Jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has declared himself on hunger strike and called for a protest march next weekend against Venezuela's populist government. Lopez, the best-known opposition activist in custody, was jailed more than a year ago for his role in instigating street protests against President Nicolas Maduro that led to violence killing 43 people and injuring hundreds more.
Barely one week after Venezuela’s President of the National Assembly of Venezuela Diosdado Cabello filed a defamation suit against 22 media executives and editors for publishing reports linking him to an international drug-trafficking, another high-level minister announced they would be filing suit against opposition leader Henrique Capriles for making “false allegations.”
Venezuela will hold parliamentary elections in the last quarter of this year and the exact date will be announced soon, the head of the National Electoral Council (CNE) said on Sunday. The elected lawmakers will be inaugurated for five years on 2016.
Venezuela says it will cut the working day for public sector workers to five-and-a-half hours to conserve energy, down from eight to nine hours. The initiative is part of a nationwide electricity rationing plan.
China has awarded Venezuela 5 billion dollars for unspecified “development plans,” President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday, approximately three months after an official visit to China. According to published reports, the loan is part of a 10 billion deal to be completed in the following months.
Addressing the Americas summit in Panama, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez strongly criticized United States policies towards the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela, and expressed 'surprise' at the parallelism between the Caracas/Washington current dispute and the latest round of Falklands' exchanges between London and her government. President Barack Obama was not present during the Argentine leader's speech on Saturday.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez is attending the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama City where she is expected on Saturday to strongly criticize the United Kingdom over the 'militarization' of the Falklands/Malvinas and revelations of massive espionage of Argentina by London.
Venezuela has placed a full page ad in The New York Times decrying what it charges are “tyrannical” attempts by the US government to undermine its socialist system. The ad declaring that “Venezuela is not a threat” comes amid mounting tensions between the two countries after President Nicolás Maduro this month accused Washington of plotting to oust him and ordered the US Embassy in Caracas to slash staffing levels.
Following a request from Venezuela, the Brazilian government has acted alongside Brazilian companies to guarantee supply of basic products during Venezuela's economic crisis, according to diplomatic sources. The request was made by President Nicolas Maduro in at least two meetings with President Dilma Rousseff, in December 2014 and the day after Rousseff began her second term, on January 2.
Venezuela's parliament has granted President Nicolas Maduro decree powers for the rest of 2015 in a move he says is to defend the country from US meddling but opponents decry as evidence of autocracy. In a noisy National Assembly session, ruling Socialist Party legislators, who have a majority, applauded the Enabling Law as a legitimate response to a US declaration that Venezuela is a security threat and sanctions on seven officials.