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Archive for Venezuela

Newsline: Russian Strategic Bombers in Venezuela Spark Diplomatic Row

The United States is blasting Russia for deploying two strategic bombers to Venezuela for war games. “The Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Tuesday. The Kremlin responded to Pompeo’s comments, calling them “unacceptable” and “highly undiplomatic for a secretary of state.” Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. has no business criticizing the money being spent on the drills, saying just half of the U.S. defense budget could feed all of Africa. Two Russian planes capable of carrying nuclear bombs landed in Venezuela Monday for what Venezuelan officials call air force drills designed to bolster its defense capabilities. Russia also sent about 100 pilots and other military personnel.



Newsline: Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba Ali Rodriguez dies

Ali Rodriguez, an icon of Venezuela’s socialist revolution who went on to serve as a diplomat in top government posts, died on Monday. Rodriguez had served as ambassador to Cuba. He passed away in Havana and was 81 years old, Venezuela’s state TV network said. Among stages of his storied career, Rodriguez oversaw the mass firing of thousands of workers at Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA. He also defended the sharply anti-American foreign policy of the socialist governments of late President Hugo Chavez and current President Nicolas Maduro. Rodriguez served as president of PDVSA until November 2004, when Chavez made him foreign ambassador to Cuba. He used the position to defend Venezuela’s anti-American foreign policy amid two decades of socialist rule.


Newsline: Venezuela opposition politician Freddy Guevara spends year in Chilean embassy

Freddy Guevara, the 32-year-old former vice-president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, has spent a year holed up in the Chilean embassy in Caracas. The high security outside of the embassy is a sign of the tense relations that continue between the two countries, as the Chilean government continues to offer protection to one of President Nicolas Maduro’s most prominent critics. Guevara’s supporters gathered at the embassy on Monday to mark the anniversary of the day he sought refuge. They were demanding an end to his persecution. After Maduro was elected to replace the late Hugo Chavez in 2013, human rights activists say Maduro’s persecution of his critics has been brutal and relentless. Last year, Maduro tightened his grip to power with a Constituent Assembly that replaced the National Assembly. With loyalists in the Supreme Court, the Constituent Assembly issued a new “anti-hate law” that is being used to arrest anyone who speaks against Maduro. Any “hate speech” on social media in Venezuela is punishable with up to 20 years in prison.


Newsline: Venezuelan diplomat’s Land Rover seized in Guyana pending tax payment

More than a week after seizing the car of a Venezuelan Diplomat, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has made it clear that Luz León Guillén has to pay $2.4M in prorated taxes and that she must have it privately registered. News Room first reported on October 28, 2018 that Luz, who worked as a First Secretary and a Counselor at the Venezuelan Embassy in Guyana for some three years, had her 2003 Land Rover bearing the diplomatic plates, confiscated by the Enforcement Unit of the GRA while she was at the Georgetown Public Hospital on October 25.


Newsline: Ecuador expels Venezuela ambassador after official says Moreno lied

Ecuador expelled Venezuela’s ambassador to Quito after a Venezuelan government minister called Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno a liar, and Venezuela reciprocated by ordering Ecuador’s top diplomat to go home. In a Wednesday press conference, Venezuelan Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Moreno was a “liar” and accused him of exaggerating in a speech at the United Nations the number of Venezuelan migrants arriving in Ecuador. Saying the comments were offensive, Ecuador expelled the Venezuelan ambassador and called its charge d’affaires at its embassy in Caracas back for consultations, its foreign ministry said in a statement. Venezuela later declared the charge d’affaires, Elizabeth Méndez, persona non grata and gave her 72 hours to leave the country in what its foreign ministry described as a “reciprocal measure,” according to a statement read on state television. Ecuador’s highest representative in Venezuela has been the charge. The ambassador position has been vacant for more than a year because of diplomatic disputes.


Newsline: France Summons Venezuela Ambassador Over ‘Suspicious’ Death

France’s Foreign Ministry says it has summoned Venezuela’s ambassador to France over the “suspicious” death earlier this week of an opposition councilor jailed by Venezuelan intelligence police on allegations he plotted to kill President Nicolas Maduro. In a statement Thursday, the Quai d’Orsay said Hector Michel Mujica Ricardo was summoned earlier in the day. “France hopes light will be shed on this death through an impartial and independent investigation.” No more details were provided. Venezuelan officials say Fernando Alban killed himself by leaping from the 10th floor of the state police agency’s headquarters earlier this week. But opposition leaders reject the official version. The United Nations has said it will investigate the death.


Newsline: US ambassador calls for Maduro ouster with megaphone diplomacy

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, joined Venezuelan protesters outside the world body headquarters and called for the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro. Haley’s embrace of demonstrators was highly unusual for a diplomat from a major power at the staid United Nations and came a day after President Donald Trump hinted at military options against Maduro’s leftist government. “We are going to fight for Venezuela and we are going to continue doing it until Maduro is gone!” Haley shouted from a megaphone. “We need your voices to be loud and I will tell you, the US voice is going to be loud,” she said. Haley said she visited the border with Colombia, which has accepted more than one million Venezuelans fleeing an economic freefall including hyperinflation.