On December 1, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation hosted the lunch seminar Venezuela – When will Maduro give way to democracy? The panel that discussed the developments in Venezuela included Carlos Eduardo Berrizbeitia, MP (Venezuela), Chairman, Special Committee to Investigate the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and José Ramón García Hernández, MP (Spain), Parliamentary Spokesman for Foreign Affairs, Partido Popular. The seminar was moderated by Christian Holm Barenfeld, MP and member of the Swedish Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. (more…)
“As Venezuela continues to spiral into political and economic disarray, access to phone calls and even websites abroad is under threat as operators can’t get hold of dollars and inflation is so high they don’t know how to price service. (…) President Nicolás Maduro then blocked companies from further increasing prices – and told telcos on Monday to sort the situation out or sell their business to the government if they are unable to do so – but the current reality is that phone and Internet services can only be afforded by a few.”
García-Hernández, “the Venezuelan people will be able to democratically choose what they want for Venezuela.”
80 Venezuelan political opponents are on hunger strike demanding the holding of the elections.
Partido Popular welcomed the announcement of the President of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela, Tibisay Lucena, where it is reported to the call for parliamentary elections next 6th of December. The International Secretary of Partido Popular, José Ramón García-Hernández, said that the holding of these elections, “the Venezuelan people will be able to democratically choose what they want for Venezuela, to be protagonists of their future and defend their rights and freedoms at polls”.
With the holding of parliamentary elections in Venezuela, is achieved one of the demands of the more than 80 Venezuelan political opponents on hunger strikers, who also asked that these elections must be holded with electoral observators from the European Union and the Organization of American States (OAS); and the release of all political prisoners. However, yesterday the possibility of election observers was closed, only allowing the presence of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
For García-Hernández, it is essential that “these elections will be held in a climate of freedom and respect, with maximum transparency and democratic rigor”, “the Venezuelan people deserve a democracy based on scrupulous respect for their rights and freedoms with the participation of all sectors of Venezuelan society “,” the opposition must be respected as part of the democratic game, as defenders of request from many Venezuelan citizens “. He has also encouraged the Venezuelan opposition, “which represents the desire of many citizens who believe in the possibility of change and get what Venezuela and the Venezuelans deserve.”
The nominations of candidates will be held from 3rd to 7th of August and then the campaign will take place between 13th of November and the 3rd rd of December.
Legislative elections will be held in Venezuela later this year, on December 6. The coalition of democrat opposition parties has grown stronger in recent opinion polls. After the announcement, the jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez decided to end his hunger strike, after 30 days. In a letter read by his wife Lilian Tintori, he wrote that “Hunger strikes are a method of resistance. We lift the strike but the fight continues.”
According to the Miami Herald, who quotes U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, there will be an interaction between the U.S. president Barack Obama and Raúl Castro at the Panama Summit. She says further that it will be an important handshake in the ongoing process of trying to renew U.S.-Cuban relations. Human rights advocates fear however that any recognition of Castro will lend the rough nation legitimacy internationally, undermining the struggle of political dissidents on the island.
June 12, Yris Tamara Pérez and Jorge Luis García Pérez, significant leaders of the Cuban resistance movement, are now together with other important leaders under arrest after a nightly raid led by Cuban authorities against dissidents, The Miami Herald’s Juan Tamayo reports. Mr and Mrs Pérez guested as late as in October a seminar hosted by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in Stockholm on Human Rights on Cuba.
Press conference at the youth organization of the opposition party ARENA on the censorship
El Salvador’s election commission has decided to censor a campaign video from the opposition party ARENA’s youth organization prior to the presidential election on March 9, between Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, from the leftist FMLN and his opponent Norman Quijano, Mayor of San Salvador. (more…)
Two weeks in, the protests continue in Venezuela, challenging the country’s socialist government.
In an appearance this weekend, the country’s First Lady Cilia Flores stated at a counter-demonstration that “Venezuela is not Ukraine” and referred to the protesters as “right-wing fascists.”
During the Monday, the opposition’s Henrique Capriles, along with other local leaders, is scheduled to meet with President Maduro, who has stated that “only by defeating the opposition can Venezuela have peace.”
Leopold López, leader of the opposition party Voluntad Popular, is imprisoned and charged by Venezuelan prosecutors with arson and conspiracy, punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
López, who is held in a militarty prison, was arrested by the Venezuelan authorities February 18 at a protest march, from Plaza Venezuela in eastern Caracas, to the Justice Department on Urdaneta Avenue in downtown Caracas, where the demonstrators demanded the release of students arrested by the regime during recent days and that the responsibles for the deaths on February 12 should be held accountable. The Venezuelan authorities had already issued a warrant against López and during the Monday, government troops conducted a raid against the opposition party’s office. Lopez is a former Mayor of Chacao, Caracas, but since 2011 forbidden to hold political office, most likely because the late President Hugo Chávez saw him as a threat.
Wednesday, a young woman died after being shut in the head during protests in Valencia, Carabobo.
Students in Venezuela have during the past 7 days been demonstrating for a better life in a country characterized by inflation and political repression. Sunday, President Nicolás Maduro referred to the students as facsists which he intends to defeat. At the same time, he expelled three U.S. diplomats after the State Department expressed concerns about the violence and political persecution in the country.
The development in Venezuela is deeply disturbing and reminiscent in its rawness and brutality of what is simultaneously taking place in Ukraine, with the government attacking peaceful protesters.
Protests in Venezuela, February 18
Three people have so far been killed, hundreds injured and arrested as the regime’s brutality gets rougher. The Venezuelan mass demonstrations began as an initiative by young people and students. In recent days, more and more people have joined.
What is happening in Venezuela is extremely worrying. The violations of basic human rights and freedom of the press are unacceptable. The closing of churches and cancellation of the Sunday mass is a violation of religious freedom. The world must send a clear signal to the Venezuelan President and government that these acts can not be tolerated.
The Venezuelan economy has since President Maduro took office deteriorated greatly. Inflation is sky high, ordinary people find it difficult to acquire basic goods as the government uses its oil money to buy weapons and provide financial assistance to countries as Cuba and Nicaragua. Today, Venezuela imports oil to fill its own energy supply.
People are starving and their ability to survive the day is getting tougher. It is therefore quite natural that people choose to take to the streets to protest against the economic injustice and lack of democracy.
The regime’s response is increased brutality and violence. The violence against demonstrators is unacceptable and a violation of basic human rights.
The world can no longer ignore what is happening in Venezuela. We must demand an immediate stop to the regime’s violence as well as freedom for the protesters, opposition politicians, business owners and others who are now under arrest.
Christian Holm, MP
Board member, Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation
The economic and political situation is deteriorating in Venezuela; with rampant inflation and accelerating scarcity of basic staples (from flour to toilette paper) as consequence. In a one year period, the costs of basic staples reached new levels as other merchandises for instance clothes are selling less. The country is facing bankruptcy. The regime deals with these problems by strengthening its repressions against the democratic opposition, with serious negative effects on the life of ordinary people.
Here follows a regular update on the development in Venezuela with a special focus on human rights violations. Violations you usually don’t read about in the media.
March 21, 2017 Bread War in Venezuela
Maduro’s Government heavily subsidizes imports of basic goods such as flour via an artificially high exchange rate. Since flour is in short supply, Maduro has forced bakeries to produce only white loaves using 90 % of the flour and some specific patisserie with the 10% left. And everything must be sold at a government dictated price. According to the industry group, Venezuela’s 8,000 bakeries are receiving just 30,000 tons of flour a month, when they need four times that to meet demand.
Vice President Tareck El Aissami, has now accused bakeries of disregarding the regulations by making too many cakes. “They are hiding the bread from the people,” the president said on his weekly TV program, vowing to crack down on greedy bakers. Maduro insists and accuses bakeries of hoarding flour to destabilize his government.
Bakers are arrested for: producing “luxury” items not included in the regulation thus not price controlled, producing loaves smaller than the regulation’s dictated size or selling it for a higher price or for not producing bread from 7am to 7pm, even when there is no flour for it.
Inspectors are going into all bakeries to make sure the rules are followed, and violators are arrested. Over 700 bakeries were inspected in Caracas. Bakeries have been confiscated and detentions have been made. While bakers are in jail, state-appointed bakers will take over their bakeries.
October 28, 2016 Joint Declaration by the International Democrat Union and the Centrist Democrat International on the developments in Venezuela.
October 19, 2016 The United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, declared on Monday that regional and gubernatorial elections set for December have been suspended over the opposition’s efforts to recall President Nicolas Maduro. Yesterday the government-stacked National Election Board stated that the elections will be held mid-2017.
The last regional elections were held in Venezuela in late 2012. The mandate of the acting governors will expire in January, 2017 and Venezuelans were scheduled to elect in December 23 governors who would serve from 2017 until 2021.
The opposition faces a new challenge in the drawn-out recall process next week, when it must gather four million voters’ signatures from Wednesday to Friday. The National Election Board has ruled that it is too late to hold a recall vote by January 10 — the deadline to trigger a new presidential election. If voters remove Maduro from office after that date, his hand-picked vice president will finish his term, which ends in 2019.
September 10, 2016 Chávez without the charm
A strongman in a crisis needs charisma. Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s current president, has none. Read more in The Economist
September 4, 2016 Journalist with Boston ties detained in Venezuela, according to his relatives
A prominent Venezuelan journalist with Boston ties has been arrested amid the antigovernment protests roiling the South American nation, according to his family and friends. Read more in The Boston Globe
Venezuelan president chased by pot-banging protesters
A video has emerged appearing to show Venezuela’s president being chased by an angry mob. Read more at Euronews
September 1, 2016 Venezuela opposition aims to flood Caracas in anti-Maduro protest
White-clad opposition supporters from all corners of Venezuela were descending on Caracas on Thursday for rallies intended to press for a recall referendum this year against unpopular socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Read more at Reuters
‘Taking of Caracas’ protests push recall of Venezuela president Maduro
In what may be the biggest demonstration against the ruling socialist government in over a decade, protesters streamed into Caracas from the Amazon jungle to the western Andes. Read more at CCTV America
August 30, 2016 Venezuela arrests activist ahead of national opposition protest
Venezuelan authorities have arrested a once prominent anti-government activist just days before the opposition is set to stage a national protest against the rule of President Nicolas Maduro. Read more at Bloomberg
August 24, 2016 European Parliament President Worried about Venezuela’s Democracy
During a visit to Colombia, European Parliament President German social democrat Martin Schulz expressed deep concerns about the state of democracy in Venezuela. Read more in EurActic
August 23, 2016 Venezuela orders purge of state workers who oppose Maduro
President Maduro has ordered a purge of management-level state employees who supports the opposition at five ministries. Read more in Washington Post
August 3, 2016 Situation in Venezuela threatens to cut off the country from the Internet “As Venezuela continues to spiral into political and economic disarray, access to phone calls and even websites abroad is under threat as operators can’t get hold of dollars and inflation is so high they don’t know how to price service. (…) President Nicolás Maduro then blocked companies from further increasing prices – and told telcos on Monday to sort the situation out or sell their business to the government if they are unable to do so – but the current reality is that phone and Internet services can only be afforded by a few.” Read more at ZDNet
August 2, 2016 Forced labour to slow down economic collapse Nicolas Maduro’s latest step to slow down the economic collapse of Venezuela, is to temporally move public employees to new state companies specialised in food production. Read more in the Daily Intelligencer
Venezuelan election board approves first phase in recall referendum Venezuela’s election board has approved the opposition’s collection of signature consisting of 1 percent of every voter in each state. This is the first phase of the opposition’s push for a referendum to recall the socialist president Nicolas Maduro. Read more at Reuters
June 7, 2016 Venezuela’s socialist party takes control over national food supply In order to restrain the food shortage in the backwash of Chavez’ socialist revolution, Maduro has imposed a new government food redistribution system. The citizens can now solely acquire food from Socialist Party members. Read more at Breitbart or Forbes
May 18, 2016 Maduro declares 60-day state of emergency to restrain vote of no confidence Nicolas Maduro has ahead of the vote of no confidence by the oppositional congress, declared state of emergency in order to centralise power. The condition gives him the absolute power to ban organisations receiving funds from outside the country. The National Assembly refused to approve the decree and the Supreme Court will have the final say over it. Read more at Transparency International
May 2, 2016 Venezuela’s opposition has deposited a petition to oust Maduro “Venezuela’s opposition has presented to the electoral authorities a petition with the signatures of 1.85 million voters calling for a referendum to oust President Nicolas Maduro. (…) ‘With this successful strategy, MUD moves forward in its bid to achieve urgent political change through strictly peaceful and constitutional means’, Mr Torrealba (executive secretary of the opposition party, editor’s note) said.” Read more at BBC
April 25, 2016 Venezuelan Supreme Court rejects proposal to cut Maduro’s term The amendment was proposed by the opposition, which is in parliamentary majority since last year’s election and has the control of the legislature. The opposition has tried various means to oust Nicolas Maduro, including to short his term. The Supreme Court however ruled that the amendment could not be applied to Maduro’s current term. Read more at BBC
April 22, 2016 Venezuela officially adopts electricity blackouts Venezuela’s government has now formalised the blackouts that its citizen have been experiencing lately. Besides shortening the working days, electricity will be turned off nationwide four hours a day. Read more at the New York Times
April 21, 2016 Venezuelan Congress approves new referendum rules The Venezuelan Congress has approved new referendum rules, which would speed up the process of requesting recall referendums. According to the Venezuelan constitution, elected officials can be recalled if they have served over half their term. Read more at Jurist
April 8, 2016 Maduro’s goal for record long Earth Hour continues Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declares every Friday a holiday to save electricity. The socialist leader hopes that less energy usage will prevent further blackouts, which has struck the nation in recent months. During his speech to the nation, he appealed to the citizens to use less power in their everyday lives, and to use the sun instead of using hairdryers. “I always think a woman looks better when she just runs her fingers through her hair and lets it dry naturally”, he said. Read more at the International Business Times
March 16, 2016 Venezuela to shut down for a week The electricity crisis in the backwash of the socialistic rule in Venezuela has forced the government into extreme measures. In order to tackle the crisis, the country will shut down for a week. Electricity and water supplies across the country have been rationalised for months, and the socialist government blames the shortage on “sabotage” by their political foes. Read more at Bloomberg
March 10, 2016 Venezuelan congress gives preliminary approval to recall bill Venezuela’s congress, which is controlled by the opposition, has preliminary approved a bill that will shorten Maduro’s term and hopefully lead to a peaceful transition of power this year. The presidency is controlled by the ruling socialist party, whose members say that the legislation is an attempted coup. The congress is expected to give the bill final approval later this month. Read more at Voice of America
March 8, 2016 Venezuela’s opposition begins campaign to oust President Maduro The Venezuelan opposition has launched a campaign to oust President Nicolás Maduro, and to push for a recall referendum to end Maduro’s presidency halfway through his six-year term. The head of the Democratic Unity coalition, Jesús Torrealba, told at a news conference that “change is coming and no one can stop it.” Read more at The Guardian
February 26, 2016 Leopoldo López’s three steps to turn the country around Opposition leader and former deputy mayor of Caracas, Leopoldo López, writes an opinion in Washington Times, stating that three crucial steps have to be taken in order to turn Venezuela around. In the end, the people of Venezuela want this change to be a peaceful swift. Read the full opinion in Washington Times
February 6, 2016 The endgame in Venezuela The Economist writes in a good article that Venezuela is on the brink of a social explosion and economic collapse that only a negotiated transition can prevent. Real wages fell by 35% last year, and 76% of the population is now considered in poverty. Most in the opposition and some chavistas believe that a negotiated transition is the only way to prevent a descent into bloodshed. Read more here
February 4, 2016 Independent: Venezuela is on the brink of complete economic collapse “The only question now is whether Venezuela’s government or economy will completely collapse first. (…) Incumbents, after all, don’t tend to do too well when, according to the International Monetary Fund, their economy shrinks 10 percent one year, an additional 6 percent the next, and inflation explodes to 720 percent. It’s no wonder, then, that markets expect Venezuela to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.” Read the full article at The Independent
February 1, 2016 Latin America shows no sympathy for Venezuela Mac Margolis writes in an article for Bloomberg View about Venezuela’s fading status in the Latin American community. During Maduro’s discourse at the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit, encomiums to 21st-century socialism and the importance of a counterbalance to alleged American imperialism were replaced with contrition and beseeching. Read more at Bloomberg View
January 27, 2016 National Assembly reopens to the press after five-year ban Venezuela’s National Assembly, which is under control of the opposition, has lifted a five-year long ban for journalists to be present during the congressional sessions. In 2010, deputies from the ruling Socialist Party approved a measure banning all journalists from the press balcony. Instead, they were relocated to a small room where they could follow the congress on a public censored TV-channel. This act is considered to be a breakthrough for the press freedom in the country. Read more at Committee to Protect Journalists
January 19, 2015 Lopez wife and mother stripped naked and humiliated before prison visit Venezuelan prison authorities strip-searched both the wife and the mother of the imprisoned Leopoldo Lopez in front of their children as they went to visit him. They both were subjected to an intimate search. The abuses have been condemned by Costa Rica’s former president Laura Chinchilla and Colombia’s equivalent Andres Pastrana, among others. Read more at The Telegraph
January 11, 2016 Venezuela’s Supreme Court declares opposition congress null Venezuela’s Supreme Court has declared that the new opposition-dominated congress’ decisions are void until it unseats three barred lawmakers. The Supreme Court barred three opposition lawmakers from taking their seats to give officials time to look into allegations of electoral fraud. The opposition denounces it as a coup and vowed to continue defying the court. The Supreme Court is by many considered to be an arm of President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government. Read more at Associated Press
December 9, 2015 Venezuela’s opposition party wins election – Maduro acknowledges his defeat Venezuela’s opposition party has claimed the majority of the seats in the National Assembly after the elections held on Sunday, according to CNN. The opposition took 112 seats out of 167 to Maduro’s socialist party’s 55 seats. President Nicolas Maduro acknowledged his party’s defeat during a speech on national television, pledging the people not to give up on the mission of deceased Hugo Chavez to create a socialist state. He blamed the defeat on the “economic war” by political interests outside Venezuela. The socialists have ruled the country continuous for 16 years with the result of economic collapse in a country with the world’s largest proven oil reserve. Read more at CNN or ABC
November 10, 2015 OAS leader says Venezuela fails to ensure fair election in December The Secretary General of Organization of American States (OAS) harshly criticises the head of Venezuela’s electoral board for failing to ensure fair elections in December. He states in a 19-page letter that “there are reasons to believe that the conditions in which people will vote … aren’t right now as transparent and just as the (electoral council) ought to guarantee.” Read a summarising article from Reuters here or the full statement from OAS here
October 25, 2015 Deserted Venezuelan prosecutor: Lopez trial was a farce Franklin Nieves, one of the two main prosecutors in the case against the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, has released a video in which he calls the trial a farce. Nieves released the video after he fled the country with his family and says that he couldn’t stand the pressure from his superiors to continue defending false evidence that was used to convict Lopez. Read more at New York Times
October 23, 2015 Joint statement: Venezuela unfit for a new UN Human Rights Council term Transparency International has together with other non-government organisations published a joint statement declaring why Venezuela should be left out for another term in the UN Human Rights Council. The statement says among other things that the arbitrary arrests and prosecutions of opposition politicians and the harassment of journalists makes Venezuela unfit to hold a seat in the council. Read the full statement here
October 16, 2015 Foreign Policy: Venezuela’s other political prisoners ”Prominent political prisoners such as opposition leader Leopoldo López, Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, and recently jailed former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales help shine the sportlight on human rights abuses in Venezuela. But the publicity of their cases makes it is easy to overlook the dozens of ordinary Venezuelans – neither prominent nor powerful – that have also been unjustly jailed.” Read more at Foreign Policy
September 14, 2015 Comment by Mac Margolis: Venezuela’s president starts to look desperate “Deporting immigrants at rifle point, reigniting long-settles claims to a neighbour’s oil reserves, sending soldier instead of groceries to depleted supermarkets — just when you’d think Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could go no further to turn his country into an outlaw state, the leader of the Bolivarian Republic has trumped himself – criminalizing dissent.” Read the full comment at Bloomberg
UN urges Venezuela to stop abuses as Colombians deported The United Nations urges Venezuela to prevent human rights abuses of Colombians being deported as Maduro plays the nationalistic card before the parliamentary elections in December. In the recent weeks, more than 15,225 Colombians have fled their adopted homeland, causing separation of families. Read more at Reuters
September 11, 2015 Venezuela’s opposition unsettled by Lopez’ sentence Protests took place in Caracas last Friday in the backwash of Leopoldo Lopez’ conviction to nearly 14 years in jail for his role in leading last year’s protests. The demonstrators find themselves at the moment discourage and off balance, even if it retains hopes of winning the crucial legislative elections in December. Both the United States of America and the European Union have condemned the imprisonment of Lopez and call it a politically motivated move from Maduro’s socialistic regime. Read more at New York Times
August 27, 2015 Venezuelans with Colombian inheritance banished Maduro has blamed many of Venezuela’s problems on Colombians, and Venezuelan security forces have swept through the border city of San Antonio marking Colombian homes for demolition. Hundreds of Colombians have waded across a border river to Colombia with fridges, chickens and mattresses on their backs, afraid of Maduro’s next move. Read more at Reuters and Bloomberg
August 14, 2015 Support for Venezuela’s socialists plummets ahead of vote The United Socialist Party of Venezuela is facing less support in polls ahead of national elections, which are being held on December 6 later this year. The ruling socialist party with president Maduro as prominent figure, has dropped to 19.2 percent in support ahead of the elections. The popularity of Maduro himself has dropped to 24.3 percent since the last survey in May. Read more at Reuters and Bloomberg
August 5, 2015 Venezuelan government caught praising itself on fake Twitter accounts Associated Press reports in an extensive exposé that the socialist government of Venezuela has been using an army of Twitter bots in order to inflate its support on the social media scene. This, together with hashtags and retweet instructions given by the state owned television, have made Maduro’s “popularity” on Twitter comparable with Pope Francis and the King of Saudi Arabia. Read more at Breitbart
July 28, 2015 Maduro bans election monitoring before national elections Venezuelan socialist president Nicolas Maduro announced at the United Nations in New York that “Venezuela will not be monitored by anyone” and that “(Venezuela) won’t accept it ever”, in response to a reporter’s questions whether the UN could monitor the upcoming national elections on December 6. Read more at Bloomberg
July 21, 2015 Venezuelan farmers ordered to hand over produce to state As Venezuela’s food shortages worsen, Maduro’s socialist government forces farmers and manufacturers who produce milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour to supply up to 100 per cent of their products to the state. The nation’s high inflation rates together with Maduro’s dream of a socialistic paradise have led to frequent food shortage crises that send Venezuelans raiding nearly empty stores. Read more at International Business Times and The Telegraph
July 18, 2015 Venezuela bans opposition politicians from holding office Venezuelan government has last week banned three prominent opposition politicians to run for office in the upcoming national elections on December 6. Critics say that president Maduro seeks to clamp down on opposition leaders and discourage voters ahead of an election polls forecast his party is likely to lose. Read more at Reuters
June 25, 2015 Legislative Elections in Venezuela on December 6 – Lopez ends hunger strike Legislative elections will be held in Venezuela later this year, on December 6. The coalition of democrat opposition parties has grown stronger in recent opinion polls. After the announcement, the jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez decided to end his hunger strike, after 30 days. In a letter read by his wife Lilian Tintori, he wrote that “Hunger strikes are a method of resistance. We lift the strike but the fight continues.” Read more in Miami Herald
June 2, 2015 Transparency International: Corruption and human rights violations in Venezuela “In Venezuela powdered milk meant to be served to poor school children is instead smuggled to Colombia and sold illegally. In a country where almost half are poor and known to lack even basic medical supplies, tons of medicines have been found rotting in warehouses. Government funds meant to serve the people are mismanaged, stolen or spent on companies linked to power.”Read the full report here
May 31, 2015 Tens of thousands marched the streets in anti-government protest Supporters of the Venezuelan opposition marched the streets of Caracas, Maracaibo, Valencia and Barquisimeto, to back the jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has been imprisoned for over a year. Read more at Nasdaq here
May 27, 2015 Venezuela to strangle the Internet traffic with sole government server The socialist Venezuela is proposing a project that would force all Venezuelan citizens to lead their internet traffic through a government controlled server to prevent the use of Google, Twitter, and other social media sites that might publish material unfavourable to the government. Control of the internet is critical for the socialist government, as the popularity plummets in the backwash of the arrests of major political dissidents. Read more at Breitbart
May 25, 2015 Opposition leader Lopez goes on hunger strike The jailed Venezuelan opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, goes on hunger strike. Lopez got imprisoned over a year ago for instigating street protests against the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro. Lopez also calls for a protest march next week against the socialist government. Read more in The Guardian
May 18, 2015 Venezuela’s opposition aims to win big legislative election “With dissatisfaction at an all-time high, the opposition is seeing its strongest chance for political power since Maduro was elected to office in 2013. Maduro’s popularity has slipped dramatically during his two years in office, with recent figures around 28 percent (…).”Read more at International Business Times
May 2, 2015 Venezuela to nationalise food distribution During a speech on the International Workers’ Day, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro promised to nationalise the food distribution in the country in order to prevent the shortage of food and basic goods, News24 reports. The oil rich nation struggles with recession and 68.5 % of annual inflation. Read more at News24
April 22, 2015 Venezuela’s tight relation to Hezbollah reviled in new book A new book by the Spanish reporter Emili J. Blasco reveals that Chavez’s and later on Maduro’s government has secured over 300 Venezuelan passports to Hezbollah operatives after 2007. After a meeting between Maduro, then Venezuela’s minister for foreign affairs, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the two agreed to set up a programme to secure hundreds of passports for Middle Eastern citizens with ties to Hezbollah. Both Venezuela and its strongest ally, Cuba, have been accused of working to issue falsified Latin American passports to Middle Eastern operatives with close ties to Hezbollah. Read more at Breitbart
April 20, 2015 The surreal world of Venezuela’s queues A journalist from BBC reports on the surreal art of extreme queuing in Caracas. In Maduro’s socialistic Venezuela, people are now given time off to queue, and they are not waiting for the number 29 bus, but for basic goods such as milk, sugar, corn flour, soap and even toilet paper. The government regulates the price of such goods since a couple of years back, and is telling the store owners what they can charge. Read the report at BBC
April 17, 2015 Maduro to limit the free press in Venezuela Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) warns that Maduro’s new policies regarding publications critical to his government, threatens the free press in Venezuela. At least five newspapers are expected to shut down over the next few weeks. The newspapers concering are El Correo del Caroní, El Impulso, El Carabobeno, El Nacional and El Regional del Zulia, which all of them have announced they will be forced to stop publishing by the socialist government, according to IAPA. Read more at International Business Times
March 16, 2015 Maduro granted power to govern by decree The National Assembly in Venezuela has approved a decree that gives Maduro the power to issue decrees matters of public security and defence until December 31. Maduro said during a speech that “this legislation gives [Maduro] the power to defend peace and sovereignty” and refers to the U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan officials. Opposition congressman Angel Medina said that “this is a weapon they are giving Maduro to use against those who disagree with him” and that “the National Assembly cannot give up its powers in important matters such as sovereignty.” Read more at BBC
March 8, 2015 Venezuela installs fingerprint scanners at grocery stores Food shortages in Maduro’s socialistic Venezuela are now so grave that the government will install 20.000 fingerprint scanners at grocery stores throughout the country to prevent people from buying more subsidised goods than they are allowed. Venezuela is currently experiencing the highest inflation in South America since its Bolivarian revolution. Read more at United Press International
March 3, 2015 Venezuela enjoins U.S. embassy in Caracas to cut staff from 100 to 17 Venezuela has ordered the U.S. embassy in Caracas to cut staff by 80 percent despite the worst diplomatic tensions between the states since Nicolas Maduro was elected president in 2013. Maduro alleges USA of espionage and says further that Venezuela has 17 staffers in Washington, and that the embassies should be on par. Read more at Reuters
March 1, 2015 U.S. politicians consider travel ban as badge of honour Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has announced diplomatic sanctions against U.S. politicians, which are now banned from entering the country. Among them are George W Bush, Dick Cheney and several US congressmen. Maduro said during a protest against imperialism that “they can’t come to Venezuela because they’re terrorists” and “out of here, terrorists!” The parties concerned see however the act as a badge of honour in Chavez’s and now Maduro’s failed socialistic revolution. Read more in The Guardian
February 25, 2015 Venezuelan 14 year-old gunned down during anti-government protests Death shooting of a Venezuelan 14 year-old teenager during an anti-government protest rises already high tensions in Maduro’s socialistic Venezuela, where lack of basic groceries and economic recession already try its citizens. Read more at The Telegraph
February 3, 2015 Maduro demands identities of Miami-based exile group Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro demands the identities of the Venezuelan exiles in Florida who petitioned Florida lawmakers to label the country a “narco-state”, to be revealed. The Miami-based group Persecuted Political Venezuelan in Exile, also known as Veppex, issued a letter to several U.S. senators last Monday, accusing several Venezuelan government officials of being part in the drug trade. “This clearly demonstrates that protection of drug trafficking has become a state policy”, the group stated. They also wrote that “Venezuela is a secure platform for this criminal activity” and implored the senators to declare “Nicolas Maduro’s regime a narco-state.”Read the full article at The International Business Times
Medical shortage claims lives in Chavez’s great Bolivarian revolution The chronical shortage of basic needs in Venezuela is now getting even worse since doctors, surgeons and pharmacists woe that the crisis of Venezuela’s “socialist paradise” have reached the medical sector with acute need of medicine and other medical equipment. Patients at hospitals are dying because of this and Jose Perez, an ordinary Venezuelan taxi driver from Caracas, said in an interview with The Telegraph that his wife, 51-year-old Carmen, is one of many victims who died during what used to be a routine surgery because of lack of medicine. Read more at The Telegraph
February 1, 2015 Venezuela imprisons store owners accused of creating queues Maduro’s Venezuela has jailed store owners of chain shops accused of engineering queues to whip up anger with the socialist government. Lack of basic goods such as flour, chicken and diapers have trigged massive lines that sometimes stretch around blocks. Maduro says that the “rapacious business elite” is waging an “economic war” to bring down his government and likens the strategy to a “guerrilla tactic.” Maduro’s regime has jailed businessmen in the past for raising prices to compensate the over 60 percent inflation. Read more at Reuters
January 30, 2015 Maduro’s government passes bill to use lethal weapons on civilian protesters With the approaching anniversary of the jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López, the Venezuelan government passes a bill which allows the Bolivarian National Guard to use potentially lethal force against critics of the regime exercising their rights of freedoms of expressing and assembly. Opponents of the new law say that it is clearly incompatible with the Venezuelan Constitution, particularly with the National Guard’s history of abuse of peaceful protests against the socialist Maduro regime in the past year. Read more here
Venezuelan Security Head: Chavez died month before official announcement The defected former head of security for Venezuela’s Second in Command claims that deceased dictator Hugo Chavez died already in December – three months before the official announcement and hidden form the public eye by current Venezuelan leaders who used his name to pass legislation convenient for them. If the allegation is true, the current Venezuelan government would have to explain who approved dozens of legislative initiatives and executive orders previously believed to have been signed by Chavez. Read further here
January 25, 2015 Latin American ex-presidents blocked from visiting imprisoned Lopez Former president Sebastian Pinera of Chile and Andres Pastrana of Colombia got denied visiting the jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez during their visit in Caracas. According to them, the decision to refuse their visit was a sign of limitation on human right in the country, while Maduro said that the former president’s visit was part of an effort to support right-wing extremists that are seeking to destabilise his government. Read further at Reuters
January 14, 2015 Capriles calls for united Venezuelan opposition as crisis deepens “Henrique Capriles called on Venezuela’s opposition to unite and said he would talk to other leaders who demanded the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro today amid a deepening economic crisis. (…) Opposition leaders Maria Corina Machado, Antonio Ledezma and Leopoldo Lopez, who remains in jail, sent a joint statement earlier today saying ‘the time for change has come.’ The three leaders said a new government was needed to pull Venezuela from the brink of collapse amid the ‘incompetencies and corruption’ of the Maduro administration.”Read the article at Bloomberg
Venezuelan Church puts up against Maduro Venezuelan bishops blame the totalitarian government for the country’s economic crisis and that the lack of food, basic necessities, and constantly rising food prices are the direct result of the government’s decision to impose socialistic ideals built on Marxism. Read more here
December 11, 214 US Congress approves sanctions on Venezuelan leaders The United States Congress has passed a bill which would impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials found to have violated protesters’ rights. The bill is now likely to be signed into law by President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro described the move as imposing “insolent imperialist sanctions”. The bill targets current and former Venezuelan officials who directed “significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses against persons associated with the anti-government protests in Venezuela that began on 4 February”.Read more at BBC News
December 3, 2014 Leading Venezuelan opposition figure charged over alleged plot to assassinate Maduro Maria Corina Machado, a former congresswoman, is to face charges over an alleged plot to assassinate the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro. Machado, along with three other people who are the subject of arrest orders in connection to the alleged plot, have denounced the allegations as an attempt by Venezuela’s government to silence its critics. The investigation of Machado comes as oil-dependent Venezuela comes under increasing financial strain because of plunging world oil prices, forcing the government to cut spending amid widespread shortages and the world’s highest inflation. Read more here, here or here.
October 11, 2014 Lawness in Venezuela is spreading The disturbances in Venezuela is spreading into open gang wars between regime friendly and the opposition. The latest grisly murder of a young Venezuelan politician and with it the killing of a pro-regime militia leader in a shoot-out with the police signal a bloody power struggle for the legacy of Hugo Chavez, Phillip Sherwell writes in The Telegraph. Read the article here
October 2, 2014 IFES 2014 Democracy Award to Maria Corina Machado The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has awarded its 2014 Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award to Venezuelan opposition leader and Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado. Machado has experienced numerous unproven accusations and death threats from government loyalists since calling on citizens to publically demonstrate against President Maduro. Read more at IFES
September 18, 2014 Rewriting of the Christian Lord’s Prayer to include Hugo Chavez Chavez’s legacy has taken on a religious glow in Venezuela since a rewritten version of Lord’s Prayer, including the former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, was read out loud at a party convention. The Venezuela Catholic Church condemns the use of Chavez’s name in the Lord’s Prayer. President Maduro defends it however, and calls critics “new inquisitors.” Read more at The Telegraph
September 15, 2014 The Central Bank of Maduro’s Venezuela admits sky-high inflation “The Central Bank of Venezuela has released its first official inflation report since May, and the results point to why they were reticent for so long. The admitted price-level change of 63.4 percent, between August 2013 and 2014, exceeds that of any country in Latin America.”Read more at PanAm Post
August 20, 2014 Venezuela’s unchecked repression ensures further unrest “The international press has largely shifted its focus away from Venezuela, but government repression has continued in less conspicuous forms”, states the Freedom At Issue Blog by Freedom House. Read the blog post by Jacqueline Strzemp here
August 19, 2014 Venezuelans feel less safe than any other population on earth According to the latest “Law and Order Index” from GALLUP, “just 19 % of the adult population of Venezuela said they felt safe walking alone at night in the city or area where they live.” With the total index score of 41, Venezuela is not only the worst in the region but also in the whole world. Read the full report here
August 8, 2014 Human Rights Watch: Abuses are the norm in Maduro’s Venezuela José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, said in an interview on CNN en Español that human rights violations in Venezuela are recurrent in the country and that the authorities constantly find excuses to justify their actions. Read more at PanAm Post
July 3, 2014 Che’s Battle Comrade Becomes Maduro’s New Economic Adviser
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro announced a new economic adviser for his cabinet, Orlando Borrego. His past as Che Guevara’s battle companion during the Cuban revolution, along with high-level posts under the Castro’s regime, has fueled speculation of a eventual radicalization for Maduro’s socialist model. Read more at PanAm Post
June 10, 2014 Protests in Venezuela continue
Thousands of Venezuelans continue their protests against president Maduro and for the release of the jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Read more in Miami Herald
March 20, 2014 Venezuelan Government Launches Full-Scale Assault on Opposition Leaders
The World Movement for Democracy releases an alert as opposition leaders are being arrested. Read more
February 25, 2014 Allegations of torture in Venezuela
Demonstrators in Venezuela are now accusing the regime for torture, reports CNN. Watch the report
February 24, 2014 Francisco Toro on the developments in Venezuela
The protesters in Venezuela are “faced with a government that systematically equates protest with treason,” writes Toro. Read the analysis in New York Times
Marco Rubio on the situation in Cuba and Venezuela
Senator Rubio delivered a floor speech, February 24, on the developments in Cuba and Venezuela. Read the speech
February 23, 2014 Can Venezuela’s socialist government survive wave of protests?
Maduro faces his toughest opposition since the election last year, as anti-government protests continue in Venezuela. Read an analysis from CNN
February 21, 2014 Government crackdown against demonstrators continues in Venezuela
The Venezuelan government continues its campaign against demonstrators and unleashes the military against its opponents. Read more
February 20, 2014 Freedom House on Venezuela
Freedom House writes in a statement that Latin American countries should help talks in Venezuela and protest human rights violations. Read the statement
Statement from International Democrat Union on developments in Venezuela
Eirik Moen, Secretary General of International Democrat Union made a statement Thursday, demanding that the regime releases detainees and end government violence. Read the statement
Venezuela awaits ruling on jailed opposition leader
The Venezuelan opposition awaits a ruling on the fate of Leopold López, who was supposed to appear in front of a judge at a military prison, on Wednesday. In a nationally broadcast speech that lasted more than two hours, socialist President Maduro said that López should be sent to jail. Read the article in Miami Herald
February 19, 2014 Christian Holm on the developments in Venezuela
“The Venezuelan economy has since President Maduro took office deteriorated greatly. Inflation is sky high, ordinary people find it difficult to acquire basic goods as the government uses its oil money to buy weapons and provide financial assistance to countries such as Cuba and Nicaragua,” sais Christian Holm, MP and Board Member of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in a comment. Read more
February 18, 2014 EPP on the developments in Venezuela
In a statement, the EPP Group demands that the Venezuelan government put an end to the violence against its own people. Read more
John Suarez: Leopoldo López Mendoza and Venezuela’s defining nonviolent moment
Cuban democracy activist John Suarez comments on the developments in Venezuela and the arrest of opposition leader Leopold López. Read more
February 17, 2014 John Suarez: Maduro Regime Strikes Back Against Nonviolent Students
Cuban democracy activist John Suarez comments on the developments in Venezuela. Read more
February 13, 2014 Violent anti-government protests in Venezuela
In Venezuela, students protested around the country during “Youth Day,” February 12. Unrest broke out when vigilante groups loyal to the regime attacked students demonstrating against the government. Read more at El Universal
December 12, 2013 Big progress for the opposition in Venezuela’s municipal elections
Sunday, December 8, municipal elections were held in Venezuela. Together with the independent candidates, the United Opposition, MUD, received 50.75 percent of the votes, and thereby became bigger than the Chavistas. Read more
December 2, 2013 “The son of Chavez” continues to plummet in popularity
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro continues to fall in popularity among the Venezuelan citizens. The attempt of carrying up Chavez spirit has so far resulted in ridiculous tales from Maduro and hasty actions in an attempt to save the collapsing Venezuelan economy, which started already during Hugo Chavez’s 14 year long presidency. The fast set back of the oil rich nation’s economy has escalated and the alarming raise in inflation is directly responding to Maduro’s actions to restrain free market in the country. Read more at Inter American Security Watch
November 29, 2013 Increased number of arbitrary detentions Since the last presidential election in April, people from the Venezuelan opposition and dissidents are experiencing arbitrary detentions, El Universal reports. The NGO Foro Penal Venezolano recently called for a press conference to alert the Venezuelan society after the detention of Alejandro Silva, a Capriles assistant, and the disappearance of dissenting General Ramón Lozada. Reports say further that dissidents are being subdued without judicial warrants in their homes in the middle of the night by men carrying weapons. Read the article in English from El Universal
November 23, 2013 Russian weapons for Venezuela Venezuela is after the former President Hugo Chávez’s agreement with the Russian president Vladimir Putin Moscow’s top buyer within the field of military equipment and weapons such as rifles, tanks, aircrafts, armored vehicles and artillery systems to the Bolivarian Armed Forces. It has however shown that the weapons lack of functionality and that Venezuela mostly has bought obsolete equipment. Opposition deputies have obtained alarming data regarding the purchases. Read the article in English from El Universal
November 1, 2013 IDU Statement on Venezuela
The IDU Executive Committee, held in Lima, Peru on 1 November made the following statement on the situation in Venezuela. IDU notes that the situation in Venezuela is rapidly deteriorating. The economy is on the verge of collapse, and politically the government, under President Maduro, is systematically reducing the freedoms and democratic rights of their citizens. Read the statement