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Venezuela hinders US interventionist attempts in UN Human Rights Council

  The Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Jorge Valero, dismantled Thursday the interventionist attempts of the United States government, which sought to promote a statement against the South American nation at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“The US government put its foot on the gas pedal in order to get the Human Rights Council to approve a statement or a resolution against the government of Nicolas Maduro Moros, but ran off with its tail between its legs,” said Valero in a press release.

During his speech at the Council of Human Rights, he said the government of the American nation decided to use the Paraguayan delegation for several countries to make a joint statement against Venezuela, given the violent actions perpetrated by groups encouraged by sectors of the opposition.

“The US empire mobilized its diplomatic corps, trying to gather support for its condemnation of Venezuela, both in the Organization of American States (OAS) and in UN-Geneva, and failed to do so.The only joint statement read in Geneva , Subscribed by 57 countries, was in support of Venezuela, “said Valero, quoted in the note.

Likewise, he said the US government asked the UN Human Rights Council to exclude Venezuela from this body, of which the southern country is a member since November 2012, when it was chosen with 154 votes in favor for the period 2013-2015, while for the period 2016-2018 was re-elected with 131 votes.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, “delivered a speech at the Human Rights Council in which she demanded that a resolution be adopted against Venezuela, and she voiced her displeasure, given that this Council has adopted five resolutions against Israel, the occupying power of Palestine, and none against Venezuela,” said the Venezuelan diplomat.

In recent years, Venezuela has been the target of interventionist attacks by the United States government, because its social policies responds to the interests of the people and not the individuals.

Among the attacks carried out by the United States are actions taken by the OAS, which was intended to present Venezuela as a “de facto state”, in order to foster foreign military intervention. For this reason, Venezuela began last May its withdrawal from this body, in defense of the sovereignty and independence of the nation.

Political and social dialogue points Venezuela’s way to peace

 The political dialogue, necessary with opposition sectors, focused the call made on Thursday by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, to join efforts in favor of peace. Besides, the Venezuelan government reiterated their willingness to work in finding joint solutions to address national issues.

The route, which aims to foster peace and stability of the country, was raised by Maduro during a press conference with 26 national and international media outlets. The meeting was held at the Miraflores presidential palace, Caracas.

Maduro spoke about his conviction that this dialogue process will be achieved and said he has kept in touch “with the opposition but they are secret meetings, but I want us to hold a dialogue with a proper agenda, it is necessary for the peace of the country,” indicating that he proposed as a first point “to demobilize their groups in the Altamira square (Chacao) and stop bringing children to their protests.”

During the meeting, he also addressed other issues, such as the media campaign against his government, as well as the support Venezuela will offer to foster dialogue among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, an issue affecting oil prices.

As for the dialogue process with the national opposition, President recalled that countries such as El Salvador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominican Republic and Uruguay will lend their support to the efforts of former presidents Jose Rodriguez Zapatero (Spain), Leonel Fernandez (Dominican Republic) and Martin Torrijos (Panama), as well as the Vatican to find a national solution.

In 2016, parties belonging to the opposition coalition MUD engaged in talks with the Government, but this year they have refused to do so.

Inclusion of all sectors

In the press conference, Maduro also spoke about the National Constitutional Assembly (ANC, Spanish acronym), he convened last May to go to a great dialogue with all sectors of the country.

“I have a huge hope that the National Constituent Assembly with all its original plenipotentiary power will unlock and end all the mafias attacking the economy, attacking the society but at the end they are attacking citizens, ordinary citizens,” he said.

He denounced that such an important process has been made invisible by the international press and explained that it is a choice to include historically excluded sectors, such as people with disabilities, peasants and fishermen.

In state media, the President recalled that after his repeated calls for dialogue to opposition sectors, he decided to undertake this constituent process pertinent in moments when peace is essential.

Victory at the OAS

The president also celebrated the victory of Venezuela in the 47th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), an international organization that, after a new attempt to undermine national sovereignty, did not obtain the necessary votes to justify an intervention by foreign forces against the country.

Therefore, he praised the support received from Caribbean countries. “The Caribbean (the islands) has come to protect Venezuela from threats as a brother does,” he said.

He revealed that, taking into consideration the approval of an OAS resolution that would promote an intervention, MUD spokesmen were prepared last Monday to broadcast a communique whose purpose was to call the insurrection in the country.

Maduro also urged the Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Diaz, to regain balance in the exercise of her functions and, with it, to guarantee full access to justice in the face of the actions of sectors encouraging violence across the country.

The President recalled that the revolutionary process has made more than 20 elections and ratified that members of the Constituent Assembly will be elected next July 30, while on December 10 will be the turn for governors. He also confirmed that 2018 will be the year to hold elections to elect mayors and the President of the Republic.

Other issues addressed by the Bolivarian Revolution, in its 18 years, were also mentioned by Maduro, as the support of the Cuban people in the historic struggle to defend their sovereignty before the siege of the United States Government.

Venezuela promotes dialogue among OPEC countries

  Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro ordered on Thursday his Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada to talk to the OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, in order to foster dialogue among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“The Arab governments know they can rely on Venezuela to help in whatever we can to support dialogue among OPEC fellow countries,” he told international media representatives in a press conference offered at the Miraflores presidential palace, Caracas.

In early June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen broke diplomatic relations with Qatar, a tiny emirate that is a major OPEC oil and gas producer, for allegedly supporting terrorist groups.

In this regard, the Venezuelan President expressed his concern about the differences among these seven Gulf countries, and reiterated the need to move towards understanding and overcoming existing differences through diplomatic dialogue.

To that end, he added that Venezuela, as a nation presiding over the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), has held private meetings with the nations that make up the Gulf Council, betting on the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between these Arab countries through dialogue.

“We need to increase our contacts in the next few hours to talk to the OPEC Secretary General and, as NAM President, to take the steps for dialogue and understanding. I advocate for peace and understanding and I am ready to help the Arab peoples,” he reiterated.

Dicom has awarded nearly $ 100 million in first auctions

 A total of $ 99.9 million has been awarded by the Complementary Floating Exchange Rate System (Dicom) in its first four auctions, said Pedro Maldonado, director of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV, Spanish acronym).

Of that amount, 90% of the currencies, that is $ 89,806,000, have been allocated to 3,014 companies, while the remaining 10% ($ 10,115,000) have been granted to 41,261 natural persons.

Maldonado said this accrual represents a closure of the first cycle of auctions that have been made since the commissioning of Dicom on 23 May.

Most of the currencies requested by the companies are needed for acquisition of raw material and finished products; and in the case of natural persons for savings and overseas trips.

He also said that in the first four calls, private bidders have put up for sale more than 7 million dollars; of which more than 2.5 million were offered in this last auction.

“This demonstrates the confidence of private economic actors to carry out their foreign exchange activities through Dicom, which is the perfect and transparent mechanism for legal entities to exchange currencies,” he said at a press conference, from the BCV’s headquarters in Caracas.

So far, more than 281,000 users have registered on the site www.dicom.gob.ve to request foreign currency. At least 256,000 users are natural persons and more than 25,000 are legal entities.

The registration for bids is continuous from Monday through Saturday, from 8 am to 10 pm. Natural persons can request up to $ 500 quarterly, with a maximum of $ 2,000 a year, and legal ones up to $ 400,000 per month.

How does the new Dicom currency system work?

 The first auction for the Complementary Floating Exchange Rate System (Dicom) will be held on Thursday and will end Friday afternoon, financial authorities reported after revealing the operation of the new mechanism for the allocation of foreign currency to the different sectors of the country, which entered into force on Tuesday.

To access this new currency scheme, which is included in the Exchange Agreement No. 38, natural and legal persons and the authorized public sector must complete a registration form on the page www.dicom.gob.ve, a new economic computer system that seeks transparency and no human intervention in the process of management and settlement of foreign exchange.

The results of the first auction will be announced next Tuesday, due to Monday being a bank holiday.

At a press conference held at the headquarters of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), in Caracas, the Vice President for Economic Area, Ramon Lobo, said that once the person registers in the page, he will be able to choose the different options to either buy or sell currencies.

Subsequently, the computer system, which will be administered by the BCV Auctions Committee, will generate an exchange rate, make an immediate award and send the information to the exchange operators to verify availability of resources of those who requested foreign exchange.

He explained that once the application is made, the petitioner’s resources will be blocked. “Once the operator makes the verification, it returns a file to the Auction Committee, already with the verification of the availability of the resources,” he said.

Once the request has been formalized, he said, it will automatically be sent to the BCV to start the settlement process immediately through the established operators.

Lobo said that bids should indicate expiration dates between 7 and 30 days.

Proposed price

One of the novelties of the new scheme is that buyers will pay for each currency the price they proposed. In addition, the current exchange rate will be the price that will be received by the bidders participating in the auction.

He said that natural persons may request up to $ 500 quarterly and a maximum of $ 2,000 a year, while legal entities may request up to $ 400,000 per month.

He added that 10% of the auctioned is going to be directed to natural persons and 30% of average monthly income can be purchased by legal entities.

Lobo said that those who wish to participate in the process must have, as a fundamental requirement, accounts –in national and foreign currency– in banking institutions, in accordance with the provisions of Exchange Agreement No. 20.

Two types of auction

Lobo said the new Dicom system of auctions will be governed by two types of auctions, an ordinary one and another of contingency. The latter seeks to solve the imbalance between demand and supply.

The first, he said, is open to all sectors and governed by the official calls made by the BCV; while the second one will be activated when the ordinary auction – due to an excess of demand or supply– fails to allocate the demanded currencies.

“What happens if there is no ordinary auction? Priority sectors will have preference and two days later the execution is done under the mechanism,” he said.

As for the price of currencies, he said the exchange rate will be allocated according to the cross between supply and demand.

He said the Dicom rate will fluctuate within two limits, a lower and an upper one, which will be defined by the BCV based on a system of monitored mobile bands.

Lobo further said that all beneficiaries of the Dicom system, both natural and legal, will be published through the pages of Dicom and BCV.

Venezuela’s far right tried Monday to bring about armed strike

 Venezuela’s vice president, Tareck El Aissami, denounced Monday that extremist sectors of the right tried to bring about an armed strike in the country, which caused fascist hotspots in several points of the oil country.

He denounced that these actions are driven by the leadership of the Venezuelan opposition coalition MUD, whose spokesmen have been staging since early April a coup plot, characterized by violence, vandalism, terrorism and fascism and has left more than 50 people dead and more than 900 injured, as well as extensive damages to public and private property running into millions.

“The Venezuelan opposition leadership, called the MUD, is directly responsible for the various terrorist acts of violence that have emerged during these last weeks,” he said, regretting that Venezuela lacks a responsible opposition, and instead has a counterrevolution of Fascist nature.

“We do not have an opposition, we have counterrevolutionary forces. We are facing a terrorist, counter-revolutionary, fascist opposition,” he said.

Armed strike

He explained that in response to the commitment of the Venezuelan people to peace and development of the country, extremists tried to spread terror and, with it, “bring about an armed strike.”

One of the terrorist events happened yesterday at 1:30 a.m., at the facilities of the public transit operator TransBolivar, which serves more than 30,000 users. In this event, a total of 53 units were burned, representing a loss of 11 million dollars.

“Can this be called a ‘peaceful protest’? Can this be called ‘right to protest’? We must call it what it is: a terrorist and criminal action by these sectors of the MUD,” he said, reporting that the two people –Jose Gregorio Ramirez and Jesus Martinez Espinoza– responsible for the incidents in Bolivar state were arrested and brought to justice.

Also, as part of the actions of this sector to impose an armed strike, two buses with passengers were burned at 3:30 p.m. at the facilities of PDVSA La Tahona, Baruta municipality, as well as an ambulance providing services to the community of this sector.

According to Vice President, five people were captured and turned over to the competent authorities for this attack, which he called “an epicenter of the coup plot of terrorist nature.”

Similarly, in Miranda state, two comprehensive diagnostic centers (CDI) were besieged for more than three hours: one in Carrizal and the other in Baruta (both in Miranda state). The latter was caught on fire, fortunately without damage to patients or medical personnel.

16 arrested in Miranda state

El Aissami reported that security agencies arrested 16 people of terrorist cells financed by some sectors of the right-wing to create violent acts and siege in several communities of Miranda state.

He said that following a police operation in that region, authorities seized more than three trucks with Molotov bombs.

“There are 16 detainees and many of them are confessing and surely from the confessions and statements they are making, we will reach those responsible and capture those in the lead of these terrorist actions,” he said.

Police authorities also raided a factory manufacturing shields used to confront security members, said El Aissami, adding that a revolver was found during raid and will be submitted for expert testing.

Violence in Barinas and Lara states

Another violent outbreak happened in Barinas state. There, terrorist squads from the extreme right besieged a post of the Bolivarian National Guard, set fire to the headquarters of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, looted private businesses, totally destroyed a drug store of Mission Barrio Adentro and besieged and attacked the Luis Razetti Hospital.

These groups also set fire to three posts of the Barinas Police Corps and attacked facilities of the Great Housing Mission Venezuela and the Ribas Mission.

In Lara state, “a kind of criminal scheme of harassment and siege of local businesses was developed”, in which violent groups placed barricades in the avenues 19 and 20 of the capital of Lara, “and forced some merchants to close their premises, denying their services to the Venezuelan people and, in addition, infringing the right of free transit, undermining the right to work for hundreds of Venezuelans.

Structural Mechanism for Polilara

During the statements to state media, the Vice-President also reported that a structural mechanism will be activated for the Police Corps of Lara state (Polilara), given that merchants were complaining of the indifferent attitude of this security body.

He said that business owners indicated that they requested the services of protection of this police force, but obtained an answer of indifference, presumably because they were “ordered not to act”, reason why they preferred to close their businesses, denounced the Executive Vice President.

“It is a serious matter that a police body denies the people the provision of custody and police custody. This is already being investigated and in the next few hours we will take structural measures for the Lara Police Corps. We will not allow the police also to be part of the terrorist conspiracy of these sectors of the MUD.”

Maduro warns of Nazi-fascist movement within national far right

 Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro warned Sunday there is a Nazi-fascist movement within the Venezuelan far right, as opposition’s calls for protests have evidenced in recent days.

He rejected the terrorist and fascist actions carried out by violent groups encouraged by the right, trying to take political power of the country according to the interests of its imperial allies.

This is why –he said– the violent plan launched since the first days of April, which has resulted in more than 50 people dead and more than 900 injured, in addition to damages to public and private property running into millions.

Violent and fascist actions have mainly been held in Chacao municipality, Miranda state, where local authorities stand idly by in this situation, denounced Maduro.

“In Chacao, they have nested a group of criminals who, under drug effects and motivated by hatred, contempt for life have wreaked havoc for several weeks … They have killed young Venezuelans from their own ranks, with home-made weapons. They have killed their own people and created a range of lethal weapons under the protection of leaders of the right, ” he said.

“In Venezuela we are facing a serious aggression, a serious fascist threat. A Nazi-fascist political movement has emerged in Venezuela, whose ideology is based on contempt, persecution, hatred for ideological, political, racial, social reasons,” Maduro warned showing protests photos portraying this situation in state TV.

So he asked the national and international media to spread the truth for the peace of Venezuela and to raise awareness and humanistic values.

“In Venezuela a counterrevolution has emerged that has resulted in a Nazi-fascist movement, and has infected the feelings and thoughts of thousands of compatriots, who believe they have the right to persecute other compatriots for the simple crime of being Venezuelan or chavista or revolutionary … Can you call that democracy? How do you call that? That is terrorism,” he said.

“Venezuela must be aware. We are facing an aggression of violent forces, which have taken the path of hatred, intolerance, and widespread destruction. The whole country must be aware that behind this is the imperial hand of the Government of Donald Trump, who has his hands infected and deeply involved in this conspiracy, in this aggression that aims to take control of political power of Venezuela, to re-colonize Venezuela,” President stressed.

Siege against schools, transporters and hospitals

The Head of State said that because of a thirst for power, rioters can not be allowed to enter a phase “where they have lost all limits, all control over the violence they have generated”, such as the siege of hospitals, attacks on libraries, schools, public transportation units, threatening the lives of thousands of Venezuelans.

The maximum expression of this fascism happened this Saturday, said the President, in relation to the incident during an opposition protest in Altamira, Chacao municipality, where extremist rioters poured gasoline over a young man, Orlando Figueroa Zaragoza, 21, and set him on fire, besides causing him puncture wounds.

After being set ablaze, the young man was persecuted and beaten, which caused him multiple injuries and burns in almost 100% of his body. He is currently hospitalized at the Domingo Luciani Hospital in Miranda state. “We have to raise awareness about a fascist movement that, through hatred, generates violence, destruction and self-destruction,” he said.

Given these facts, he stated that justice will be imposed and, with it, peace and love, so he called on Public Prosecutor’s office, the Ombudsman’s office and the Supreme Court “to unite efforts for justice and all institutions of the country must condemn violence, intolerance, persecution for ideological, racial, political, religious, cultural reasons,” he said.

“I ask the Venezuelan Public Prosecutor, the Public Defender, the Judiciary, the Venezuelan media and all people to condemn with one voice the crimes of hatred that lead this political movement to fascism.”

Likewise, President urged the opposition coalition MUD to distance itself from these violent actions and join the national dialogue for tolerance and respect. “We set up a peace dialogue table with the democratic movements of the opposition.”

22/05/2017 – 12:36 pm

Dismantled armed cell operating in eastern Caracas and Miranda

 A band operating as an armed cell, accused of carrying out destructive actions in eastern Caracas and Miranda state, was dismantled by state security forces, said Venezuela’s vice president Tareck El Aissami on Tuesday.

He said this was possible after arresting Nixon Leal, who until recently served a prison sentence in Aragua state and had to appear in court for his participation in the failed plan La Salida (The Exit) conducted by the right in 2014.

At a press conference in Caracas, he said that Leal is member of the right-wing party Primero Justicia (PJ).

“Nixon Leal is a member of the opposition party Primero Justicia and is directly linked to deputy Julio Borges,” El Aissami said.

He pointed out that investigations also showed that Leal put together the “armed insurgency” operating in Altamira, Chacao and Bello Monte in eastern Caracas, and also managed to articulate armed groups in Catia, west of the capital city.

The recent capture of Leal was achieved following a thorough investigation after arresting Guido Rodriguez, also of the PJ party and member of a clash group carrying out vandalism actions against the Executive Directorate of the Judiciary, on April 8, 2017.

Along with Leal, seven people were also arrested: Jose Daniel Hernandez (aka “Amarillo”, head of the armed cell that operated on January 23, El Paraiso, El Valle and Montalban, in Caracas); Fermin Castillo (aka “El Loro”, member of right-wing party Vente Venezuela and head of the cell established in Bello Monte, east of Caracas); Oswaldo Garcia Piñero (aka “El Portu”, who participated in several meetings held in Los Cortijos, Caracas, and was in charge of organizing logistics in the east of the capital city).

Likewise, authorities also arrested Frances Garcia Ortega (aka “Kike”, a supplier of materials for these violent actions); Manuel Alejandro Cotiz (aka “El Cotiz”); Carlos Alberto Contreras (alias “Carlos49”, who like Cotiz attended several meetings led by Nixon Leal, and Carmen Salazar (alias “The Lady”, who organized logistics,

Democratic politics will win through Constituent Assembly, Commission’s head says

 The call for the National Constituent Assembly will contribute to revitalize the exercise of politics in the country, through the emergence of new leaders and the impetus of the debate of ideas, said Elias Jaua, president of the commission appointed to activate the mechanism.

In a meeting with constituents who were involved in drafting the Magna Carta of 1999, he said this process will allow the flourishing of a wide range of leaders in the country. He added that new figures will emerge within the opposition that, although do not identify with Chavism, will be loyal to the homeland.

“In Venezuela in the coming days we will see thousands of thousands of candidates flourish, thousands and thousands of men and women deployed in the neighborhoods, in the streets with their proposals, collecting signatures for their applications. It will win the exercise of democratic politics, the debate of ideas,” he said at a meeting in Caracas with social movements of the country to discuss the National Constituent Assembly (ANC, Spanish acronym).

He said the ANC will serve as a space for the different social, political and economic sectors of the country to settle their differences and lay the basis for the deepening of the Bolivarian Revolution.

“We are sure it will flourish a wide range of local leaders, trade unionists, peasants, indigenous people, community members of the revolution and the opposition for a new leadership to come… that is loyal to the country and that is loyal to the right and life of most Venezuelans to live in peace,” he said.

“We will continue to hope that the opposition coalition MUD will rectify and abandon the path of armed violence and come to the path of elections, political debate, the Constituent Assembly, and popular sovereignty,” he insisted.

Jaua recalled that members of the ANC will be chosen through free, direct and secret elections by Venezuelans, to form an instance to define new criteria in the Constitution of 1999.

In reference to this process, he stated that “the road is impeccably constitutional and from there the President chooses a presidential decree in Council of Ministers and, as established in article 248, he convenes via article 1, in use of his powers, the election of the National Constituent Assembly.”

With the powers enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, Jaua said, the President has stated that the main social sectors should choose their constituents in a specific way and also in the territorial area.

“There will be two areas: the sectoral area, the constitutional principle that our society is multi-ethnic, multicultural and that democracy is directly exercised by the people, and the other is the technical area, which includes those sectors that have a historical, verifiable record and above all approaching the universality of that sector to guarantee the principle that this universe is the one choosing its own constituents,” he explained.

In both areas, candidates will be nominated on their own initiative, with the support of a number of signatures to be set by the National Electoral Council (CNE) to proceed with the vote, Jaua said.

17 opposition parties meet with Presidential Commission for Constituent Assembly

 A total of 17 opposition parties attend Monday at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, the meeting convened last week by the Presidential Commission for the Constituent Assembly, with the aim of discussing this process.

Political organizations such as Bandera Roja, Joven, Juan Bimba and Opina are some of those who joined this invitation, after the commission extended the call to all opposition parties of the country, including those who are part of the MUD.

At the beginning of the meeting, the president of this commission, Elias Jaua, said the space will nourish the debate and that the meeting is aimed at listening to the views of these political organizations.

“We thank to all those present for attending this invitation for the peace of our country and for listening. You will make your observations, your criticisms and your contributions, we will take note of them to feed the debate and the call made by President Nicolas Maduro,” Jaua said.

He added that this call will remain open to the different sectors of the country, regardless of their political and ideological position, with the purpose of building a space for peace based on the political and social stability of the country.

He reaffirmed that Maduro decided to make this call on the insistence of opposition sectors to keep a violent agenda. Also, the idea is to engage into a broad national dialogue of all sectors beyond top leadership’ ambitions.

The central issues raised for the debate in the Constituent Assembly are peace as a nation’s need, right and yearning; to improve the national economic system; to constitutionalize missions and great social missions as systems to protect the people; and to expand the powers of the justice system to eradicate impunity.

Likewise, it is proposed to discuss the constitutionalization of the new forms of participatory and protagonist democracy; defense of sovereignty and the integrity of the nation and protection from foreign interventionism; vindication of the pluricultural character of the homeland; guarantee of the future, by including a chapter on the rights of youth; and preservation of life on the planet.

The meeting also includes members of the Presidential Commission for the Constituent Assembly, including: Cilia Flores, Aristobulo Isturiz, Elvis Amoroso, Noheli Pocarretera, Reinaldo Muñoz, Earle Herrera, Adan Chavez, lris Varela, Isaias Rodríguez and Remigio Ceballos.

It was last week when President Maduro called a constituent process, in use of its powers established in the Constitution of the Republic.

This call is a response of the head of state to the violent actions that have been held between April and May this year, after calls for demonstrations by right-wing sectors, resulting in 35 people dead, more than 700 injured and economic losses for the public and private sectors.

The only way to peace is constituent power, Venezuela’s Maduro says

 Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said Sunday the only way to have peace in the country, which have been undermined by sectors of the right, is the constituent power.

“I dream of the day the people will choose with a direct, secret and universal vote under the rectory of the Electoral Power the members of the National Constituent Assembly. We will open the doors of great dialogue, we will open the horizons to coexistence,” said Maduro in a meeting of the Presidential Commission for the Constituent Assembly with cultural practitioners, artists and intellectuals, held in the Miraflores presidential palace.

However, he warned the country is facing an armed insurgency promoted by the most radical sectors of the right.

“I searched for all the ways to talk to them, they don’t want to talk, they are violent. After they declared an insurgency, and I understood it, I activated all the plans to constitutionally stem this insurgency, that is masked as alleged peaceful protest marches, but we know that they are mise-en-scenes to install violence. They have destroyed more than a thousand businesses, ” he stressed.

The President said that given these terrorist actions he has called for a constituent process, using his powers stipulated in articles 347, 348 and 349 of Venezuela’s Constitution, as the way to strengthen the nation and guarantee citizen coexistence.

“I am calling for a direct democracy, that has the voice and spirit of the working class, the youth, the community, the missionary,” he said.

The Presidential Commission for the Activation of the National Constituent Assembly has held debates and dialogues with businessmen, political parties and movements of the Great Patriotic Pole, organized communities, women, young people, older adults, people with disabilities and cultural practitioners.

Venezuela’s opposition coalition MUD, which brings together right-wing parties, was invited to a meeting Monday to learn about the process of convening the National Constituent Assembly, but refused to participate and insists on calling on street actions resulting in the activation of clashes and violent acts aimed at attacking and destroying public and private property.

80% of Venezuelans reject violent demonstrations as a way of doing politics

 80% of Venezuelans disagree with the current violent demonstrations and the so-called guarimbas (violent riots) promoted by some radical opposition groups as an instrument of protest, while 19% support them, revealed a survey conducted by polling firm Hinterlaces, presented by journalist and political analyst Jose Vicente Rangel at a local private station.

The poll, conducted through 1,580 interviews nationwide between April 17 and May 3, also indicates that most Venezuelans reject the actions of right-wing leaders promoting violent riots, said Rangel during his Sunday analysis TV show.

61% agree that those responsible and promoters of violent demonstrations are arrested and prosecuted by the judiciary, while 36% disagree, and 3% do not know or do not answer.

Based on the current political situation in the country, 59% of respondents have less confidence in the leadership of the Venezuelan opposition, 32% have more confidence, and 9% do not know or did not respond.

Also, 66% approve holding of presidential elections in 2018, as established in the Constitution, compared to 33% who support the proposal of some right-wing leaders demanding the immediate resignation of President Nicolas Maduro.

Regarding talks between the government and the opposition in the current context, 63% considered it “very important”, while 22% believe that it is “nothing important”, 9% consider it “important” and 5 %, “less important”.

Rangel said the climate of political tension created by the call for street violence by the opposition radical sectors has spurred strong criticism within the right-wing opposition coalition MUD that reject these actions as a way of doing politics.

“A worse effect, which produces very severe critical reactions, occurs in independent sectors of the country, made up of entrepreneurs, producers and traders, who reject violence and who are victims of actions happening each time the opposition calls for a demonstration,” he said.

Venezuela’s foreign minister calls on opposition sectors to join national debate

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez called on opposition sectors to join the democratic path established in the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela and join the debate to discuss the National Constituent Assembly.

Rodriguez is part of the Presidential Commission, which is responsible for activating the National Constituent Assembly, a mechanism that will define, together with the popular power and social sectors, the criteria for creation and functioning of that body, where social, political, cultural, and political bases of the Republic will be discussed, revised and refined.

In order to hold a first meeting with the Presidential Commission for the Constituent Assembly, the national government sent a formal letter of invitation on Thursday to opposition coalition MUD and other opposition parties.

“There is no excuse for the opposition to miss the appointment for peace and sovereignty! Give up the violence and listen to the call of the Constitution,” Rodriguez wrote in her Twitter account.

This meeting scheduled for Monday, May 8, at 11 a.m. at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas “has among its objectives to receive contributions, observations and recommendations regarding the initiative of President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, which seeks to create spaces favorable to the peaceful resolution of the ongoing political conflict in the country,” says the letter delivered to the opposition coalition, posted by Elias Jaua, president of the Commission to his Twitter handle.

Expo Venezuela Sovereign Production to strengthen the Great Sovereign Supply Mission

The Expo Venezuela Sovereign Production –taking place at the Fuerte Tiuna military complex in Caracas– shows the potential of the country in the agri-food and industrial areas, which will allow to strengthen the Great Sovereign Supply Mission.

From this event, opened this Thursday, a map of work will emerge for the coming months and, thus, support the said mission, said Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

The Great Sovereign Supply Mission was created by the national government as a tool to protect the people from the unconventional war, sponsored by sectors of the national right and that aims to hit people’s pockets with economic attacks, such as hoarding and boycotting distribution of essential products.

“The goal of the Revolution, the goal of socialism, is to combat all forms of speculative capitalism, bachaqueo (illegal resale of subsidized items), all forms of economic war, and meet people’s needs and bring happiness to our people,” Maduro said at the opening ceremony.

At the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Wilmar Castro Soteldo, explained that for this reason, this exhibition “shows the latest developments, achievements, that have been made this year at the agribusiness level in the framework of agri-food policy.”

“We are also showing the progress and growth of some companies in the agribusiness sector, which have multiplied in number, and also the growth of smaller species in the livestock sector,” he said, adding that people will be able to see in the different spaces of this fair the important steps that have been taken in other areas.

Constituent mailbox

At the Expo Venezuela Sovereign Production, a Constituent mailbox was also available for collection of proposals for the constituent process, in order to strengthen the rights and guarantees of the people in the Bolivarian Constitution.

“I have now called for a Popular Constituent Process 2017 to perfect, solidify and expand the rights and strengths of our Constitution,” said the President, while calling on all sectors, especially the country’s youth, to “multiply all forms of constituent participation.”

“The Constituent Assembly is the way,” he said and mentioned that this is the only option for the country, which faces a coup plan sponsored by sectors of the opposition right and that is based on guarimbas (violent riots, streets barricades), violence, interventionism. “We are for peace and whoever is for peace and wants the good of the country has to be with the Constituent Assembly.”

Episcopal Conference was invited to meet with Presidential Commission for the Constituent Assembly

 The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV, Spanish acronym) was invited to a meeting next Monday to learn about the process of convening the National Constituent Assembly, said Elias Jaua, president of the committee coordinating the configuration of the deliberative body.

Through his Twitter handle, he posted the letter sent to Monsignor Diego Padron, CEV president, to invite him to attend the meeting, scheduled for May 8, at the Miraflores presidential palace.

The letter was received by the president’s office of the conference this May 4, according to the picture posted to the social network.

The Presidential Commission for the Constituent Assembly develops an agenda of meetings with social sectors to define, as broadly as possible, the basis for the functioning of the assembly and the criteria for election of its members.

So far this Friday, meetings have been held with communal spokesmen, workers’ leaders, members of the Great Patriotic Pole, representatives of the media and representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited to the country.

Presidential Commission meets with social sectors to discuss Constituent Assembly

The Presidential Commission for the National Constituent Assembly, created last Monday, began this week a range of meetings to include proposals of social, political, economic and religious organizations for the configuration of the new mechanism invoked by President Nicolas Maduro.

One of the first sectors heard by the Venezuelan government was the working class, who went to the Miraflores presidential palace on May 4 to present the proposals of 1,500 unions affiliated with the Bolivarian Socialist Workers Front.

That same day, the communes attended a meeting with the Presidential Commission to ask for the right to have a representation in the National Constituent Assembly.

This Friday morning, the Constitutional Presidential Commission also met with representatives of private and public media, as well as the diplomatic corps accredited to the country.

Likewise, rectors of the different universities of the country attended a meeting with this presidential commission, while on Saturday it is the turn of the economic sector.

On Monday, May 8, the opposition coalition MUD –along with other opposition parties– will be received by the Presidential Commission at the Miraflores presidential palace.

In a letter sent on May 3 to the MUD, Elias Jaua, head of the presidential commission for the constitutional proposal, said the opposition coalition may make contributions, observations and recommendations regarding the President’s initiative “that seeks to create spaces favorable to the peaceful resolution of the ongoing political conflict in the country.”

The Presidential Commission for the National Constituent Assembly will define, together with the popular power and social sectors, the criteria for creation and functioning of that body, as well as the regulations to choose members of the assembly.

In order to achieve these objectives, subcommittees or working groups will be set up, with broad participation of national and international advisors from the disciplines related to each topic, as well as representatives of the organized community that may assist in the fulfillment of their goals, says Presidential Decree No. 2,831, published in the Extraordinary Official Gazette No. 6,295 of May 1, 2017, which defines the criteria for the operation of the commission.

Vladimir Padrino López: It is not ethical to be part of the OAS

The Minister for Defense, G / J Vladimir Padrino López, supported Saturday the decision of President Nicolás Maduro to start the withdrawal process of the Organization of American States (OAS), because in his judgment “it is not ethical” if from there Is “attacked” against Venezuela.

“You can not be part of something that contravenes our personal principles. Even less, if they are foundational and constitutional principles, “he said through his Twitter account.

“It is not ethical then, to be part of the OAS if from there it attacks unscrupulously against our dignity, identity and independence,” said Padrino López.
Likewise, the minister said that “these founding principles are independence and freedom, and constitutional, non-intervention and national self-determination.”

Rodríguez signals Almagro to start a “process of destruction” of the OAS

Delcy Rodríguez, canciller de Venezuela

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said Saturday that the Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, began the “destruction process” of the organization, after Venezuela announced its withdrawal last week.

“We know that Almagro has begun a process of destruction of the OAS, even what the invasion records, in support of coups d’Etat could not, is being achieved by Secretary Luis Almagro, for the first time in history since 1948. This organization, to withdraw a Member State, “he said.

The foreign minister reiterated that Venezuela will not attend any “intervention process” against her country, and that she will comply with the administrative steps and the withdrawal of the organization.

Rodríguez said that Venezuela did “the impossible” so that the organization “respected the fundamental principles that inspired its creation, but that from its birth has stacked a record of support to blows of State”, while insisted that there is an “evil Use of the funds of the organization “.

It should be noted that last Friday, President Nicolás Maduro accused Almagro of misusing the organization’s funds, through a letter sent to him, where he informed him that he had begun the process of withdrawing from the OAS and that he attended “the Different forums and bureaucratic instances “of the bloc to expose the reality of the country.

Rodríguez said that there is a set of treaties derived from the Organization of American States, which will be addressed progressively.

“For example, there is Venezuela’s mission in Washington, there is an OAS mission in Venezuela, there is a set of treaties derived from the Charter of the Organization of American States, we are going to attend to that process,” he said. “Neither intervention nor tutelage will be possible” in your country.

Radical opposition groups persist in their request for foreign intervention

  Sectors of the Venezuela’s right issued on Thursday a “communique to the international community” in a new maneuver as part of its campaign of violence to demand a foreign intervention in internal affairs of the Venezuelan State, to propitiate a coup d’etat against the constitutional government of president Nicolas Maduro.

These radical opposition groups once again used their parliamentary majority in the National Assembly –held in contempt– for political ends, such as adopting a manifesto “to restore democracy in Venezuela,” in which they again insist on openly calling on centers of international power to intervene in the sovereign affairs of the country.

“It is a manifesto of the National Assembly that we want it to be in all mass media of the world, we want all governments, all international organizations to have it,” said deputy Julio Borges, who illegitimately holds the Parliament’s chair.

The national right asks “international agencies and governments of the region” to advocate for compliance with a range of unconstitutional demands, such as the release of politicians prosecuted by the Judiciary for their responsibility in different serious crimes, disregard for public authorities of the country, and the illegal holding of presidential elections ahead of schedule.

In the manifesto, in which these opposition groups ratified their intention to provoke a disruption of the democratic order that may unconstitutionally propitiate a change of government, they also clearly stated their intention to support conditions imposed by foreign forces in Venezuela.

“We ask the international community, in addition to the presidential election this year 2017, to establish immediately an integral electoral timetable, which establishes the holding of elections for governors, state deputies, mayors and councilors,” is one of the petitions of the manifesto, read by Borges.

Likewise, in this communique, this sector of the opposition demands that Parliament be respected as a public authority with autonomy, despite the fact that all National Assembly decisions have no legal validity for being found in contempt of rulings of the Judiciary.

Nevertheless, these spokespersons urge the “international community” to impose electoral schedules in the country, in total disregard of the Electoral Power and the rest of public and autonomous powers of the nation, including the disregard of the Executive Power, chaired by Nicolas Maduro, who was elected by majority vote in presidential elections.

Venezuela to denounce in CELAC attacks against its sovereignty

 Venezuela will denounce the interventionist actions against its independence and the violence promoted by an opposition sector to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in an extraordinary meeting of Foreign Ministers to be held on Tuesday, May 2 in El Salvador.

At this urgent meeting requested by Venezuela and convened by El Salvador as CELAC Pro Tempore President, the Bolivarian Government will denounce threats against its democratic constitutional order, that left 27 people dead in street riots called by an opposition sector that uses violence as a political motive.

The violence is compounded by the push for an intervention led by the opposition coalition MUD and the current board of Parliament with support from the Organization of American States (OAS). The purpose of this is to create a climate of ungovernability favorable to foreign intervention.

On April 25, Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez announced the holding of this extraordinary meeting in which “threats against the constitutional democratic order, as well as the interventionist actions that have been deploying” against the country will be exposed.

According to the CELAC Organic Procedure, the foreign ministers of the bloc will meet regularly twice a year, and extraordinary meetings may be convened if necessary at the request of a member state, in this case of Venezuela.

Among the powers of CELAC Foreign Ministers is to adopt resolutions and issue pronouncements on regional or international issues of interest to the countries of the region.

The CELAC is made up of 33 countries and aims to deepen the political, economic, social and cultural integration of the countries of the region, as well as to discuss threats to a member state.

This mechanism was established during the Summit of the Latin American and Caribbean Unit (CALC) in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on February 23, 2010, and put into operation on December 3, 2011 at the Founding Summit of Caracas.

OAS spent a year promoting interventionism in Venezuela

  The withdrawal of Venezuela from the Organization of American States (OAS), a process that will begin on Thursday, was decided after a year of actions aimed at invoking the Democratic Charter against the country through discussions that were not endorsed by the South American nation, where there is no rupture of the constitutional order, an indispensable condition to apply the instrument.

On April 28, 2016, OAS secretary general, Luis Almagro, received a group of parliamentarians from Venezuela’s opposition coalition MUD, who insisted on the Executive to pass legal instruments such as the law –declared unconstitutional– to forgive crimes against humanity committed since 1999 to the present. After that meeting, he said he would invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter against the country, without fulfilling the established conditions.

Such move was rejected by Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, who spoke at an extraordinary meeting of the OAS Permanent Council on May 5 to repudiate Almagro’s petition, who requested to activate the charter against the country on May 31 with a report based on data from press releases.

On June 21, Rodriguez attended a permanent council meeting with Spanish former president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who is supporting the dialogue process promoted by President Nicolas Maduro, to explain the scope of the government-opposition talks.

Two days later, the Almagro report was debated with the aim of invoking the letter, but the proposal received 12 votes against, one abstention and two absences, not enough to apply the instrument against Venezuela.

“This is a historic decision the one taken today, 19 votes in favor says a lot about how countries have matured and moved forward, and ratified their sovereignty and independence,” she said at the time.

The scenario is repeated in 2017

On February 7, Almagro said he would rule out attempting to apply the democratic charter while the Vatican served as mediator of dialogues initiated in October between the executive and the opposition, which decided to abandon the process under allegations of non-compliance of the accords.

Three days later, the OAS Secretary General met again with a group of MUD lawmakers to the National Assembly (AN), which was held in contempt in July 2016 for non-compliance with court rulings, and announced he would initiate the process to apply the charter, although Pope Francis expressed his willingness to accompany the conversations that began three months earlier.

On March 14, Almagro presented another report on Venezuela and requested without the government’s consent to discuss the internal situation of the country. Two weeks later, the issue was addressed at the request of Belize, Guyana, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, USA, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Barbados, Bahamas, Saint Lucia and Jamaica.

These 20 countries presented a document that, like the Almagro report, was intended to open the way to apply the letter. The text “rather represents a violation of international law, so we can not recognize them as participants of goodwill, because you with that document are promoting a coup in the country,” said the Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS, Samuel Moncada, after delivery of the document.

Following the debate, the Chair of the Permanent Council at that time, the Belizean Patrick Andrews, said all delegations’ speeches would be included in the final act. Then the session was adjourned, which ended without approval of the procedures for the application of the letter.

On April 1, opposition deputy Julio Borges –elected head of Venezuelan parliament while remaining in contempt of court– handed Almagro another report on the country’s situation, as part of the international campaign pointing out that in Venezuela there is a rupture of the constitutional order.

That day, Bolivia’s pro tempore presidency began in front of the permanent council, and this country suspended the session called on April 3 to once again discuss about Venezuela, on the basis that agenda of discussion was not clear. Despite the decision, 21 countries decided to ignore it and opened the discussion, rejected by the Venezuelan and Bolivian delegations for contravening the rules of the organization.

During the meeting, which took place the same day that MUD deputies William Davila and Luis Florido were at the OAS, 17 countries were in favor of approving resolution to activate the letter, when 18 votes were needed, the simple majority.

On Wednesday, another discussion was held to approve a meeting of foreign ministers on Venezuela again without the country’s endorsement. Given the precedents, the South American nation finally decided to withdraw from the hemispheric organization, a process that will take two years.

“The withdrawal of this organization has to do with the dignity of our people, of the Bolivarian doctrine that defends multilateralism,” said Rodriguez, stressing that Secretary General Luis Almagro, has reedited the interventionist file the OAS has carried out since its foundation, to support coups d’etat in sovereign nations and military invasions.

Venezuela to begin Thursday OAS withdrawal process

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said Wednesday that Venezuela will present the Letter of Denunciation of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Thursday, the first step to begin its withdrawal from the international body.

“Tomorrow, as President Nicolas Maduro has instructed, we will present the Letter of Denunciation to the Organization of American States and we will initiate a procedure, which takes 24 months,” said the Venezuelan diplomat at the Miraflores Presidential Palace, in Caracas.

“Venezuela will not participate in the future of any activity, any event, where the issue of interventionism and interference by this group of countries is a priority on the agenda that only seek to disrupt the stability, peace of our country,” she added in statements to state media.

These measures, according to Rodriguez, are aimed at defending the sovereignty and dignity of the people, currently being attacked by interventionist actions promoted by the United States government and the continent’s right-wing, that seek to undermine the country’s stability and peace.

“The withdrawal of this organization has to do with the dignity of our people, of the Bolivarian doctrine that defends multilateralism,” said Rodriguez, stressing that OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, has reissued the interventionist file the OAS has carried out since its foundation, to support coups d’etat in sovereign nations and military invasions.

She pointed out that the OAS intends to re-issue the 1962 script, when the organization expelled Cuba, because the nation responded to the interests of the people and not to the interests of the imperial governments.

On the other hand, she condemned the double standards of the OAS, which insist on addressing internal affairs of Venezuela, while overlooking other governments violating the rights of their peoples, as is the case of Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

“When we go and see what happens in our region, I wonder if this organization has no eyes to look at the terrible realities of discrimination, oppression, massive violation of human rights, not only of the people of our America, but also of the world, which occurs in the United States of America. The serious threats to world peace and stability are coming from these centers of power,” she said.

“The reality that Venezuela lives today has much to do with the actions of these governments that, because of political and ideological intolerance, oppose not only President Nicolas Maduro but also the Bolivarian Revolution,” she added.

Furthermore, Rodriguez said that the intervention actions of Almagro ended up isolating the organization from the international community.

“We gave the opportunities to impose the multilateralist spirit but it prevailed the violation to the sacred norms the organization,” wrote the minister in her Twitter handle.

Govt. reaffirms willingness to dialogue for peace and respect

  The Bolivarian Government ratified Monday again, through a communique, its willingness to continue to enhance political dialogue and the peaceful encounter with opposition sectors, for the maintenance of the nation’s peace and respect of the Constitution.

According to the text, the Executive expresses its commitment to the proposals made by former presidents Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (Spain), Leonel Fernandez (Dominican Republic) and Martin Torrijos (Panama), who are accompanying the dialogue, to move towards a second phase of the process that began in October 2016.

“We express our readiness to work on the proposals put forward in that document, always within the framework of respect for the Constitution and our laws,” reaffirms the communiqué, read in Caracas by the head of the Executive Committee f

Venezuela and Russia expand economic cooperation

Venezuela and Russia agreed to include medicine, tourism, agriculture and mining into the economic cooperation agenda that began to be strengthened in 2001 and has so far 261 binational agreements relating to energy, industry and construction.

Venezuela’s foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov met Monday in Moscow to review bilateral projects and agreed to include new issues on the common agenda.

Rodriguez reported that Russia will support Venezuela in developing nuclear medicine, setting up vaccine and pharmaceutical plants and building capacity for improving national agriculture.

“We know the agricultural industry plays a decisive role in the Russian economy and we have agreed to expand that area,” Rodriguez said at a press conference broadcast on her Facebook page.

During the meeting with the media, the foreign minister stressed that in addition to the economic area, Venezuela and Russia cooperate internationally in promoting respect for international law, peace and respect for the sovereignty of peoples.

“Russia promotes a policy of independence, a policy guided by the peace of the peoples of the world, and that is where Russia and Venezuela agree: in a peace diplomacy, in a diplomacy that rejects any form of interference,” she said.

Civil-military union was the hallmark of parade in honor of General Ezequiel Zamora

 A consolidated civil-military union was the hallmark of the parade that took place on Wednesday, February 1, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of popular hero, general of the sovereign people, Ezequiel Zamora,

The parade –held in Caracas’ Los Proceres avenue– was attended by all the members of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), representatives of social movements and more than 5,000 men and women of the People’s Power or organized communities.

“This tribute, this military parade, is up to standards of the celebration of the bicentenary of a giant of history … I thank God for allowing us to celebrate today the 200 years of the birth of the People’s General, Ezequiel Zamora, with the free people in Revolution,” said Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro, at the closure of the event.

The parade in honor of the popular leader began with the walk of members of the General Staff for the organization of this activity, later giving way to officers of the Presidential Guard of Honor, who are in charge of the President’s security and other guarantees necessary for his free movement.

Then, more than 200 peasants paraded to pay tribute to the precursor of a land reform claiming the rights of the peasants. In addition, the People’s General headed the peasants insurrection, which led to victory of the Battle of Santa Ines at the Federal War.

The parade also showcased the men and women who make possible the development of social programs of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Floats decorated to depict the social programs, such as the Great Sovereign Supply Mission, were seen during the commemoration, as well as dozens of members of the Local Committees of Supply and Production or CLAP –a mechanism created by the Revolution to protect the people from the economic war– joined the parade, followed by joropo dancers, Venezuela’s traditional music.

The parade continued with officers of the army and the Bolivarian National Police serving in the quadrants of peace, from where they protect the citizens and fight against crime.

After that, cadets from the Bolivarian Military University and the academies of the different components marched along Los Proceres promenade, along with officers of the Bolivarian Militia and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, as an example of civil-military union driven by commander Hugo Chavez with the purpose of defending the sovereignty of the country.

“We declare ourselves to be Bolivarian, anti-imperialist, Chavist and more than ever, Zamorist and anti-oligarchic, and promoters of the civil-military union and social justice,” said the commander of the integral defense zones or Zodi, Carlos Martinez Stapulionis.

Guests also saw a video tribute to the Zamora 200 Exercise of Anti-imperialist Comprehensive Action. Then, the paratroopers of the 42nd Army’s Airborne Infantry Brigade kicked off their set, followed by the presentation of the systems of aerial defenses and military airplanes.

Finally, a horse parade was made to pay homage to those who, on their horses, accompanied the popular leader.

Ezequiel Zamora, known as the General of the Sovereign People, was born in the town of Cua, Miranda state, on February 1, 1817. He was a military leader, politician and social fighter of the Federal War (1859-1863), and also promoted a land reform in favor of the Venezuelan peasantry and the freedom of men.

02/02/2017 – 02:17 pm

Venezuela, El Salvador review partial scope trade agreement

This Monday, the second round of negotiation of the Third Protocol amending the Partial Agreement between Venezuela and El Salvador was installed in Caracas. This deal is aimed at enhancing the cooperation, productive complementation and economic development of the two countries.

The agreement was reviewed by Venezuela’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Investment, Jesus Faria, Vice-Minister of Economy of El Salvador, Luz Estrella Rodriguez, Salvadoran Ambassador to the country, Domingo Santacruz, as well as the Executive Secretary of Petrocaribe, Alexander Yanez.

In November last year, Venezuela and El Salvador agreed to negotiate the Partial Scope Trade Agreement, which aims to strengthen and revitalize the trade flows of these countries through the granting of tariff preferences and the elimination or reduction of non-tariff restrictions.

“The objective of this meeting is to strengthen integration and create a zone of solid economic development between Venezuela and El Salvador … The objective is to raise the levels of independence and sovereignty of the peoples in the political, economic and social fields,” Minister Faria said in a message posted on his Twitter account.

Likewise, the agreement includes that both nations grant each other the greatest possible facilities for trade promotion in their respective territories, through the exchange of missions and business delegations, as well as participation in fairs and exhibitions held in both nations.

Faria announced that the third protocol amending the partial agreement will be signed next February 4.

Venezuela’s top court ratifies President Nicolas Maduro is in full exercise of his duties

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) issued a ruling on Monday confirming that President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is in full exercise of his duties.

The ruling, released on the top court’s website, states that “this Chamber notes that President of the Republic, citizen Nicolas Maduro Moros, once he was sworn in on April 19, 2013, and took office, has demonstrated full exercise of his constitutional functions, with a special emphasis being placed on
his decisions to address the social, economic, political and administrative issues, at both the domestic and the foreign policy levels, manifesting among others the exercise of his constitutional attributions, in the declaration of the State of Exception and Economic Emergency.”

In this regard, the document reiterates the unconstitutionality of the actions taken by the National Assembly, conducted by the right, including the alleged declaration of abandonment of the Venezuelan President, who was elected by the majority of the people in 2013.

Thus, “the National Legislative Power –through void parliamentary sessions– has attacked the democratic and constitutional order, by being outside the Magna Carta, the decisions of the Top Court, when initiating a supposed political trial and now under the veil of a supposed abandonment of the office by the Head of State, with the ultimate purpose of delegitimizing and finally ‘dismissing’ the President of the Republic despite the Supreme Court’s orders to cease this,” added the ruling.

The Constitutional Chamber recalled that, according to the constitutional mandate, “it is configured with the occurrence of three elements such as the will to leave the office of President of the Republic, that there is no reason or justification to do so, and for this absence to be permanent and definitive.”

For this reason, the argument of the Parliamentary right, making the excuse that President’s actions and decisions are ‘outside the design and constitutional functions of the Presidency’, is unconstitutional.

Venezuela’s industry expects to export 300,000 tons of cement this year

The Venezuela’s cement industry plans to export 300,000 tons of cement this year, out of a total of six million that has been planned to produce this 2017, said the President of the Bolivarian Construction Workers Federation, Marco Tulio Diaz, in an interview with state media.

He added that revenues coming from the industry will be spent to provide support to the operation and consolidation of each of the cement plants producing raw material for the simultaneous construction of various works across the country.

“All trade union organizations of the sector are committed to the national production of cement to guarantee the Grand Housing Mission Venezuela (GMVV) and the construction of all infrastructure, including subways, bridges, roads, railways, which will guarantee more than 87,000 jobs throughout the country (this year),” he said.

Diaz recalled that part of the cement industry production is directed to Housing Mission and to the private sector. In this regard, he said the distribution channels will be reinforced to guarantee that another part of the production reaches the population that needs to enlarge or improve their homes.

He said that they will continue to promote the Productive Councils for Workers (CPT, Spanish acronym) to consolidate the country’s development with efficient management, and guarantee the availability of cemen

Over 4,000 civilians killed, aid blocked, zero accountability – HRW’s wrap up of Yemen war

Over 4,000 civilians killed, aid blocked, zero accountability – HRW’s wrap up of Yemen war
Since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict on behalf of its ousted president, at least 4,125 civilians have been killed, most in coalition bombings, Human Rights Watch says in its annual report.

The organization paints a grim picture of the situation, saying that Western backers of the intervention, particularly the US and Britain, don’t appear to be willing to investigate alleged war crimes perpetrated by the coalition, despite mounting evidence.

“Foreign governments have continued to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, despite growing evidence the coalition has been committing unlawful airstrikes. US and UK lawmakers, whose governments altogether approved more than $20 billion and $4 billion worth of weapons sales, respectively to Saudi Arabia in 2015 alone, have increasingly challenged the continuation of these sales,” the report said.

The Saudi coalition’s continued operation in Yemen depends to a high degree on support from the US and UK, which provide weapons, targeting intelligence, air refueling for coalition jets, and diplomatic cover for the entire campaign, believes Abayomi Azikiwe, an editor for Pan-African News Wire. This may explain why the Yemeni situation is getting relatively little news coverage in those countries, he told RT.

“The war is largely hidden from the people who live in the Western countries. Here in the United States, there is virtually no information, particularly on television news sources. And the same situation largely exists in Britain as well,” he said, adding “it is an unsustainable and an unjustifiable position that the United States and Britain have taken in this war.”

According to October figures from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the conflict has claimed the lives of at least 4,125 civilians and left at least 7,207 wounded, with the majority of the casualties resulting from coalition airstrikes.

HRW has documented “58 apparently unlawful coalition airstrikes” that have killed nearly 800 civilians. The Saudi coalition has hit homes, markets, hospitals, schools, civilian buildings, and mosques. Among the deadliest attacks in 2016 was the bombing of a market in northern Yemen on March 15 that killed 97 civilians, and the October bombing of a funeral in the capital, Sanaa, in which 100 perished.

The report says Saudi Arabia may be deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure in Yemen, which, if true, would constitute a war crime.

The coalition-imposed naval and aerial blockade in Yemen is contributing to a humanitarian disaster in the country because it prevents the delivery of vital supplies like fuel and medicine and makes relief efforts more difficult, the report said.

Saudi Arabia has also reportedly threatened to defund UN programs in order to make it remove it from the ‘list of shame,’ which includes parties responsible for grave children’s rights violations. According to UN figures, coalition strikes were the cause of 60 percent of children deaths in Yemen and half of attacks on schools and hospitals.

The report also accuses the primary opponents of the Saudi-led coalition, the Houthi rebels and their allies, of carrying out indiscriminate attacks, using internationally-banned anti-personnel landmines, forced disappearances, torturing their critics, and recruiting child soldiers.

‘Capable of shooting down aircraft’: Spanish police seize €10mn worth of black market weapons

‘Capable of shooting down aircraft’: Spanish police seize €10mn worth of black market weapons
Spanish authorities say that among the 10-12,000 weapons seized earlier this week are some capable of bringing down aircraft.

Police arrested four men and woman – all Spanish nationals – who had been operating a sophisticated trafficking network in several provinces across the country under the front of a historical weapons workshop that bought supposedly decorative firearms. The purchased weapons were then restored and sold on the black market throughout Europe.

Las armas que encontró la @policia, entre 10.000 y 12.000, el pasado jueves, estarían valoradas en 10 millones de euros en el mercado negro

Among the weapons seized were vintage Smith & Wesson revolvers, CETME, Bergmann, and Beretta rifles, and even heavier anti-aircraft machine guns, with the total value of the haul estimated at approximately €10 million on the black market.

Estas son las 12.000 armas, algunas capaces de derribar aeronaves, intervenidas al crimen organizado. Su precio: 10 mill € en mercado negro

The gang members, who were arrested in Cantabria, Girona, and Vizcaya, ran what the police called a “sophisticated and fully-equipped” underground repair workshop, where officers found thousands of spare parts used in gun repair, as well as stamps and certificates for creating fake documentation for the firearms. About €80,000 in cash was also discovered.

According to a statement released by Spain’s Ministry of the Interior, three of the suspects have been detained without bail, while two others have had travel restrictions imposed upon them until court proceedings begin.

Zamora 200 civil-military drills to be held Saturday

 The civil-military union that for the last 17 years has been strengthened by the Bolivarian Revolution will be shown Saturday 14 throughout the Zamora 200 Exercise of Anti-imperialist Comprehensive Action, to be held throughout the country, a practice in which the people and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) will demonstrate their commitment to the integral defense of the country and its sovereignty.

More than 120,000 military personnel will participate in this exercise, an activity in which simulations of maneuvers will be carried out and a joint strategic plan will be implemented to respond to possible adverse events or foreign intervention that would endanger the country’s security.

Groups formed by organized communities, such as the Productive Council of Workers (CPT), Local Committees of Supply and Production or CLAP, Great Sovereign Supply Mission and Bolivarian Militia will take part in this important exercise.

During his TV show “Sundays with Maduro”, President Nicolas Maduro called on the entire population to join and support national defense plans for peace and national sovereignty and independence.

Maduro stressed that Venezuela is a country promoting peace in the region under humanist and socialist values and a “deeply Bolivarian, Zamorano and Chavista” thinking, and ratified his call to guarantee peace as a “victory of sovereignty.”

These exercises are included in the Venezuelan State agenda to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of popular hero, general of the sovereign people, Ezequiel Zamora, a bicentennial to be commemorated on February 1.

Mission New, Tricolor Neighborhood has repaired 1,558 buildings throughout the country

 Venezuela’s Minister for Habitat and Housing said Friday that to date 1,558 buildings have been renovated across the country, through the Great Mission Barrio Nuevo, Barrio Tricolor or New, Tricolor Neighborhood –a social program aimed at the restoration of infrastructure and services of popular areas.

In statements to state media, Quevedo said that in La Barraca sector, Aragua state, this social program has restored nine 76-apartment buildings where facades and electric power lines have been upgraded to ensure proper operation in case of emergency. As well five business premises and a sports court were rebuilt.

For her part, Aragua state governor Caryl Bertho said that in this central state, the mission has refurbished 10,245 homes, 116 buildings and has recovered 10 bio-healthy parks, 11 elementary schools and 13 mission bases –logistics centers that provide health care, food and education to the poorest sectors of the nation.

New, Tricolor Neighborhood was created 7 years ago by Commander Hugo Chavez on August 9, 2009 with the aim of transforming the habitat of Venezuelan communities to provide them with decent living conditions, while deepening community organization as a tool to consolidate the People’s Power or organized communities, the fundamental basis of the Bolivarian Revolution.

In November 2013, President Nicolas Maduro granted New, Tricolor Neighborhood the rank of Great Mission, with the goal of accessing a greater number of families throughout the country.

The development of this social program enjoys the cooperation of the State and the People’s Power, in order to take care of all popular sectors of the country through structural plans, starting with communities already formed a century ago in the most populated cities.

Minister Quevedo has said that this great mission has renovated 353,454 homes throughout the national territory since its launch.

Global economic growth levels to rise by 2.7% in 2017

Oil pumps. Photo: World Bank/Gennadiy Kolodkin

Global economic growth is expected to rise by 2.7 percent in 2017, according to a report released by The World Bank.

Improvements in the commodity market with respect to the export and import of oil, gold and agricultural products, and growth in advanced economies have been cited as reasons for this moderate increase.

However, the report also analysed how weak investments and policy changes could play a role in affecting regional and global growth forecasts.

Priyanka Shankar asked Marc Stocker, senior economist at The World Bank, about this global growth outlook.

US B-52 bombed Idlib, Syria, killing over 20 civilians – Russian MoD

More than 20 civilians were killed in a B-52 strike carried out by the US on the Idlib province in Syria on January 3, according to Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

Gerasimov slammed the Western coalition in Syria for failing to achieve “any meaningful results,” adding that “at the same time, significant numbers of victims among the civilian population and government forces were reported.

As we remember, in September last year, the US aviation carried out an attack in the Deir-ez-Zor targeting government forces. After this attack, Islamic State started its advance,” Gerasimov said as cited by RIA Novosti news agency.

The latest example of this is the January 3 airstrike, when a B-52 bomber – without warning the Russian side – hit a target in the town of Sarmada, Idlib Province, which is covered by the cessation of hostilities agreement. Over 20 civilians died as a result of the airstrike.

He did not provide any further details.

 

BREAKING: Strike on Syrian army was ‘regrettable error’, Pentagon says http://on.rt.com/7wed 

Photo published for Strike on Syrian army was ‘regrettable error,’ Pentagon says — RT America

Strike on Syrian army was ‘regrettable error,’ Pentagon says — RT America

Airstrikes on September 17 by the US-led coalition, which killed 62 and injured 100 Syrian soldiers in Deir ez-Zor, were the result of an “unintentional, regrettable error,” the US Central Command…

rt.com

 

The US Defense Department announced on January 6 that a strike had killed 20 people in Sarmada, Idlib; those killed were described as Al-Qaeda militants, AFP reported.

The September airstrikes by the US-led coalition killed 62 and injured 100 Syrian soldiers near the Deir ez-Zor airport, a vital supply conduit for the enclave besieged by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) forces.

In November, US Central Command described the incident as an “unintentional, regrettable error,” which was “primarily based on human factors.

Russia was notified of the planned strike via the “de-confliction” hotline, but was given the wrong location, said Brigadier General Richard ‘Tex’ Coe, who headed the CENTCOM investigation.

When Russian officers called the hotline to report the strikes were targeting Syrian positions, they were kept on hold for 27 minutes because the US officer who was the designated point of contact was not available. The bombing continued in that interval, according to Coe, and stopped once the Russian message went through.

During the Tuesday meeting, Gerasimov said the operation carried out by the Russian Air Force since September 30, 2015 “has turned the tide of the Syrian war.

Since the beginning of its operation in Syria, Russia’s military jets destroyed around 200 illegal oil-extracting facilities belonging to IS, 174 oil-producing plants, 111 groups of oil tank trucks, the head of General Staff added.

This allowed not only to breach the IS supply system, but also to deprive them of their main income,” Gerasimov added.

All strikes are carried out only after the confirmation of data from several sources, including the space intelligence and drones,” Gerasimov emphasized.

Govt. ratifies willingness to dialogue with opposition

 The head of the Venezuelan government commission at the peace talks, Jorge Rodriguez, reaffirmed on Tuesday the government’s willingness to continue conversations to settle differences with opposition sectors.

“We are going to remain on the dialogue table, making progress in the thematic tables. We are convinced that political issues are settled through peaceful dialogue and not through violation of the Constitution. The only way out is dialogue,” he said at a press conference held in Caracas.

He said that along with Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, met with Vatican envoy Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, who stressed the Pope Francis will to cooperate with the dialogue process of Venezuela.

“It is good news for Venezuelans, the persistent and friendly stubbornness of Pope Francis to accompany the dialogue,” he said.

In this regard, he rejected the statements of the president of Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference, who said that the government-opposition dialogue failed “because no commitment was made” and it was just a lot of talk.

In response, Rodriguez said that it is “very curious, counterproductive, that a representative of the church leadership has absurd opinions that contradict what has been the position and the word of Pope Francis … This reveals the deep conspiracy of the ecclesiastical hierarchy against the peace of Venezuela.”

He added that the national government is committed to dialogue to resolve differences and ensure the country’s peace, even though, an opposition sector –he said– “is deeply committed to violence.”

“It will not be easy (the process of dialogue) because there are deep divisions within the opposition and because they have difficulty keeping their word of dialogue,” Rodriguez said.

Public and private sectors invest $ 17.8 billion to strengthen Venezuelan economy

The National Council for Productive Economy invested $ 17.8 billion to import raw materials and strengthen the socio-productive development of the country, President Nicolas Maduro said Monday.

“The Council has become a collective thinking (private and public sector). Private entrepreneurs put up 11 billion dollars to bring raw materials and the Executive Branch invested 6.8 billion dollars. The private sector for the first time assumed 60% of that investment,” he said.

He stated that this body has built the foundations of productive dialogue with national entrepreneurs to consolidate a solid, diversified economic model.

“I send my warmest regards, full of satisfactions to fellow businessmen. I send them my greetings and commitment of goodwill for the development of the country,” he told the businessmen gathered at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas.

President stressed that 2016 laid the bases of this economic system, which aims at overcoming the oil rentier model inherited from previous governments, and that will be consolidated this new year.

“We keep a country working beyond sabotage, that is why Venezuela is no longer subject to the International Monetary Fund. We are a free country and we must be freer with the development of the productive and economic forces of the country,” he said.

He said that although last year was a difficult period, because the nation received less income due to low oil prices, the Bolivarian Government kept and even increased social investment to 73% of the national budget.

“The year (2016) of lower income in dollars was the year that more homes we built (359,000),” he claimed

Homeland’s block asked top court to annul Parliament’s board

 The Homeland’s block filed a petition on Friday asking the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ, Spanish acronym) to annul the current board of the National Assembly (AN), appointed Thursday, even though the Legislative Branch is in contempt of Constitution.

“Today we have come to the Supreme Court of Justice to declare the illegality, nullity and unconstitutionality of the current directive. A pseudo attempt to name a directive, but without abiding by the TSJ ruling, without removing those who were candidates of Amazonas state and committed electoral fraud, ” said the head of the Homeland’s block deputy Hector Rodriguez.

In statements to state media, he explained the right-wing faction had to abide by the ruling that ordered to divest the three Amazonas state’s deputies, whose election on 6 December 2015 was challenged by irregularities, before designating the new board.

“The first problem they –who aspire to lead a National Assembly– had to solve, is how to come out of their contempt status and comply with what they had signed at the dialogue table. They signed to abide by the TSJ rulings and observe the law,” he remembered.

With this petition, the Homeland’s block also requested that all acts of Parliament be declared null and void until the majority gets back on constitutional track.

On the other hand, Rodriguez regretted that the right bench lost all the year 2016 in internal quarrels that hindered the performance of the Parliament.

“The year 2016 was a lost year for the National Assembly, a National Assembly that was useless for most Venezuelans, 60% of the opportunities the opposition faction did not attend, did not meet the quorum required,” he said calling them to abide by the Constitution.

New Parliament’s head promises to reinforce coup agenda

On Thursday, the new president of the National Assembly held in contempt of court, Julio Borges, promised to reinforce the coup agenda the parliamentary right undertook in 2016, although in private meetings with the revolutionary bloc, it has rejected the haughty attitude of the outgoing head of Parliament, Henry Ramos, socialist deputy Hector Rodriguez said.

In his candidate-like speech, Borges said the first action of his administration will be “in the next few days, to declare (President) Nicolas Maduro in abandonment of his post,” although President Maduro remains in full public exercise of his legitimate and constitutional functions.

Although the Constitution states that president’s resignation of the post can only be declared after being absent from the country for five days, without prior notification to Parliament –an infraction President Maduro has not committed– Borges insisted on deceiving his followers with this promise without legal arguments to support it.

In his speech, Congress head made no mention of resolving the legislature’s contempt issue. He also ratified that he will not comply with the constitutional decision of the Supreme Court of Justice to unseat the three candidates for deputies of Amazonas state, where the electoral process was suspended in 2016 by the authorities for allegations of fraud.

In this regard, the head of the Homeland’s block deputy Hector Rodriguez said that in private meetings with the revolutionary bloc, Borges disagreed with the haughty attitude of the previous Parliament’s directive and its way of operating outside the constitution.

Rodriguez said the socialist party lawmakers attended this inaugural session “hoping that (Borges) would keep his word, that he would indeed change the rude, arrogant and conflictive attitude that Congressman Henry Ramos brought last year … Today we witness a speech of a presidential candidate and not of a deputy who wants to help the country.”

Borges with a speech full of euphemisms called for a military uprising against the constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro, elected by majority vote in national elections.

“From here we send this message to the whole Armed Forces, remember your oath, today the people and the country demand it … This is a call to fulfill the constitution and listen to the Venezuelan people,” he said.

He also threatened to foment acts of violence. “Mr. Maduro, respect the voice of the people, because as one that faces a river, you are going to be devastated … Do not arouse the anger of the people,” he said.

Maduro swore new Ministerial Cabinet

President Nicolás Maduro on Wednesday decreed changes in the Cabinet for this new year, which is expected to be the year of Venezuela’s economic, political and social recovery.

“I have made the decision to call a group of colleagues in the government, combining the experience and commitment for a necessary renewal that come in line with the objectives and goals of the new phase of the Campaign Carabobo 2017-2018” .
In a first statement he appointed Tareck El Aissami as the new Executive Vice President of the Republic, he thanked the work carried out by Aristóbulo Istúriz, who will take on new tasks

In that sense, in the national chain the president, replaced 12 ministers and ratified 17 others. This is the new Cabinet:

New ministers:
• Minister for Economy and Finance (merger of all ministries of productive economy and industries and trade: Ramón Lobo Moreno.

• Minister of Petroleum and Mining: Nelson Martinez, current president of CITGO. Eulogio del Pino will remain solely dedicated to the presidency of PDVSA.

• Minister for Education: Elías Jaua replaces Rodulfo Pérez, who will take on new tasks in social matters.

• Minister for Culture: Adán Chávez to replace Freddy Ñáñez, who will assume cultural responsibilities in the Congress of the Motherland.

• Minister for University Education, Science and Technology: Hugber Roa lawyer and political scientist. Jorge Arreaza will later fulfill diplomatic duties.

• Minister for the Social Process of Labor: Francisco Torrealba. Oswaldo Vera militancy of the social movement of workers of Venezuela.

• Minister for Health: Antonieta Caporale, director of the Hospital Clínico Universitario. Luisana Melo is disconnected, for the moment from the political scene.

• Minister for the Communes and Social Movements: Aristóbulo Istúriz in replacement of Erika Farías.

• Ministry for Urban Agriculture: Erika Farías instead of Lorena Freitez.

• Minister for Ecosocialism and Water: Coronel Ramón Celestino Velázquez in replacement of Ernesto Paiva.

• Minister for Public Works: Almirante César Alberto Salazar, who will receive 300 billion bolívares to complete all unfinished work.

• Minister of Land Transportation: Ricardo Molina who is in charge of the Transport Mission.

Ministers ratified:
• Ministry for Agricultural Production and Lands: Wilmar Castro Soteldo.

• Ministry for Fisheries and Aquaculture: Ángel Belisario.

• Minister for Food: Rodolfo Marco Torres.

• Minister for Communication and Information: Ernesto Villegas Poljak.

• Minister for Defense: Vladimir Padrino López.

• Minister for Electric Energy: Luis Motta Domínguez.

• Ministry for Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment: Jesus Farías.

• Minister for Youth and Sport: Melvin Maldonado.

• Minister for Women and Gender Equality: Blanca Eekhout

• Minister of Planning: Ricardo Ménendez.

• Minister for Indigenous Peoples: Aloha Núñez.

• Minister for Interior Relations, Justice and Peace: Néstor Reverol.

• Minister for Foreign Affairs: Delcy Rodriguez.

• Minister for the Penitentiary Service: Iris Varela.

• Minister for Tourism: Marleny Contreras.

• Minister for Housing and Habitat: Manuel Quevedo.

• Minister for Borders: Gerardo Izquierdo Torres.

Vice-Presidencies:
Executive Vice Presidency: Tareck El Aissami.

Vice Presidency of Politics and Sovereignty of the Country: Carmen Meléndez.

Vice-Presidency of Service and Public Works: Ricardo Molina.

Vice-President of Territorial Socialism: Aristóbulo Istúriz.

Vice Presidency for the Socialist Missions: Elías Jaua

Vice President of Planning: Ricardo Ménendez.

Housing Mission peaked in 2016 with 359,874 new homes

During 2016 the Great Housing Mission Venezuela (GMVV, Spanish acronym) delivered 359,874 decent homes to families throughout the country, which is the highest number ever recorded in a year.

Venezuela’s Minister for Habitat and Housing Manuel Quevedo said Tuesday that policies put in place by President Nicolas Maduro made it possible to achieve the construction and delivery of the “highest number of decent homes in the history of the Great Housing Mission Venezuela.”

These 359,874 homes surpass the 322,084 constructed in 2015; the 126,525 delivered in 2014; the 200,370 in 2013; the 200,080 in 2012 and the 146,718 homes that were built and handed over in 2011.

From 2011 to date, this social program created by Commander Hugo Chavez, have delivered 1,360,621 decent homes to Venezuelan families.

The construction of these homes has meant a great national effort and the first of this size spurred in Venezuela, through a socialist vision, in which housing is no longer conceived as a commodity but as a result of a joint effort.

This effort included a national registration, granting of land, materials, machinery, inputs and financing for construction, as well as the active participation of the organized people, which has been responsible for raising 60% of town planning.

The construction of the new homes was achieved in spite of the constant national and international economic attacks aimed at ending the social achievements won by the Venezuelan popular classes in the last 16 years, as well as the 60% slump that crude oil have experienced since mid-2014.

Minister Quevedo said Tuesday that in the next few days the head of state will approve this year’s goals, “which engage all of us to continue advancing and building socialist Venezuela.”

Turkish police release first photos of Istanbul club attacker

Turkish police release first photos of Istanbul club attacker
Turkish police has released photos of the suspected attacker on a club in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve, which killed 39 and left dozens injured. The manhunt for the gunman is still continuing.

The Anadolu state news agency says that the images were captured by a security camera, though not clarifying exactly where the footage was recorded. The pictures shows a young man with dark hair.

Police have detained eight suspects allegedly linked to the attack, but the suspected shooter is reportedly still at large.

Earlier, CCTV footage emerged showing the attack on the Reina nightclub in Istanbul’s popular Ortakoy neighborhood. The video captured the terrifying moments of people seeking cover from the shooting.

The attack happened at around 1am local time on Sunday, with officials calling it an act of terrorism. According to the latest information, 39 people died in the shooting and nearly 70 were wounded.

Nearly half of the dead were foreign nationals. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the massacre.

Meanwhile, Turkish media outlet Haberturk has been broadcasting another “clearer” image of the suspected club attacker, where he is seen in daylight in a selfie-style photo.

Haberturk also reports on a special police operation conducted in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district. Security forces searched a house there, reportedly looking for the suspect, but has not yet found the alleged shooter, the outlet said.

Syrian refugee who asked ISIS for €180,000 for bombings in Europe detained in Germany

A Syrian asylum seeker has been detained in Germany on suspicion of asking ISIS for money to buy and booby trap cars to kill a large number of “non-Muslim” people in “Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands,” German authorities say.

The 38-year old man was detained early Saturday by German special forces in his flat in the city of Saarbrucken in the Federal State of Saarland. Official confirmation of the operation and further details emerged only on Monday. The Syrian refugee was arrested after Saarland police received a tip off from the Federal Criminal police.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel © Markus Schreiber

According to the Prosecutor’s office, the man in custody is suspected of having reached out to an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group’s contact person in December “who he knew was in a position to obtain IS money for terror financing.” The asylum seeker apparently “asked him [IS contact person] to provide €180,000 so he [the suspect] can use the money to buy vehicles, which he planned to bobby trap with explosives,” a statement by the Prosecutor’s office reads.

The Syrian asylum seeker allegedly planned to buy eight cars – €22,500 each – booby trap the vehicles and drive them into the crowds to “kill a large number of non-Muslim people.” He reportedly said 400 to 500 kilograms (882 to 1,100 pounds) of explosives would be placed in each car.

The Prosecutor’s office announced that the reasons for its assumptions are based on a chat in the online messenger Telegram, which was found in the telephone of the suspect during a search of his flat. “So far the investigation has found no evidence that the suspect had already prepared [booby trapped] cars to carry out the attacks,” authorities noted though.

According to a separate statement by police in Saarland, the suspect allegedly asked for the IS money to finance an “unspecified terrorist attack” in “Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.” 

Hugo Muller, Deputy Commissioner for the Saarland police said that the Syrian man planned to repaint the vehicles as police cars. “In his respective communications with contacts linked to IS, he [the suspect] offered or suggested to repaint cars to make them look similar to police cars, load them with explosives, position them in a crowd of people and then detonate them,” Muller said.

A used suit of a forensic investigator lies on a Christmas tree where a truck ploughed through a crowded Christmas market killing 12 people in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016. © Fabrizio Bensch

The 38-year old entered Germany in 2014 and after applying for asylum and was a granted a temporary residence permit. He acknowledged contacting the IS representative, yet insists he did not plan any terrorist acts, the prosecutor’s office said.

Earlier, Der Spiegel reported that during interrogation, the suspect allegedly said he wanted to use the IS money to support his family in Syria. There is no official confirmation on that so far, with the investigation into the case underway.

Germany was shaken by a major terrorist attack on December 19, when a 24-year old Tunisian Anis Amri drove a stolen truck into a Christmas market stalls in Berlin. Twelve people died and 55 were injured in the attack.  Twenty people are still being treated in hospital.

IS later issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. The investigation found that Amri, who entered Germany as a refugee in 2015, was under surveillance by the country’s security forces for several months. The perpetrator was killed during an ID check in Italy’s Milan four days after committing the Berlin attack, presumably travelling through Netherlands and France.

Last year, Germany suffered several attacks committed by refugees. In two of the cases, the perpetrators were linked to the IS terrorists.

A terrorist assault, similar to the one in Ber

Venezuela sends condolences to Turkey over Istanbul attack

 The Venezuelan government, through an official statement, sent condolences to the Government of Turkey, relatives and friends of the victims for the attack on a nightclub in Istanbul, which killed 39 people.

In the text, issued by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, Venezuela condemns these acts and wishes that this year 2017 “be marked by peace and good hope for this sister nation.”

Following is the full text of the communique:

“The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, on behalf of the Government and the Venezuelan people, expresses its deepest condolences to the Government of Turkey and the relatives and friends of the victims for the tragic attack on a nightclub yesterday in Istanbul, which caused the death of 39 people.

The Bolivarian Government strongly condemns these acts of violence aimed at spreading terror among Turkish citizens and violating the coexistence of this country.

In this difficult moment, we extend our words of solidarity to the Turkish people and especially to all the relatives and friends of the victims.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates its regret to the Government of Turkey for the fatal incident that has plunged Turkish people into mourning and wishes that the coming year be marked by peace and good hope for this sister nation.

Venezuela congratulates Haiti on 213th Independence

 Through an official communique issued by Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry, the Bolivarian Government congratulated the people of Haiti as they celebrate 213 years of heroic independence and are the first nation to achieve freedom in our America.

This Sunday, the Haitian people celebrated 213 years of breaking the chains of slavery imposed by France, to make this Caribbean nation the first in Latin America to gain independence and the second in the American continent after the United States.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, dozens of slaves stood up –with all their strength– against French tyranny and oppression, through which the colonial regime subjected Haitians to inhuman treatment, slavery and humiliation.

Independence was the desire of the Haitian people that started to brew from 1791 and took force on January 1, 1804 when a group of revolutionary fighters led by Jean Jacques Dessalines restarted the independence movement of Haiti to make this Caribbean nation the first of Latin America to gain its independence.

The Haitian Revolution was also a shelter and light for the independence of Venezuela and the Liberator Hero Simon Bolivar as he traveled in 1816 to Haiti after the takeover of Cartagena by the royalist forces. Colonial Spain threatened to attack the young Haitian Republic if it provided support to Bolivar. However, Alexandre Petion, Haitian leader, actively supported Bolivar, in the organization of the Venezuelan independence.

The following is the full communique:

BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN RELATIONS

RELEASE

The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, congratulates the Government and brotherly people of the Republic of Haiti, as they celebrate 213 years of their independence, a historic event of great importance for our America, by becoming the first free nation after that glorious January 1, 1804.

Our republican history began to be written in Haiti, transformed into a beacon of freedom for all Latin American and Caribbean nations. It was in Haiti where Liberator Hero Simon Bolivar found the support and backing in the most difficult moments for the independence movement of the Great Homeland.

With Eternal Commander Hugo Chavez, we say: “I have inscribed in my soul the heroic and martyr Haitian people with their infinite love and great hope … for Petion and Bolivar we have to pay a historical debt to the people of Haiti.”

After 213 years of this heroic deed, we reaffirm our determination to continue honoring our commitment of solidarity and gratitude linking us with Haiti and its great struggles of resistance.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates to the people of Haiti its firm will to build a more integrated, fair and united Caribbean region by strengthening Petrocaribe and ALBA-TCP, and continue to walk the roads together for our American victory and independence.

May the people of Haiti live!

Long live Petion!

Caracas, January 1, 2017

$ 30 billion oil investment shows confidence in Venezuela

 As part of the development of the Oil Engine of the Bolivarian Economic Agenda, state oil company PDVSA signed throughout 2016 a range of strategic cooperation agreements to boost the nation’s energy development, which exceed 30 billion dollars.

During the year, PDVSA received financing from its partners in the joint ventures operating in the Orinoco Oil Belt Hugo Chavez, which is the world’s largest oil reservoir, confirming the confidence of international investors in the economic development of the country, despite the smear campaign undertaken by credit rating agencies.

With the Russian company Rosneft, the state firm signed agreements to boost the country’s oil output, which represent investments of around $ 20 billion, in 5 joint ventures, which currently produce 170,000 oil barrels a day and has the potential to rise to 1 million barrels per day.

Over the course of the year, PDVSA and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) finalized a wide range of strategic cooperation agreements, including the construction of the Jie Yang refinery in China, which will have 40% of national share ownership, and the remaining 60% of Asian corporation. This refining center will process 400 MBD and will primarily use Venezuelan crude.

The two companies also signed an agreement to increase the production of the Petrozumano joint venture to 15 MBD, and includes the reactivation and rehabilitation of wells and infrastructure, through an investment of $ 225 million.

Another agreement has to do with the work to increase the production of joint ventures Petrourica at 30 MBD and Petrozumano at 15 MBD, which means an investment of more than $ 725 million. There is another one that envisages the rehabilitation of 500 wells of 31° API light oil, with an associated production potential of 42,800 barrels per day.

Likewise, PDVSA and the People’s Republic of China will work together to implement the Pilot Alternative Steam-Injection Project in the joint oil company Sinovensa. This project is expected to increase production from 160,000 barrels per day to 230 barrels of extra-heavy crude.

In 2016, PDVSA also signed an agreement with Trinidad and Tobago to implement and develop the Natural Gas Supply Project from Venezuela, from the Dragon Field in the northeast of the country.

On the other hand, India agreed to finance $ 1.4 billion to boost production of the joint ventures Petrolera Indovenezolana and Petrodelta, while the Spanish oil company Repsol will invest $ 1.2 billion to increase production by 60 thousand barrels per day of the mixed company Petroquiriquire.

Through an agreement signed with PDVSA, the Shell Venezuela company will invest $ 2,8 million in the development of the mixed company Petroregional del Lago, which expects to reach a production of 344 million barrels between 2017 and 2035.

This injection of oil resources demonstrates the high level of international investor confidence in Venezuela’s economic strength and development potential. This scenario is not compatible with the reports of the risk rating agencies pointing to the nation as a country with a high level of investment risk, despite the fact that the Bolivarian Government fully complies with the payment of its international commitments.

Venezuela still concerned over Colombia-NATO ties

Venezuela reaffirmed in a statement its position of rejecting Colombian government’s talks with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO with a view to signing a “cooperation agreement” that violates South America’s peace agreements.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced last December 23 that NATO accepted his government’s request to begin talks of membership prior to a final “agreement.”

Following is the complete text of the Foreign Ministry statement:

“The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its concern over the statements made by the Colombia’s Minister of Defense Luis Carlos Villegas, on December 28, 2016, on the upcoming talks held by the Republic of Colombia to deepen the cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Colombian Defense Minister statements, far from generating certainty and tranquility for the region, add worrying assumptions that are part of the so-called NATO’s New Strategic Concept, adopted at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, which undoubtedly open the door to the warmongering and interventionist policy of the organization in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It is highly alarming to turn to NATO, its evil references of grave and massive violations of human rights, and which also has nuclear technology and capacities, to “modernize” the Colombian armed forces and combat transnational organized crime.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in order to fully comply with the mandate of UNASUR and CELAC, declaring Latin America and the Caribbean a zone of peace, reiterates the entire content of the communique issued on December 26, 2016, and again sensitizes the Government of Colombia on this delicate matter that can seriously jeopardize the peace and stability of the region.”

Great Sovereign Supply Mission’s second phase to focus on financing, distribution and raw materials

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) to carry out three main tasks for the first quarter of 2017 based on reorganizing the national distribution of products, providing more than 800 private companies –with installed capacity to manufacture priority products– with inputs and raw materials and also granting financing credits to leverage national productive development.

In the End of the Year salutation to the FANB, Maduro praised the work of the first phase of the Great Sovereign Supply Mission, in charge of the Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino Lopez and announced that a second phase will begin next January and is aimed at ending the mafias affecting the ordinary distribution of basic staples, one of the main flanks –he said– of the boycott and hoarding of the economic war.

He said that after talking with several industrial groups, he proposed that 50% of what they produce be sold to the State and later distribute these products directly to the population through the Local Committees of Supply and Production or CLAP.

President also ratified that the national executive, as it has been in the last 17 years, is open to work jointly with private companies always with respect to the Bolivarian Constitution and the laws that govern the national democratic order.

Social investment reached 71.4% during 2016

During 2016, Venezuelan government increased social investment by 71.4%, which contrasts with the 38% invested by the State in social policies in previous governments, said President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday.

“Of every 100 bolivars that goes through the national coffers and that it is up to me, as head of state and government to manage, 71.4% has gone to social investment this year,” he said.

In a joint radio and television hookup from the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, he also pointed out that 82% of the country’s education is public, as a result of this broad investment in social policies.

“That means there is a strategy, a project, a plan, an intention, a conviction and, in addition, a work done. So we have increased to a record 71.4% social investment this year,” he said.

With regard to health coverage, Maduro noted that the 100% Barrio Adentro policy has reached eight states of the country.

For 17 years, when the Bolivarian Revolution began in Venezuela, the support the State guarantees to policies aimed at contributing to the fundamental rights of the people has increased.

Maduro announces military civic exercises

 Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced Wednesday that as part of the actions to commemorate the bicentenary of the popular hero, General Ezequiel Zamora, the first day of civic-military exercises, called Zamora 200, will take place on January 14, 2017.

“I have given the order to do the first military exercises of territorial defense, air defense, Zamora 200, next Saturday, January 14, with a deployment of military forces, militia forces and popular forces,” he said during the End of the Year salutation to the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB), held in Campo de Carabobo, Carabobo state.

He also declared 2017 the year of the civic-military union in tribute to Zamora, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth to take place on February 1.

The military exercises will be held days after FANB troops rejoin their respective battalions, following the Christmas holidays ordered by the Executive, that will last until the first days of January.

In his address, Maduro stated that he had absolute faith in the awareness of the South American peoples, facing the constant threats to the sovereignty and independence of nations.

In this sense, he pointed out that despite 2016 has been the hardest year for the Bolivarian Revolution, the revolutionary force demonstrated “to be forged as steel history.”

“They could not defeat us in 2016 and they will never be able to, with this rebellious spirit of the people of Bolivar,” President claimed.

He called to follow the same victorious route of Liberator hero Simon Bolivar, who a day like today, 200 years ago, landed for the second time in Venezuela, coming from Haiti.

Venezuela to comply with oil cut deal from January 1

Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA will cut 95,000 barrels of its daily crude oil output from January 1st to comply with the commitment made by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and external producers to reduce 1.7 million barrels per day for six months to drain global oil inventories and stabilize the market.

The company will comply with the deal without undermining its international commitments, which is why it agreed with its subsidiaries “to decrease the volumes of the main oil sales contracts, all in accordance with the terms and conditions of their existing contracts,” PDVSA said in a press release.

OPEC and non-OPEC member countries will reduce 1,758,000 oil barrels per day to achieve a rebound in oil prices that fell by 70% since 2014, which is the longest cycle of low prices in 45 years.

Each country will reduce output for a period of six months, renewable for a further six months.

“PDVSA, in compliance with the commitments made by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, reiterates its commitment to abide by the decisions reached by it and contribute to the benefit and stability of the world oil industry,” the company said.

Valve plant fortifies capacity to export valves to Caribbean countries

After 11 years of resuming operations by the working class, the Venezuelan industrial valve plant INVEVAL is emerging as a pioneer company in the manufacture, maintenance and design of industrial zero-leakage gate, globe and check valves in sizes 2″ – 48″.

This instance, attached to the Ministry of Basic Industries and Trade, is projected for 2017 as a model and self-sustaining company, which has strengthened its operational capacity by 95% to meet the strong demand for valves for state-owned oil company PDVSA and others as local water utility company Hidrocapital.

Located in the industrial sector La Llovizna in the Carrizal municipality of Miranda state, the factory has a council of workers, who leads the productive work and boosts the operational capacity to export high quality valves to Caribbean countries, saving the country over 123 million dollars.

“Workers are key players in INVEVAL. We are a spearhead of the Revolution, because we are a strategic company for the country. These efforts are made possible thanks to the workers, if they were not committed to the country we hardly had this company working. For 2017 the company will be fully self-sustaining,” said the president of the organization, Alcibiades Paz, in an interview with the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN).

Currently the metalworking company has million-dollar agreements with other strategic companies and is in talks to start exporting parts to Caribbean countries. One of these agreements was recently confirmed with Bariven for more than five billion bolivars in order to produce more than 9,700 valves. Another contract being talked about is with PDVSA Gas, Venezuelan aluminum plant Venalum and bauxite and alumina producer Bauxilum.

Paz said that INVEVAL has an operational capability to assemble up to 10,000 valve parts per year. “With Venezuelan technology and components from the country we are joining the productive socialist model promoted by President Nicolas Maduro to further strengthen the legacy of our Commander Hugo Chavez.

Productive workforce

The bravery, determination and patriotic commitment were the vital principles for workers to form a productive force that allowed to reopen the doors of INVEVAL on December 9, 2005, when the socialist leader Hugo Chavez, president at the time, handed over management of this productive unit to the working class.

Even though the company was closed by its owner Andres Sosa Prieto, to join the oil sabotage orchestrated by the right in 2002-2003 with the aim of overthrowing the constitutional government of Hugo Chavez, via an economic coup against the Venezuelan people, the fight undertaken by the workers to recover and reactivate this factory, was not in vain, and on the contrary built a new productive force fundamental to overcome the difficulties and continue working for the well-being of the country.

“Our commander Hugo Chavez and then president of the National Assembly, Nicolas Maduro, took the initiative in 2005 to hand over this company to its workers through the expropriation decree. From that date we have the keys of our company, we went through many ups and downs, but today we can say that we have a decent job with all our benefits contributing our part to the country,” Robert Alfonso, an engineer and quality assurance manager with 24 years in the company, told AVN.

Integration and strengthening

One of the workers’ goals is to continue deepening the exchange of knowledge and sharing their knowledge with the new generations of young people, so that more and more people get involved in the design and manufacture of valves.

Increasing the jobs is another purpose for the coming year 2017. This is how the company proposed to increase the number of workers from 79 to 100 for the area of valve manufacturing and repair.

Jose Quintero, a marketing worker, said that the company is moving forward as a pioneer factory in valve reengineering and marketing.

“We are in line with the Bolivarian Government policies. We are contributing to the production of the country. INVEVAL has just signed an agreement with Bariven for repair, maintenance, manufacture and supply of valves for more than five years, which will allow us to increase our staff and generate new job opportunities in the area,” he said.

He pointed out that “in this current situation of the country, as a result of oil price slump, INVEVAL has significantly favored the country by minimizing imports, which has allowed companies like PDVSA to become interested in recovering the valves they have in their workforce of our borders.”

In order to continue consolidating a solid link with organized communities, INVEVAL pursues as its primary goal for 2017 to strengthen its links with community councils and communities of the sector through projects and promotion of sports, cultural and recreational activities.

Venezuela, Colombia agree progressive reopening of border

  The Venezuelan and Colombian governments agreed Monday to gradually reopen the common border from Tuesday, December 20, at 6:00 am, Caracas time.

Following a telephone conversation between Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, both leaders also agreed to instruct the defense ministers of both countries to coordinate immediate actions to normalize the border situation, said the Minister for Communication and Information Ernesto Villegas in his Twitter account.

On December 11, the National Government announced that 100-bolivar banknotes will be pulled from circulation, after detecting the extraction of large quantities of this piece of money by border mafias between Venezuela and Colombia, as part of the attack on the national economy.

In this regard, Venezuela decided to close the border with the neighboring country, and also extended this measure to the border with Brazil until January 2, 2017.

Furthermore, Caracas has reiterated to Bogota to repeal the articles of Resolution Nº 8, which authorizes exchange houses and money changers on the Colombian-Venezuelan border to set the value of the bolivar according to the day-to-day operations in that area, without going through dollar. This encourages illegal exchange rate and disturbs the Venezuelan economy.

“President Juan Manuel Santos agreed a meeting between BCV (Central Bank of Venezuela) and Banco de la Republica (Colombia) to reach a solution to this problem,” Villegas said in another Twitter message.

USA is responsible for sabotage against new banknotes transfer, Maduro says

  Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro denounced Sunday the US government carried out sabotage actions to prevent the new notes of the monetary cone from being transferred to the country.

During his weekly TV show In Touch With Maduro, from the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, he explained that this sabotage was intended to prevent the new banknotes, which are ready, from entering into the national banking system, in order to create discomfort among people.

“One of the main features of this measure was to proceed immediately to the delivery of the new bills and replace the 100-bolivar bill. For 15 days, we began to strangely see that even though the notes were already made, it was impossible to get airplanes to bring them into the country. We got planes (cargo) from various parts of Europe, and the planes received calls from the US Treasury Department to cancel flights and hiring. One of these planes was going to its destination and in mid-flight was diverted to another country and we have the evidence and many others that are underway,” he explained.

On December 4, the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) announced the entry into circulation of six new banknotes of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 bolivars (Bs.) to make the payment system more efficient.

However, he announced that shipments of the new 500-bolivar bills arrived in the country on Sunday afternoon.

“After having suffered sabotage, the 500-bolivar notes are arriving this Sunday at 4:00 pm. They could not stop us, they delayed us four days … now we have them and the Bs. 1,000, 2,000, 20,000 bills, we will accumulate that and when we introduce the new bill, the entire monetary cone will be complete,” he said.

Right-wing violence

During his address, the President also denounced that sectors of the imperial right-wing orchestrated a new plan to carry out violent actions in the country, and destabilize the economic system.

“It is one of Obama’s last throes to create division, that was the plan to generate violence, we have arrested those behind these plans,” he said, pointing out that right-wing parties Voluntad Popular (or People’s Will) and Primero Justicia (or Justice First) “are behind all these violent plans with the support of the US embassy in Venezuela.”

Furthermore, the president said that the Bolivarian Revolution has shown that it has the ability to react to neutralize these attacks.

Venezuela salutes UN good offices in controversy over Essequibo

  Last Friday, the United Nations, through its Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the continuation of good offices to resolve the dispute between Venezuela and Guyana over the Essequibo territory.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said via twitter that the Bolivarian Government welcomes and appreciates UN willingness to resolve the controversy. “Venezuela welcomes and thanks the announcement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the continuation of Good Offices in Essequibo controversy,” she wrote.

She said Venezuela will send to the secretary general of the UN the position of Venezuela which “rejects the resort to the International Court” issued by the authorities of Guyana.

Rodriguez recalled that the way to settle the dispute is the Geneva Agreement and demanded Guyana “the good-faith fulfillment of good offices mechanism.”

On July 10 last year, Venezuela formally requested UN to appoint a Good Offices envoy to mediate the conflict with Guyana. The National Government has reiterated that it will maintain peace diplomacy and respect for international law to resolve the dispute over the Essequibo, which was stripped by the British empire.

“It is the victory of Bolivarian peace diplomacy, led by President Nicolas Maduro, who has upheld Venezuela’s position on Good Offices,” Rodriguez said.

Guyana has acted unilaterally regarding the dispute, thereby violating the 1966 Geneva Agreement, which states that no act or activity in that territory shall be permitted while this document is in force, signed by the parties.

PAHO certified Venezuela free of measles and rubella

  The International Expert Committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has certified Venezuela as being free of measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome after verifying that the transmission of viral agents has been cut and there are no cases of these diseases in the region.

In 2007, national commissions were set up to document and verify, with a standardized method of work, this information in each country, which allowed Venezuela to obtain this guarantee, said Minister for Health, Luisana Melo, in a press release of the ministry.

She said that since 1999 the Bolivarian Government has strengthened and expanded the access of the National Immunization Program for the whole family group with a scheme of 14 vaccines that prevents 18 diseases, employs diverse strategies of integral care of the population from the Comprehensive Community Health Areas (Asic), under the guidelines of the 100% Barrio Adentro policy to ensure that every child is vaccinated, among its duties addressing health policy issues.

Furthermore, the government has increased public investment in biological medicinal products, created biological products plant Espromed-Bio and opened new immunization-vaccination stations throughout the country.

Melo reaffirmed that Venezuela will continue to strengthen its capacity for epidemiological surveillance through the National Institute of Hygiene, the network of public health laboratories and rapid response to the introduction of imported cases of such diseases.