President Nicolás Maduro said the World Cup is to blame for international airlines’ decision to cut flights to Venezuela and denied that the move had anything to do with his government's refusal to allow them to repatriate proceeds from ticket sales inside the country.
Mediators from Unasur (Union of South American Nations) urged Venezuela's government and opposition back to the negotiating table after failing to revive talks to stem months of protests in the polarized nation.
Uruguay Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro said that the political situation in Venezuela makes it quite improbable that the three-times postponed and since delayed Mercosur summit can effectively take place in Caracas sometime in the next two months.
Venezuela’s three-month protest movement has dwindled to a hard core of a few hundred violent troublemakers and the unrest should be over by July, when schools and universities break up for the summer holidays, a top security official said.
Venezuela said it had freed most of the 243 youth activists arrested in raids last week on street camps set up to protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government. Although the demolition of four camps in Caracas was hoped would discourage the three-month protest movement, activists vowed the measure had only strengthened their resolve to demonstrate.
At the end of May Mercosur will be ready to exchange tariff-reduction proposals with the European Union, announced Brazilian Industry minister Mauro Borges who also anticipated the trade block would be holding a preparatory meeting next week in Caracas, Venezuela.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the Venezuelan government urgently to honor its commitment made in March to permit the repatriation of 3.9 billion dollars of airline funds at fair exchange rates. The funds are from sales of airline tickets in Venezuela and are being held in contravention of international treaties.
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro forecasted that sooner than later, the Malvinas Islands will return to the hands of the Argentine people and recalled that during the recent Celac summit in Cuba (Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States) Latin-American was declared a territory of peace and free of colonialism.
Most presidents of Latin America and particularly those from Mercosur are concerned with the Venezuelan situation, which generates uneasiness among opposition parties, mass media, corporations and citizens, the International Prospective Institute (IPI) states in a report.
The Venezuelan government formally invited today the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to join the exploratory talks with the opposition as “mediator of good will” in order to find a solution to the violent situation in the country.