Posts Tagged ‘Leopoldo López’

Venezuela: Slingshots vs tanks

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A demonstrator uses a slingshot against the National Guard during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in San Cristobal, about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela’s Failing State, by Leopoldo López, jailed since Feb. 18,

For 15 years, the definition of “intolerable” in this country has declined by degrees until, to our dismay, we found ourselves with one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere, a 57 percent inflation rate and a scarcity of basic goods unprecedented outside of wartime.

Our crippled economy is matched by an equally oppressive political climate. Since student protests began on Feb. 4, more than 1,500 protesters have been detained and more than 50 have reported that they were tortured while in police custody. Over 30 people, including security forces and civilians, have died in the demonstrations. What started as a peaceful march against crime on a university campus has exposed the depth of this government’s criminalization of dissent.

Indeed. As the country goes up in smoke, the same government who claims to have been “democratically elected” is in full assault against elected representatives:

And it’s also jailing the military:

President Nicolás Maduro said Tuesday that three air force generals allegedly plotting to overthrow the government had been arrested amid antigovernment protests that have roiled the country for nearly two months.

While publishing Leopoldo López’s letter, the NYT did a “two newspapers in one” by sending two reporters to gather opinions about Cuba’s interference in Venezuela. Babalu explains,

But alas, this is the New York Times and the outcome of their so-called investigation had already been decided before the reporters were even assigned to the story. Of course the newspaper of record – the same one that has brought us so many honest and respectable journalists such as Herbert Matthews — found absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Cuba’s Castro dictatorship has infiltrated Venezuela. Instead, what they discover are “hardliners” who are “fixated” with going after Cuba. They even trot out Castro regime supporter Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former Castro-intelligence-agent-turned-American-academic who also happens to be a member of the Castro crime family to prove their point.

It’s not just Cuba; it’s also Russia. Back when he was alive, Hugo Chavez offered Putin the use of military installations as Russian bases. A Venezuelan general has even tweeted about it:
SECRET ACCORD with Russia signed in 2009 when Chavez unconditionally offered Russia the use of the Orchilla Island military base.”

Related: Putin’s quiet Latin America play, and it’s not only Russia,

With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.

Iran has opened up 11 additional embassies and 33 cultural centers in Latin America while supporting the “operational presence” of militant group Lebanese Hezbollah in the region.

“On the military side, I believe they’re establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,” Kelly said.

China is making a play for Latin America a well, and is now the fastest growing investor in the region, according to experts. Although their activity is mostly economic, they are also increasing military activity through educational exchanges.

The Chinese Navy conducted a goodwill visit in Brazil, Chile and Argentina last year and conducted its first-ever naval exercise with the Argentine Navy.

It’s slingshots vs tanks.


Venezuela: Leopoldo López, Hun School alumnus

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Nearly everybody goes through Princeton, and Leopoldo López is no exception.

The Daily Princetonian reports that López graduated from The Hun School in 1989.

López is still in the custody of the Venezuelan government, though protests have continued in his absence. The Hun School continues to show their support for him by posting updates on the length of his internment on Twitter and exhorting community and school members to keep him in their thoughts.

The Venezuelan demonstrations Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 24th, 2014

LatinAmerWithout a doubt, the week’s top story is the opposition’s continuing demonstrations in Venezuela, eclipsing even the capture in Mexico of Chapo Guzmán, the most-wanted criminal of the hemisphere (and who will face charges in at least three US federal courts), . You can click on #LaSalida for all my posts covering the story.

ARGENTINA
Clarin break-up plan passed under Argentine media law
Regulators in Argentina have approved a plan to break up the country’s biggest independent media group into six parts.

The tragedy of Argentina
A century of decline
One hundred years ago Argentina was the future. What went wrong?

. . . three deep-lying explanations help to illuminate the country’s diminishment. Firstly, Argentina may have been rich 100 years ago but it was not modern. That made adjustment hard when external shocks hit. The second theory stresses the role of trade policy. Third, when it needed to change, Argentina lacked the institutions to create successful policies.

“We have spent 50 years thinking about maintaining government spending, not about investing to grow,” says Fernando de la Rúa, a former president who resigned during the 2001 crisis.

This short-termism distinguishes Argentina from other Latin American countries that have suffered institutional breakdowns. Chile’s military dictatorship was a catastrophic fracture with democracy but it introduced long-lasting reforms. Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party governed steadily for most of the 20th century. “In Argentina institution-building has taken the form of very quick and clientilist redistribution,” says Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Elliott vs Argentina: 3 possible resolutions

BAHAMAS
China makes inroads in the Bahamas with Baha Mar mega-resort

BELIZE
Belize Sign On To Jaguar Corridor Initiative

BOLIVIA
Bolivia under water: Why no national disaster declared amid floods?
The Bolivian government says its massive aid operation, which includes food and tents, is well underway, but not everyone is satisfied with the response.

Turnabout in Bolivia as Economy Rises From Instability

BRAZIL
Optics? THE ROUSSEFF TWO STEP
Brazil Sidestepping to the Right
via Instapundit.

Drought Could Drain More Than Brazil’s Coffee Crop

CHILE
Pedophile Priest Defies Vatican Order

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s left; human rights hypocrites

COSTA RICA
5 things that happened this week in Costa Rica’s presidential runoff campaign

CUBA
Venezuela: Another Reason Why Cuba Remains a State-Sponsor of Terrorism

On eighth day of hunger strike, Cuban activist Antunez vomiting blood (UPDATED)

DOMINICA
A husband-and-wife pair of Olympic skiers representing Dominica are having a nightmare week in Sochi

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitians will not be stripped of Dominican Republic citizenship

Plastic Surgery in the Dominican Republic: Is the Cheap Cost of Medical Tourism Worth the Risk?

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s President Correa Faces Test in Regional Elections
Correa Seeks to Strengthen his Hold, Secure Continuity for His Government

GUATEMALA
At least 8 dead, 12 wounded in Guatemala violence

JAMAICA
Jamaican bobsled team faces uncertain future

MEXICO
Stalled Spending Chokes Mexico’s Growth
Mexico posted its worst economic performance in 2013 since the global recession of 2009, thanks in part to massive government spending delays that businesses struggled to overcome.

Obama finds that the world intrudes on his travels

Yet Another Devastating Blow to the Drug Gangs! Another Decisive Victory in the War on Drugs!

Humor:

NICARAGUA
A canal across Nicaragua: Is this for real? Here’s a hint: “The price tag alone is nearly four times Nicaragua’s economic output.”

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion project resumes after work stoppage

PARAGUAY
Maria Doyle Kennedy speaks about filming ‘Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay’

PERU
Video: Peru creates a special place for expectant mothers to wait — and wait

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Plans $2.86 Billion Offering for 16 Months of Cash, supposedly “to regain financial footing” until June 2015. And then what?

Puerto Rico Diocese Opposes Criminal Investigation Into Sex Abuse Cases

VENEZUELA
Cubanization at work: Venenozuela drives out its Jewish community

Venezuela says ‘fascists’ CNN can stay but calls on media to rectify coverage

Caracas: Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López Faces 10 Years in Prison

Will Venezuela Follow Ukraine?

On the March in Caracas

Venezuela: chaos and thuggery take the place of the pretty revolution
Hugo Chávez’s dream world has become a nightmare of shot-down protesters, jailed oppositionists, economic meltdown and a brutal war waged against a defiant middle class

Video: Venezuelan Citizens Scream At National Guard “We Are The People, Do Not Hurt Us!”

The week’s posts, radio, and podcast:
Venezuela: #24F Barricading the country

CSpan Panel: #Venezuela and Democracy

Venezuela: En español, las grandes fortunas de los chavistas en el Imperio mismo

Mexico: El Chapo caught

Venezuela: More protests today #22F

Venezuela: Not “a slow news week”

En español: Libro Desarrollo económico y pobreza en América Latina: El rol de los Planes Sociales”

Venezuela: Shooting in the streets

Mexico: Obama arrives for summit

Venezuela: Today’s roundup

Venezuela: What’s happening today #18F #PrayForVenezuela

At Da Tech Guy: Venezuela: “We must become the media”

Radio: DaTechGuy on DaRadio Noon-2 Fausta & Da Magnificent Panel

This week’s podcast had to be cancelled due to software difficulties at Blog Talk Radio.

Venezuela: More protests today #22F

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Both the government and the opposition have demonstrations scheduled today. From prison, Leopoldo López Venezuela protest leader, urges resistance [while] Government minister warns of cut in fuel supply to areas under ‘fascist attack

WSJ: Venezuela Youth Drive Protests Against ‘Chavismo’
Students and recent graduates form the backbone of an increasingly raucous movement that has become the most formidable challenge President Nicolás Maduro has faced since taking office last April.

Six people have been shot dead since Feb. 12 from the ranks of a surging opposition movement.

Telegraph: Venezuelan President blames media for broadcasting hate
President Nicolas Maduro accuses the international media of distorting the situation in Venezuela, making it seem it is on the verge of civil war

Miami Herald: In Venezuela, it’s the president who changes the channels
Amid widespread protests, Venezuela took NTN24 off the air. Now it has CNN in its sites.

BBC: Venezuela’s Maduro seeks Obama talks
Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro invites US President Barack Obama to join him in talks aimed at resolving the problems between the two countries.
That’s after he expelled consular workers, that is.

Drudge:

Venezuela Protests Escalate…


Internet Disrupted…

From jail, opposition leader urges resistance…

Maduro threatens to cut off fuel…

UPDATE: CNN Press Credentials Revoked…

Chavez’s Daughters Turn Palace into Party Pad With ‘Defeaning’ Parties…

Implied Inference: What is a “Gocho”, and why are they laughing at Maduro? / ¿Qué es un “Gocho”, y por qué se están riendo Maduro?

Caracas Chronicles: Gocho Uprising Update

San Cristóbal, where the protest movement started, remains an extreme outlier in the current crisis, with many residential neighborhoods essentially out of the control of the government.

Capitol Hill Cubans: Answering The Economist’s Question on Venezuela

Babalu: Turmoil in Venezuela: Violent repression continues as Cuban troops arrive to aid dictatorship

VN&V: CNN unwillingly reveals how decayed chavismo is

Hot Air: Quotes of the day

I’ll be on Da Tech Guy’s radio show at noon today talking about Venezuela.

UPDATE:
Alek Boyd writes,

As our glorious student movement stays out in the street, to be joined today by hundreds of thousands, I would like to ask for your attention. Today is a significant day in the road to recover a semblance of democracy in Venezuela. Maduro, ill advised and desperate as he is, could well be in a double-down-let’s-wrap-this-thing-today mood. It is crucial, to those working the diplomatic lines today, to make him and his faction understand that a retreat with safety guarantees is always more appealing than jail. Ditto with Diosdado Cabello and his lot. They fear, naturally, the cost of not having power and the immunity that provides, and so amnesty must be part of the bargain. They are cornered and they know it, but let cool heads prevail at this time. Venezuela does not deserve another death, nor another day of mismanagement in the name of an utterly failed model.

Instapundit: IN ROME, MARCHING IN SYMPATHY WITH VENEZUELANS

Maduro backtracks, maybe: Venezuela says CNN can stay, a day after saying ‘get out’

Linked to by NewsSprocket and Hot Air. Thank you!

Linked to by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!

Venezuela: Shooting in the streets

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Please read the Feb. 21st post for updated information

Caracas Chronicles has harrowing videos of last night’s events:

TODAY’s MUST-READ: 19F – The Night Venezuela Finally Imploded

It gets worse. In this video, you can see the National Guard murdering a civilian in La Candelaria (at 1:52)

Sliding to Venezuelan hell

this video from reader KM in Altamira as stormtroopers drive by shooting all around!!!

From the Caracas Chronicles comments:

EVERYBODY PLEASE SHARE THIS IN YOUR FACEBOOK PAGES.
Venezuela’s president has shout douwn TV news.
Internet is the only hope for Venezuelans.
We are the media now. PLEASE SHARE. We can do something by sharing this with the world!!

Twitter: JGpunto

News media:
Prosecutors want up to 10 years in prison for Leopoldo López

The Venezuelan opposition leader was charged with the crimes of arson and damages, solicitation to crime and conspiracy. The latter is the most serious one and it is designated in the Organic Law against Organized Crime and Funding of Terrorism, punished by imprisonment for 10 years

The US & Canada bring up Venezuela at the OAS: EEUU y Canadá llevan a OEA caso de Venezuela

Fourth Venezuela Opposition Protester Dies as Demonstrations Continue
At Least Five People, Including a Government Supporter, Have Died Since Demonstrations Turned Violent Last Week

Álvaro Uribe accuses Maduro’s government of “fueling violence”
Uribe called upon the democratic world to require the release “at the earliest possible” of opposition leader Leopoldo López who turned himself into Venezuelan authorities during a demonstration in Caracas

UPDATE:
Exclusive: Read the Speech Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López Made Before He Was Jailed

Linked to by Extrano’s alley and TeeJaw Blog. Thank you!

Linked to by Instapundit. Thank you!

Linked to by PaGunBlog. Thank you!

Venezuela: Today’s roundup

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Blogs:
My article at Da Tech Guy’s Blog: Venezuela: “We must become the media”

No Mas Democracia
The arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez exposes Venezuela’s Potemkin democracy and Hugo Chavez’s poisonous legacy

Making sense of Leopoldo Lopez’s arrest in Venezuela

MADURO MADNESS

Venezuela’s Plunging Petroleum Production

Venezuela Verifies Hayek on Exchange Controls

Crickets from White House as Venezuelans Risk All to Throw Out the Chavistas

News:
Venezuelans gather for Lopez hearingLeopoldo Lopez is escorted by the national guard into a vehicle after he turned himself in, during a demonstration in Caracas, on February 18, 2014
Supporters of Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez are demonstrating in Caracas ahead of his scheduled court hearing.

Venezuela tense as opposition leader goes to court

Will Venezuela abandon Chavismo? Not if Cuba gets its way.

Catholic priest beaten Padre José Palmar fue golpeado en Plaza República de Maracaibo

Students tortured Foro Penal Venezolano: Estudiantes detenidos recibieron torturas y violaciones a DDHH

Bolivian legislators denounce Venezuela’s human rights abuses to the OAS.

Humor, in Spanish:


Venezuela: What’s happening today #18F #PrayForVenezuela

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

6:50PM EST:
Full crackdown on opposition leadership: Judge issues arrest warrant on Carlos Vecchio, Voluntad Popular [People's Will] Party leader (Leopoldo Lopez’s party).

It’s Happening Again. Communism Fails.

Linked by Rick Moran at American Thinker. Thank you!

5:55PM EST:
Female student shot in the head, several wounded as demonstrators were attacked by the National Guard.

5:50PM EST:
Leopoldo López under custody of the GNB [Bolivarian National Guard] 12:28PM. He will be in court later today. UPDATE: The hearing has been rescheduled for tomorrow at noon.

For Venezuelan Regime, the Party’s Over

5:30PM EST:
Arrest warrant issued for Maria Corina Machado.

NTN24 not livefeeding anymore.

Question of the Day in Venezuela: “Where Are We Going, and What’s With the Handbasket?”

US Lawmakers Call for Embargoing Venezuela Oil Imports

“I commend the students and their supporters for courageously speaking out against the Maduro regime that seeks to undermine democracy and violate human rights,” said Ros-Lehtinen, who along with Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ) introduced bipartisan legislation, House Resolution 1687 – Countering ALBA Act of 2013, urging the President to sanction persons of ALBA nations, who the President determines are responsible for serious human rights abuses against citizens of ALBA countries. The bill also directs the Secretary of State to transmit a comprehensive strategy to ensure that ALBA nations are democratic governments committed to making constitutional changes that would ensure regular free and fair elections and the full enjoyment of basic civil liberties and human rights by the citizens of ALBA countries; and have made demonstrable progress in establishing independent judiciaries and electoral councils.” target=”_blank”>U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, asked Secretary of State John Kerry to reduce oil imports from Venezuela and to direct the Permanent U.S. Representative at the Organization of American State (OAS) to call for a special session to discuss the ongoing Venezuelan crisis.

“I commend the students and their supporters for courageously speaking out against the Maduro regime that seeks to undermine democracy and violate human rights,” said Ros-Lehtinen, who along with Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ) introduced bipartisan legislation, House Resolution 1687 – Countering ALBA Act of 2013, urging the President to sanction persons of ALBA nations, who the President determines are responsible for serious human rights abuses against citizens of ALBA countries.

The bill also directs the Secretary of State to transmit a comprehensive strategy to ensure that ALBA nations are democratic governments committed to making constitutional changes that would ensure regular free and fair elections and the full enjoyment of basic civil liberties and human rights by the citizens of ALBA countries; and have made demonstrable progress in establishing independent judiciaries and electoral councils.

4:00PM:
SANCTION THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT NOW

The protests are not just about inflation, scarcity and poverty that now characterize the Venezuelan economy but also about repression and lack of freedom.

In addition, it is about the soul of the Venezuelan nation. Demonstrators have become totally convinced that there is no electoral exit to a regime that turns more and more oppressive as time goes by. Maduro, like Hugo Chavez before him, aims at perpetuating his power and exercising total control over the Venezuelan state and society. The Venezuelan Government secured the loyalty of the military to its despotic rule and has repressed trade unions, the media, business and professional associations. It politicized every corner of Venezuela rewarding loyalist and sycophants and destroying, exiling and blocking opponents.

The military has no problem in watching how Venezuelans are being killed by the paramilitary. As Venezuelan journalist Nelson Bocaranda revealed more than a year ago, Venezuelan and Cuban generals agreed that they would protect the Bolivarian government even by carrying out a self-coup.

HRF Condemns Arrest of Opposition Leader Leopoldo López

Linked to by The Universal Spectator. Thank you!

3:19PM EST:
Now the rumors start: “Is López being taken to Cuba?”

3:07PM EST:

Great post with photos: The deed is done: with Lopez in regime’s hands, it is worse for them; López had no choice but to turn himself in.

An interesting question: Is Capriles following the Pope’s advice?

Venezuelan President’s Public Enemy No. 1: Harvard-Educated Leader Leopoldo Lopez

More photos.

Photo from earlier today:

Linked to by Instapundit. Thank you!

2:45PM Photo of the pro-López rally:
Impressive photo of El Rosal courtesy of @ivanna_hurtado

Maduro is speaking to rally of red shirts. “The greatest oil reserves on Earth was rescued by Comandante Chávez”.
I wish the US would end buying or refining Venezuelan oil.

12:05PM EST El Universal confirms that Leopoldo López turned himself in to the National Guard

Another livefeed from Chacaito.

11:57AM EST: NTN24 is trying to confirm rumors that Leopoldo López has been arrested.

11:34AM: López speaks to the crowd. Most wear white. “I’ll never leave Venezuela.”

11:25AM: [FOTO] SE DIRIGE HACIA LA MARCHA: ¡Leopoldo López ya está en la calle!

FB photos.

The people LOST THEIR FEARS in Chacaito and PUSH a water cannon that meant to intimidate

11:00AM:
NTN24 reports some power outages, Metro stations are closed, an opposition crowd is gathering at Plaza Brión while waiting for Leopoldo López, surrounded by police. Oil industry union members are being bused in for a Chavista counter-demonstration.

Today’s hashtag is #18F

10:30AM EST
Today Leopoldo López will lead a march, and then go to the Ministry of Interior and Justice to hand a petition and hand himself in:

First, solidarity from Princeton U professor Robert George,

 

Blogs:
VN&V and Leopoldo Lopez

COHA’s disgraceful report on Venezuela

Showdown in Caracas

Throwing strikes and worrying about your family back in Venezuela

Venezuela’s Cuba-backed dictatorship lashes out at opposition as it braces for massive protest march today

News:
Livestream from NTN24:

Venezuela’s El Universal: PROTESTS IN VENEZUELA
Gov’t supporters gather in north Caracas to attend demonstration
The presidential palace of Miraflores, downtown Caracas, has been militarized as well as most areas in the Venezuelan capital

WSJ: Venezuela Expels U.S. Diplomats
President Nicolás Maduro’s government, facing a growing challenge from protesters, on Monday ordered three U.S. diplomats out of the country after accusing them of organizing students to destabilize the state.

Drudge:

VENEZUELA ON THE BRINK…

Chile’s El Mostrador: Régimen usa el sistema penal para reprimir a opositores, señala José Miguel Vivanco
Director de Human Rights Watch confirma brutalidad policial, cerco informativo y violaciones a los DD.HH. en Venezuela

Puerto Rico’s NotiUno: Another student killed, Muere otro estudiante durante jornada de protesta en Venezuela

Puerto Rico’s NotiUno: Independence party head Rubén Berríos takes Cuba’s side against the protestors, which comes as no surprise, Rubén Berríos defiende gobierno venezolano

USA Today: Venezuelan security forces raid major opposition base
Offices of Popular Will party were stormed on Monday by what appear to be security forces.

Miami Herald: Venezuela braces for dueling protests amid U.S. diplomatic ouster
Opposition leader Leopoldo López is planning to lead a march Tuesday that many suspect could end in his arrest. The demonstration comes just hours before three U.S. diplomats will be forced to leave the country amid allegations that they fueled student discontent.


The Venezuelan riots Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 17th, 2014

This week’s big story: Three dead, several dozen wounded in Venezuela’s ongoing riots as the country enters a new stage of repression:

Twitter reports image blocking in Venezuela

Tomorrow Leopoldo López will lead a march from Venezuela Square and then go to the office of Ministry of Interior and Justice, to hand a petition and hand himself in:

ARGENTINA
Argentina to Replace Bogus Inflation Index to Mend IMF Ties

The nationwide index released on Feb. 13 will replace the benchmark greater Buenos Aires index that has shown inflation at less than half the pace of private estimates since 2007, when former PresidentNestor Kirchner replaced senior staff at the statistics agency. The move comes a year after Argentina became the first nation to becensured by the International Monetary Fund for failing to report accurate economic data.

Soon after, Argentina Fines Retailers
A day after reporting the highest inflation in over a decade, Argentina’s government fined several retail chains for failing to stock certain price-capped products.

BOLIVIA
Peru and Bolivia to meet concerning port sharing proposal

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Economy Seen in a Major Downturn
Data released Friday suggest economic growth has weakened over the past two quarters, illustrating how far a country once considered the darling of emerging-market investors has fallen.

Effects of Brazil’s drought could last through the election

CHILE
Chilean Port Workers End Strike After New Agreement

COLOMBIA
Colombia at crossroads; show us promised land Mr President

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica doubles down on security
While neighboring nations turn to their armed forces for help fighting drug trafficking and violence, no-military Costa Rica taps into other approaches.

CUBA
WaPo editorial: Cuba’s changes are no more than window-dressing

New York Times unmasks selfish motives behind Castro’s ‘reforms’

Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship once again stops consular services in U.S.

Cuba: Release Alan Gross, Maybe US Can Help with “People to People” Banking Transactions

For the third time in a week, Cuban police arrest Antunez

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitian migrants caught, repatriated to Haiti

ECUADOR
Ecuador Faces Legal Quandary over Intra-Indigenous Violence

EL SALVADOR
Castaway back in El Salvador in an emotional homecoming (+video)
After 13 months adrift at sea, and a flight across the Pacific, José Salvador Alvarenga returns to his native El Salvador — and is too overcome for words

HONDURAS
Honduras suspends eight consuls in US

Honduras has suspended eight of its 10 consuls in the United States.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said there would be an investigation into whether the eight had illegally issued identity papers.

JAMAICA
Jamaican dancehall deejay arrested in lottery scam

MEXICO
Vicente Fox says: For Mexico, legalization is freedom

Mexico: A Different Kind of Gun Story

NICARAGUA
Constitutional Changes Take Effect in Nicaragua

Changes to the Nicaraguan constitution that allow President Daniel Ortega to run for re-election as many times as he wishes entered into force Tuesday with their publication in the official gazette.

PANAMA
More on the Chong Chon Gang, U.N.: Cuba weapons shipment to North Korea violated arms embargo

PARAGUAY
Downpour Saves Paraguay Market from Flames

PERU
Misery, poverty greet paroled foreign drug mules in Peru

PUERTO RICO
CNN gets its panties in a bunch over this, but they don’t have time to report on Venezuela: First on CNN: Christie vacationing in Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
The bong show:
Following legalization in US, Uruguay, marijuana gets second look
Experiments with legalizing marijuana in Colorado, Washington, and Uruguay have countries as diverse as Morocco and the Netherlands rethinking how they approach the drug.

Uruguay President Jose Mujica urges US and Europe to change drug policy
After legalising the production and sale of cannabis in his own country, Uruguayan President Jose Mucjica calls on rich, “developed countries” to re-evaluate their strategy for dealing with narcotics

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan Opposition Leader Says He Will Risk Arrest
Leopoldo Lopez Says He Plans to March With Antigovernment Protesters Tuesday

A new landmark date for repression in Venezuela: confirming the dictatorship

5 Ways To Invest In Venezuelan Freedom

Venezuelan dissenter Leopoldo López: Maduro waits for orders from Havana
On Thursday night, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro rejected violent events and, without naming opposition leader Leopoldo López or ex Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia Fernando Gerbasi, said they were “fugitives from justice”

Maduro says the solution to shortages is to eat less:

Chocolate and Chávez

“The final stage of socialism isn’t Communism. It’s an empty shelf.” Gone With the Whine

The week’s posts and podcast:
Panama: World-wide port expansions

Venezuela: Today’s headlines

Panama: Chong Chon Gang goes back to Cuba, captain goes to jail, garage sale coming up

Venezuela: Street scenes UPDATED

En español: Los Horóscopos del Maestro Piyush

Is Venezuela collapsing?

Cuba: The truth about Che

Venezuela: Now reporting

Venezuela: Huge demonstrations UPDATED

Sochi? No, Princeton!

Puerto Rico: Growth yes, more taxes no

Iran in U.S. maritime borders: A question

At Da Tech Guy Blog: The truth about Che.

This week’s podcast: A book about Fidel Castro PLUS US-Latin America issues of the week

Venezuela: Today’s headlines

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

The Scotsman: Venezuela: Third night of riots over dead students

WSJ: Venezuela Opposition Leader Is Sought
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said a police manhunt was under way for Leopoldo Lopez, the hard-line opposition leader behind antigovernment demonstrations that ended with three deaths
.

Reuters: Venezuela frees some student protesters, unrest continues

Yahoo: Venezuela music star Dudamel targeted by opposition critics

AP: Twitter reports image blocking in Venezuela

MercoPress: Chilean president-elect Bachelet blasts Venezuelan repression and Maduro

Following the bloody events of last Wednesday, while countries such as Argentina, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua expressed their full support for the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro, others were more cautious such as Washington and the Europe Union calling for restraint and dialogue, but Chilean president-elect Michelle Bachelet openly twitted her rejection to repression, to President Maduro and called for a plebiscite.

AFP: John Kerry says US concerned about unrest in Venezuela. Official statement here.

Twitter:
#LaSalida

Livestream: NTN24

Blogs:
Altamira then and now: a Venezuelan spring?

Cuba Training Venezuelan Armed Groups

Is This the End of Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela?
In the midst of runaway violence, inflation, and shortages of basic goods, Venezuela’s youth have taken to the streets—to take on its Orwellian government.

Video in Spanish:

Is Venezuela collapsing?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

My friend Ed Morrissey asks, is Venezuela on the edge of collapse?

He’s asking for good reason: Rioting, three dead, people starting to disappear.
Jorge Luis LeóN disappeared at last night’s Trigal, Valencia, protests. HELP US if you know something.

First, the headlines:
Telegraph: Army sent in to Venezuelan cities as unrest prompts coup warning
President Nicolás Maduro claims ‘fascist’ opponents orchestrated protest violence that claimed three lives as part of plan to overthrow government

Under the slogan “The Exit”, meaning the departure of Mr Maduro from power, hardline opposition groups have for the last fortnight been staging protests over the country’s searing crime, corruption, rampant inflation and shortages of basic goods.

But Leopoldo López, the opposition leader now in hiding from an arrest warrant on charges of homicide and conspiracy, said the government had instigated the bloodshed in order to discredit his peaceful movement.

The opposition blames armed pro-government militant groups known as “colectivos” for attacking their marches. Several times during Wednesday’s rally the cry went up: “The colectivos are coming!”, sending some demonstrators running for safety. One of those killed was a well-known colectivo leader from “January 23″, an impoverished hillside barrio in Caracas that is a key revolutionary stronghold.

WSJ: Venezuela Moves to Quell Protests
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s administration deployed security forces and demanded that demonstrators seek permission before protesting.

WaPo: Venezuelan officials order arrest of opposition leader
Leopoldo López faces murder and terrorism charges after protests that left three people dead Wednesday
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NYT: Prominent Opposition Leader in Venezuela Is Blamed for Unrest
El Universal: Venezuelan president: Taking NTN24 off the air was a State decision
Miami Herald: Opposition fears witch hunt as Venezuelan government vows to crack down on protest leaders

And CSM makes a point (emphasis added): Venezuela: Could protesters’ deaths hurt fractured opposition? (+video)
Thousands of protesters came out nationwide yesterday to call for Venezuela’s President Maduro to step down, but the death of at least two people could give the government the upper hand.

Despite both political camps trading blame, observers warn that the recent antigovernment push to take to the streets could backfire on the fractured opposition. The unrest could offer the Maduro administration a welcome diversion from the slew of problems plaguing Venezuela.

“The government is in the best position to take advantage of the situation,” says political analyst Luis Vicente Leon, head of the Caracas-based polling firm Datanalisis. “The violence provides a scapegoat for the crises at hand.”

Back to Ed’s question, is Venezuela on the edge of collapse?

Venezuela “collapsed” into a Communist state guided by Castro’s Cubans years ago. For years after Hugo Chavez declared himself a Marxist, I have documented the corruption and chaos, the expropriations of private property, the Chavista takeover of the media, and their control of all Venezuelan institutions: the military, the judiciary, the legislative, and the state governments, not just the presidency.

While Venezuela’s oil production has severely declined over the years, oil is still hovering the $100/barrel magical number. Yes, Venezuelan oil is heavier, etc, etc. The fact remains that Venezuela still is an oil producer, and the USA’s misguided energy policies add to Venezuela’s coffers.

Venezuela’s also an ally of Iran, another oil producer that has managed to retain a repressive totalitarian regime, even in spite of UN sanctions.

The Cuban puppet masters are the most effective propaganda masters in the history of the Western world. They will make the revolting students (all puns intended) the bad guys.

But the fact remains that the students are going it alone: Not one country in our hemisphere, let alone the world, has publicly expressed support. Most importantly, no one in Venezuela’s military appears to be behind them.

So, to answer Ed’s question, no, Venezuela is not collapsing. It is well down the road to repression. The current regime will continue for many years to come, be it with Maduro, or Cabello, or someone else at the presidency.

And I pray to God I’m wrong.

UPDATE
Related:

Cuba Moves In for the Kill