Tag Archives: Venezuela

US inciting civil war in Venezuela to get its oil – Bolivia’s Morales

An anti-government protester, with the Venezuelan flag, kicks back a gas canister to police during a demonstration in which masked youths battled police and blocked a main highway in Caracas April 21, 2014

Washington is pushing Venezuela towards a “civil war” because it wants access to the country’s rich oil reserves, Bolivian President Evo Morales has warned. The Venezuelan government has also accused the US of fomenting a coup d’état.

Addressing over 3,000 young people at a Latin American Youth Summit in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, Morales branded the US an “empire” with its eye on Venezuelan oil wealth. Morales said that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was blameless in the recent wave of unrest in the country and accused Washington of orchestrating a civil war.

“I believe [the US] are trying to incite if not a coup d’état then a civil war from their empire,” Morales said. “They are always going to sponsor internal conflict so that they can interfere and invade us to take control of our oil reserves.”

An anti-government protester, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, stands with a shield near flames from molotov cocktails thrown at a water cannon by anti-government protesters during riots in Caracas April 20, 2014

The world needs an “anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and anti-colonial youth,” said Morales, urging Latin Americans to stand together in solidarity with Venezuela. Morales said there was no danger of a coup d’état in Bolivia since the government had ejected US Ambassador Phillip Golberg in 2008 after he was accused of collaborating in a plot to overthrow the government.

Venezuela has been gripped by a wave of anti-government protests since February which has left at least 41 dead and over 600 injured. The Venezuelan government has recognized people’s right to demonstrate, but has accused foreign-backed, right-wing extremists of hijacking the protests in an attempt to oust Maduro.

At present, the Maduro government is in dialogue with some of the members of the opposition movement to try and find a peaceful solution to the conflict. The opponents of the government complain that Venezuela is experiencing massive inflation and shortages of basic food products, as well as frequent power cuts.

An anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during riots with police in Caracas April 17, 2014

‘Economic war’

Maduro announced last week that Venezuela was facing an “economic war” and as such his government intended to fight back with a new “offensive” to combat capitalism. He set out the main aims of the new initiative on Monday, including the encouragement of supply and production and the stabilization of prices in Venezuela.

“This new economic offensive should bring prosperity to the people and the country. Neoliberalism speaks of growth, but growth for whom? For those that always had wealth, not the have-nots,” Maduro said.

Maduro has previously blamed the strife in Venezuela on Washington, saying that the US is orchestrating the unrest with a view to overthrowing his government. In March, Caracas’s foreign minister, Elias Jaua, accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of inciting murder and violence in Venezuela. Washington has denied any links to the ongoing unrest and maintains the Venezuelan government is terrorizing its own people.

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Venezuelan diplomats given 48 hours to leave US in tit-for-tat move — RT News

The embassy of Venezuela in Washington, DC.

The US has given three Venezuelan diplomats 48 hours to leave the embassy in Washington DC, a week after three American consular officials were expelled from Venezuela on the order of President Maduro.

The State Department has declared First Secretary Ignacio Luis Cajal Avalos, First Secretary Victor Manuel Pisani Azpurua, and Second Secretary Marcos Jose Garcia Figueredo of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC personae non gratae,” the official said in a statement sent to AFP.

They have been allowed 48 hours to leave the United States,” it added.

The move, which is in retaliation for President Nicolas Maduro’s expulsion of US diplomats on Feb.17, comes as the Venezuelan leader announced plans to send an ambassador to the US.

The two states have not had ambassadors since 2008 and now Caracas wants to improve dialogue with Washington.

“US society needs to know the truth about Venezuela,” Maduro said in the latest of his daily speeches to the nation at a meeting with state governors late on Monday.

“They (Americans) think we’re killing each other. They think we can’t go out to the corner. They’re asking for US military intervention in Venezuela. What madness! Should that happen, you and I will be out with a gun defending our territory.”

The long-lasting confrontation between the US and Venezuela escalated after President Maduro accused American diplomats of conspiracy and meeting students involved in anti-government protests. He ordered them to leave Caracas.

It was believed that the expulsion was provoked by the Obama administration’s support for the Harvard-educated opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whom Maduro accuses of inciting protest and leading a US-backed “fascist” plot to oust the socialist government.

The US denied the accusations that it has been plotting with the opposition against Maduro.

Venezuela has seen weeks of anti-government protests, in which 13 people have been killed and over 150 injured.

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​Venezuela revokes CNN journalists’ press credentials for ‘war propaganda’

Venezuela has revoked or denied press credentials for seven CNN journalists working in the country for what President Nicolas Maduro called “war propaganda” amid coverage of anti-government protests.

Before the conditions on credentials were announced, Maduro said he would eject CNN from the country if it did not “rectify” its coverage amid a spike in the unrest that has gripped Venezuela. According to officials, at least eight people have been killed since demonstrations mounted by the opposition turned violent last week.

“They want to show the world that there is a civil war in Venezuela,” Maduro said of CNN in a televised speech on Thursday.

He added that CNN was not showing “the people working, studying, building the homeland.”

“I’ve asked the [information] minister to tell CNN we have started the administrative process to remove them from Venezuela if they don’t rectify [their behavior],” Maduro said during the speech aimed at supporters, according to Reuters. “Enough! I won’t accept war propaganda against Venezuela.”

The pro-government audience applauded, chanting “Fuera! Fuera!” (“Out! Out!”)

The seven journalists – working for CNN International and CNN en Español – were notified later on Thursday about their credentials being revoked or denied. Despite the move, both entities said they will continue to broadcast from Venezuela.

Maduro did not mince words when describing how he viewed CNN’s coverage of demonstrations that have challenged his authority.

“A group of fascists with their aggressions want to take us away from peace,” Maduro said. “They are not going to do that. And we are going to show them.”

CNN has requested meetings with Venezuelan officials. Both CNN and CNN en Español were invited to a Maduro news conference scheduled for Friday afternoon.

“CNN has reported both sides of the tense situation in Venezuela, even with very limited access to government officials,” CNN en Español said in a statement, adding that at the time of the credentials announcement, they were seeking an interview with the president.

“We hope the government will reconsider its decision. Meanwhile, we will continue reporting on Venezuela in the fair, accurate and balanced manner we are known for.”

Local television networks have offered very little coverage of the protests, Reuters reported, leaving opposition leaders to use streaming websites on unreliable broadband to speak live to fellow Venezuelans.

Maduro ordered that Colombia-based network NTN24 be removed from Venezuelan cable after it showed live coverage of the demonstrations last week. The move was criticized by the likes of Reporters Without Borders.

Maduro, who was elected last year as the heir apparent following the death of long-time President Hugo Chavez, has accused the opposition – which he calls “fascists” – of fomenting a coup and inciting violence.

The majority of the opposition consists of middle class students who are frustrated with the country’s sputtering economy and soaring crime rate, and are seeking a regime change. They also allege that the recent presidential election was rigged for Maduro.

Venezuela’s ruling party, meanwhile, has long maintained that the US is playing a role in propping up the country’s opposition, and seeking to subvert the Maduro administration. That vitriol was sustained during Hugo Chavez’s tenure as the country’s leader; he often referred to an unsuccessful 2002 coup which heavily implicated US coordination.

Earlier this week, Venezuela expelled three US diplomats from the country, alleging they were working with opposition members against the government. The US State Department has denied the accusations.

The latest spout of violence came on the heels of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez’s surrender to government authorities during a large rally in Caracas. Lopez, who has recently become a rising star among Maduro opponents, is alleged to have played a role in the 2002 coup attempt.

Lopez, the Harvard educated 42-year-old leader of the Popular Will party and a former mayor, is being held responsible for the casualties that have resulted as demonstrators continue to clash with government forces. Though according to his lawyers, prosecutors have dropped the most serious charges of murder against him.

​RT News

Venezuela’s President Maduro accuses Obama of fanning violence

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused President Obama of promoting ongoing protests in the country, and of backing members of the opposition alleged to be behind violence.

In a communique, the Latin American leader demanded that the US explain its motives in “financing, promoting and defending members of the opposition that promote violence against our country.”

Maduro went on to denounce declarations made by President Obama regarding the situation in Venezuela, saying that they presented a “gross interference in internal affairs.”

Supporters of Leopoldo Lopez, an ardent opponent of Venezuela’s socialist government facing an arrest warrant after President Nicolas Maduro ordered his arrest on charges of homicide and inciting violence, light fires outside La Carlota military base, where he was taken after turning himself in, on February 18, 2014, in Caracas.

The new accusations come amidst a spike in the unrest that has gripped Venezuela, with some six people killed since demonstrations mounted by the opposition turned violent last week.

Wednesday night saw sporadic clashes between demonstrators in the capital of Caracas, the majority of which are middle class students who are frustrated with the country’s sputtering economy and soaring crime rate, and are seeking a regime change.

Maduro, who was elected last year as the heir apparent following the death of long-time President Hugo Chavez, has accused the opposition of fomenting a coup and inciting violence.

“There is an international campaign to justify a foreign intervention in Venezuela,” Maduro said on Wednesday.

Members of the Venezuelan opposition have appealed to the international community over what they say was a tainted election, though little has been presented in the way of evidence of electoral impropriety in what was a closely contested runoff. Spearheading that effort has been Henrique Capriles, the opposition’s two-time losing presidential candidate.

Venezuela’s ruling party, meanwhile, has long maintained that the US is playing a role in propping up the country’s opposition, and seeking to subvert the Maduro administration. That vitriol was sustained during Hugo Chavez’s tenure as the country’s leader; he often referred to an unsuccessful 2002 coup which heavily implicated US coordination.

The latest spout of violence came on the heels of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez’s surrender to government authorities during a large rally in Caracas. Lopez, who has recently become a rising star among Maduro opponents, is alleged to have played a role in the 2002 coup attempt.

Lopez, the Harvard educated 42-year-old leader of the Popular Will party and a former mayor, is being held responsible for the casualties that have resulted as demonstrators continue to clash with government forces.

“I said, ‘Send him to jail,’ and that’s what happened and that’s what will happen with all of the fascists. I won’t allow him to challenge the people of Venezuela, the constitution,” said Maduro shortly after his arrest.

Lopez is being held in Caracas’ Ramo Verde military jail on charges of fomenting the violence. According to his lawyers, prosecutors have dropped the most serious charges of murder against him.

Related to allegations of international meddling, Venezuela recently blocked broadcasts by Colombian based NTN24, and on Thursday Maduro warned US broadcaster CNN that it would be booted from the country if it did not “rectify” its programming, which was described as propaganda.

“I asked the minister of Communications, Delcy Rodríguez, that she notify CNN that the administrative process of removing them from Venezuela has begun if they do not rectify (comply). CNN will leave Venezuela. Enough of the war propaganda,” said the Venezuelan leader.

 

Beauty Queen Genesis Carmona Killed by Gunmen in Anti-Government Venezuelan Protests

Opposition supporter Genesis Carmona is evacuated on a motorcycle after being shot in the head during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Valencia. She later died in a clinic.

Opposition supporter Genesis Carmona is evacuated on a motorcycle after being shot in the head during a protest against Nicolas Maduro’s government in Valencia. She later died in a clinic.

A local beauty queen died of a gunshot wound on Wednesday in the fifth fatality from Venezuela’s political unrest, as imprisoned protest leader Leopoldo Lopez urged supporters to keep fighting for the departure of the socialist government.

Tensions have risen in Venezuela since Lopez, a 42-year-old Harvard-educated economist, turned himself in to troops on Tuesday after spearheading three weeks of often rowdy protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

The latest included college student and model Genesis Carmona, 22, who was shot in the head at a protest on Tuesday in the central city of Valencia. She died later in a clinic.
“How long are we going to live like this? How long do we have to tolerate this pressure, with them killing us?” a relative, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

“She only needed one more semester to graduate,” he added of Carmona, who had been studying tourism and had won the 2013 Miss Tourism competition in her state.

Genesis-Carmona

Genesis-Carmona

Three people were shot dead in Caracas after an opposition rally a week ago, and a fourth person died after being run over by a car during a demonstration in the coastal town of Carupano. There have been scores of arrests and injuries.

State TV channel VTV said the mother of one its employees died while being rushed to hospital in Caracas. VTV said she suffered a heart attack while the ambulance carrying her was stuck in gridlock due to opposition supporters blocking roads.

Lopez has urged his supporters to keep fighting for the departure of Maduro’s socialist administration.

“Today more than ever, our cause has to be the exit of this government,” he said, sitting by his wife in a pre-recorded video that was to be released in the event he was jailed.

“The exit from this disaster, the exit of this group of people who have kidnapped the future of Venezuelans is in your hands. Let’s fight. I will be doing so.”

There was sporadic trouble across Venezuela again on Wednesday. Rival groups scuffled outside the Caracas court where Lopez was due, while student demonstrators also blocked a highway in the capital, burning trash.

In western Tachira state, security forces and protesters fought in the streets for about two hours, with two students injured, various vehicles damaged or destroyed, and local monuments charred, witnesses said.

In southern Puerto Ordaz city, pro- and anti-government marchers fought in the street, witnesses said, with police firing teargas to quell the trouble.

Three government supporters were injured in the melee when shots were fired, and both sides faced off with sticks and stones, the witnesses said.

The demonstrators are calling for Maduro’s resignation over issues ranging from inflation and violent crime to corruption and product shortages.

Maduro, who was narrowly elected last year to replace Hugo Chavez after his death from cancer, says Lopez and others in league with the U.S. government are seeking a coup.

Street protests were the backdrop to a short-lived ouster of Chavez for 36 hours in 2002, before military loyalists and supporters helped bring him back.

Though tens of thousands joined Lopez on the streets when he turned himself in on Tuesday, the protests have so far been much smaller than the wave of demonstrations a decade ago.

Neither is there any evidence that the military, which was the decisive factor in the 2002 overthrow, may turn on Maduro now.

Lopez was being held on Wednesday at the Ramo Verde jail in Caracas, and was due at a first court hearing.

Hundreds of his supporters waved banners saying “Free Leopoldo!” in the city center on Wednesday as a line of soldiers stood in front with riot shields. “We’re prepared to give our lives,” said pensioner Juan Marquez, 68.

Police held back a rival demonstration by several hundred ‘Chavistas’, some of them striking the protesters and chanting “Leopoldo, off to Tocoron” in a reference to a notoriously overcrowded provincial jail.

In an intriguing twist to the drama, Maduro said his powerful Congress head Diosdado Cabello, seen by many Venezuelans as a potential rival to the president, personally negotiated Lopez’s surrender via his parents.

Cabello even helped drive him to custody in his own car given the risks to Lopez’s life from extremists, Maduro said.

With local TV providing minimal live coverage of the street unrest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have become the go-to media for many Venezuelans desperate for information.

However, many social media users are indiscriminately tweeting images without confirming their origin, leading to manipulation and gaffes including footage of unrest in Egypt and Chile being passed off as repression in Venezuela.

Old photos from past protests are also doing the rounds.

Detractors call Lopez a dangerous and self-serving hothead. He has frequently squabbled with fellow opposition leaders, and was involved in the 2002 coup, even helping arrest a minister.

“I’ve hardly been in office for 10 months and for 10 months this opposition has been plotting to kill me, topple me,” Maduro said. “For how long is the right wing going to hurt the nation?”

Though the majority of demonstrators have been peaceful, a radical fringe have been attacking police, blocking roads and vandalizing buildings. Rights groups say the police response has been excessive, and some detainees say they were tortured.

In a nation split largely down the middle on political lines, ‘Chavistas’ have stayed loyal to Maduro despite unflattering comparisons with his famously charismatic predecessor. Many Venezuelans fear the loss of popular, oil-funded welfare programs should the socialists lose power.

 

Beauty queen the latest victim in Venezuela unrest | New York Post.