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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

OAS chief says no democracy, rule of law in Venezuela


In an eight-page letter to opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, Luis Almagro highlighted the climate of "intimidation" against the political opposition in Venezuela and those working to recall leftist President Nicolas Maduro. "No regional or subregional forum can ignore the reality that today in Venezuela there is no democracy or rule of law," Almagro said, calling Lopez a "friend." "Under no circumstances should power be used... to prevent the sovereign will of the people from being expressed." The former foreign minister of Uruguay said Venezuelans are a "victim of bullying". The Venezuelan government "seeks to maintain its power and deny the people the right to make decisions through voting, by resorting to violence against those demonstrate or hold other opinions," Almagro said. "It has crossed a line, which means it is the end of democracy."More…

Venezuela’s decline prompts exodus


Even without money and a stable job since his arrival in Colombia in early July, Eduardo — not his real name — has regained most of the weight he had lost at home in Venezuela. The 44-year-old systems engineer used to make $18 a month in his home town of Barquisimeto, but that was not enough to feed himself and his son given the rampant inflation and chronic scarcities of food and medicine as Venezuela sinks deeper into its economic crisis. Since fleeing to Bogotá, Eduardo, who declined to give his name as he is still an illegal immigrant, says he has been working “on this and that while a friend helps me out. At least I can find food here. Back in Venezuela we all lacked anything to eat”. More…

Indicted for Drug Trafficking, Venezuela's Justice Minister Blames "Destabilizing U.S. Political Weapon"


Venezuela’s Minister of Justice and the Interior Major General Nestor Reverol, indicted in New York with taking money from drug traffickers, said Monday during a press conference that he is waging a “no quarter” war against drugs. “In the face of unfounded accusations that have been made against me by U.S. authorities, we reject those, categorically and in all of its parts, for straying from reality,” Reverol said. “The State Department is using this as a political weapon in their destabilizing endeavor,” said Reverol of the U.S. drug charges. In early July, Reverol was removed as head of Venezuela's National Guard. A few weeks later, with Reverol out of office, the U.S. attorney general’s office in Brooklyn unsealed a year-and-a-half-old sealed indictment alleging Reverol and his second in command, Edylberto Molina, were involved in drug trafficking during Reverol’s tenure as head of ONA, Venezuela’s main anti-narcotics agency, from 2008 to 2010. More…

That Other Public Authority in Venezuela Called "Pranes"


What happened recently in the General Prison of Venezuela has left us amazed. The official version released by the authorities is even hard to believe, but as the saying goes, silence means consent and in this case the Minister of Correctional Services, Iris Varela, who is well known for her quick responses, has not said or tweeted a single word on the issue. She has not even insulted the complainant, as she usually does. All of this leads us to think that the allegations are true. According to Carlos Nieto Palma, director of local NGO Una Ventana a la Libertad (a window to freedom), the gang leader (aka pran) ruling the so-called prison of San Juan de los Morros, located in the capital of Guárico state, had ordered the kidnapping of a group of officials – 42 to be precise – who worked in that prison, then to require the transfer of more prisoners to the same, because the profits generated by the "cause" had decreased. Apparently, and as happens to all Venezuelans, inflation is also affecting the quality of life of this pran. More…

New Times in Venezuela


Meanwhile, Maduro insists on paying off the country’s external debt, and refusing medicine donations from abroad to help the Venezuelan people, warning that, in the face of a coup d’etat, he will react a lot harsher than the Turkish President did just now in the face of the recent military coup in Turkey. And I ask myself, would he consider unarmed people taking to the streets a coup d’etat? Whenever there’s the slightest protest here, the National Guard, Police and militant grassroots “colectivos” groups are sent to repress not only the people, but also and especially reporters. More…

Does Survival In Venezuela Depend on Shippers In Miami?


The forklift’s working overtime at Vikom Export, one of the hundreds of shipping companies nestled in the warehouse labyrinths of Doral, just west of Miami. Almost all of Vikom’s shipments go to Venezuela – and they’ve doubled since last year. “Food, baby formula, medicine, adult diapers” says Vikom owner and Venezuelan expat Elisaul Herrera as his phone rings off the hook in his office. “Every months it’s more, more cargo. Increases constantly.” Vikom customers like Marianela Mendez can tell you why. Mendez is one of thousands of émigrés moving to South Florida to escape increasingly painful food and medicine shortages back in Venezuela. More…