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Posts tagged ‘Venezuela’

The Bear Awakes! Putin Planning New Military Bases In Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.


RELATED STORY: Obama Fires Yet Another Commander As Purge Of Military Continues Unchecked

Obama has been relentless in his quest to slash the US Military budget, and it is now paying dividends for our enemies. As the United States has lost its foothold in Latin America, Russia, China and Iran have stepped in to fill that void. The balance of power in the world is going through a major shift right now as America begins to take a back seat.

The Hill: Away from the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is quietly seeking a foothold in Latin America, military officials warn. To the alarm of lawmakers and Pentagon officials, Putin has begun sending navy ships and long-range bombers to the region for the first time in years.

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Russia’s defense minister says the country is planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and just last week, Putin’s national security team met to discuss increasing military ties in the region.

“They’re on the march,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.”

Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command said there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America.

“It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” Kelly said at the March 13 hearing.

The U.S. military says it has been forced to cut back on its engagement with military and government officials in Latin America due to budget cuts. Kelly said the U.S. military had to cancel more than 200 effective engagement activities and multi-lateral exercises in Latin America last year. With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void. source – The Hill

by NTEB News Desk

Ros-Lehtinen: Venezuelan Regime Continuing ‘Assault on Democracy’.


Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says she is concerned there is going to be more bloodshed in Venezuela after three people died in fresh protests.

“[President Nicolas] Maduro is taking advantage of this to continue his assault on democracy. In fact, today, the latest is this: he’s called the peaceful protesters a name that you know is going to justify him taking further criminal action, an armed terrorist insurgency. Now these are peaceful student activists. They’re not armed. I fear the worst is going to be happening in the coming days,” the Florida Republican told Newsmax TV’s John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on “America’s Forum” Friday.

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Ros-Lehtinen, who represents Florida’s 27th congressional district, became the first Cuban American and Latina in Congress when she was elected in 1989. She was also the first Republican woman elected to the House from Florida, and is currently the most senior Republican woman in the House.

She is highly critical of President Barack Obama’s policy on Venezuela, saying, “[Maduro] wants to take over Venezuela in the same way that the Castro brothers have, and that’s why this administration looking the other way is just not an answer. We have no foreign policy to speak of, no real policy direction, especially in Latin America.

“I’ve written a letter to the president and it was signed in a bipartisan manner, calling on the president to take action similar to the action that he’s taken against Russian human rights violators in the Ukraine, but knowing that the president will probably not take action on Venezuela. I have filed a bill that does the same thing. It would deny visas so that they can’t come to the United States, we’d be blocking property, we would freeze the assets, and prohibit all sorts of financial transactions to members of the Maduro regime who are responsible for the commission of serious human rights abuses against the citizens of Venezuela.”

Ros-Lehtinen continued, “The assembly of citizens in Venezuela is getting greatly curtailed. They’re limiting the access to print and broadcast media and what we’ve seen is that one of the things that we should do is reduce imports of Venezuelan oil. This would prevent Maduro regime from using the profits from the sale of petroleum to further oppress and further violate the human rights of the people of Venezuela. ”

She also had harsh words for the Organization of American States, calling it dysfunctional. “Even more so than the United Nations and we fund them — we fund 40 percent of this terrible body. They get 40 percent of their budget from you, the American taxpayer, and our bill says that our permanent representative to the OAS has got to use the voice, the vote, the influence, to defend what has long been the factor that has entered into U.S. and Latin American relations, which is the inter-American democratic charter,” she said.

“We’re doing all we can to help the folks who have been detained, the peaceful protestors, and just like the Cuban regime Maduro likes to blame the U.S. for his own failure. But the reality is that Maduro’s the one who has been responsible for the trampling of human rights. Do you know the economic situation, the food shortages, high inflation? This is a country that had all the natural resources and all the money and yet people don’t even have toilet paper. ”

Ros-Lehtinen said she is also concerned about organized crime from Latin America spilling over into the U.S. “What we have seen is that when the U.S. is looking the other way, when we’re looking at what’s happing in Ukraine, we’re looking at Syria, we’re looking at Iran—as well we should because those are problem areas for us— but what happens is that the drug traffickers and the cartels and the thugs, including terrorists, will make their way into the United States,” she warned.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Lisa Barron

Putin Taunts Obama By Parking Russian Warship 90 Miles Off Florida Coast.


 

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Havana (AFP) – A Russian warship was docked in Havana Wednesday, without explanation from Communist Cuba or its state media.

The boat, measuring 91.5 meters (300 feet) long and 14.5 meters wide, was docked at the port of Havana’s cruise ship area, near the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

The Vishnya, or Meridian-class intelligence ship, which has a crew of around 200, went into service in the Black Sea in 1988 before it was transferred seven years later to the northern fleet, Russian media sources said.

Neither Cuban authorities nor state media have mentioned the ship’s visit, unlike on previous tours by Russian warships.

The former Soviet Union was Cuba’s sponsor state through three decades of Cold War. After a period of some distancing under former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, the countries renewed their political, economic and military cooperation.

The ship is reportedly armed with 30mm guns and anti-aircraft missiles.

Its visit comes as isolated Havana’s current economic and political patron, Venezuela, is facing unprecedented violent protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Cuban President Raul Castro’s Communist government is the Americas’ only one-party regime. source – Yahoo News

by NTEB News Desk

Venezuela Lets CNN Journalists Stay.


CNN’s journalists can remain in Venezuela after all, President Nicolas Maduro said, reversing a day-old move to revoke their credentials and begin expulsion.

Maduro threatened to kick out the network’s journalists if CNN did not “rectify’ its coverage of the country’s anti-government protests, the network reported Friday night.

But Maduro changed course later, and Maduro said CNN could stay.

Maduro had called out CNN along with Fox News and other media from the United States, saying they encouraged the opposition forces.

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But the brunt of his anger went to CNN, saying its Spanish-language division did “not talk about anything except Venezuela. One hundred percent of the programming until today has been Venezuela. No other Latin American news but Venezuela.”

He also accused CNN of calling for “civil war and hatred” while lying to the world.

“This comes back to the owner of CNN. He is the one who sets the guidelines,” accused Maduro. “And they work with the State Department, and from there they use that network to foment a pretend war among Venezuelans and to say internationally there should be intervention in Venezuela.”

He demanded a “balance based on respect for Venezuelan laws. He who does not respect the laws will not be on Venezuelan airwaves.”

Maduro also, during the press conference, called on President Barack Obama to join him in talks to resolve problems between the United States and Venezuela, saying the meeting would “put the truth out on the table,” reports BBC News.

On Wednesday, Obama urged Venezuela Wednesday to release protesters detained in anti-government demonstrations that turned violent and address the “legitimate grievances” of its people.

During Friday’s state TV broadcast, CNN correspondents Rafael Romo and Karl Penhaul, along with CNN en Español’s Osmary Hernandez were often shown, and Penhaul asked the president about the status of an investigation into the armed theft of CNN’s television equipment during an anti-government protest.

Maduro said the theft was being investigated and that CNN will likely recover its equipment.

Last Sunday, Venezuela threw out three U.S. diplomats, accusing them of meeting with violent groups linked to the opposition, the BBC reports.

The clashes between security forces and protesters have gone on for days, resulting in at least eight deaths, and Maduro accused CNN on Thursday of showing “war propaganda” instead of people “building the homeland.”

The government hours later told seven CNN journalists that their accreditations had been revoked and they must book flights back home.

“CNN has reported both sides of the tense situation in Venezuela, even with very limited access to government officials,” CNN said in a statement, and that when its credentials were revoked, journalists were seeking an interview with the president.

Meanwhile, CNN’s troubles in Venezuela are not over. A top lawmaker and leader of the ruling party said the government is investigating allegations against the network and will “not tremble in acting against those who make an attempt against the motherland.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Obama to Venezuela’s Maduro: Release Prisoners, Address Grievances.


President Barack Obama urged Venezuela Wednesday to release protesters detained in anti-government demonstrations that turned violent and address the “legitimate grievances” of its people.

Obama condemned violence that has marred two weeks of protests in the oil-rich country against the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro, with four people killed so far.

Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, one of the main actors in the wave of protests, is due for a hearing at the prison where he is held on claims he incited the violence.

Scores of protesters have also been detained.

“Along with the Organization of American States, we call on the Venezuelan government to release protesters it has detained and engage in real dialogue,” Obama told reporters after a North American leaders summit in this Mexican city.

Speaking about unrest in Venezuela and Ukraine, Obama denounced the “unacceptable violence in those two countries which the United States strongly condemns.”

“In Venezuela, rather than trying to distract from its own failings by making up false accusations against diplomats from the United States, the government ought to focus on addressing the legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people,” Obama said.

“All parties have an obligation to work together to restrain violence and restore calm.”

Venezuela’s relations with Washington, long strained under stalwart leftist leader Hugo Chavez, have remained sour and distrustful under Maduro, who has stuck closely to his predecessor’s policies.

About 100 supporters of jailed opposition leader Lopez rallied Wednesday outside a Caracas court where he had been due to hear charges blaming him for a deadly episode of violence.

Heavy security surrounded the Palace of Justice, blocking streets leading to the building, where the Harvard-educated economist had been scheduled to appear after spending the night in jail.

But his party said in a Twitter message that the hearing had been moved to a military jail. Lopez’s defense attorney Juan Carlos Gutiérrez said a court illegally ordered the change claiming it would protect Lopez’s life.

Lopez’s dramatic surrender to national guard troops at a protest rally Tuesday came after two weeks of protests in the oil-rich country against the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro is under fire over what critics say is rampant crime, runaway inflation, high unemployment and other economic problems.

After three people were killed in street clashes on February 12, Maduro ordered Lopez’s arrest, blaming him for the violence.

Political scientist Angel Oropeza said the government was walking a tightrope.

“They may hold him for a few days. If they free him right away, it would be a sign of weakness,” said Oropeza, a political science professor at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas.

“But if they hold on to him for a long time, it could fuel the protests even more and the government would come under more international pressure,” he said.

Oropeza said that with the arrest, the only thing the government had achieved was to divert people’s attention away from Venezuela’s economic woes and “shift debate to an area it has always handled better — that of political confrontation.”

On Tuesday, Lopez told thousands of his supporters, all clad in white, that he hoped his arrest would highlight the “unjust justice” in Venezuela. He drew an explosion of cheers from the crowds.

Maduro, speaking to pro-government oil workers dressed in red in the western part of Caracas, countered that Lopez would have to “answer for his calls to sedition.”

Lopez, draped in a Venezuelan flag, suddenly emerged in the crowd on Tuesday on the Plaza Brion, climbing a statue of Cuban independence hero Jose Marti.

After delivering a brief message to his cheering supporters, who had defied a ban on the march, he surrendered to the National Guard.

“I present myself before an unjust justice, before a corrupt justice,” said Lopez.

“If my incarceration serves to wake up people… it will have been worth it.”

He calmly walked under escort to a National Guard vehicle as his supporters pressed around the vehicle, blocking its path.

Maduro’s government summoned its followers to rallies of its own in an area of downtown Caracas, amid fears of clashes with the opposition demonstrators.

The tensions generated by the protests have spilled into the international arena.

On Sunday, Maduro ordered the expulsion of three US diplomats, accusing them of meeting student leaders under the guise of offering them visas.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said that the United States was still mulling its options.

“I would repeat very strongly that the allegations against our diplomats by the Venezuelan government are baseless and false, and that right now, we are considering what actions to take,” Harf said.

© AFP 2014
Source: Newsmax.com

Maria Conchita Alonso: Oliver Stone ‘Got Paid’ to Support Venezuela.


Actress and singer Maria Conchita Alonso says movie director Oliver Stone “got paid” to support the Venezuelan government, a dictatorship being infiltrated by foreign interests that ultimately pose a threat to the United States.

“It’s a dictatorship right now in Venezuela. And it’s a danger for the United States,” the outspoken Cuban-born, Venezuelan-raised star told “The Steve Malzberg Show” Wednesday on Newsmax TV.

“This is a war about the next-door neighbors of the United States. The Cubans are there. The Russians. The Iranians. The Chinese. Just now, in the past few days, planes full of soldiers from Cuba have been arriving in Venezuela. Chinese are also arriving in Venezuela.

“The final point of all this is, they want the United States. Why is that so hard to understand?”

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Alonso passionately described the personal tragedies unfolding in the streets of Venezuela.

“These students were tired of [the fact that] you can’t find food, you can’t find medicine, if you go out of your home to see your mom or take your kids to school, or whatever, your life is in danger,” she said.

“Every week, hundreds of people are killed by the huge crimes that exist now in Venezuela. Isn’t it better to just go out and do something and stop this once and for all? … The kids are out on the streets trying to save a country,” she said.

“And the students have no arms… I mean, they have nothing, and the military is infiltrated with a lot of Cubans and they’re… attacking with real bullets and with the other ones that do hurt you and open holes in your body but they’re not real ones.

“Four students have been killed, three students and one girl were killed…. A 17-year-old kid was run over by an SUV from someone from the pedevesa [the state-run oil and gas company], from the government. The kids are out on the streets trying to save a country, trying to tell the Cubans, ‘you get out of here.’”

Stone — whose films include “JFK,” “Natural Born Killers,” and “The Hand” —  is producing a biopic on the life of the late Hugo Chavez and recently implied that student protests against the current regime aren’t legitimate.

“Venezuela is a democratically elected government. These people who keep protesting are sore losers,” he said in an interview.

Alonso, co-star of the Robin Williams flick “Moscow on the Hudson,” says Stone received funding from the Chavez government for film projects and therefore has remained sympathetic to the Venezuelan government.

“He got paid all the money [from the Chavez regime] and has to do this….

“And the same thing years ago, Danny Glover got paid, I don’t know how many millions… to make a movie about one of the first presidents from Haiti….

“It’s all about money.”

See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Joe Schaeffer

Luis Rosales: Time for World to Join Venezuela’s Fight for Democracy.


Everyone who believes in democracy, freedom and human rights today should be standing with Leopoldo López, the brave young opposition leader who is defying the growing radicalization of the ruling government in Venezuela.

López, a charismatic, Harvard-educated former mayor of Caracas’ Chacao district, has emerged as the face of the growing opposition to the leftist government of Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the late dictator Hugo Chavez. On Tuesday, López was arrested on what international human rights groups have called baseless charges for the deaths of three people killed in an anti-government demonstration earlier this month.

Although President Maduro has called him a fascist, Lopez is completely the opposite. He is an honest politician who really believes in democracy. He has devoted his life to helping his country stand up to the growing authoritarianism of Maduro. He has long been persecuted by a government that controls most of the country’s media and its corrupt judiciary.

From the beginning, when he was first elected mayor in 2000, Lopez challenged this repressive system. Chavez ordered judges to ban him from holding further office after saddling him with trumped up charges. The government consistently has used this method to eliminate popular opponents. As one of the three most popular political leaders in the country, Lopez stepped back and unselfishly endorsed another opposition candidate for president, Henrique Capriles, in order not to fracture the anti-Chavez opposition.

Chavez died in March, 2013. Maduro, a declared Marxist who many observers consider to be a puppet of Cuba’s Castro regime, succeeded him and was elected after a very controversial process fraught with charges of fraud. The opposition believed it was robbed. But the official apparatus, tightly controlled by the Chavistas, ignored the claims and stifled any official audit of the vote.

That was Maduro’s original sin, the first of many. His rule has been an unmitigated disaster. Venezuela, a global oil power, leads the South American continent in inflation. As the economy has collapsed, it also has taken the lead in other negative indicators like the rate of crime and domestic violence. And that is what feeds the growing opposition movement.

Over the last several weeks, millions have taken to the streets across the country to express their discontent. The government has responded by mobilizing its own armed mobs, backed by both the military and the police, to attack peaceful demonstrators. This, in turn, has divided the opposition.

Capriles leads a group that believes that change can be encouraged through dialogue and nonviolent demonstration. Lopez, however, believes that a repressive government must be challenged with strength when it attacks its own people. He believes that Maduro, like Lenin and Castro before him, is trying to create the conditions for a “proletarian dictatorship,” the first step toward totalitarian socialism.

The history of the last century is replete with nations that have succumbed to this tactic: Russia, the nations of Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea and Cuba to name just a few.

In every case, when socialists took power, they immediately suspended individual liberties, freedom of press and private ownership to end what they considered an “outdated” capitalist and bourgeois systems. The new elites, backed by a massive, authoritarian bureaucracy, never saw any reason to reverse course. What emerged were single party states with either no elections or cruel parodies of them, without freedom, and heavily militarized at all levels of society.

This is the system that Leopoldo López fears will emerge in Venezuela if the people do not stand up and fight now. And it’s going to take democrats and human rights activists from all over the world to help him in his fight. There needs to be a push now to stop Maduro from repressing students and other demonstrators and force him to release Lopez before it’s too late.

We the people have to put international pressure on Maduro’s regime and push our democratic governments and elected representatives to do the same. And we need to do this now, not only for the sake of Lopez, but also for the future of Venezuela and Latin America.

Luis Rosales is a political strategist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the author of the new book, “Francis: A Pope for Our Times.”

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

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