Newscast Media CARACAS—It’s a new time in Venezuela. On Sunday, the clocks in the South American country were brought forward to save electricity. The switch to daylight saving time could be a harbinger of political change.
Over the past several days, more than 1.5 million Venezuelans have signed a petition for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro. Thanks to his mother – who smuggled the petition into the prison where he has been held since 2014 – opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was also able to sign it.
“I’m full of hope,” Lopez has written about the petition. “The signs suggest that change is on the way.”
The response to the petition has emboldened the opposition, which also won parliamentary elections in December 2015. This week, the lists of signatures are scheduled to be put before the national electoral council for inspection. If the council decides that they are sufficient, a referendum can be held to vote Maduro out of office.
The clock is ticking for the Bolivarian Revolution announced by Maduro’s more charismatic presidential predecessor, the now-deceased Hugo Chavez, after his election in 1998. Seventeen and a half years on, Venezuela – the country with the biggest oil reserves in the world – is economically and politically on the brink.
Both Chavez and Maduro believe outside influences are behind the sabotage of Venezuela’s financial system, in an effort to hijack the country’s oil, just like what happened in the Middle East.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media CARACAS—Venezuelan authorities Wednesday said they uncovered a
plot by opposition leaders, international financiers and officials backed by the U.S.
State Department to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and take over the
At a press conference, top socialist leader and mayor of the capital Caracas Jorge
Rodriguez denounced the “complex plan” to assassinate Maduro and unleash a spiral
of violence in the country to justify foreign intervention.
Rodriguez said the plot, financed by “a multimillion-dollar fund” that has backed
different anti-government actions since February, was led by Venezuelan banker
Eligio Cedeno, a fugitive from justice in Venezuela.
The mayor also accused former rightwing deputy Maria Corina Machado of being
behind the schemes, saying several emails tie her directly to actions aimed at
fomenting violent regime change in Venezuela.
In one email, Machado mentions Kevin Whitaker, the U.S. ambassador to Colombia,
and says the U.S. has confirmed its support of the political opposition and signaled
what new steps should be taken.
“We have a bigger checkbook than the government,” another of Machado’s purported
“What we present today is part of a criminal investigation being carried out by the
administration of justice, because the Venezuelan opposition aims to destroy the
peace and constitutional order of our nation,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez asked the U.S. government to clarify whether it knew of Whitaker’s
contacts or if the official acted on his own. He also said the government will be
presenting its evidence of a planned military coup in coming days.
Venezuela has been rocked by violent protests since February promoted by hardline
opposition leaders demanding that Maduro step down. The clashes have left 42 dead,
835 injured and led to 2,500 people being detained, according to the Attorney
Also Wednesday, Venezuelan deputies rejected a U.S. congressional initiative to
apply sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of violating the human rights of
Venezuelan National Assembly Deputy Saul Ortega, of the ruling socialist party, said
the proposed sanctions were “inofficious,” as U.S. laws “lack jurisprudence” in the
South American nation.
Newscast Media CARACAS—Venezuela has arrested three air force generals accused
of plotting a coup in league with opposition politicians during the country’s rumbling
civil unrest, the president said a day ago.
The move follows weeks of violence around anti-government protests that have killed
36 people in the nation’s worst unrest for a decade.
“Last night we captured three generals … who tried to raise the air force against the
legitimate, constitutional government,” President Nicolas Maduro said on state TV
during a meeting with South American foreign ministers in Caracas.
He did not name the officers, but said the plot was revealed by colleagues of the
generals who were “alarmed” when they heard of the conspiracy. The three were now
in custody of military courts.
“This group has direct links with sectors of the opposition. They were saying that this
would be the decisive week … in the belief that Venezuela did not know how to
Hardline protesters are demanding that Maduro resign, while he says they are seeking
a coup like the one 12 years ago that briefly ousted his predecessor and mentor, the
late Hugo Chavez.
“What would happen in the United States if a group said they were going to start
something in the United States so that President Obama leaves, resigns, to change
the constitutional government of the United States?” Maduro asked. “Surely, the
state would react, would use all the force that the law gives it to re-establish order
and to put those who are against the Constitution where they belong.”
The numbers in the streets are far fewer than those who turned out back then,
however, and there have been no signs that the current turmoil could force Maduro
The demonstrations began in February with sporadic rallies by university students.
They intensified after three people were shot dead after a Feb. 12 opposition rally in
Source: Al Manar News
Newscast Media CARACAS—The US has expelled Venezuela’s charge d’affaires and two other diplomats. The move comes in reprisal for the expulsion of Kelly Keiderling, the top US diplomat in Venezuela, from Caracas.
Venezuelan officials called the move unjustified, saying the diplomats in Washington had not met with people opposed to President Barack Obama in order to undermine their host country, as it accused the US officials of having done.
According to Venezuela, the US diplomats, including Charge d’Affaires Kelly Keiderling, met with the country’s “far right” – the government’s term for the opposition – to finance President Nicolas Maduro’s opponents and encourage actions to sabotage the power system and the economy.
Venezuelan President Maduro began his term in April, after winning an election following the death of his mentor Hugo Chavez, and has continued the anti-US populism that had served the revolutionary-cum-head of state so well during his 14 years in power before succumbing to cancer.
Relations appeared to have eased in June, when the two countries agreed to begin discussions aimed at returning ambassadors to Caracas and Washington after talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Elias Jaua. However, Venezuela broke off the rapprochement in July after the diplomat Samantha Power, now the US ambassador to the United Nations, lumped the country in with other
“While the government of the United States does not understand that it has to respect our country’s sovereignty there will be simply be no cordial relations nor cordial communication,” Maduro said Tuesday in Caracas. “The day that the government of President Obama rectifies the situation, we will establish new points of contact to discuss common issues,” Maduro added.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday sent a congratulatory message to the late Hugo Chavez’s protégé, socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro who narrowly won Sunday’s presidential election in Venezuela, saying that he hoped Russian-Venezuelan relations will strengthen even further.
Putin said he was confident that under Maduro Venezuela will continue to consolidate its “strategic partnership with Russia” and reaffirmed Moscow’s readiness for further development of a constructive dialog between the two nations, the Kremlin’s press service said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry urged all political forces in Venezuela to respect the results of the presidential election and exercise a balanced and responsible approach. Maduro won 51 percent of the vote, whereas his rival, Miranda State Governor Henrique Capriles, gained 49 percent, according to preliminary official results announced by the National Electoral Council.
During his election campaign, Maduro, 50, pledged to promote Chavez’s “21st century socialism,” which brought popular health, education and food programs to the poor. Capriles, 40, vowed to bring change to the nation of 29 million people if elected.
Chavez, who had ruled Venezuela for 14 years, died on March 5 at the age of 58 after a two-year-long battle with cancer. He named Maduro as his successor before undergoing the latest surgery last December.
Newscast Media CARACAS—Venezuela has stepped up security and closed its borders ahead of Sunday’s presidential election after acting President Nicolas Maduro said a murder plot against him had been foiled. Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said “strict control” of movements is in effect along land border with Colombia and Brazil, and that the restriction would last until Monday night, one day after the election has been held.
The measures were imposed after intelligence services found “elements that generate violence who hope to use our territory’s border to create a climate of destabilization,” said Reverol. This comes as Maduro revealed last week that Salvadoran hitmen had entered Venezuela as part of an assassination plot against him backed by two former US officials and El Salvador’s right-wing group.
After the announcement, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes ordered an inquiry into whether right-wing lawmaker Roberto D’Aubuisson had partaken in the failed assassination plot. In addition, Reverol reported that on the Election Day some 125,000 security forces would operate under a “special security and patrol plan” at more than 13,600 polling stations.
Maduro said on April 5 that authorities had arrested 17 people, including the employees of the state-run National Electricity Corporation, while in the process of sabotaging the power system to create blackouts. He continued by saying that the opposition has planned to shut down the national power in order to disrupt the election
Maduro and Capriles began their presidential election campaigns on April 2 to replace deceased Hugo Chavez. Maduro, 50, became Venezuela’s acting president on March 8, following the death of socialist leader Chavez, who passed away three days earlier after battling with cancer for two years.
Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, a darling of the US corporate media, lost the presidential election to Chavez in October 2012.