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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.



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