Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More on the escalating tensions in Venezuela

"Venezuela is Latin America's biggest exporter of crude oil and has the world's largest petroleum reserves." - Brian Ellsworth and Andrew Cawthorne, Venezuela death toll rises to 13 as protests flare Reuters 02/24/2014

I'm going to use that opening quote for a while on posts about Venezuela because it succinctly states what shapes US foreign policy toward Venezuela and also has a huge effect on domestic politics. Venezuela's oil industry is under the umbrella of the state-owned oil company, PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela, Sociedad Anónima).

TV Pública argentina has a brief report on the news from Venezuela of the arrest of three generals on charges they were attempting a coup, Venezuela: Detienen a tres generales por intento de golpe de Estado 25.03.2014:

It also contains a report about how Diosdado Cabello, President of the Venezuelan parliament, the National Assembly (AN), announced he's expelling far-right leader María Corina Machado for accepting payment from a foreign government without getting the required approval from the AN, citing a statement by the government of Panama asking Machado to serve as an alternate delegate for Panama to the Organization of American States (OAS). (Andrés Tovar, ¿Qué dicen los artículos 149 y 191 de la Constitución? Últimas Noticias 24.03.2014) Machado's supporters are arguing that Cabello does not have the authority on his on to expel her.

Machado appeared last week at a meeting of the Organization of American State (OAS), in which Panama offered to cede its place to her for the purpose of allowing her to present the Venezuelan opposition's case, though the group did not allow her to do so.

Machado tweeted the photo of herself appearing at the University of Lima along with Mauricio Macri, Governor of the City of Buenos Aires and a key opposition leader against Argentine President Cristina Fernández' left-Peronist government, and also with conservative writer Mario Vargas Llosa (Daniel Lozano, Maduro sube la apuesta y echa a una diputada opositora La Nación) Her hashtag #DictaduraEnLaAN is a reference to Cabello's action.

Página/12 explains (Denuncia internacional por "fascismo" 26.03.20141):

Machado es una de las figuras más populares de la Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD), que reúne a 29 partidos opositores y, junto al encarcelado Leopoldo López y al alcalde metropolitano de Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, encarna dentro de esa coalición la postura más radical contra el gobierno.

[Machado is one of the most popular figures of the Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD), which unites 29 oppisition parties and, together with the jailed Leopoldo López and the metropolitan mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, embodies the most radical posture against the government within that coalition.]
The AN approved Ceballo's initiative to expel Machado, which also means she loses parliamentary immunity. (Parlamento venezolano ratifica que Machado dejó de ser diputado La Prensa 25.03.2014)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is backing Ceballo in his intent to unseat Machado (Maduro sobre Ceballos: La decisión del TSJ es justicia Últimas Noticias 22.03.2014):

Que una jefa de la extrema derecha acepte ser embajadora de un gobierno hostil contra Venezuela no tiene comparación (...) Ella misma se autodespidió de su cargo al aceptar esto. Tiene casi el efecto de una renuncia aceptar un cargo diplomático de otro país",

[That a chief of the extreme right accepts being ambassador of a government hostile to Venezuela has no comparison ... She herself expelled herself from her seat by accepting this. It almost has the effect of a resignation to accept a diplomatic position with another country.]
What Cabello said in his statement was that Machado had agreed to be an alternate delegate for Panama to the Organization of American States (OAS). (See also María Corina Machado suspende visita a Panamá La Estrella de Panamá 18.03.2014)

Venezuela broke diplomatic relations with Panama earlier this month. (Venezuela's Maduro breaks diplomatic links with Panama BBC News 03/05/2014) Panama formally called for an OAS meeting on the situation in Venezuela. The OAS is dominated by the United States, which is the major reason South American nations are putting more emphasis over time on regional organizations like UNASUR of which the US is not a member.

Noticiero Visión Siete/TV Pública argentina reports on another aspect of the international cooperation against the elected government of Nicolás Maduro, V7inter: "Todos somos Venezuela" 22.03.2014:

The text accompanying the YouTube video says:

Ochenta diarios de toda América Latina se lanzaron a una inédita campaña conjunta para publicar de manera coordinada información sobre la crisis en Venezuela, con intenciones que se declaran oficialmente como políticas, y que apuntan a debilitar al gobierno de Nicolás Maduro.

[Eighty newspapers from all of Latin America have launched an unprecedented joint campaign to publish in a coordinated manner information about the crisis in Venezuela, with intentions to declare themselves officially as politicians {!} and to aim to debilitate the government of Nicolás Maduro.]
Al Jazeera English reports on the arrest of the three generals, Venezuela arrests air force generals 03/25/2014:

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