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Posts tagged ‘Maduro’

Venezuela’s Maduro: Workers See Chavez Apparition at Building Site.


Image: Venezuela's Maduro: Workers See Chavez Apparition at Building Site

CARACAS, VenezuelaVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said an image of his idol and predecessor, the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, has appeared miraculously in the wall of an underground construction site.

Since his death from cancer earlier this year, Chavez has taken on mythical proportions for supporters and Maduro has spoken of seeing his former mentor’s spirit several times, including in the shape of a bird.

In the latest incident, Maduro said Chavez’s face had briefly appeared to workers building a new subway line in Caracas in the middle of the night.

“My hair stands on end just telling you about it,” Maduro said on state TV late on Wednesday, showing a photo of a white-plaster wall with marks that appear like eyes and a nose.

“Who is that face? That gaze is the gaze of the fatherland that is everywhere around us, including in inexplicable phenomena,” added an awed Maduro, who won an April election to replace Chavez after his 14-year presidency.

Maduro’s reverence for Chavez plays well with government supporters, who treat the charismatic former leader’s memory with religious adoration. The 50-year-old Maduro, who mixes Catholic beliefs with a penchant for Asian spirituality, has been a devoted personal follower of Chavez since first meeting him at a jail in 1993.

Workers took the photo with a mobile phone during the image’s brief appearance, the president added.

“Just as it appeared, so it disappeared. So you see, what you say is right, Chavez is everywhere, we are Chavez, you are Chavez,” Maduro said during an event shown on live TV.

Stories of Chavez appearances, however, draw mockery from the roughly half of Venezuelans who do not support Maduro. Many of them regard him as a buffoon riding on Chavez’s image and causing embarrassment for Venezuela‘s international standing.

Both sides are gearing up for local elections in December that will be a major test of Maduro’s standing in the OPEC nation of 29 million people. Rampant violent crime and economic problems are the main issues taxing voters.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Maduro Seeks Decree Powers From Venezuela Lawmakers.


Image: Maduro Seeks Decree Powers From Venezuela Lawmakers

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro went to parliament on Tuesday to seek decree powers that he says are essential to tackle corruption and fix the economy but opponents view as proof he wants to rule as an autocrat.The National Assembly, where Maduro’s socialist government has a nearly two-thirds majority, will schedule a vote on the request next week and is widely expected to grant him the fast-track legislative powers in a revival of a measure used several times by his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

Maduro, 50, says he needs the so-called Enabling Law for 12 months to toughen a crackdown on corruption in the South American OPEC nation as well as tackle economic problems that have become the main challenge of his young presidency.

“We’ve come to ask for decree powers that will give us a solid legal basis to act quickly and firmly against this badness, this sickness,” he told lawmakers after arriving to the cheers of supporters who lined streets around the assembly.

“If corruption continues and perpetuates the destructive logic of capitalism, there won’t be socialism here anymore. . . . Corruption must stop being a normal part of our political life,” Maduro said.

Only introducing “extremely severe” punishments for graft could put the country on the right path, he said, urging Venezuelans to reject corruption wherever it originated, in the opposition ranks or among his own “Chavista” supporters.

“It’s the same gangsterism, however it’s dressed up,” Maduro said.

Opposition leaders, however, suspect Maduro will try to use the special powers to attack them and to push through new laws that have nothing to do with the fight against graft.

In its latest annual index of perceptions of corruption, global watchdog Transparency International ranked Venezuela as the ninth most corrupt country in the world.

Having risen from a Caracas bus driver to Chavez’s vice president, Maduro won an April election to succeed him after his death from cancer.

Opponents mock Maduro as a poor imitation of Chavez, Venezuela’s leader of 14 years, arguing that he is ruining the country by continuing the same model of authoritarian leadership and failed leftist economic policies.

In a long speech that hailed the late Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara and quoted South American independence hero Simon Bolivar, Maduro said decree powers would let him “deepen, accelerate and fight until the end for a new political ethic, a new republican life, and a new society.”

ECONOMIC WAR

Though he has ordered no new state takeovers of businesses, the president has kept in place controversial Chavez-era currency controls and the black market price of dollars has soared to seven times higher than the official rate.

Inflation, a decades-old problem in Venezuela, is at an annual 45 percent, and the restricted access to dollars has fueled a shortage of imported goods ranging from toilet paper and motorcycle parts to communion wine.

Having repeatedly promised to ease the country’s complex currency controls to let a greater flow of dollars reach importers, Maduro may initially use decree powers to tinker with the complicated foreign exchange regime.

Maduro says Washington is helping the local opposition wage an “economic war” against Venezuela. Last week, he expelled three U.S. diplomats he accused of plotting with anti-government activists to damage the power grid and commit other sabotage.

The president likens the current accumulation of problems to the 2002-2003 period of Chavez’s rule, when there was a brief coup and an oil sector strike against him.

Chanting from the public gallery of the National Assembly, Maduro’s supporters interrupted his speech to sing “That’s how you govern!” and “With Chavez and Maduro, the people are safe!”

Opposition leaders, in a nation of 29 million people broadly split 50:50 between pro- and anti-government supporters, accuse Maduro of inventing excuses to cover up his own incompetence and the dysfunctional economy he inherited from Chavez.

“Maduro and his gang will be remembered as presiding over the most corrupt period in the history of Venezuela,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said.

“This law that he wants is in order to distract the people from their problems. Decree powers will not help the government be successful.”

The last time Chavez was granted decree powers — in 2010 for 18 months — it caused a political uproar, despite his insistence that he needed them to deal with a national emergency caused by floods that made nearly 140,000 people homeless.

The late socialist leader passed nearly 200 laws by decree during his time in office, including legislation that allowed him to nationalize major oil projects and increase his influence in the Supreme Court.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Venezuela expels three US diplomats over ‘sabotage’.


Nicolas Maduro: “We cannot accept that this group of US officials take action against the peace of the republic like this”

Venezuela has announced it is expelling three US diplomats, whom it accuses of plotting to sabotage the economy.

President Nicolas Maduro said the diplomats have 48 hours to leave the country, saying “Yankees, go home!”

Mr Maduro says he has evidence that the trio took part in a power-grid sabotage in September and had bribed Venezuelan companies to cut down production.

The United States and Venezuela have been without ambassadors in each other’s capitals since 2010.

The diplomats expelled have been named as Kelly Keiderling – the charge d’affaires and the most senior US diplomat in Caracas – David Moo and Elizabeth Hoffman.

“We completely reject the Venezuelan government‘s allegations of US government involvement in any type of conspiracy to destabilize the Venezuela government,” the embassy said in a statement.

It said it had not yet been officially notified of the Venezuelan government decision to expel the three diplomats.

Mr Maduro made the announcement during an official ceremony at the city of Santa Ana.

“Out of Venezuela! Yankees go home! Enough of abuse against the dignity of a peace-loving nation,” he said.

Venezuela is facing a shortage of several goods, including toilet paper, sugar and flour.

The opposition blames Mr Maduro’s left-wing policies and rhetoric for the crisis.

‘New York plot’

Relations between the two countries have been bad for over a decade.

For years, the late President Hugo Chavez denounced “American imperialism” in Latin America.

In December 2010, Mr Chavez denied a visa to the man appointed to be US ambassador to Caracas, Larry Palmer, over remarks he had made about involvement between the Venezuelan government and Colombian Farc rebels.

Supermarket in Venezuela, May 13The Venezuelan government seized a toilet paper factory last month to avoid any shortage

“Anyone who comes here as an ambassador has to show respect. This is a country that must be respected,” Mr Chavez said at the time.

The US retaliated and expelled the Venezuelan ambassador to Washington.

Mr Maduro took office as interim president when Mr Chavez was terminally ill with cancer. He was elected president in April, by a narrow margin, defeating opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Mr Maduro’s new Foreign Minister, Elias Jaua, met the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, during a regional summit in Guatemala in June.

They both said they were determined to improve relations, but the good will did not last long.

Last week, Mr Maduro cancelled his scheduled speech at the United Nations Assembly General, saying that his life would be in danger in New York.

Mr Maduro accused two former US officials of being behind the “provocations”.

“The US government knows exactly that these people were behind a dangerous activity being plotted in New York,” he said.

Source: BBC NEWS.

Venezuela’s Maduro Cancels UN Speech Over New York Threats.


CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro canceled a trip to speak at the U.N. General Assembly’s annual gathering in New York because of what he called threats to his safety.

One of the alleged plots could have caused violence in New York and the other could have affected his physical safety, Maduro said in a national address carried on television and radio Wednesday.

“The clan, the mafia of Otto Reich and Roger Noriega once again had planned a crazy, terrible provocation that can’t be described in any other way,” Maduro said, referring to two former U.S. officials he frequently accuses of plots against Venezuela.

Maduro, who returned to Venezuela yesterday from a state visit to China, said he learned of the plots from “various sources” during a stopover in Vancouver and decided to return to Caracas.

The self-professed socialist accused the United States of inventing “thousands of excuses” for declining to authorize his transit through U.S. airspace over Puerto Rico last week.

The United States had information about the plots, Maduro said. The State Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I had to fulfill my maximum objective, to preserve my physical integrity, my life, and Venezuelan honor,” Maduro said.

The State Department said Sept. 20 that it granted Maduro’s request to pass through U.S. airspace en route to China from Venezuela after an “extraordinary effort” and that Venezuelan authorities had given one-day notice to use U.S. airspace instead of the required three days.

CUBAN AIRPLANE

Maduro said Wednesday that he traveled in a Cuban airplane because his presidential jet, manufactured by Airbus SAS, had problems after undergoing five months of maintenance in France. Venezuela is considering legal action against the European aviation company, Maduro said.

The State Department in March said claims by Venezuelan officials of U.S.-based plots to destabilize the South American country were “unsubstantiated and outlandish.”

Maduro, who won election in April after former President Hugo Chavez died in March, said in January that authorities uncovered a plot by opposition factions to assassinate him and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Venezuela Slams US Over ‘Repressive Regimes’ Remarks.


CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demanded the United States apologize on Thursday after the Obama administration’s nominee for envoy to the United Nations said there was a crackdown on civil society in the South American country.

Maduro has often clashed with Washington since winning an April election following the death of his mentor, socialist leader Hugo Chavez. He said Samantha Power‘s comments to a Senate confirmation hearing had been aggressive and unfair.

“I want an immediate correction by the U.S. government,” Maduro said in comments broadcast live on state television. “Power says she’ll fight repression in Venezuela? What repression? There is repression in the United States, where they kill African-Americans with impunity, and where they hunt the youngster Edward Snowden just for telling the truth.”

His comment was an apparent reference to the not-guilty verdict handed down in the Florida murder trial of George Zimmerman on Saturday for the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Maduro has been the most vocal of three Latin American leaders who offered asylum to Snowden, the 30-year-old former National Security Agency contractor wanted by Washington for leaking details of secret surveillance programs.

Since taking office, Venezuela’s leader has veered between appearing to want better ties with Washington and denouncing alleged U.S. plots to assassinate him and trigger a coup d’etat.

During her Senate conformation hearing on Wednesday, Power vowed to stand up against “repressive regimes,” and said that meant “contesting the crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.”

Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who became Chavez’s foreign minister and vice president, said the “fascist right” in Venezuela were gleefully applauding her comments.

“And the U.S. government says they want to have good relations? What tremendous relations they want,” he scoffed.

In June, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Elias Jaua met Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of a regional summit. That meeting was seen as a sign of improving ties after years of hostility during Chavez’s 14-year rule.

But the latest collision came when Maduro became the first foreign leader to say explicitly that he was offering asylum to Snowden, who has been trapped in the transit zone of a Moscow airport for more than three weeks.

Bolivia and Nicaragua also subsequently offered him sanctuary, but Venezuela’s government has said it can do little to help him as long as he remains stuck at the airport.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Nicaragua, Venezuela Offer Asylum to Snowden.


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offered asylum to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden on Friday in defiance of Washington, which is demanding his arrest for divulging details of secret U.S. spy programs.

“In the name of America’s dignity … I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to Edward Snowden,” Maduro told a military parade marking Venezuela‘s independence day.

“He is a young man who has told the truth, in the spirit of rebellion, about the United States spying on the whole world.”

The 30-year-old former National Security Agency contractor is believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport.

Russian officials have kept Snowden at arm’s length since he landed from Hong Kong on June 23, saying the transit area where passengers stay between flights is neutral territory and he will be on Russian soil only if he goes through passport control.

It was not immediately clear how Snowden would react to Maduro’s offer, nor reach Venezuela if he accepted.

There are no direct commercial flights between Moscow and Caracas, and the usual route involves changing planes in Havana. It is not clear if the Cuban authorities would let him transit.

Given the dramatic grounding in Vienna of the Bolivian president’s plane this week over suspicions that Snowden was onboard, using European airspace could prove problematic.

One alternative flight plan would involve an aircraft taking off from Moscow, refueling in Vladivostok, and then continuing east over the Pacific to South America.

Russia has shown signs of growing impatience over Snowden’s stay in Moscow. Its deputy foreign minister said on Thursday that Snowden had not sought asylum in that country and needed to choose a place to go.

Moscow has made clear that the longer he stays, the greater the risk of the diplomatic standoff over his fate causing lasting damage to relations with Washington.

The White House declined to comment on Maduro’s offer.

Raising the possibility of at least one other option, Nicaragua said it had received an asylum request from Snowden and could agree to it “if circumstances permit”.

WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization, said on Friday that Snowden had asked six more nations for asylum, bringing to about 20 the number of countries he has appealed to for protection from U.S. espionage charges.

WikiLeaks said on Twitter it would not reveal which six new countries Snowden had applied to for asylum, due to “attempted U.S. interference”.

Maduro said Venezuela was ready to offer him sanctuary, and that the details Snowden had revealed of U.S. spy programs had exposed the nefarious schemes of the U.S. “empire.”

“Who is the guilty one? A young man … who denounces war plans, or the U.S. government which launches bombs and arms the terrorist Syrian opposition against the people and legitimate President Bashar al-Assad?” he asked, to applause and cheers from ranks of military officers at the parade.

“Who is the terrorist? Who is the global delinquent?”

COLONIES OF THE UNITED STATES

Since narrowly winning a presidential election in April that followed the death of his mentor, Hugo Chavez, from cancer, Maduro has often lambasted the United States – even accusing the Pentagon and former U.S. officials of plotting to kill him.

But the former bus driver and union leader has at times also struck a much more conciliatory note, saying he is ready for better relations with Washington, based on mutual respect.

Already one of Snowden’s most vocal supporters on the world stage, Maduro has sharpened his rhetoric in recent days.

It peaked after Bolivia said France, Portugal, Italy and Spain banned a plane carrying its president, Evo Morales, from using their airspace because of suspicions Snowden was aboard.

Latin America’s most vocal leftist leaders denounced that as a disgrace and a serious breach of protocol, and Maduro said the CIA, the U.S. spy agency, was behind it all.

Snowden had revealed that the United States was spying on its European allies, Maduro said on Friday, and yet European leaders still caved under U.S. pressure to ground Morales’ jet.

“The European people have seen the cowardice and the weakness of their governments, which now look like colonies of the United States,” the Venezuelan president said.

Venezuela’s opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, accused Maduro of making a fuss about Snowden to distract voters from a dismal economic picture at home, and a host of other problems including one of the highest murder rates in the world.

“Nicolas, you can’t use asylum to cover up that you stole the election. That doesn’t give you legitimacy, nor make the people forget,” Capriles said on Twitter.

Speaking in Managua, President Daniel Ortega said he would gladly give Snowden asylum in Nicaragua “if circumstances permit”. He did not say what those circumstances might be.

Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in the Americas, has benefited greatly from financial support from Venezuela, and Ortega was a staunch ally of Chavez.

A bid by Snowden for Icelandic citizenship hit an impasse on Friday when the country’s parliament voted not to debate the issue before its summer recess.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

Oliver Stone Making Chavez Film.


Image: Oliver Stone Making Chavez Film

Filmmaker and long-time Hugo Chavez fan Oliver Stone is making a movie about the late Venezuelan leader, according to President Nicolas Maduro.

“Oliver Stone is making a very beautiful film about our commander Hugo Chavez… that he will likely finish in the next months,” Maduro said on Thursday, at an event in the northwestern state of Lara.

“We are eager for its debut on the big screen in Venezuela,” he said.

Maduro said that one of Stone’s producers informed him about the film while on an official trip in Paris.

Chavez led Venezuela for 14 years until he died on March 5 after a long battle with cancer at the age of 58. A retired army lieutenant colonel, he died five months after being re-elected to a third six-year term in office.

Stone, 66, frequently has praised the outspoken Chavez, whom he interviewed for a 2009 documentary entitled “South of the Border,” exploring Chavez’s role in bottom-up change sweeping South America.

Other leftist leaders interviewed in that film included Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa.

Maduro said that Stone soon will visit Venezuela for the premiere of a film project on “the history of American imperialism.”

The director, who has described his views as “progressive”, is known for politically-angled productions that some critics dismiss as tendentious.

On his website, Stone describes some of his films as being “at deep odds with conventional myth.”

His movies include “Platoon” — the first in his Vietnam trilogy — “JFK,” “Natural Born Killers,” and “Nixon.”

He also directed “W.” — an unflattering portrait of former US president George W. Bush — and the hit movies “Wall Street” and “Scarface.”

© AFP 2013

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