Venezuela's socialists take control of once-defiant congress
The ruling socialist party assumed the leadership of Venezuela's congress on Tuesday, the last institution in the country it didn't already control. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)CARACAS – Parading giant portraits of Hugo Chavez and independence hero Simon Bolivar, allies of President Nicolas Maduro retook control of Venezuela's congress Tuesday, the last institution in the country it didn’t already control. “They are trying to annihilate Venezuela’s democratic force,” Guaidó said in his online address, which was overshadowed by the government’s celebratory session in the legislature downtown. Rodriguez emphasized that urgent work would be needed to mitigate the fallout from U.S. sanctions, which have exacerbated Venezuela's many homespun economic problems. He also reiterated a desire for dialogue with the opposition at the same time that Maduro and others have threatened arrest for Guaidó.
COVID hits dozens of Latin leaders, including presidents
FILE - In this May 25, 2020, file photo, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, stands among supporters as he leaves his official residence of Alvorada palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus's severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)
COVID hits dozens of Latin leaders, including presidents
Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus's severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. And in Venezuela, 57-year-old socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello said Thursday on Twitter that he, too, had tested positive, at least temporarily sidelining a larger-than-life figure considered the second-most-powerful person in the country. An Associated Press review of official statements from public officials across Latin America found at least 42 confirmed cases of new coronavirus in leaders ranging from presidents to mayors of major cities, along with dozens, likely hundreds, of officials from smaller cities and towns. Many leaders have used their diagnoses to call on the public to heighten precautions like social distancing and mask wearing. They have to be responsible.”Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei placed his entire Cabinet and their staff in quarantine Thursday after one of his ministers tested positive.
Failed Maduro coup leader flew on pro-govt magnate's plane
The government has yet to comment on the arrest order or explain what role Durán allegedly played in the conspiracy. The invaders were caught almost immediately and the embattled leader paraded on state TV the American combatants as evidence of a U.S.-backed coup attempt. Its unclear why the men traveled on the plane to Colombia or if Durán even knew about it. Upon Durán's release in 2011 and return to Venezuela, a legal battle with the Venezuelan state to reclaim Venoco ensued. But Durán appears to have never wavered in his support of the anti-imperialist revolution to which he owed his fortune.
Venezuela: 2 US 'mercenaries' among those nabbed after raid
Florida-based ex-Green Beret Jordan Goudreau said earlier Monday that he was working with the two men in a mission intending to detain Maduro and “liberate” Venezuela. Venezuela and the United States broke diplomatic ties last year amid heightened tensions, so there is no U.S. embassy in Caracas. Venezuelan state TV showed showed images on state TV of several unidentified men handcuffed and lying prone in a street. One video clip showed authorities handling a shirtless man in handcuffs. Goudreau, a three-time Bronze Star U.S. combat veteran, claims to have helped organize the deadly seaborne raid from Colombia.
Ex-Green Beret claims he led foiled raid into Venezuela
But from the outset the ragtag army lacked funding and U.S. government support, all but guaranteeing defeat against Maduro’s sizable-if-demoralized military. He provided to Poleo what he said was an 8-page contract signed by Guaidó and two political advisers in Miami in October for $213 million. The government’s claims that it had foiled a beach landing Sunday triggered a frenzy of confusing claims and counterclaims about the alleged plot. Guaidó accused Maduro’s government of seizing on the incident to draw the world’s attention away from the country's problems. “Of course, there are patriotic members of the military willing to fight for Venezuela,” Guaidó said.
Ex-Green Beret led failed attempt to oust Venezuela's Maduro
The failed attempt to start an uprising collapsed under the collective weight of skimpy planning, feuding among opposition politicians and a poorly trained force that stood little chance of beating the Venezuelan military. Nevertheless, interviews revealed that leaders of Venezuela’s U.S.-backed opposition knew of the covert force, even if they dismissed its prospects. Contrary to U.S. expectations at the time, key Maduro aides never joined with the opposition and the government quickly quashed the uprising. But Goudreau didn’t share the concerns about Alcalá, according to two people close to the former American solider. More importantly to Goudreau, Alcalá retained influence in the armed forces that Maduro’s opponents, mostly civilian elites, lacked.
AP Sources: Alleged Maduro co-conspirator is in DEA custody
Cliver Alcalá has been an outspoken critic of Maduro for years. The Justice Department had offered a $10 million reward for Alcalá's arrest. The DEA referred requests for comment to the Justice Department. Nicole Navas, a Justice Department spokesperson, declined to comment. Moments before his surrender, Alcalá published a video on social media bidding farewell to his family.
AP Explains: US indicts Venezuela's Maduro as narcoterrorist
(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)CARACAS – The Trump administration has indicted Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro and more than a dozen members of his inner circle, stepping up measures to drive the socialist leader from power. Washington backs opposition politician Juan Guaidó, who seeks to oust Maduro. Critics say the policies continued by Maduro have sent the nation plunging into its current political and economic crisis. However, Maduro clings to power, maintaining control over Venezuela's major institutions and the military. Crashing global oil prices and the inability of the government to cope with the new coronavirus could prompt an uprising from within Maduro's inner circle, possibly the military, analysts say.
A defiant Maduro threatens 'cowboy' Trump after drug charge
FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks at a press conference at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela. “Donald Trump, you are a miserable human being," Maduro railed during his televised address. Without offering evidence, Maduro said the Drug Enforcement Administration was behind a plan by Alcalá to assassinate him and other political leaders. “While the Venezuelan people suffer, this cabal lines their pockets with drug money, and the proceeds of their corruption. It also could fragment the U.S.-led coalition against Maduro if European and Latin American allies think the Trump administration is overreaching.