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Ukrainian and now Venezuelan Crisis'

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#401 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:03 AM

Ukrainian TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn in Monday as the new president, promised to stop the war in the East against Russian-backed separatists and immediately dissolved parliament, which he has branded as a group only interested in self-enrichment.

Zelenskiy won 73 per cent of the vote last month, reflecting Ukrainians' exhaustion with widespread corruption and the country's political elite. Even before he disbanded the Supreme Rada, which had been one of his campaign promises, the 41-year-old upended other Ukrainian political traditions Monday.






He ditched the idea of a traditional motorcade to his inauguration, walking to parliament in the capital of Kyiv through a park packed with people. Flanked by four bodyguards, the beaming president-elect gave high-fives to some spectators, even stopping to take a selfie with one of them.

#402 amor de cosmos

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 11:14 AM

Canada has suspended operations at its embassy in Venezuela because its diplomats will no longer be able to obtain visas.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement on Sunday that Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's "regime has taken steps to limit the ability of foreign embassies to function in Venezuela".

Canada is one of a dozen countries in the Lima Group regional bloc that recognises opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president and is demanding that Maduro resign.

"Unfortunately, at the end of this month, Canadian diplomats in Venezuela will no longer be in a position to obtain diplomatic accreditation under the Maduro regime and their visas will expire," Freeland said in the statement.

"Therefore, we are left with no choice but to temporarily suspend our operations at the embassy of Canada to Venezuela, effective immediately," she said.

Freeland said Canada was "also evaluating the status of Venezuelan diplomats appointed by the Maduro regime to Canada".

The Venezuelan foreign ministry has made no comment on the events.


#403 amor de cosmos

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 09:37 AM

Caracas, June 5, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s oil exports reportedly fell by 17 percent in May as the winding down period following the US-imposed embargo came to an end.

According to Reuters, quoting documents from state oil company PDVSA and financial analysts Refinitiv Eikon, production in May averaged 874 thousand barrels per day (bpd), down from the 1.037 million bpd reported by PDVSA in April. OPEC secondary sources placed production m at 768 thousand bpd by in April.

Sales to India reportedly plummeted by one third in May. Caracas had looked to significantly increase its exports to India in the wake of new US oil sanctions, with possibilities of oil-for-medicine agreements also floated. However, US officials pressured Indian companies into reducing their commercial dealings with Venezuela.

Venezuela’s declining oil production was significantly exacerbated by the impact of US economic sanctions, with crude output dropping by 30 percent, from an average of 1.911 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 to 1.354 million in 2018, following the August 2017 financial sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.


The fresh decline in oil production comes as the Venezuelan government allegedly defaulted on a gold swap deal with Deutsche Bank. Venezuela had put up 20 tons of gold as collateral for a 2016 loan. The contract was due to expire in 2021, but according to sources quoted by Bloomberg, missed interest payments have led the German giant to seize the US $750 million worth of collateral and close out the contract.

An increase in the price of gold has meant that the deposited collateral is now worth $120m more than when the agreement was signed. Bloomberg reported that representatives of self-proclaimed “Interim President” Juan Guaido have been in touch with Deutsche Bank officials so that the $120 million difference be placed in an account under Guaido’s control.


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered a candid assessment of Venezuela’s opposition during a closed-door meeting in New York last week, saying that the opponents of President Nicolás Maduro are highly fractious and that U.S. efforts to keep them together have been more difficult than is publicly known.

“Our conundrum, which is to keep the opposition united, has proven devilishly difficult,” Pompeo said in an audio recording obtained by The Washington Post. “The moment Maduro leaves, everybody’s going to raise their hands and [say], ‘Take me, I’m the next president of Venezuela.’ It would be forty-plus people who believe they’re the rightful heir to Maduro.”

The remarks provide a rare window into the challenges the Trump administration faces as the momentum to oust Maduro stalls and some of the countries that initially backed the opposition explore alternative diplomatic paths to resolve the crisis.


Venezuela's wannabe president, Juan Guaido, has apparently turned to mysticism in his quest to topple rival Nicolas Maduro.

Writing for The New Yorker, reporter and author Jon Lee Anderson recounted how Guaido was touring his home state of Vargas in March together with a "man in owlish glasses" named David, who introduced himself as Guaido's astrologer.

Travelling across the state in an armoured vehicle, David was apparently worried about a possible encounter with pro-Maduro paramilitaries, whom he described as an "incarnation of evil" and "representatives of the Devil on earth". Chilling.


Edited by amor de cosmos, 06 June 2019 - 09:39 AM.

#404 amor de cosmos

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 08:31 AM

A new investigation has exposed members of Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó’s inner circle for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars designated for humanitarian aid and spending it on luxury goods and lavish accommodations for themselves. Guaidó had been aware of the fraud for weeks and stubbornly defended his cohorts until a leak from Colombian intelligence forced him to acknowledge the scandal.

The scandal unfolded this February, when Venezuelan opposition figures and their supporters descended upon the border town of Cúcuta, Colombia for what was billed as a Live Aid concert to raise millions of dollars for humanitarian aid for Venezuelans suffering the effects of an economic crisis.

The operation was supposed to have climaxed with a Live Aid concert hosted by billionaire Virgin Group founder Richard Branson while trucks full of US aid blasted across the Venezuelan border. Instead, as Branson gathered his performers on stage for a cringeworthy rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” opposition hooligans set fire to the truckloads of aid with molotov cocktails as they failed to reach the border.

Now, a report by the staunchly anti-Maduro PanAm Post editor-in-chief Orlando Avendaño has revealed a shocking scheme of fraud and embezzlement behind the aid imbroglio. According to Avendaño, Guaidó’s lieutenants embezzled huge sums of money that had been promised to Venezuelan soldiers who deserted their positions and snuck across to the Colombian side at Guaido’s urging.

The cash that was used to entice desperate soldiers and would-be mercenaries to defect became a slush fund for the US-backed coup leader and his gaggle, who spent it lavishly on hotels, expensive dinners, nightclubs and designer clothes. As Guaidó’s gang lived the high life, he covered for their fraud, keeping his lips sealed until it was exposed through a leak by the Colombian intelligence services.

etc etc


#405 G-Man


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Posted 18 June 2019 - 08:55 AM

Sad if true.

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#406 LJ

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 07:39 PM

The report naming the guilty party in the shootdown of MH17 in Ukraine comes out tomorrow. Cue the outrage from the named party.

Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#407 amor de cosmos

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 09:18 AM

OTTAWA — Canada’s foreign policy, under the auspices of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, is bucking the country’s long standing tradition of generally staying out of the affairs of governments to its south in Latin America. Indeed, Canada has been one of the major players orchestrating repeated coup attempts in Venezuela since Juan Guaido declared himself president in January.


Ben Rowswell, former Canadian ambassador to Venezuela, told Globe and Mail that “Ottawa would have thoroughly examined the strategy the Venezuelan opposition was proposing before publicly supporting Mr. Guaido,” according to the outlet. He added:

To have countries that represent two-thirds of the population of Latin America do it in minutes shows there was a remarkable alignment that’s got to be nearly unprecedented in the history of Latin America.

What you might be seeing here is success of some extraordinary quiet diplomacy.”

Perhaps the strongest indicator that Guaido’s Popular Will party coordinated Guaido’s self-declaration of presidency with international backers is a tweet from long-time opposition leader María Corina Machado. She took selfies with Guaido in 2014 at the height of the violent Guarimba protests that left 43 dead and hundreds injured by mobs and opposition booby traps.

About a week before Guaido’s declaration, Machado tweeted that he “is the president” and “the governments of the hemisphere are ready to recognize it.” Five days later, she gave an explicit death threat to Maduro on a Miami-based news station. Indeed, Machado had been tweeting about Juan Guaido — as well as his “ambassador” to the U.S., former Exxon lawyer Carlos Vecchio — as far back as 2010.

Machado’s Sumate NGO has taken tens of thousands of dollars from the United States’ National Endowment for Democracy, a cutout of the Central Intelligence Agency that serves as a front to protect the legitimacy of the civil-society groups it bankrolls. Machado was previously charged with involvement in a plot to assassinate Maduro.


ARAUCA/CUCUTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Venezuela’s crisis is spilling across the border into Colombia as Marxist rebels and right-wing paramilitaries recruit migrants to strengthen their ranks, according to five Colombian military commanders.

Violence still simmers in Colombia despite a 2016 peace deal with leftist FARC rebels, meant to end five decades of conflict. Dissident FARC fighters, the rebel National Liberation Army (ELN), right-wing paramilitaries and drug-trafficking gangs are battling each other and the military.

Keen for recruits, these armed groups are targeting Venezuelans as they traverse the porous 2,219-km (1,380-mile)frontier at illegal border crossings, according to the military officials, human rights officials and migrants themselves.

Five military commanders told Reuters that as many as 30% of insurgents in Colombia’s eastern border region are Venezuelans, willing to take up arms in return for food and pay.


Former Exxon Lawyer and Venezuela opposition envoy to Washington, Carlos Vecchio, may have overseen a multi-million dollar fraud scheme since his political allies were handed control of his country’s US-based oil accounts.

On June 17, Venezuela’s government claimed that the US Justice Department was opening an investigation into Citgo’s opposition-appointed board of directors. Hours later, the ad-hoc council confirmed it had received a subpoena from US officials.

Citgo appeared to confirm the existence of the US government probe, stating that it “received a subpoena from the Department of Justice, which has been conducting a multi-year investigation into corruption practices in PDVSA.” Citgo is a subsidiary of Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA), the country’s state-owned oil company.

Citgo said it has “pledged full cooperation” with the investigation. It did not specify the nature of the subpoena or whether it concerned illegal activities alleged to have taken place before or after Guaido’s appointees took control of the company.

Citgo’s announcement followed an ominous comment by Venezuela’s Vice Minister of Communications on June 17:

“It is very likely that the United States Department of Justice will open an ad hoc investigation into the fake board of directors that Juan Guaidó appointed to the Citgo company,” Rodriguez proclaimed during a presentation from Venezuela’s presidential palace.

According to Rodriguez, the investigation was sparked by an alleged accounting fraud totaling $70 million. Rodriguez asserted the money, originally meant to cover PDVSA’s 2020 bond payment due in April, was stolen by Guaido’s representative in the US.

“It seems like the person directly involved in having pocketed those $70 million in excesses, due to cooking the books, is Mr. Carlos Vecchio,” charged Rodriguez.


#408 amor de cosmos

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 10:45 AM

Merida, June 26, 2019 (venezuelanalysis.com) – United States Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams has publicly welcomed Venezuela’s ex-intelligence chief to the country after he deserted and joined efforts to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Manuel Cristopher Figuera, who served as chief of the Bolivarian Intelligence Services (SEBIN) from October 2018 to April 2019, arrived to the US on Monday.

He has recently been sacked and expelled from the Venezuelan armed forces following his participation in the failed putsch led by self-proclaimed “Interim President” Juan Guaido on April 30, authorising the release of Guaido’s ally Leopoldo Lopez, who was under house arrest for his role in the violent 2014 street protests.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Abrams, who is known for his leading role in the Iran-Contra scandal and advising George W. Bush in the lead up to the Iraq war, explained that he was “happy” with Cristopher Figuera’s arrival as it “makes it easier to talk to him,” adding that he “has many interesting things to say about Maduro.”


Venezuela's socialist government said Wednesday it had derailed a coup bid, claiming the United States, Colombia and Chile colluded in a military plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the plan involved active and retired army officers and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend.

"We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d'Etat. We were in all the conferences," Rodriguez said, suggesting that government informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters during planning meetings.

He accused Colombia's right-wing President Ivan Duque of "planning coups, assassinations of the president" as well as implicating Chile's conservative President Sebastian Pinera and US National Security Advisor John Bolton in the plot. He also accused opposition leader Juan Guaido of planning "a bloodbath".


According to Rodriguez, surveillance of the plotters and Saavedra's recorded "confession" revealed that the plan envisaged the takeover of three military bases, including La Carlota air base in Caracas.

The plotters hoped to spring Raul Baduel -- a former defence minister under late president Hugo Chavez -- from jail to proclaim him president, Rodriguez said.

Baduel was demoted last year by Maduro as part of a purge of senior military officers, which also included another general, Antonio Rivero, who the government said lives in the Dominican Republic and was one of the leaders of the coup bid.


#409 amor de cosmos

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 08:23 AM

Uruguay on Thursday withdrew from a summit of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Colombia, citing the illegitimate presence of Venezuelan opposition.

The overwhelming majority of the 35-member OAS, including the U.S., Colombia and Canada, call Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a dictator, while others urge dialogue between the Venezuelan opposition and legitimate president Maduro.

"Uruguay considers this an attempt to impose the recognition of this delegation as legitimate representatives of Venezuela -- it is no more and no less than a subjugation of the legality of the OAS," Uruguay representative Ariel Bergamino said during the meeting.

"There is no other choice but to be against an act of this nature," he said, adding that Montevideo was not withdrawing from the OAS.

The Mexican and Bolivian delegations also voiced concern with the body's controversial decision to invite the Venezuelan opposition as the official representatives of the oil-rich country.


Edited by amor de cosmos, 28 June 2019 - 08:23 AM.

#410 amor de cosmos

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 10:40 AM

Venezuela's largest refinery complex has been hit by a power outage, at a time of acute fuel shortages in parts of the crisis-torn oil producer, an opposition lawmaker said on Sunday.

Luis Stefanelli, a deputy in the National Assembly revealed there was a “general blackout” at the Amuay and Cardon refinery complex Saturday night.

“Access to both refineries has been closed and they have been taken over by the National Guard and officials of the SEBIN intelligence service,” he said.

“Some workers have been detained,” Stefanelli added.


#411 amor de cosmos

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 08:25 AM

Caracas, July 18, 2019 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Trump administration is reportedly diverting over US $40 million of aid destined for Central America to the Venezuelan opposition.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a memo from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was handed to Congress on July 11 notifying that $41.9 million were being handed to self-proclaimed “Interim President” Juan Guaido and his team, arguing that there is an “exigent” crisis involving US “national interest.”

The LA Times report adds that the money is destined for salaries, airfare, “good governance” training, propaganda, technical assistance for holding elections and other “democracy-building” projects.

The funds were reportedly destined for Guatemala and Honduras. Poverty, insecurity and political instability have seen a growing flux of Central American migrants towards the US in recent years. President Trump has threatened to cut all aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador if those countries fail to stop the flow of migrants towards Mexico and the US.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself “interim president” on January 23, receiving the prompt backing of Washington and allied regional governments. In the six months since he has led several attempts to oust the Maduro government, which included a humanitarian aid “showdown” on February 23 and an attempted military putsch on April 30.

Guaido has been mired in a corruption scandal after international funds meant to support soldiers who heeded his call to desert were allegedly embezzled by his envoys in Colombia.


#412 amor de cosmos

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 02:37 PM

As Venezuela’s Russia-backed leader Nicholás Maduro continues to cling to power, the U.S. military wants to prevent a crisis from spilling over into neighboring Colombia, an important ally, by beefing up its defenses.

The U.S. Air Force is offering Bogotá the latest version of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 fighter jets, Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft, the commander of Air Forces Southern, told Foreign Policy in a recent phone interview.

The addition of an estimated 15 F-16 to Colombia’s arsenal would “be a great advancement for not only their capability to defend their sovereign air space” but would also help enable interoperability with U.S. forces, Croft said during a visit to Colombia, where he attended a major air show and met with senior Colombian military officials.


Loans to Venezuela from President Nicolas Maduro's allies Russia and China would be renegotiated through the Paris Club if Maduro leaves power, an advisor to the opposition said, responding to concerns about favorable treatment for the two countries.

Ricardo Hausmann, who represents opposition leader Juan Guaido at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), said Guaido's team has not determined how loans might be restructured under its governance because bilateral debt talks typically take place under the auspices of the Paris Club creditor group.

“It is not as if the chapter on bilateral debt says we are going to treat it differently. It is treated differently in international practice through the Paris Club,” said Hausmann, a Harvard economics professor and former planning minister, at the IADB's annual meeting in Guayaquil, Ecuador.


#413 amor de cosmos

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 12:25 PM


Tehran, July 21, IRNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro reviewed bilateral relations and issues of mutual interests.

Zarif arrived in Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela on Saturday to attend Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) foreign ministers' meeting.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Zarif is scheduled to hold talks with Venezuelan officials including Foreign Minister and speaker of Venezuela's parliament.

He added that Zarif will then travel to Nicaragua and Bolivia to discuss the latest developments in political and economic relations.

Earlier speaking in the ministerial meeting of Non-Aligned Movement’s (NAM) Coordinating Bureau, Zarif noted that international cooperation in various fields such as free trade, environment, rule of law is being damaged by the US unilateral policies that are threatening nations with unilateral economic sanctions and military aggression.

“Even many US allies are being exposed to the unprecedented US interference in their internal affairs,” Zarif mentioned, calling on the NAM member states to “resist this new wave and push it back”.


TEHRAN (FNA)- Venezuelan Armed Forces detected a US Lockheed EP-3E signals reconnaissance plane over its territory, the country’s defense ministry announced.

“The Armed Forces said that at 9:52 am [13:52 GMT], on July 19, 2019, the air force’s command detected a plane that was heading from the Northwestern part of the Caribbean Sea for Maiquetia [near Caracas] … There was an order to send interceptors in order to identify the aircraft”, the defense ministry said in a statement on Saturday, Sputnik reported.

The defence ministry stressed that the Venezuelan air force had failed to establish contact with the US aircraft.


#414 amor de cosmos

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 08:47 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela (UPDATED) – Electricity has been restored in all of Caracas and several other regions of Venezuela after a major blackout, the government said Tuesday, July 23 – the latest taste of misery for a country mired in economic crisis.

The outage that began Monday afternoon, July 22, triggered gridlock in the capital as traffic lights went dark. Sidewalks teemed with pedestrians walking home after the metro stopped running.

The government blamed sabotage, saying a hydroelectric plant that provides 80% of the country's power had been hit by an "electromagnetic attack."


#415 amor de cosmos

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 08:04 PM

There is no clearer indication of the Western media’s growing disillusionment than the gradual demotion of Guaidó from “interim president” to “National Assembly president” or “opposition leader.” For example, ABC News was referring to Guaidó as “interim president” (often without the “self-proclaimed” prefix) as recently as May (5/3/19, 5/5/19). Fast forward two months, and the title is just “opposition leader” (6/26/19, 7/5/19).

In yet another sign that the US-backed coup is running on empty, corporate journalists’ triumphalist tone that followed Guaidó’s self-proclamation has given way to reports that he “remains defiant” (CNBC, 5/2/19), “soldiers on” (Bloomberg, 6/7/19) or is “under pressure” (Telegraph, 6/19/19).

The growing doubts from the media establishment mirror those in DC, with rumors circulating that Trump is “losing patience and interest” in Venezuela (Washington Post, 6/19/19). Having gone all in on a horse falling rapidly behind in the regime-change race, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and “special representative” Elliott Abrams are now forced to take turns publicly reiterating US support for Guaidó.

The opposition leader’s fading luster has not been helped by a corruption scandal that accused his appointed envoys to Colombia of embezzling “humanitarian aid” money. The story was unveiled by the Miami-based and rabidly anti-government outlet PanamPost (6/18/19), and was too big to ignore. All the media could do was try to spin it as “Guaidó Calls for Probe” (Reuters, 6/15/19), but the damage was done.


#416 LJ

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:51 PM

Ukraine has seized a Russian tanker, this should get interesting.

Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#417 amor de cosmos

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 02:35 PM

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US military aircraft are violating Venezuelan airspace to spark an "incident" that could serve as an excuse for conflict or intervention, the Venezuelan military warned Thursday.


The latest incursion occurred on Wednesday, said Juan Teixeira, the head of the Integral Aerospace Defense of National Bolivarian Armed Forces.

"The United States with its EP3 aircraft insists on creating the conditions for operational danger by once again entering the flight information zone without complying with the protocols established in international treaties," Teixeira tweeted, Xinhua news agency reported.

"This irresponsible aggression is seeking an incident," he added.


The US Treasury Department earlier announced new Venezuela-related sanctions targeting 10 individuals and 13 entities allegedly linked to the operation of Venezuela’s Local Committees for Supply and Production agency.

When asked by reporters on Thursday whether he was considering a blockade or a quarantine of Venezuela, US President Donald Trump said: "Yes, I am".


U.S. President Donald Trump's special representative for Venezuela says Canada and the U.S. are strategizing on how to move the European Union toward imposing sanctions on the Nicolás Maduro regime.

"We both agreed that it would be really helpful if the EU would follow Canada and the U.S. in imposing sanctions on the Maduro regime," said Elliott Abrams in an interview on CBC News Network's Power & Politics.

"Europe is a kind of playground for people from the regime and their families — where their money is, they have houses there, they live the high life there — which is really disgraceful. So we strategized a bit about how, with the help of the Latin American democracies, to move the EU in that direction," Abrams told guest host Katie Simpson.

When asked for comment, Global Affairs Canada did not directly address the remarks made by Abrams.

"Canadian government officials discussed how Canada and the U.S. can work with the broader international community to return democracy to the people of Venezuela," said Barbara Harvey, a spokesperson for Global Affairs.


#418 amor de cosmos

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 09:23 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the United States on Monday, sharply escalating an economic and diplomatic pressure campaign aimed at removing socialist President Nicolas Maduro from power.

The executive order signed by Trump goes well beyond the sanctions imposed in recent months against Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA [PDVSA.UL] and the country’s financial sector, as well as measures against dozens of Venezuelan officials and entities.

Trump’s action, the toughest yet against Maduro, not only bans U.S. companies from dealings with the Venezuela government but also appears to open the door to possible sanctions against foreign firms or individuals that assist it.


#419 amor de cosmos

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 08:21 AM

Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations Samuel Moncada revealed evidence that well-known opposition ‘journalist’ Nelson Bocaranda has served as a “local agent” of the United States and United Kingdom governments since the 1980s in a series of tweets Sunday and Monday.

“In Venezuela, there are collaborators who lend themselves to surrender their homeland to traffickers of war and colonization. For years they have presented themselves as journalists and have enjoyed an unworthy reputation,” the Venezuelan diplomat and historian said.

According to Moncada, in 1982 as the Malvinas Islands’ conflict raged between the UK and Argentina, the then UK Ambassador to Venezuela “needed a local agent who did not seem to defend the British” in order to confuse the Venezuelan public, which was pro-Argentina, with propaganda.

Their “ally” was Nelson Bocaranda, who had a primetime show on the private TV station RCTV. The ambassador then allegedly paid Bocaranda to broadcast a pro-British documentary. The agreement was done in secret as it was about disguising propaganda as “information.”

“The proof was so difficult to obtain, but we have it. They are official documents of the British government that were never written with the intention of being published,” Moncada said, sharing a document issued by the UK embassy in Caracas titled “Annual Information Report” and signed by VJ Henderson, First Secretary, and Information Officer, on July 13 and August 2, 1982.


The leaked diplomatic cable published in WikiLeaks, dated November 20, 2009, and signed by former US Ambassador to Venezuela Patrick Duddy, reports that Bocaranda informed the foreign representative on November 16 that Venezuela only had eight pilots for its 20 F-16s.

The cable, in which Bocaranda is dubbed a “reliable source” and to be “strictly protected,” goes on to say that the journalist informed of an alleged visit to Caracas by Colombian guerrillas in what he “believed” was a plan to set up a provocation either along the Venezuelan-Colombian border or even within Colombian territory.


#420 amor de cosmos

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 11:27 AM

The United States has opened up secret communications with Venezuela's socialist party boss, as members of President Nicolas Maduro's inner circle seek guarantees they would not face retribution if they cede to growing demands to remove him, a senior US administration official has told the Associated Press news agency.

Diosdado Cabello, who is considered the most powerful man in Venezuela after Maduro, met last month in Caracas someone who is in close contact with the Trump administration, said the official. A second meeting is in the works but has not yet taken place, according to the report published late on Sunday.

The AP withheld the intermediary's name and details of the encounter with Cabello out of concern the person could suffer reprisals.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to discuss the talks, which are still preliminary. It is not clear whether the talks have Maduro's approval or not.

As president of the country's Constituent Assembly, Cabello, 56, is a major power broker inside Venezuela. He has seen his influence in the government and security forces expand as Maduro's grip on power has weakened.

But he has also been accused by US officials of being behind massive corruption, drug trafficking and even death threats against a sitting US senator.

The administration official said that under no circumstances is the US looking to prop up Cabello or pave the way for him to substitute Maduro.

Instead, the goal of the outreach is to ratchet up pressure on the regime by contributing to the knife fight the US believes is taking place behind the scenes among competing circles of power within the ruling party.

Similar contacts exist with other top Venezuelan insiders, the official said, and the US is in a listening mode to hear what it would take for them to betray Maduro and support a transition plan.


President Trump privately suggested stationing Navy ships around Venezuela to block goods from entering and exiting the country multiple times, Axios reported Sunday.

Five current and former officials told the outlet they had either directly heard the president discuss the idea or been briefed on it.

Trump has reportedly raised the idea for at least a year and a half, and as recently as several weeks ago.

Earlier this month he answered "Yes, I am" when a reporter asked whether he was mulling a blockade, according to Reuters. However, he did not elaborate on the idea.

"He literally just said we should get the ships out there and do a naval embargo," one source who heard the president’s comments in private told Axios. "Prevent anything going in."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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