Political crisis in Venezuela
LATEST UPDATE: September 19, 2019 - 7:38am
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VENEZUELA
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September 19, 2019

Venezuela's socialist government calls on the United States to restore diplomatic ties with Caracas after it opened talks with fringe opposition parties.

Venezuela broke off relations with the United States after Washington recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president on January 23.

Vice President Delcy Rodriguez tells reporters in Caracas that it made sense for the US "to restore diplomatic contacts and dialogue with the government" of President Nicolas Maduro. — AFP

September 18, 2019

Venezuela has released key opposition figure Edgar Zambrano from jail, where he had been held since a failed uprising in May, Attorney General Tarek William Saab announces Tuesday.

Zambrano -- the vice president of the National Assembly -- had been held in a military prison since his dramatic arrest for supporting a failed April 30 uprising organized by opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The government petitioned the Supreme Court to release Zambrano "following partial agreements reached by the Venezuelan government and sectors of the national opposition," Saab says in a statement. — AFP

September 18, 2019

Venezuela's opposition-dominated National Assembly ratifies Juan Guaido as the country's interim president until new elections can be held.

The endorsement comes a day after the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said its lawmakers would return to the legislature, which they abandoned three years ago.

The vote represented "unrestricted political support for the leadership of Juan Guaido as president of the National Assembly and as president in charge... until the cessation of usurpation occurs," according to a statement from the National Assembly.

The decision implies that US-backed Guaido, recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries, will continue to head the legislature after January 5 when his term ends. — Agence France-Presse

September 14, 2019

Venezuela is "ready" to defend itself, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza says, after Washington invoked a regional defence pact that might justify such a move.

"We are ready to protect ourselves, we are ready to react," Arreaza says in a news conference after meeting in Geneva with UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet.

"We will let no one trample sacred Venezuelan soil, we will respond and hope that never happens," the minister says. — AFP

September 12, 2019

The United States has invoked a regional defense pact Wednesday with 10 other countries and Venezuela's opposition after "bellicose" moves by Nicolas Maduro's regime.

A request to invoke the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) came from the Venezuelan opposition, said a statement from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, retweeted early Thursday by President Donald Trump. — AFP

September 11, 2019

Venezuela's armed forces chiefs said Tuesday they had begun mobilizing 150,000 troops for military exercises on the Colombian border amid renewed tensions between Bogota and Caracas.

President Nicolas Maduro ordered his army to deploy along the 2,200-kilometer (1,400-mile) border after accusing Colombia of plotting to spark a military conflict.

Tanks, missile carriers and dozens of troops deployed around La Fria airport in western Tachira state on Tuesday.

Admiral Remigio Ceballos, chief of Venezuela's Strategic Command, told troops on the airport runway that they were part of a "peacekeeping force" -- but one that would not shirk combat if necessary.

"We respect the armed forces around the world, but we are not afraid of anyone," Ceballos said.

Maduro accused Colombia last week of using the rejection by dissident FARC leaders of a peace accord to try to provoke a military conflict and said he was placing his forces on high alert.

Colombia's right-wing President Ivan Duque had accused Maduro of sheltering FARC dissidents on his territory.

On Tuesday, Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez called on Colombians to remain "calm" and said Bogota would not respond to "provocations."

However, she said the military was prepared for "any external attacks." — Agence France-Presse

September 10, 2019

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro may present a petition against US President Donald Trump at the United Nations despite opposition charges that the signatures have been gathered through threats to withhold food aid, US diplomats say.

Maduro, who remains in charge in Venezuela despite a half-year US-backed effort to remove him, has not yet announced if he will head to New York for the annual UN General Assembly later this month.

"Our diplomats have been hearing that Maduro plans to present a petition against President Trump, signed by millions of Venezuelans, at UNGA, if he actually attends," a US official says. — AFP

August 30, 2019

Edgar Fernandez keeps a mariachi suit in a rusty wardrobe at the public hospital in Caracas where he works as a nurse, donning it for performances that augment his meager salary.

Given that he earns just $10 a month, the money from these shows has been his salvation in crisis-wracked Venezuela, where nurses have been forced to reinvent themselves as home entrepreneurs, security guards or builders just to survive.

Being a nurse in Venezuela is an almost impossible job these days: the country has seen an exodus of the profession, leaving those who remain short of colleagues and contending with problems such as major shortages of medical supplies and devastating electricity blackouts.

"A nurse's salary is worth nothing," Fernandez told AFP, saying the money he earns from a 12-hour shift "can't buy anything." -- Agence France-Presse

August 20, 2019

The US Navy is ready to "do what needs to be done" on Venezuela, a top commander said Monday, as America ramps up pressure on the crisis-wracked country. 

US Southern Command chief Admiral Craig Faller made the remarks in Rio de Janeiro as the United States kicked off its annual UNITAS maritime exercise involving nine Latin American countries as well as the UK, Portugal and Japan. 

"I won't speak to details of what we're planning and what we're doing, but we remain ready to implement policy decisions and we remain on the balls of our feet," Faller told reporters.

"The United States Navy is the most powerful navy in the world. If a policy decision is made to deploy the navy, I'm convinced that we'll be able to do what needs to be done."

His remarks came just weeks after President Donald Trump said he was considering a "blockade or quarantine" of the Latin American country.

Trump subsequently intensified sanctions on Venezuela this month, ordering a freeze on all government assets in the United States and barred transactions with its authorities. — Agence France-Presse

August 17, 2019

Analysts say threatening to bring forward parliamentary elections is the latest card played by Venezuela's regime to put pressure on the US-backed opposition at the negotiating table.

The National Assembly is the only branch of government under opposition control, and elections are not scheduled until December 2020.

But Diosdado Cabello, the most powerful regime figure after President Nicolas Maduro, set up a committee earlier this week to study the possibility of calling parliamentary elections at the start of next year. — AFP

August 9, 2019

Venezuela has deployed around 3,500 soldiers and police to its border with Colombia to combat fuel and drug smuggling, a top military official says.

Caracas broke off ties with Bogota in February over its support for opposition leader Juan Guaido in his power struggle with President Nicolas Maduro that has ground to an impasse.

Thursday's deployment in the western state of Tachira was part of an operation being carried out across the country, head of operational strategic command Admiral Remigio Ceballos told reporters from the Tienditas border bridge, which has been closed since February. — AFP

August 3, 2019

Mediator Norway says representatives of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido "reiterated their willingness" to resolve the country's political crisis during talks in Barbados.

The delegates arrived on Wednesday for a third round of talks in Barbados in negotiations that originally began in Oslo in May.

Three weeks ago the rival factions agreed to set up a platform for "continuous" negotiations. — AFP

July 26, 2019

The US Treasury Department announces sanctions against three of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's stepsons, a Colombian businessman and six others for running a "corruption network" that profited from emergency food imports.

The US has in recent months escalated sanctions against Venezuela, which is struggling with a political and economic crisis that the United Nations says has left a quarter of its 30 million people in need of humanitarian aid. 

The new restrictions target Maduro's stepsons Walter Jacob Gavidia Flores, Yosser Daniel Gavidia and Yoswal Alexander Gavidia Flores, whom the US says collaborated with Colombian businessman Alex Nain Saab Moran and his business partner Alvaro Pulido to profit off importing emergency food into the country as it struggled with rising malnutrition. — AFP

July 17, 2019

Starved of advertising revenue and battling a stranglehold on the newspaper industry by the government, Venezuela's independent media have been decimated by the country's years-long crisis — with many migrating online to survive.

"It was a course we couldn't get away from," Jorge Makriniotis, manager at the 75-year-old El Nacional, told AFP.

The newspaper ran its last physical edition — which had already dropped from 72 to just 16 pages  on December 13 last year.

Like many other former print media, it is only available on the internet now.

In 2013, Venezuela's socialist government created a state-run company to control the import and distribution of paper.

Carlos Correa, director of the Espacio Publico non-governmental organization, said the move created "discriminatory dynamics" that saw pro-regime media favored  while others were starved of printing paper, and advertising revenue.

Since then, 58 daily newspapers have ceased circulation, Correa says. — Agence France-Presse

July 12, 2019

Venezuela's government and opposition have agreed to set up a platform for ongoing negotiations to resolve the country's simmering political crisis after three days of talks in Barbados, mediator nation Norway said Thursday.

Representatives of President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido met from Monday to Wednesday in the Caribbean island nation for negotiations, which Maduro has hailed as successful.

The Barbados talks were an extension of the first round of negotiations in Oslo in May, which ended with no concrete advances. — AFP

July 5, 2019

The UN human rights chief laments the erosion of rule of law in Venezuela, pointing to attacks on political opponents and activists, including using torture and killings.

"Essential institutions and the rule of law in Venezuela have been eroded," Michelle Bachelet tells the UN Human Rights Council.

She was presenting a damning report published late Thursday, following her visit to the troubled South American Country last month.

The report pointed out that, according to a count by Caracas, nearly 7,000 people have been killed during security operations in Venezuela in the past year and a half. — AFP

July 3, 2019

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido says there were no plans to re-open talks with the "murderous dictatorship" of President Nicolas Maduro, following the death of an officer in custody over an alleged coup plot.

"For democrats, there is never a time to negotiate with hostage-takers, human rights abusers, or with a dictatorship," Guaido says. "We are facing a deadly dictatorship."

He tells reporters that if fresh talks aimed at "facilitating the cessation of the usurpation" of Maduro was announced, "we will officially communicate."

Guaido, who has been recognized by more than 50 countries as interim president, is speaking as lawmakers of the opposition-controlled National Assembly met to discuss the suspicious death of retired naval officer Rafael Acosta Arevalo. — AFP

June 27, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro warns he will be "ruthless" with the opposition if they attempt a coup d'etat, after his government says it had thwarted a plot to assassinate him.

"We would be ruthless in a revolutionary counter-offensive against a attempted fascist coup — ruthless!" an agitated Maduro says in an address broadcast nationwide on radio and television. — AFP

June 22, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he would take "seriously" the recommendations of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet following their meeting in Caracas.

"There are always going to be different criteria in every country, but I told her that she can count on me, as president, to take her suggestions, her recommendations and her proposals seriously," Maduro says as he saw off Bachelet from the Miraflores presidential palace.

He later vowed to prosecute people accused of human rights abuses. — AFP

June 9, 2019

Several thousand Venezuelans, desperate for food and medicine, packed a border crossing to Colombia on Saturday, hours after President Nicolas Maduro partially reopened it.

Maduro had the day prior ordered the reopening of the Venezuelan border in the western state of Tachira, near the location in Colombia where the international community had massed humanitarian aid that Maduro's government refused to take.

Early Saturday, thousands of people rushed to the border bridges between the two countries, and crowds in long queues stretched throughout the day.

"My two daughters have dengue. They have a fever, and I had to come get care in Colombia," says Belky Rangel, 34, about to burst into tears after waiting three hours with her two daughters, five and eight, to cross to Cucuta.

At midday, 18,000 people had crossed the border from Venezuela and 8,000 from Colombia, the head of the Migration Service in Colombia, Christian Krueger, told AFP. -- Agence France-Presse

June 1, 2019

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has renewed calls for President Nicolas Maduro to resign while campaigning in the birthplace of former leader Hugo Chavez, following inconclusive talks in Norway to end the country's crisis.

Guaido -- who is backed by the United States and is recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries -- has been leading a push to oust leftist firebrand Maduro, who has presided over a crumbling economy after succeeding Chavez in 2013. — AFP

May 28, 2019

President Nicolas Maduro has promised to show "good faith" ahead of a meeting in Norway between representatives of his government and those of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

"We are going to be showing our very best good faith... to be able to find, based on the platform the parties agreed on, peaceful, democratic solutions to help overcome Venezuela's conflict," Maduro says in a televised address. — AFP

May 21, 2019

Venezuela's Constituent Assembly, made up entirely of loyalists of President Nicolas Maduro, announces it has extended its mandate to rule the crisis-stricken country for another 18 months until the end of 2020.

The move comes a year after the contested re-election of embattled Maduro, locked in a struggle for power with Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president and is backed by more than 50 countries including the United States. — AFP

May 6, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is ready to see off any attack from the United States, his foreign minister Jorge Arreaza says Monday in Moscow, after a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. 

"We are ready for all scenarios. The first is diplomacy, dialogue, peace," Arreaza told a press conference. 

But if Washington "opts for the military path, we have an armed force, a people, a national guard that will be able not just to resist and fight, but also to win," he added. 

The statement comes following a failed, US-backed bid by the Venezuelan opposition to spur a military uprising.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed the failure on Russia, a key backer of Maduro. 

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has meanwhile called on Washington to "abandon its irresponsible plans" in the crisis-wracked country.

The push and shove set the stage for a Pompeo meeting with Lavrov in Finland this week. -- Agence France-Presse
 

May 4, 2019

Opposition leader Juan Guaido will make a fresh bid to rally Venezuela's armed forces behind him with protests at military bases in the crisis-hit country.

The protest call by Guaido -- the head of the National Assembly legislature, who is recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries -- comes just days after he urged the military to rise up against the socialist president, Nicolas Maduro. — AFP

May 3, 2019

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called for peaceful demonstrations at army bases, days after a military uprising in support of his bid to oust President Nicolas Maduro fizzled out.

The latest appeal came after Maduro called on the armed forces of the crisis-wracked nation to oppose "any coup plotter", as the embattled leader dug in his heels in the face of ongoing protests and international pressure, especially from the United States. — AFP

May 2, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday calls on the armed forces to oppose "any coup plotter" after a failed military uprising by forces supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido.

"Yes, we are in combat, keep morale high in this fight to disarm any traitor, any coup plotter," Maduro said at a televised event with the military high command in which he appeared surrounded by soldiers. — Agence France-Presse

May 1, 2019

Demonstrators clash with police on the streets of the Venezuelan capital Tuesday, spurred by opposition leader Juan Guaido's call on the military to rise up against President Nicolas Maduro -- who says he has defeated an attempted coup.

An apparently carefully planned attempt by Guaido to demonstrate growing military support disintegrated into rioting as palls of black smoke rose over eastern Caracas.

Tuesday evening, Maduro declared victory over the uprising -- congratulating the armed forces for having "defeated this small group that intended to spread violence through putschist skirmishes."

"This will not go unpunished," Maduro said in an address broadcast on television and the radio.

"(Prosecutors) will launch criminal prosecutions for the serious crimes that have been committed against the constitution, the rule of law and the right to peace." -- Agence France-Presse

April 30, 2019

The United States on Tuesday throws its full weight behind Venezuela's self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido, as the opposition leader said troops had joined his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

"Today interim President Juan Guaido announced start of Operacion Libertad," or "Operation Freedom," tweeted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as Maduro's government vowed to put down what it called an attempted coup.

"The US Government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Democracy cannot be defeated," Pompeo wrote.

Earlier, the White House urged Venezuela's armed forces to stand by the country's "legitimate institutions." -- Agence France-Presse

April 26, 2019

The United States says that leftist activists defiantly occupying the Venezuelan embassy in Washington should leave and make way for representatives of US-recognized leader Juan Guaido.

Elliott Abrams, the envoy heading the US push to topple President Nicolas Maduro, has called the sit-in "a violation of the law" and said that Guaido's ambassador in Washington would discuss with security officials how to remove them. — AFP

April 15, 2019

China on Monday lashed out at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for accusing Beijing of prolonging the crisis in Venezuela, slamming his remarks as "lies".

Beijing has been Venezuela's main creditor and maintains relations with the government of President Nicolas Maduro, which also enjoys support from Russia.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Pompeo had "wantonly slandered" China-Latin America relations, and that it is Washington that views the region as its "backyard".

"For some time, some US politicians have been carrying the same version, the same script of slandering China all over the world, and fanning the flames and sowing discord everywhere," said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.

"The words and deeds are despicable. But lies are lies, even if you say it a thousand times, they are still lies. Mr Pompeo, you can stop," he said. — Agence France-Presse

April 11, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announces an agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross to bring humanitarian aid into a once-rich country now enduring acute shortages of food, medicine and such basics as soap and toilet paper.

As the economy of the oil-rich nation implodes, Maduro is locked in a power struggle with the increasingly popular leader of the opposition, national assembly speaker Juan Guaido. — AFP

April 11, 2019

The International Monetary Fund will not have any contact with Venezuela, nor allow the country to access its reserves held by the institution, until the international community recognizes a government in Caracas, an IMF spokesman says.

The country's leadership has been in question since late January when national assembly leader Juan Guaido challenged embattled President Nicolas Maduro as the country's acute economic crisis worsened. — AFP

April 6, 2019

The United States announces sanctions on ships of Venezuela's state oil company and companies that link it to key ally Cuba, hoping to cut off vital lifelines for President Nicolas Maduro.

Vice President Mike Pence has unveiled the latest measures in Washington's bid to oust Maduro, a leftist firebrand who has nonetheless held on to power for more than two months, and vowed further pressure on Cuba -- a bugbear of the United States for a half-century. — AFP

April 6, 2019

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido has urged his supporters to demonstrate in the streets to maintain pressure on his rival President Nicolas Maduro, amid rising anger over the collapse of public services.

Thousands of opposition supporters are expected to march through the capital Caracas as Venezuela's power struggle is exacerbated by massive blackouts and the collapse of water supplies. — AFP

April 4, 2019

The US is prepared to pump dollars into Venezuela to fortify its economy if President Nicolas Maduro leaves, the top White House economic advisor says, as American senators introduced legislation to authorize $400 million in humanitarian aid.

Larry Kudlow says that Washington is already working with banks and the International Monetary Fund on a rebuilding plan to revitalize the country's crushed economy and said that, when the time comes, "we will be moving as fast as we can." — AFP

April 4, 2019

The US is prepared to pump dollars into Venezuela to fortify its economy if President Nicolas Maduro leaves, the top White House economic advisor says Wednesday, as American senators introduced legislation to authorize $400 million in humanitarian aid.

Larry Kudlow told reporters that Washington is already working with banks and the International Monetary Fund on a rebuilding plan to revitalize the country's crushed economy and said that, when the time comes, "we will be moving as fast as we can."

"We call it Day Two," he said at a briefing arranged by The Christian Science Monitor newspaper.

"It would be a rescue plan, it would be a restructuring plan, it would be a plan to put cash into the country."

Venezuela's oil economy has crumbled under a collapse of crude exports and international sanctions against Maduro, whom Washington and its allies view as illegitimate. -- Agence France-Presse

April 2, 2019

Venezuela's top court has called on the ruling Constituent Assembly to strip opposition leader Juan Guaido of parliamentary immunity.

The decision by the Supreme Court of Justice could open the way for President Nicolas Maduro's rival Guaido, recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries, to be prosecuted. — AFP

April 1, 2019

Venezuela's government announces Sunday that it is reducing the length of the workday and keeping schools closed, due to devastating electricity blackouts plaguing the country.

"To achieve consistency in the provision of electricity, the Bolivarian government decided to maintain the suspension of school activities and establish a workday until 2:00 pm in public and private institutions," Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on state television. -- Agence France-Presse

March 29, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's regime, bolstered by a Russian military deployment infuriating the US, has announced a ban on Washington-backed self-declared interim leader Juan Guaido holding public office.

But National Assembly legislature speaker Guaido immediately shot back that the 15-year prohibition announced on state television by Maduro's Auditor General Elvis Amoroso was invalid. — AFP

March 9, 2019

Thousands of Venezuelans are expected to protest once again as opposition leader Juan Guaido cranks up the pressure on beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro -- in the midst of a sweeping electricity blackout that has crippled the crisis-wracked country. 

Both Guaido and Maduro, who are locked in a bitter power struggle for the right to lead the oil-rich South American nation, have asked their supporters to fill the streets of Caracas and other cities. — AFP

March 9, 2019

Venezuela's government struggles to cope with a massive electricity blackout that paralyzed much of the country as President Nicolas Maduro blamed the chaos on US sabotage.

Even by the standards of crisis-weary Venezuelans, the power cut -- which began late Thursday -- was one of the longest and most widespread in memory, heightening tensions in Maduro's power struggle with his US-backed rival, opposition leader Juan Guaido. — AFP

March 4, 2019

Opposition leader Juan Guaido calls for mass protests across Venezuela against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday as he announced his return after a week touring Latin American allies.

His reappearance in Venezuela would pose an immediate challenge to the embattled Maduro, who will have to decide whether to arrest him for defying a travel ban -- thereby provoking strong international condemnation -- or allow him to enter unmolested, which would undermine his authority, analyst say.

"I'm announcing my return to the country. I am calling on the Venezuelan people to mobilize all over the country tomorrow at 11:00 am (1500 GMT)," Guaido wrote Sunday on Twitter.

Guaido, who has been recognized by more than 50 countries as Venezuela's interim president, did not say how or when he would return, though speculation is rife that a flight from the Colombian capital Bogota to Caracas is the most likely route. -- Agence France-Presse

March 2, 2019

The United States and Russia clash Friday over how to assist crisis-wracked Venezuela, with Moscow pledging new relief channeled through President Nicolas Maduro and Washington slapping sanctions over the blocking of US aid it tried to push through the border.

A day after Russia and China vetoed a US and European resolution at the UN Security Council that called for unimpeded aid deliveries, Washington said it was targeting six Venezuelan military officers for stopping last weekend's US-led convoy. — AFP

March 1, 2019

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido vowed to return home "in the coming days... despite threats" from President Nicolas Maduro's regime, as he continues a tour of regional allies to rally international support, Agence France-Presse reports.

Guaido, recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries, met with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday afternoon while Paraguay's leader Mario Abdo announced Guaido would be in Asuncion on Friday.

After flouting a travel ban by Maduro's regime, Guaido went to Colombia last Friday where he met President Ivan Duque, US Vice President Mike Pence, Abdo and Sebastian Pinera of Chile.

Guaido was in Colombia to try to force desperately needed humanitarian aid -- which is also stockpiled in Brazil -- into Venezuela but was thwarted by a determined military blockade ordered by Maduro.

Guaido "wants to show the Venezuelan people that he's being hosted by the president of Brazil... He wants to give the message that he's recognized" as Venezuela's true leader, Brazil Vice President Hamilton Mourao said in an interview with Globo. -- Agence France-Presse

February 28, 2019

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido is due to meet Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia on Thursday, sources from both camps say.

Guaido, recognized as interim president by some 50 countries, will travel to the Brazilian capital on Wednesday evening from Colombia, where he has stayed since Friday despite a travel ban imposed by the regime of Venezuela's socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

Bolsonaro "will host Guaido in a personal visit, although Guaido will be officially welcomed by the minister for foreign affairs," Ernesto Araujo, says the Brazilian presidency's spokesman Otavio Rego Barros. -- Agence France-Presse

February 26, 2019

A crew from US-based television network Univision says it was detained for more than two hours in Venezuela after offending President Nicolas Maduro during an interview by asking questions about poverty and his legitimacy to govern.

Maduro "disliked the questions in the interview and stopped the recording, confiscated the equipment and detained the six journalists," says Univision, one of the biggest Spanish-language TV networks in the United States. — AFP

February 26, 2019

US Vice President Mike Pence and Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido have agreed on a strategy to tighten the noose around President Nicolas Maduro following a meeting with regional allies in Colombia on Monday.

"We hope for a peaceful transition to democracy but President Trump has made it clear: all options are on the table," says Pence, who passed on Trump's "100 percent" support to Guaido.

The meeting came after four people were killed and hundreds injured as Guaido supporters clashed with Venezuelan security forces on the borders with Colombia and Brazil over the weekend in a thwarted bid to bring in humanitarian aid.

The Lima Group -- made up of Latin American countries and Canada -- met in Bogota and said it would ask the International Criminal Court to declare "the violence of Maduro's criminal regime against the civilian population and the negation of access to international aide as a crime against humanity."

Guaido warned that "indulging" Maduro "would be a threat to all of America," while Colombia President Ivan Duque called for "more powerful and effective" pressure on the socialist leader.

However, the Lima Group rejected the use of force to achieve a democratic transition. -- Agence France-Presse

February 22, 2019

A UN spokesman says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed peace efforts in Yemen and the crisis in Venezuela with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York.

The 35-minute meeting at UN headquarters was requested by Pompeo. — AFP

February 21, 2019

The Venezuelan military said Wednesday it was banning vessels from sailing out of the country's ports until Sunday, coinciding with an opposition bid to import shipments of US aid.

"Departures of boats from all ports are to be suspended" for security reasons, said a military decree seen by AFP. — AFP

February 6, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is hanging onto power in the crisis-wracked country in large part thanks to backing from the military, which according to the United States is receiving support and advice from Cuba.

While the close relationship between left-wing allies Venezuela and Cuba is well-known, Havana denies the accusations from its old Cold War foe that its actions are nefarious. — AFP

February 3, 2019

Venezuela's self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) announced a new street demonstration for February 12 to keep up the pressure on embattled socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

Speaking to thousands of opposition supporters during a mass protest in the east of Caracas, Guaido urged protesters to "stay in the streets," announcing two new demonstrations: one for Youth Day on February 10 and another at an unspecified time related to the entry of humanitarian aid that he earlier said would arrive from Colombia and Brazil.

January 31, 2019

Support from the Venezuelan military is "crucial" to efforts to oust President Nicolas Maduro, opposition leader Juan Guaido writes in The New York Times.

Guaido says that secret meetings had been held with members of the security forces, and that most of those in uniform agree that the status quo cannot continue. — AFP

January 31, 2019

President Nicolas Maduro's grip on power in Venezuela may have been loosened over the past week, but diehard supporters say they are willing to fight "tooth and nail" for him.

There is a mood of simmering defiance in some quarters of Caracas, where supporters of the socialist leader are angered by international backing for Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly legislature who declared himself interim president last week. — AFP

January 26, 2019

The Venezuelan government led by Nicolas Maduro says it's sending Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza to New York to speak at a U.N. Security Council meeting Saturday called by the United States on the crisis in Venezuela. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to address the meeting.

The United States dropped its recognition of President Nicolas Maduro Wednesday and instead recognized National Assembly President Juan Guaido as Venezuela's leader after he proclaimed himself interim president during a massive opposition rally. — AP

August 5, 2018

A mysterious rebel group made up of Venezuelan civilians and military claims responsibility for an "assassination" attempt on President Nicolas Maduro, according to a statement posted on social media.

"It is contrary to military honor to keep in government those who not only have forgotten the Constitution, but who have also made public office an obscene way to get rich," the group says. — AFP

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accuses Colombia of being behind an "attack" with an explosive-laden drone he said targeted him on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).

Speaking shortly after state television showed him cut off mid-speech in front of a Caracas military parade by a bang, Maduro says a "flying object exploded in front of me" and blamed the incident on Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos.

"It was an attack to kill me, they tried to assassinate me today," Maduro says in a state broadcast. "I have no doubt that the name Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack." — AFP

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