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Unasur's "mediators" gave Maduro proposal to revive dialogue

Friday, January 20, 2017

In Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Is Gone, But Still Watching


Almost four years after the death of Hugo Chávez, he continues to watch over Venezuela’s capital. The eyes of the former president have become political propaganda. An abstracted image of them is spreading across Caracas, especially in the Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela (GMVV), a massive public-housing initiative begun in 2011 for those affected by the heavy rains that hit the country that year. The motif was born during the 2012 presidential campaign, the idea of a member of Chávez’s campaign organization named José Miguel España. Since then, as life in Venezuela has become increasingly fragile, the image has become an important tool for Chávez’s embattled successor, Nicolás Maduro. After Maduro came to power in 2013, the eyes started appearing not just on t-shirts, flags, and banners, but on the fabric of the city itself—billboards, walls, and even the facades of public buildings. More…

Venezuela's PDVSA 2016 financial debt drops 6 pct to $41 bln


Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA's consolidated financial debt fell 6 percent in 2016 compared with the previous year to reach $41 billion, the company said on Friday. The decline was driven by a $1.7 billion drop in outstanding bonds and a $1.6 billion decline in outstanding loans, according to a table published by the company. It did not provide further details. PDVSA as of last year had $28.475 billion in outstanding bonds. The company in 2016 carried out a $2.8 billion bond swap that pushed the maturity of bonds coming due in 2017 to 2020. That helped ease a heavy payment schedule this year but did not significantly alter its overall debt load. Total debt at the company's U.S. subsidiary Citgo rose 3 percent from 2015 to reach $4.2 billion. More…

Venezuela taps border fuel sales to shore up currency


Venezuela is expanding a network of retail fuel outlets near the border with Colombia in a controversial maneuver to strengthen the sharply devalued local currency. The stations operated by Venezuelan state-owned PdV can only sell fuel in Colombian pesos exclusively to vehicles registered in Colombia. Caracas is seeking to capture at least part of the revenue generated by smugglers who routinely resell up to 100,000 b/d of cheap Venezuelan gasoline and diesel in the higher-priced Colombian market.Three service stations offering fuel priced in pesos to Colombian drivers are already operating in Zulia state, and 11 more will be operational before the end of next week, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said on 18 January. The stations will be located near border crossings in Tachira, Zulia, Apure and Bolivar states, and are intended to snuff out contraband mainly to Colombia, Maduro said. More…

enezuela Govt Proposes Arming Civilians to Combat Crime


Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro announced a new package of anti-crime measures that includes giving arms to civilians and charging supervised groups with gathering intelligence, raising concerns over possible human rights abuses and arbitrary actions on behalf of the state. "Only the people can save the people… I call on everyone, with all the strength of Venezuela, with all our abilities, to rise up," the president said in a radio and television broadcast, Panorama reported. As part of the "Carobobo Campaign 2021," the new set of measures looks to initiate simultaneous actions from the military, police and civilian populations. Two of the most controversial measures are the arming of civilians and the strengthening of an intelligence system within neighborhoods known as SP3, which is controlled by the government. More…

They fled violence and chaos in Venezuela – now they fear Donald Trump will force them to return


Andres watched with a muted expression as his three-year-old daughter rummaged through boxes of second-hand toys at a storage unit in Doral, Florida, a few steps west of Miami. Three weeks ago, he was a trumpeter in the Venezuela's prestigious Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra; today, he is queuing for charity, just another illegal immigrant fleeing the ruin and despair of what can only generously be called failing state. . More…