Tag Archive: Caracas

By Jens Glüsing

Photo Gallery: Venezuela Erupts Photos

He was hand-picked by Hugo Chávez, but Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has lost control of the country’s economy. Vast protests have been the result, but the government in Caracas has shown no signs of bending.


The smell of smoke wafts over Caracas. A group of young women have built a barricade of wooden pallets and garbage bags and lit it on fire on the main street running through Bello Monte, a middle-class quarter of the Venezuelan capital.




A petite university student named Elisabeth Camacho fiddles with a gas canister and clutches a stick bristling with nails. She is wearing a white T-shirt and a baseball cap in Venezuela’s national colors, a kind of uniform worn by many of the demonstrators. She appears relaxed and ignores the curses coming from drivers struggling to turn their cars around. “We demand security,” she says. “The government needs to finally stop the violence.”

Students have been protesting in Caracas for days, building barricades on city streets and occupying squares. The movement began two weeks ago in San Cristóbal, in the state of Táchira near the border with Colombia. In just a few days, it spread across the entire country.


The students are protesting against inflation, shortages and corruption. Mostly, though, they are taking to the streets in opposition to the violence meted out by the country’s paramilitary shock troops. “We are going to protest until the government disarms the colectivos,” says Camacho.


“Colectivos” is the name given to the brutal militias that even late President Hugo Chávez supported. Now, the government of his successor, Nicolás Maduro, is sending the thugs after opposition activists, with masked men on motorcycles speeding through the streets, firing on demonstrators and, sometimes, following students all the way back to their universities. At least 13 people have died in the unrest, with 150 having been injured.


Last Tuesday, government toughs terrorized the quarter of Altamira, a hotbed of opposition in Caracas. For hours, some 150 motorcycles sped through the central square with thugs firing guns into the air. A handful of passersby were wounded by the bullets.



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Students and police clash in Venezuela protests

Published time: February 28, 2014 09:23

Student protesters have clashed with police in Caracas, prompting officers to use tear gas to break up the crowds. It comes after almost two weeks of massive street demonstrations that the government has condemned as an attempted coup d’état.

Students marched through the Venezuelan capital on Thursday, demanding the release of their peers who were detained during the last two weeks of protests. The demonstration descended into violence when a group of masked protesters attempted to block a road in central Caracas. The police used tear gas to break up the crowd, while demonstrators pelted officers with stones.


Opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro clash with riot police during an anti-government protest in Caracas on February 27, 2014. (AFP Photo/Leo Ramirez)

Opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro clash with riot police during an anti-government protest in Caracas on February 27, 2014. (AFP Photo/Leo Ramirez)


“[President] Maduro, tell us when and where you are going to release the prisoners. Tell us when there will be justice for our dead,” the head of the student protest movement, Juan Requesens, addressed protesters on Thursday.

Over 50 people have died in the mass protests that have gripped Venezuela over the last couple of weeks, according to government figures. President Nicolas Maduro decried the unrest as an attempt at a coup d’état orchestrated by fascist elements in the Venezuelan opposition.


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Opposition supporters march protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 22, 2014.

Opposition supporters march protest against Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 22, 2014.



VOA News

Supporters and opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro held rival marches Saturday in Caracas as he summoned all sides to what he described as a peace conference in the coming days.

Opponents of Maduro began marching earlier this month against his government. They say they are tired of out-of-control crime and shortages in supermarkets in an oil-rich nation.

Thousands of Maduro backers held a counter-demonstration, saying he is the democratically-elected leader. His wife, Cilia Flores, described the opposition as “fascists.”

Meanwhile, Maduro is calling on all sides to join him for peace talks Wednesday.

Late Friday, Maduro invited U.S. President Barack Obama to meet him for talks and condemned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as “arrogant” and “insolent” for criticizing the Venezuelan government’s use of force against opposition protesters.

In a statement Friday, Secretary Kerry called on the Maduro government to step back from “its efforts to stifle dissent through force” and respect basic human rights. He also said every government has a duty to maintain public order, and all sides, including the opposition protesters, must refrain from violence.

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Venezuela’s Maduro Vows to Protect Revolution as Crowds March

Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

Protesters clash with riot police during an anti-government demonstration in Caracas,… Read More

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro vowed to protect his government and keep National Guard troops in the streets as pro-government and opposition groups rallied in Caracas in the 11th day of unrest in the capital.

“I’m going to keep protecting the Venezuelan people with the National Guard,” Maduro said before supporters at the presidential palace in Caracas today. “If fascism eliminates me, I authorize you to take to the streets to defend the homeland.”

Maduro, who spoke shortly after opposition leaders including Governor Henrique Capriles rallied in eastern Caracas, said he would not permit protesters to blockade streets and remained willing to exchange ambassadors with the U.S. Capriles, who in April lost the presidential election by the thinnest margin in 45 years, today said he would accept an invitation by Maduro to hold talks Feb. 24.

Struggling to rein in 56 percent inflation and a shortage of basic goods and medicines, Maduro this week announced plans to import $1 billion in food and medicine and to unveil a new currency auction system designed to help companies and individuals have more access to dollars.

U.S. President Barack Obama, on a visit to Mexico Feb. 19, condemned the violence in Venezuela. His secretary of state, John Kerry, issued a statement last night accusing Maduro’s government of using force against peaceful protesters.

Photographer: Leo Ramirez/AFP via Getty Images

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds a flower during a march in Caracas on February 22, 2014.


“I’ve never seen another foreign ministry send a statement at 10:30 p.m. in the night,” Maduro said. “Obama, do you want to go down in history as George W. Bush and Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter?”

Crowds of government supporters dressed in red chanted “strong hand” as Maduro spoke today. Loud bangs could be heard this evening in the Altamira neighborhood of Caracas that has become a focal point of demonstrations.

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Venezuela opposition’s Leopoldo Lopez hands himself in

The moment Leopoldo Lopez handed himself in amidst the crowds

A Venezuelan opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has handed himself over to the National Guard after holding a speech to thousands of his supporters.

He said he hoped his arrest would wake up the country to its “unjust justice”.

It comes as several thousand of pro- and anti-government supporters took part in tense rival rallies in the capital, Caracas.

Mr Lopez was wanted on charges of inciting violence during recent street protests which left at least four dead.

Speaking before thousands of his supporters wearing red, President Nicolas Maduro said Mr Lopez would be brought to Justice.


“He must answer before the prosecution, the courts, the laws his calls to sedition, his unawareness of the constitution,” Mr Maduro told the crowd.

Tensions have been running high in the deeply polarised country.

Three of the dead – two anti-government protesters and one government supporter – died of bullet wounds sustained during demonstrations last Wednesday.

Another student died after being ran over during a march on Monday night in the eastern city of Carupano.

Before handing himself over to the authorities, Mr Lopez denied the charges against him.

“I present myself to an unjust judiciary. They want to jail Venezuelans who want peaceful, democratic change,” he said.

Ahead of the rallies, Caracas Mayor Jorge Rodriguez warned that he had not authorised Tuesday’s opposition march.

General view of a march following Leopoldo Lopez in Caracas on 18 February, 2014 Supporters of Mr Lopez turned out in force in Caracas on Tuesday
A man holds a banner reading "24,763 violent deaths in 2013 - we are more than just figures" Anti-government protesters are angry about Venezuela’s homicide rate, one of the highest in the world
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures to supporters during a rally in Caracas on 18 February, 2014 President Nicolas Maduro called on his supporters to join a rival rally


Venezuelans clash as jailed opposition leader sits


Photo by:

The Associated Press
A opposition protester holding a Venezuelan flag yells at Bolivarian National Guards blocking the path leading to downtown Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez emerged from days of hiding and surrendered to police before thousands of supporters on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Carlos Becerra)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


CARACAS, Venezuela — Violent clashes flared up across Venezuela on Wednesday as the nation waited to learn what charges jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez will face for organizing mass protests that have breathed new life into the movement challenging socialist rule in the oil-rich nation.

Gunfire echoed through downtown Caracas as President Nicolas Maduro spoke on live TV for more than two hours Wednesday night denouncing what he calls a “fascist” plot to destabilize the country. Elsewhere, protesters set trash fires in streets or threw rocks at National Guard troops, who fired tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets.

There was no immediate word on whether there were any new casualties, after a week of demonstrations and clashes that have resulted in at least six deaths and more than 100 injuries.

Lopez, who dramatically surrendered to authorities before thousands of cheering supporters Tuesday, was supposed to appear before a judge inside a military jail to learn what charges he might face for organizing the protests that the government has blamed for the violence.

The hearing was closed and the outcome had not been announced by late Wednesday, but Maduro suggested in his speech that Lopez would remain in custody and face criminal charges.

“I said, ‘Send him to jail,’ and that’s what happened and that’s what will happen with all of the fascists,” Maduro said.

The government has accused Lopez, a 42-year-old former mayor and the leader of the Popular Will party, of attempting to foment a coup in the South American nation and authorities had said he could face charges that include homicide and causing grievous bodily harm.

Before the president’s speech, a judicial official told The Associated Press that prosecutors were leaning toward discarding homicide and terrorism charges, opting instead to pursue less serious counts such as arson and incitement to commit crimes. That would allow the possibility of Lopez being released pending trial, according to the official, who agreed to discuss the matter only if not quoted by name because the decision had not been made public.

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US diplomats given 48 hours to leave Venezuela

Published time: February 17, 2014 22:41
Edited time: February 18, 2014 05:21
Students take part in an anti-government protest in Caracas on February 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Juan Barreto)

Students take part in an anti-government protest in Caracas on February 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Juan Barreto)

Venezuela has given three American diplomats from the US Embassy in Caracas 48 hours to exit the country after President Nicolas Maduro leveled accusations of conspiracy and meeting with students to incite anti-government sentiment.

Following days of opposition protests, three unnamed diplomats were declared persona non grata by Maduro during a televised address on Sunday night. On Monday Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Elias Jaua announced that the US diplomats in question were vice consuls Breann Marie McCusker and Jeffrey Elsen, and Kristofer Lee Clark, who holds the rank of second secretary at the US consulate.

Jaua said during a press conference that the three officials had assisted “groups that seek to generate violence in the country,” and that they had 48 hours to leave.

As evidence, Jaua cited email correspondence from US embassy officials in recent years that supposedly call for funding from Washington to support Venezuelan student groups, AP reported.

He added that the diplomats sought contacts “for the training, the financing and the creation of youth organizations to foment violence.”

“It’s a group of US functionaries who are in the universities. We’ve been watching them having meetings in the private universities for two months. They work in visas,” Maduro stated Sunday in a nationally televised broadcast.

Venenzuelan President Nicolas Maduro ( AFP Photo / Presidencia / Handout)

Venenzuelan President Nicolas Maduro ( AFP Photo / Presidencia / Handout)

Last Wednesday, over 10,000 people poured onto the streets of Caracas to peacefully protest their growing worries, such as the country’s high murder rate and a record-breaking 56 percent inflation.

At the end of Wednesday’s opposition protests, a group of students battled with security forces and pro-government militias, leaving three people dead. Maduro’s government blamed the violence on Harvard-educated opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whom Maduro accuses of leading a US-backed “fascist” plot to oust the socialist government.

“There is a fascist group that abuses public freedoms and democracy to play politics and prepare to overthrow the government,” Maduro said.

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Venezuela gears up for more violence as Leopoldo López plans march

Opposition leader, who is wanted for arrest, calls on supporters to join him for anti-government demonstration in Caracas
Anti-government students in Caracas

Anti-government students shout slogans during a protest in Caracas on Sunday. Photograph: Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela is braced for fresh confrontations as a firebrand opposition leader rallies supporters to march with him through Caracas in defiance of a protest ban by President Nicolás Maduro.

The government has issued an arrest warrant for Leopoldo López, who is accused of “terrorism” for his alleged role in violent anti-government demonstrations across the country last week that left three dead.

Maduro says López has been conspiring to overthrow the government with the connivance of university students and the backing of the US, three of whose diplomats have received expulsion orders from Caracas in the past few days.

López – a former mayor of one of the capital’s districts – has denied the accusations but says he will come out of hiding on Tuesday to face the charges.

“I have nothing to fear,” the Harvard-educated politician said, in a defiant video address released on the internet. “I have committed no crime. I have been a Venezuelan with deep commitments toward my country and my people.”

He has called on supporters to wear white as a symbol of peace and to stop short of the last part of his journey to the ministry of justice and interior, which was the focus of much of the worse unrest last week.

By 11am, many thousands – mostly clad in white – had started to gather on Avenida Francisco de Miranda.

There are fears of a repeat of the deadly clashes between opposition protesters, police and “colectivo” militia groups loyal to the Chavista government.

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April 16, 2013

CARACAS, Venezuela — Tensions escalated here on Tuesday as the newly elected president, Nicolás Maduro, and his opponent blamed each other for the violence that the government said had left seven people dead, and Mr. Maduro accused the United States of being behind that violence.

The new president vowed to crack down on protests and said he would block a march called by his opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski, to demand a recount of the vote. Mr. Capriles claims he is the real winner of the extremely close election on Sunday and has refused to recognize the result.

Mr. Capriles responded to Mr. Maduro on Tuesday by calling off the march to the headquarters of the National Electoral Council, which had been planned for Wednesday, saying he had received information that the government planned to infiltrate the march and cause violence. He called on his followers instead to bang pots at their homes in a traditional Venezuelan protest.

Mr. Maduro was declared the winner of Sunday’s election with 50.8 percent of the vote, to 49 percent for Mr. Capriles, according to the current government count. The tally has Mr. Maduro ahead by about 270,000 votes, out of 14.8 million cast, although not all votes have been counted. Among those outstanding are votes from Venezuelans living in foreign countries, who tend to vote for the opposition.

Mr. Maduro is to complete the six-year term of President Hugo Chávez, who had cancer and died March 5. His new term began in January.

In an extraordinary day of charges and countercharges, Mr. Maduro cut into regular television and radio programming three times with special national broadcasts that all stations are required to carry.

Each time he angrily criticized Mr. Capriles, sometimes working himself into what seemed to be near hysteria, shouting until he was nearly out of breath, often stabbing his finger directly at the camera. He compared the opposition to Nazi Germany, accused them of planning a coup, and said they hoped to bring about a civil war like those in Libya and Syria.

“The march to the center of Caracas will not be permitted,” Mr. Maduro said in his first broadcast, from a government-run health clinic. “I will use a hard hand against fascism and intolerance. I declare it. If they want to overthrow me, come and get me. Here I am, with the people and the armed forces.”

He said five people died at opposition protests on Monday in different parts of the country, and, pointing a finger at the camera, he said Mr. Capriles was responsible. Mr. Maduro later raised the death toll to seven, but the number of deaths related to the protests could not be independently confirmed.

At an afternoon news conference, Mr. Capriles said the government had given T-shirts to people who would attend Wednesday’s march and then carry out violent acts. “Their agenda is violence,” he said. “Our agenda is peaceful protest.”

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Manual recount not possible in Venezuela, chief justice says

By Rafael Romo. Catherine E. Shoichet and Paula Newton, CNN
April 18, 2013 — Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
Watch this video

Chaos in Caracas after election

  • NEW: Maduro says he doesn’t care if the United States recognizes his presidency
  • Chief justice says the constitution does not allow for manual recounts
  • Protesters bang pots and pans in a continued push for a recount
  • 8 people have died in post-election protests, state news agency reports

Are you in Venezuela? Send us your thoughts and experiences.

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN) — A manual recount of votes isn’t possible in Venezuela, the head of the country’s Supreme Court said Wednesday, suggesting there is no legal basis for the opposition’s push for a ballot-by-ballot audit of the narrow presidential election results.

In nationally televised remarks, Venezuelan Chief Justice Luisa Estella Morales said Venezuela’s 1999 constitution eliminated manual recounts in favor of a “system audit.”

“In Venezuela the electoral system is completely automated. Therefore, a manual count does not exist. Anyone who thought that could really happen has been deceived,” she said. “The majority of those who are asking for a manual count know it and are clear about it. Elections are not audited ballot by ballot but through the system.”

Her comments came a day after the sounds of clanking pots and pans and bursting fireworks rang out in Caracas as tensions mounted over Venezuela’s tight election results.

It was a clear sign that days after Sunday’s presidential vote, fierce political battles are far from over in the deeply divided country.

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Violence in Venezuela after election

Did Maduro win fair and square?

Capriles to Maduro: ‘You are the loser’


US holds back recognition for Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro and Henrique Capriles President-elect Nicolas Maduro, left, is rejecting Henrique Capriles’s calls for a recount

The US government is refusing to recognise Venezuela’s President-elect Nicolas Maduro’s victory in disputed elections in Venezuela.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the US was not yet ready to validate the results of Sunday’s poll.

Mr Maduro’s narrow victory has been challenged by the opposition leader, Henrique Capriles.

Mr Capriles is insisting on a vote-by-vote recount and has now submitted a formal request for one.

However, the National Electoral Council in Venezuela has so far refused to order one, and the Supreme Court said on Wednesday that there was no legal basis for it.

Mr Kerry has supported a recount.

“Obviously, if there are huge irregularities we are going to have serious questions about the viability of that government,” he told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr Maduro responded by accusing Washington of interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

He insisted: “We don’t care about your recognition.

“We have chosen to be free, and we are going to be free with or without you.”


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Venezuelan government via EPA, file

The last pictures of Hugo Chavez made publicly available were taken on Feb. 14.


Tens of thousands of people wept openly in the streets of Caracas over the death of their “Commandante,” President Hugo Chavez, while exiled Venezuelans in the U.S. cheered after learning of the socialist leader died.

By Fabiola Sanchez, The Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez died of a massive heart attack and inaudibly mouthed his desire to live, the head of Venezuela’s presidential guard said late Wednesday.

“He couldn’t speak but he said it with his lips … ‘I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die,’ because he loved his country, he sacrificed himself for his country,” Gen. Jose Ornella told The Associated Press.

The general said he spent the last two years with Chavez, including his final moments, as Venezuela’s president of 14 years battled an unspecified cancer in the pelvic region….


….Ornella echoed the concern of Vice President Nicolas Maduro that some sort of foul play was involved in Chavez’s cancer.

“I think it will be 50 years before they declassify a document (that) I think (will show) the hand of the enemy is involved,” he said.

The general didn’t identify who he was talking about, but Maduro suggested possible U.S. involvement on Tuesday. The U.S. State Department called the allegation absurd.


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Chávez Dies, Leaving Bitterly Divided Nation

Egilda Gomez/Associated Press

Over nearly a decade and a half, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela built a political movement and a government that were centered on his outsize personality. More Photos »

Published: March 5, 2013

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela died Tuesday afternoon after a long battle with cancer, the government announced, leaving behind a bitterly divided nation in the grip of a political crisis that grew more acute as he languished for weeks, silent and out of sight in hospitals in Havana and Caracas.

 With his voice cracking and close to tears, Vice President Nicolás Maduro said that he and other officials had gone to the military hospital where Mr. Chávez was being treated, sequestered from the public, when “we received the hardest and most tragic information that we could transmit to our people.”

Mr. Chávez’s departure from a country he dominated for 14 years casts into doubt the future of his socialist revolution. It not only alters the political balance in Venezuela, the fourth-largest foreign oil supplier to the United States, but also in Latin America, where Mr. Chávez led a group of nations intent on reducing American influence in the region.

Mr. Chávez changed Venezuela in fundamental ways, empowering and energizing millions of poor people who had felt marginalized and excluded. But his rule also widened society’s divisions, and his death is sure to bring vast uncertainty as the nation tries to find its way without its central figure.

When a president dies, the Constitution says that the nation should “proceed to a new election” within 30 days, and that the vice president should take over in the meantime. The election is likely to pit Mr. Maduro, whom Mr. Chávez designated as his political successor, against Henrique Capriles Radonski, a young state governor who lost to Mr. Chávez in a presidential election in October.

But there has been heated debate in recent months over clashing interpretations of the constitution, in light of Mr. Chávez’s illness, and it is impossible to predict how the post-Chávez transition will proceed. Mr. Chávez was given a diagnosis of cancer in June 2011, but throughout his treatment he kept many details about his illness secret, refusing to say what kind of cancer he had or where in his body it occurred. He had three operations from June 2011 to February 2012, as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but the cancer kept coming back. The surgery and most other treatments were done in Cuba.

Then on Dec. 8, just two months after winning re-election, Mr. Chávez stunned the nation by announcing in a somber televised address that he needed yet another surgery.

That operation, his fourth, took place in Havana on Dec. 11. In the aftermath, grim-faced aides described the procedure as complex and said his condition was delicate. They eventually notified the country of complications, first bleeding and then a severe lung infection and difficulty breathing.

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Related Multimedia


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies

Published on Mar 5, 2013

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday after losing the battle against cancer. The 58 year-old socalist leader had surgery in December of last year in Cuba and since his return to Venezuela last month, Chavez had not been seen or heard from. RT’s Liz Wahl and Lucy Kafanov bring us more on this breaking news.


Hugo Chavez: Venezuela hits out at ‘historic enemies’ as leader’s condition worsens

Venezuela’s vice-president has accused the country’s “historic enemies” of infecting Hugo Chavez with cancer after the government admitted a grave worsening of the “Commandante’s” condition.

Hugo Chavez: Venezuela hits out at 'historic enemies' as leader's condition worsens

Mr Maduro accused one diplomat at the American Embassy in Caracas of running ‘destabilisation projects’ Photo: Reuters

By Girish Gupta, Caracas

6:53PM GMT 05 Mar 2013

Nicolas Maduro, the vice-president and Mr Chavez’s chosen successor, appeared on television to say that the collapse of leader’s health was down to an “attack” by outside forces.

Mr Maduro then accused the US of trying to exploit the power vacuum caused by Mr Chavez’s disappearance. The vice-president named one diplomat at the American Embassy in the capital, Caracas, accusing him of running “destabilisation projects” and giving him 24 hours to leave the country. Venezuela later announced the expulsion of a second US official for conspiracy.

“Special measures” were now in hand to prevent any “conspiracies” from succeeding, added Mr Maduro, who said Mr Chavez was undergoing his “most difficult hours” since he flew to Cuba for his fourth round of cancer-related surgery.

He spoke as generals, state governors and ministers gathered in “Miraflores”, the presidential palace in Caracas, apparently to prepare for further developments.

Earlier, a sombre communiqué had acknowledged the “worsening” state of Mr Chavez’s health. Ernesto Villegas, the information minister, appeared on television to say that a new respiratory infection had complicated the president’s cancer.


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Correo del Orinoco Engish Edition
Fri, 01 Mar 2013 14:18 CST

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced the heightening of measures against economic sabotage in the country last Friday after meeting with President Hugo Chavez, currently recovering from cancer surgery in the military hospital Dr. Carlos Arvelo in Caracas.

Maduro reported that the convalescing head of state gave orders to confront sectors of the Venezuelan private sector that through hoarding and price-hiking have been attempting to sow instability in the country.

“The President was very clear in saying that we have to increment the actions to confront the economic war that the bourgeoisie is waging against the people. It’s a real economic war and we must continue winning it”, Maduro said in a press conference.

Friday’s meeting with Chavez lasted for more than 5 hours and included the presence of Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas, and the head of the national intelligence service Miguel Rodriguez.

While details on the actions that will be taken against those members of the business community who engage in illicit activity were not forthcoming, Maduro said that they would be formulated “to favor the public and our national interests”.

For months, Venezuela has seen a shortage of some basic commodities as unscrupulous businessmen seeking to subvert government price-controls on staple products withhold the commodities from the shelves.

The products are then either sold on the black market at double the price or shipped illegally to Colombia as contraband. Many retailers are also taking advantage of a recent devaluation in the country’s currency, the bolivar, to raise prices exponentially.

Vice President Maduro said last week that his discussions with Chavez included proposals on how to limit inflation in the country, maintain economic growth and ensure food security for the population. “These are topics that will be decided upon and implemented in the coming weeks in order to strengthen agricultural and food production and solidify productive in-vestment as well as industrial development”, Maduro said.

The Venezuelan VP also suggested that many of the problems associated with the market in recent months have their origins in external interests. “The attacks against the economy in general have as their source the enemies of our country. Some of them have Venezuelan ID cards, others have documents from other countries”, Maduro imputed, adding that the conspiracy “will be dismantled”.

With respect to the health of President Chavez, the VP reported that the head of state is rigorously following his medical program. “The President is receiving his treatment. He has a problem with respiratory insufficiency that is being treated intensively”, Maduro informed. “He is making an effort with extraordinary spirits, with a smile and bright, vibrant eyes… We left [the meeting] full of energy and strength that we are passing on to the people”, the Vice President added.

Chavez was operated on in Cuba on December 11 after a relapse of the cancer that first appeared in his pelvic region in June 2011. He returned to Venezuela on February 18 and has since been receiving treatment at the Military Hospital Dr. Carlos Arvelo in the capital Caracas.



Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

Global Community  :  Research –  Space

China launches 2nd satellite built for Venezuela

(AP)—China has launched a second satellite built for Venezuela’s government.
China launched Venezuela’s second satellite on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, delivering a spacecraft to monitor the country’s territory, survey crops and natural resources, and aid Venezuela’s security services.

The remote sensing satellite soared into orbit atop a rocket from the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu. The launch was shown live on Venezuelan TV on Friday night. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez applauded as he watched alongside aides in Caracas, congratulating those who worked on the project. Officials have said the satellite cost $140 million and will provide images for tasks such as mapping croplands, counter-drug efforts and monitoring floods. The launch came more than a week ahead of Venezuela’s Oct. 7 presidential election, in which Chavez is seeking another six-year term. The satellite is named after Venezuelan independence hero Francisco de Miranda. Venezuela’s first satellite was named after independence leader Simon Bolivar. It was launched from China in 2008.

Politics and Legislation


Obama Impeachment Bill Now In Congress


Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., R-N.C., has introduced a resolution declaring that should the president use offensive military force without authorization of an act of Congress, “it is the sense of Congress” that such an act would…



Supreme Court Likely to Endorse Obama’s War on Whistle-Blowers

Chris Hedges, Truthdig Op-Ed:

“Obama, who serves the interests of the surveillance and security state with even more fervor than did George W. Bush, has used the Espionage Act to charge suspected leakers six times since he took office. The latest to be charged by the Obama administration under the act is John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer accused of disclosing classified information to journalists about the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, an al-Qaida suspect.”



Though 69 Percent Of Americans Want Super PAC Ban, Super PACs Dominate GOP Race

Josh Israel, News Report:

“Independent expenditure-only “super PAC” committees have accounted for a stunning 91 percent of the television campaign advertising over the past month in Alabama and Mississippi — the two states holding their Republican primaries today. But while the more than $75 million already spent nationally by these groups has undoubtedly altered the dynamics of the presidential race, it has also annoyed the vast majority of Americans.”



The Hill: Justice blocks Texas voter ID law

By Justin Sink

The Justice Department on Monday blocked a new Texas law that requires government-issued photo identification at the polls, further inflaming an intense and racially charged election-year debate over voting requirements.



The Hill: Dems targeted over support for healthcare law’s ‘rationing board

By Julian Pecquet

The conservative seniors’ lobby 60 Plus launched a $3.5 million ad campaign on Monday targeting five vulnerable Senate Democrats over their support for the healthcare reform law’s cost-control board.





SEC charges five with insider trading from AA tip

(Reuters) – Securities regulators charged two Ameriprise Financial advisers and three others with insider-trading, saying they made $1.8 million in illicit profits based on confidential merger information one of the advisers learned through an Alcoholics Anonymous relationship.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Timothy McGee, one of the advisers, was tipped about a pending merger of insurer Philadelphia Consolidated Holding Corp and Tokio Marine Holdings.



The Audacity of Bonuses at MF Global

Nomi Prins, Op-Ed:

“Today, our regulatory bodies are incapable, or simply don’t want to be bothered with, tracing money and returning it to the public customers to whom it belongs. The inability to independently examine MF Global’s books, without its executive involved, reveals the sorry state of our financial system. In this post-Glass-Steagall-repeal world, the mixing of customer money and speculative betting – whether at a super-market bank or broker-dealer, whether involving subprime loans packages or European Sovereign debt, poses too dangerous a level of complexity.”



Germany Fails To Meet Its Own Austerity Goals

As she travels from one European Union summit to the next, Angela Merkel’s constant mantra in recent months has been austerity, austerity, austerity. But apparently the German chancellor hasn’t been quite as strict when it comes to her own country’s budget.



Energy Secretary Chu disavows 2008 remark that he wants higher gas prices

By Andrew Restuccia

Energy Secretary Steven Chu disavowed Tuesday his 2008 comments about increasing gas prices to European levels, remarks that Republicans have pounced on in recent weeks.

“I no longer share that view,” Chu said during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, adding that he wants to lower gas prices.

Chu said higher gas prices could slow the economic recovery.


Oil prices fall as China data sparks fresh demand worries

London (AFP)

World oil prices dropped on Monday as investors fretted over the strength of worldwide energy demand following weak Chinese economic data. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April, shed $1.06 to $106.34 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for April was down 65 cents at $125.33 in late afternoon deals. “Crude oil fell sharply…


Oil price volatility in focus at world energy forum

Kuwait City (AFP)

The world’s largest energy forum began meetings on Monday over oil price fluctuations and safeguarding supplies amid heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme and a softening in global growth. Oil ministers and delegates from the 88-member International Energy Forum (IEF) are holding their biennial three-day gathering in the Gulf emirate of Kuwait to discuss the role of the forum…


Consumers line up to buy Chinese-Venezuelan cars

Caracas (AFP)

Just weeks after the opening of four Chery dealerships in Venezuela, dozens of people are lining up every day to buy the first Chinese cars being sold in the Latin American nation. Unlike competing Japanese and American cars, import preferences granted by the Venezuelan government mean the Chinese cars are cheaper, which has attracted a steady stream of interested customers. “I came to b …



Haynesville Shale Continues to Favour Louisiana over East Texas

London, UK (SPX)

Gas production from the US Haynesville Shale continues to favour the state of Louisiana over East Texas, with the former set to become a major gas producing state while pipeline development in East Texas continues to slow, a new report by business intelligence expert GlobalData has found. The new report found that several major gas companies are funding extensive infrastructure development …


Oil and Gas is One of the Fastest Growing Segments of the Energy Sector in China

Kolkata, India (SPX)

Netscribes has announced the launch of its report, Oil and Gas Market in China 2012. The Oil and Gas sector in China is expected to witness tremendous growth owing to the robust growth of the economy of China. The report begins with a detailed overview of the global oil and gas market that includes detailed coverage of global production, consumption and reserves for both oil and gas. This …



Warning of ‘real’ anger at banks

Press Association,

Sir Mervyn told The Times that Britain’s banks are in denial about public anger over their behaviour.

And he hit out at them for insisting everyone needed to live with “market disciplines” until the financial crisis hit when they asked for bail outs.

“Market discipline can’t apply to everyone except banks,” he told the newspaper, adding people’s anger was “very real and wholly understandable”.



Greek debt swap could be short-lived reprieve

(Reuters) – Greece’s deep recession and unpredictable elections threaten to turn the biggest debt restructuring in history into yet another short-lived reprieve, although the existential threat posed to the euro zone is not what it was.



Alert From European Investment Banker

Mach 12, 2012


I am someone who has worked for one of the largest investment banks in the world RBS and I can tell you that the contagion of debt has run its course. We are already prepped for a Greek default this month especially since the recent downgrade by Fitch.



Collapse Coming–Not Recovery

By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com (Revised)

The way the latest unemployment numbers were reported by the mainstream media (MSM), you would think the Great Recession was over and the United States was solidly on the road to recovery. The Associated Press reported the numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with a story that said, “The United States added 227,000 jobs in February, the latest display of the breadth and strength of the economic recovery. The country has put together the most impressive three months of job growth since before the Great Recession. The unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent. It was the first time in six months it didn’t fall, and that was because a half-million Americans started looking for work.”….



Handicapping the Collapse

Scattered diverse and almost uniformly unfavorable and dangerous events are unfolding, as the global economy and financial structure undergoes the equivalent of endless earthquakes and bombardment of solar emissions. Reporting is difficult, since information is distorted toward the sunny side. Events are moving fast, as quickly as the danger level is rising. As conditions worsen, the hype and spin has risen almost out of control. The political machine, tied at the hip to the banking apparatus, has ramped up the growth story even as the strain on the information spin has become more visible and subject to heavy criticism…..




Wars and Rumors of War


‘MKO conducts assassinations for Mossad for funding’

An American political commentator says that the primary source of income for the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) comes from assassinations it performs against Iranian nationals at the behest of Israel’s spy agency Mossad.



Yet another reason to leave: US soldier allegedly kills Afghan women and children

According to Afghan officials who visited the scene of the murders, some 16 people, nearly all of which were women and children, have been killed by a lone American soldier.



Secret SAS squadron sent to spy in Africa

A SECRET squadron of Australian SAS soldiers has been operating at large in Africa, performing work normally done by spies, in an unannounced and possibly dangerous expansion of Australia’s foreign military engagement. The deployment of the SAS’s 4 Squadron – the existence of which has never been publicly confirmed – has put the special forces unit at the outer reaches of Australian and international law. A SECRET squadron of Australian SAS soldiers has been operating at large in Africa, performing work normally done by spies, in an unannounced and possibly dangerous expansion of Australia’s foreign military engagement.



Scientists Warn EPA Over Monsanto’s GMO Crop Failures, Dangers

By Anthony Gucciardi

A group of scientists is calling for major federal action in order to deal with the threat posed by Monsanto’s GMO crops, now petitioning the EPA to address the issue head on. The group of 22 academic corn experts are drawing attention to the immense failure of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, which is developing mutated and resistant insects as a result of its widespread usage.



Aircraft Carrier Enterprise Sets Off On Final Journey – Direction Iran

Today at noon Eastern, the storied aircraft carrier Enterprise, aka CVN-65, left its home port of Naval Station Norfolk one final time for its final voyage with a heading: Arabian Sea, aka Iran. There in a week it will join CVN 72 Lincoln and CVN 70 Vinson, as well as LHD 8 Makin Island, all of which are supporting any potential escalation of “hostilities” in the Persian Gulf region. As a reminder, back in January we learned that the Enterprise’s final voyage will be in proximity to Iran, and in the meantime, the aircraft carrier held extended drills off the Florida coast to attack a “faux theocracy” consisting of fundamentalist “Shahida” states. Why the Arabian Sea in about 7-10 days will be home to not two but three aircraft carriers and a big deck amphibious warfare ship is very much an open question, although we may have some thoughts.



With Iran, Threat Inflation Is the Threat

William Astore, Op-Ed:

“If a nuclear-armed Iran is indeed the greatest threat we as a nation face, that is indeed good news. Even better: Our latest intelligence estimate suggests that Iran still doesn’t have a nuclear weapon, nor is it clear whether its leaders have decided to build one. Iran also lacks a delivery system capable of striking the United States. Even if Iran decided to build a bomb and succeeded, any Iranian leader would be foolhardy in the extreme to threaten the United States, which still has thousands of nuclear warheads of its own — and plenty of delivery systems.”



Obama: US ‘heartbroken’ over Afghan civilians killed in attack

By Amie Parnes

President Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. is “heartbroken” over the Afghan civilians killed by a U.S. soldier and takes the deaths as “seriously” as if the victims were our own.

Obama spoke as violence in Afghanistan began to escalate two days after a U.S. soldier killed more than a dozen Afghan civilians in an apparent rogue attack.

“The United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered,” Obama said during brief remarks in the Rose Garden. “We are heartbroken over the loss of innocent life.”



The Hill: Report: Panetta says death penalty possible in Afghanistan shootings

By Jeremy Herb

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday that the death penalty is a possibility for the Army soldier who killed at least 16 Afghans Sunday, the Associated Press reported.





Feds Let BP Off Probation Despite Pending Safety Violations

Abrahm Lustgarten, News Report:

“BP’s refining subsidiary was released today from criminal probation related to a 2005 explosion in Texas City that killed 15 workers. The company has addressed the most serious safety deficiencies exposed by the accident and satisfied the terms of a felony plea agreement to settle charges that it failed to protect workers from known risks, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman said.”





Court Declares Newspaper Excerpt on Online Forum is a Non-Infringing Fair Use

Late Friday, the federal district court in Nevada issued a declaratory judgment that makes is harder for copyright holders to file lawsuits over excerpts of material and burden online forums and their users with nuisance lawsuits.

The judgment – part of the nuisance lawsuit avalanche started by copyright troll Righthaven – found that Democratic Underground did not infringe the copyright in a Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper article when a user of the online political forum posted a five-sentence excerpt, with a link back to the newspaper’s website.





US wind generation increases by 27 percent

Washington (IANS)

Wind generation in the US increased by 27 percent in 2011 as compared with 2010, continuing a trend of rapid growth, the government said Monday. Tax credits and grants for electricity from certain renewable sources have encouraged capacity additions and increased generation from wind and other renewable sources, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Monday. Wind energy is the largest source of non-hydroelectric renewable electricity in the US, contributing 61 percent of the nea …



China solar giant faces glare of US trade row

by Staff Writers
Wuxi, China (AFP)

In the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi, home to the world’s biggest maker of solar panels, labour is so cheap that workers carry out jobs by hand while machines designed to perform the same tasks sit idle.

The low cost of labour, coupled with the massive scale of production at its 14,000-person plant, have enabled China’s Suntech to become the global industry leader in just a decade.





Activists tap court to block Japan reactor restart

by Staff Writers Tokyo (AFP)

A group of Japanese citizens filed a lawsuit Monday to prevent the restart of a nuclear power plant, a day after the first anniversary of the tsunami that sparked the Fukushima atomic disaster.

The group of 259 citizens filed the suit in Osaka District Court seeking an injunction that would block the reopening of utility Kansai Electric’s nuclear power plants Oi Unit 3 and 4 in central Fukui prefecture.



Kolkata protest against PM comment on Kudankulam project

by Staff Writers Kolkata, India (IANS)

A group of Kolkata residents Monday held a 12-hour fast against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comments on agitations centred around the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu and wrote to him demanding the scrapping of the project.

The prime minister, in an interview to Science magazine in February, reportedly blamed NGOs from the US and Scandinavia for fuelling protests against the nuclear plant.



Fukushima prefecture aims for green power

by Staff Writers Tokyo (UPI)

As Japan marked the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the country’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the governor of Fukushima prefecture called for terminating nuclear power and promoting renewable energy.

“We will call for all nuclear power stations in the prefecture to be shut down so that an accident like this never happens again,” Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said Sunday of the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.



Responding to the Radiation Threat

by Lynn Yarris for Berkeley News
Berkeley CA (SPX)

Mass contamination from major radiation exposure events, such as the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, require prompt treatment in the form of a pill, such as the treatment being developed at Berkeley Lab. File image courtesy AFP.

The New York Times recently reported that in the darkest moments of the triple meltdown last year of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese officials considered the evacuation of the nearly 36 million residents of the Tokyo metropolitan area.





NYPD officer thrown in psych ward by superiors after revealing systemic corruption

Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer

Adrian Schoolcraft of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) 81st precinct in Brooklyn noticed some disturbing trends within the department and in response to his brave move to step forward, his superiors had him thrown in a psychiatric ward.

Schoolcraft realized that there was a pattern of the victims of crimes being caught up in bureaucratic hurdles which he thinks were deliberately put in place in order to make it harder to report serious crimes.

He then did his job and reported multiple incidents to investigators in 2009.



DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Any Partnership Between Google, NSA

The Justice Department is defending the government’s refusal to discuss—or even acknowledge the existence of—any cooperative research and development agreement between Google and the National Security Agency.



DARPA’s Director Will Soon Be a Google Executive

You probably don’t know Regina Dugan’s name, but for the past three years, she’s been director of DARPA, the military’s R&D lab. In a few weeks, she’ll be moving into an executive position at Google, becoming one of the most senior military officials to cross over to the private sector.



Portable chargers, boosters to ease green car charging woes

Geneva (AFP)

Chevrolet Europe’s president Susan Doherty drives to work every day in an electric car, and thanks to a recharging station at work, she never worries about running out of power. For most other people, however, it remains a challenge to find electric charging stations to refuel. As a result sales of electric cars have lagged, with most consumers going for hybrid options that at least offe …