EU already sanctioned seven senior officials of the re-elected president, Nicolás Maduro, among others.

    In Monday's statement, the ministers stressed that recent events in Venezuela "have further removed the possibility of a negotiated constitutional solution that guarantees respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights." The countries regretted that despite "numerous appeals" from national political actors and the international community "including the European Union", early presidential elections were held "without an agreement on the date or conditions, and in circumstances that did not allow the participation of all political parties on an equal footing ".


           BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- 
Venezuela "denounced the intention of the Colombian authorities to lend themselves to introduce an external military alliance with nuclear capability in Latin America and the Caribbean, which clearly constitutes a serious threat to regional peace and stability." Colombia's entry into NATO is not for war purposes, Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said Monday, following criticisms made by Venezuela before what it considers a "threat to regional peace." Prior to the first round of the presidential elections that took place on Sunday, President Juan Manuel Santos announced his adhesion to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as the first Latin American global partner, which triggered the rejection of Caracas.

     Not being in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) "is a commercial war, not being in NATO is for a war, it is simply belonging to the best instances of good practices," Villegas said in an interview with the FM station. Colombia shares with Venezuela a border of 2,200 kilometers and has practically no diplomatic relations with the government of Nicolás Maduro, which he criticizes as a dictatorship and blames the economic crisis that surrounds the country with the largest oil reserves in the world. In its reaction, Venezuela "denounced the intention of the Colombian authorities to lend themselves to introduce an external military alliance with nuclear capability in Latin America and the Caribbean, which clearly constitutes a serious threat to regional peace and stability."

     According to Minister Villegas, in NATO, Colombia will limit itself to strengthening the powers of the public force in the areas of organized crime, cybersecurity and humanitarian affairs, among others. "This type of membership does not necessarily mean that Colombia will participate in NATO military operations in the face of an international crisis, but it can benefit from missions of troop preparation or exchange of information," explained international relations analyst Rafael. Piñeros, from the Externado de Bogotá University. On Thursday, Santos will meet with NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, to sign the formal adhesion of Colombia to the agency, in Brussels, Belgium.


           OSLO, NORWAY -- 
Thor Halvorssen, during his attendance at the presentation of this event, the annual meeting that brings together in the Norwegian capital dissidents and defenders of the democratic values of the whole world. The state of human rights in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba were at the center of the presentation of the tenth edition of the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF), the annual meeting that brings together dissidents and defenders of democratic values in the Norwegian capital. all the world.

     Venezuelan exile opposition Antonio Ledezma and Nicaraguan activist Edipcia Dubón showed their vision of the crisis in their countries at a press conference today, while the founder of the OFF, Thor Halvorssen, regretted that he had not obtained permission from the Havana regime to attend the forum the coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), José Daniel Ferrer García. "Unfortunately in some countries you still have to get permission to leave, as in Castro's Cuba," denounced Halvorssen, who criticizes that "nothing has changed" despite the airs of political renewal that seemed to occur in Cuba judging by the events of the last three years.

     On Venezuela, Halvorssen said he is under a "totally authoritarian" regime and Nicaragua said it is "in the new group of partially authoritarian countries."
For his part, Ledezma explained to journalists and participants in the forum that he had to flee Venezuela last November, after more than a hundred days in prison, and be persecuted after having won the mayoralty of Caracas. "I am part of those 30 million Venezuelan citizens who suffer the ordeal, the martyrdom of the authoritarianism of a populist regime," he said. "We aspire to get rid of this narcotics with the help of the international community," added Ledezma, who highlighted the problems of nutrition and access to medicines and humanitarian aid for Venezuelans.

May 28, 2018


THE UNITED STATES Today accused the government of Venezuelan DICTATOR  Nicolás Maduro of committing "crimes against humanity" by "starving his own people" as the "Pol Pot regime" did in Cambodia in the 1970s, and warned that Washington "has no limits" in its response and plans to increase its sanctions. "I'm tempted to compare them to the Pol Pot regime, and not in the genocide aspect, let's avoid the hyperbole," said Juan Cruz, Donald Trump's chief adviser to Latin America, at an event at the Council of the Americas in Washington.

      "Let's talk better in terms of how they are starving their own people and how they use food for political manipulation, it's disgusting. If that is not crimes against humanity, I do not know what it is, and the world will hold them accountable, "he added. The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, denounced a year ago that in Venezuela crimes "against humanity" were being committed, and called a series of hearings to examine that possibility. But until now, Trump's government had not explicitly denounced the existence of such crimes, and it did so four days before the expected presentation of a report prepared by experts from the OAS with the objective of determining if there is a basis to denounce Venezuela before the tribunal of The Hague.

     "We will continue pressing to restore democracy in Venezuela. We will try ways to bring food aid to that country, despite the regime's constant resistance to accept that they need food and their rejection of all offers of humanitarian aid, "said the senior official. "We will continue to sanction those we need to punish, especially at the highest level, and those who are robbing the Venezuelan people and deciding to fill their pockets and enrich their henchmen instead of using that money to buy food," he added. Cruz also recalled that there is little time left before the 70th General Assembly of the OAS, to be held on June 4 and 5 in Washington. "This is a great opportunity to see who is on the side of democracy, humanity and decency, and which country decides to support the deceptions, the lies and those who starve the people of Venezuela themselves. We will be watching and we will take note, "he warned.


           CARACAS, VENEZUELA  -- 
The DICTATOR Nicolás Maduro, ordered the military high command that the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) sign a document of “loyalty” after, he said, it was discovered that several soldiers were trying to participate in a “conspiracy” to prevent the presidential ones of last Sunday. “I have ordered (…) to take the proclamation and turn it into a document, to be signed by the entire Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), in order to carry out a process of remoralization, reactivation of moral and ideological, conceptual values, of each officer until the last command to arrive with the word of truth, “he said. Maduro affirmed this yesterday in a speech in front of several platoons of cadets of the military schools in a military parade on the subject of his re-election, to which he went accompanied by the military leaders, Efe reported.

     During the ceremony, Maduro offered more details of an alleged “conspiracy financed and directed from Colombia and encouraged and promoted by the US government to divide” the FANB, to “try at the time to suspend the elections of May 20 last “he revealed. The newly elected president said that this movement has been “dismembered” and that “all those responsible for selling and giving themselves to traitors are convicted and confessed”. He asserted that the FANB is “chavista” and “Bolivarian”, so that “no vestige of colonialism or neocolonialism is accepted here, it is an anti-imperialist Armed Force”.

     “I demand maximum loyalty to the FANB, maximum loyalty to the Constitution,” he said. Earlier, the president said before the ruling National Constituent Assembly (ANC), where he was sworn in as president, that several “conspirators” were caught, according to him, with the US embassy in the country and with the Colombian government. Maduro expelled the US Chargé d’Affaires from Venezuela on Tuesday. in Caracas, Todd Robinson, and accused him of “conspiring” against the Bolivarian revolution he leads and against the questioned votes. Neither Colombia nor the US recognize as legitimate Sunday’s elections in which the bulk of the Venezuelan opposition did not participate as fraudulent and in which, according to the National Electoral Council (CNE), they were the lowest-concurded presidential elections in the history of the country.


        CARACAS, VENEZUELA  --   After winning in elections contested by the opposition, the European Union, twelve Latin American countries, the United States and Canada, Nicolás Maduro is preparing to continue in the presidency of Venezuela for another six years. While he has promised that his re-election will be the beginning of a period of prosperity, everything points to the fact that at least in the short term, Venezuelans must prepare for a more acute phase of the economic crisis. This is how reviews it.

     The Venezuelan economy has not grown since 2014 and accumulates six months in hyperinflation, but far from starting to exit the tunnel, the country is on the verge of a period of greater scarcity, rising prices and the persistence of the recession. These are the causes. In Venezuela 96 out of every 100 dollars come from oil exports and the number of barrels extracted daily falls sharply in a context of poor management and lack of investment. In April, according to the figures reported by the Venezuelan government to OPEC, production reached 1.5 million barrels per day, a figure that translates into a 4% decline compared to the previous month and 22% compared to the previous month. October 2017

     The consequence is that despite the rebound in oil prices, the country will have less foreign currency for private sector companies to import raw materials and inputs, therefore, the supply decline and the shortage of basic products will continue. in the markets. Alejandro Grisanti, director of Ecoanalítica, does not rule out that oil production will continue to decline and close this year at 1.2 million barrels per day, less than half of what the country generated in 1998 when Chavismo came to power.

May 27, 2018


The United States Government on Wednesday ordered the expulsion of two Venezuelan diplomats, giving them 48 hours to leave the country. He is the charge of business of Venezuela in Washington, Carlos Ron Ramírez, and the Venezuelan vice-consul in Houston (Texas). The decision responds, according to the Department of State, reciprocally to the order of this Tuesday of Venezuela to expel the charge d'affaires of the USA. in Caracas, Todd Robinson , and his second , Brian Naranjo , head of the political section of the embassy.

     Both Ron Ramírez and Robinson were the highest-ranking representatives of the two countries in their respective diplomatic missions since Washington and Caracas have not exchanged ambassadors for eight years. On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced the expulsion of diplomats during an act in which he was proclaimed re-elected, and assured that Robinson has acted as "conspirator" in the Caribbean country. The State Department, in its statement on Wednesday, said that "the accusations behind the decision of the Maduro regime are unjustified."

    He also assured that the diplomats expelled by Caracas "have carried out their official duties in a responsible manner" and in accordance with the international standards subscribed in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. "We reject any suggestion in the opposite direction," he said. The Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo, had already warned on Wednesday the Nicolás Maduro regime of a "reciprocal" response to the expulsion of the two diplomats. Therefore, ahead of the expected expulsion of Ron Ramírez, Maduro appointed him Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for North America and vacated, for now, the position of charge of business in Washington.


The Mexican government summoned Venezuelan ambassador María Lourdes Urbaneja to inform her that Mexico does not recognize the results of the presidential elections of May 20, in which Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro revalidated his position. During yesterday's meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Luis Alfonso de Alba reiterated to the Venezuelan diplomatic representative that Mexico does not recognize the legitimacy of said process "for not complying with the international standards of a democratic, free, fair and transparent process."

     On Monday, the Mexican government announced that it would reduce the level of relations with Venezuela and called for consultations with the Mexican ambassador in Caracas, Eréndira Paz, reported AVN. These actions are framed in the agreement reached by the member countries of the Lima Group, which ruled out recognizing the results of the Venezuelan elections and decided to reduce the level of diplomatic relations with that country.

    According to the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, at the meeting yesterday the Venezuelan diplomat was informed of the content of the agreement signed by the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico. , Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia. Likewise, he was informed of the reduction in diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan Government, which will be translated into "the reduction or cancellation of cultural activities and cooperation, including military activities." The Mexican Government undertook to seek, through the diplomatic channel, "the restoration of democratic institutions, respect for human rights and full respect for the rule of law" in Venezuela.


        MANAGUA, NICARAGUA --   A group of protesters demanded this Thursday the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep) of Nicaragua to call for a national strike until the president of the country, Daniel Ortega, resigns, who they say is responsible for the sociopolitical crisis that have left at least 77 people dead in 37 days. Approximately fifty people were planted this Thursday in front of the headquarters of Cosep, in the outskirts of Managua, to demand the businessmen to close their businesses, as a measure of pressure to achieve the resignation of the president.

     The protesters, who wore the blue and white flag of Nicaragua , expressed their demand with slogans such as "National strike!", "Only the people save the people!", "People join!" Or "Cosep, ¿at what time?". According to the participants of the protest, the national strike is the only way out for the resignation of Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, who, from their point of view, have only shown interest in resolving the economic damage of the crisis, without paying attention to human losses.

    Another argument of the demonstrators is that Nicaragua is practically already in a national strike, due to the fact that daily activities have diminished since the so-called "student massacre" began, between April 18 and 22, when dozens of students protested against Ortega throughout the country died when they received accurate shots. Those demanding the national strike also recalled that the Cosep was on the side of the Government with the so-called "public-private partnership model" until last April, so they insisted that "define your position."


MAY 2016