Venezuela

Diosdado Cabello - Venezuela News

The U.S. has made secret contact with Venezuela’s socialist party boss as close allies of President Nicolás Maduro’s inner circle seek guarantees they won’t face prosecution for alleged abuses and crimes if they cede to growing demands to remove him, according to a senior Trump administration official. Diosdado Cabello, who is considered the most-powerful man in Venezuela after Maduro, met last month in Caracas with someone who is in close contact with the Trump administration, the official told The Associated Press. A second meeting is in the works but has not yet taken place. The AP is withholding the intermediary’s name and details of the encounter with Cabello out of concern the person could suffer reprisals. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the talks, which are still preliminary. It’s not clear whether the talks have Maduro’s approval or not. Cabello, 56, is a major power broker inside Venezuela, who has seen his influence in the government and security forces expand as Maduro’s grip on power has weakened. But he’s also been accused by U.S. officials of being behind massive corruption, drug trafficking and even death threats against a sitting U.S. senator. The administration official said that under no circumstances is the U.S. looking to prop up Cabello or pave the way for him to substitute Maduro. Instead, the goal of the outreach is to ratchet up pressure on the regime by contributing to the knife fight the U.S. believes is taking placeContinue reading

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Juan Guaido vs Nicolas Maduro - Venezuela News

Venezuela’s government late Wednesday halted negotiations with the opposition in protest of the Trump administration’s freezing of its U.S. assets, thrusting into crisis the country’s best chance of peacefully resolving a political standoff that has kept the nation on the edge for more than six months. The decision surprised representatives of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who were already on the Caribbean island of Barbados awaiting what was to be the start Thursday of the sixth round of talks that began in May under the auspices of Norway. “We Venezuelans have watched with profound indignation how the chief of the opposition, Juan Guaidó, celebrates, promotes and supports these harmful actions against our nation’s sovereignty and our peoples’ most basic human rights,” the government said in a statement Wednesday night. The government stopped short of abandoning the talks altogether, saying only that it would “review the mechanisms of this process to ensure its continuation is truly effective and harmonious with the interests of the people.” For weeks, representatives of Maduro and his would-be successor have been shuttling back and forth to Barbados trying to agree on a common path out of the country’s prolonged political standoff. The meetings have been slow-going and shrouded in mystery, with neither side disclosing details. But Maduro’s supporters have accused the U.S. of trying to blow up the fragile process with sweeping new sanctions announced this week that freeze all of the government’s assets in the U.S. and even threaten to punish companies from third countries thatContinue reading

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Maduro- VS Trump - Venezuela - US News Today HEadline

For weeks, representatives of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his would-be successor, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, have been shuttling back and forth to Barbados trying to agree on a common path out of the country’s prolonged political standoff. The meetings have been slow-going and shrouded in mystery, with neither side disclosing details. But now Maduro’s supporters are accusing the U.S. of trying to blow up the fragile process. The purported explosive: sweeping new sanctions that freeze all of the Maduro government’s assets in the U.S. and even threaten to punish companies from third countries that keep doing business with his socialist administration. “They’re trying to dynamite the dialogue,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said at a news conference to denounce comments by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton defending the asset freeze. “But nobody, not even 1,000 Trumps or 500 Boltons … will make us abandon the negotiating table.” Building on its role as a facilitator of Colombia’s peace process, Norway in May managed to overcome deep distrust arising from past failed attempts at dialogue and bring the two sides together in Oslo. Talks have since moved to the Caribbean island of Barbados, where the fifth round wrapped up last week. Neither side has said much about what is being discussed, although speculation has swirled in political and diplomatic circles that Maduro’s envoys have expressed a willingness to call an early presidential election under a revamped electoral board and foreign observation. The U.S. has insisted Maduro must give up power beforeContinue reading

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Maduro - VS Trump - Venezuela - US News Today

“The apparent goal is to give the U.S. the ability to apply the law beyond its borders to allies of Maduro like China, Russia, Cuba, Iran and Turkey,” said Russ Dallen, the Miami-based head of Caracas Capital Markets brokerage. “Should those foreign entities continue doing business with Maduro they can have their U.S. assets seized.”Continue reading

Venezuela Military Might

“We look to the heavens, asking for peace,” Nicolás Maduro said. “All the while our military exercises play out. We plead to God with our missiles pointed.”

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Nicolas Maduro's Son Nicolas 'Nicolasito' Maduro - Venezuela News

The Trump administration turned up the pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday by targeting his son Nicolas “Nicolasito” Maduro with sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department said. The new sanctions are the latest push in six months of efforts to oust Maduro, whose 2018 re-election has been deemed illegitimate by the United States and most Western nations. Maduro’s son has been involved in propaganda and censorship, has profited from Venezuelan mines, and helped pressure the military to keep humanitarian aid out of the country, the Treasury Department said. “Maduro relies on his son Nicolasito and others close to his authoritarian regime to maintain a stranglehold on the economy and suppress the people of Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “Treasury will continue to target complicit relatives of illegitimate regime insiders profiting off of Maduro’s corruption,” said Mnuchin, who is in Osaka, Japan, with President Donald Trump for a G20 summit. The Venezuelan government called the new measures “illegal” and said they had the “dark aim” of trying to directly attack Maduro’s family after the Trump administration’s previous attempts to overthrow the socialist leader had failed. The government “rejects the continued attacks by the Trump administration that seek to undermine, unsuccessfully, the spirit and will of a people determined to take the reins of their own destiny,” it said in a statement. Washington has thrown its support behind opposition leader Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, who invoked the country’s constitution in January to declareContinue reading

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Nicolas Maduro and Military Support

One of the central mysteries of Venezuela’s slow-motion collapse: Why does the military continue to support Nicolas Maduro, the president who has led the once-prosperous South American country into poverty and chaos? The answer, according to people familiar with Venezuela’s military structure, starts with Maduro’s late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, the charismatic caudillo who cemented strongman socialist rule in the nation of about 30 million people. In a series of actions that began in 1999, the former lieutenant colonel and one-time coup leader began taming the military by bloating it, buying it off, politicising it, intimidating the rank and file, and fragmenting the overall command. Once he took office in 2013, Maduro handed key segments of the country’s increasingly ravaged economy to the armed forces. Select military officers took control of the distribution of food and key raw materials. A National Guard general and military deputies now manage the all-important national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA [PDVSA.UL]. The two leaders also embedded intelligence agents, with the help of Cuba’s security services, within barracks, former officers say, instilling paranoia and defusing most dissent before it happens. Intelligence agents have arrested and jailed scores of perceived troublemakers, including several high-profile officers, even for minor infractions. The overhaul, former military officials say, created a jumbled and partisan chain of command. Top officers, grateful for perks and fearful of retribution, are often more preoccupied with pleasing Socialist Party chiefs than with national defence. Instead of drills and war games, some generals findContinue reading

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Venezuela - Venezuelan - Venezuelans

Venezuela’s crisis is spilling across the border into Colombia as Marxist rebels and right-wing paramilitaries recruit migrants to strengthen their ranks, according to five Colombian military commanders. Violence still simmers in Colombia despite a 2016 peace deal with leftist FARC rebels, meant to end five decades of conflict. Dissident FARC fighters, the rebel National Liberation Army (ELN), right-wing paramilitaries and drug-trafficking gangs are battling each other and the military. Keen for recruits, these armed groups are targeting Venezuelans as they traverse the porous 2,219-km (1,380-mile)frontier at illegal border crossings, according to the military officials, human rights officials and migrants themselves. Five military commanders told Reuters that as many as 30% of insurgents in Colombia’s eastern border region are Venezuelans, willing to take up arms in return for food and pay. “Recruitment of Venezuelans is happening,” said Colonel Arnulfo Traslavina, military commander of a special unit battling armed groups in Colombia’s eastern border state of Arauca. “The ranks of illegal armed groups are increasing. It’s a major threat to Colombia.” Nationwide, an estimated 10% of fighters are Venezuelan, the commanders said. Their estimates were based on information from informants, deserters, captured rebels and residents. Reuters was not able to independently verify these figures. The head of Colombia’s military and government spokesman on this issue, General Luis Fernando Navarro, told Reuters that armed groups were targeting Venezuelans because they were easier to recruit than Colombians. At the last official count by military intelligence in May, there were 2,296 FARC dissident combatants andContinue reading

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Nicolas Maduro - Venezuela Today News

Major European nations are considering imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and several top officials for their recent crackdown on political opponents, although divisions remain over the timing of any action for fear of derailing a negotiated exit to the country’s crisis, The Associated Press has learned. The financial and travel restrictions are being mulled by a core group of five nations — U.K., France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands — before being proposed to the European Council, said diplomats and members of the Venezuelan opposition with knowledge of the plan. A total of five sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the deliberations publicly. While Maduro is among a dozen officials who could be hit with sanctions, no final decision has been made, two people said. The group still needs to breach internal divisions before making a formal proposal to the EU’s executive branch. Greater consensus exists for punishing top members of the armed forces and judiciary who have been instrumental in the arrest of allies of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, including Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, whose family is believed to live in Spain. Also on the list is Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez, a top Maduro aide and envoy to talks with the opposition sponsored by Norway, and Jorge Márquez, who is head of the powerful communications regulator which was responsible for pulling the plug on Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 and Britain’s BBC earlier this year. Steady progress is being made on buildingContinue reading

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