In an effort to handle its overdue debts, Venezuela is all but giving away oil assets. President Nicolás Maduro is reportedly so desperate to pay the US$ 3.7 billion in debts that he is selling off the assets to Russia.
Although Venezuela has 18 refineries throughout the world and six on its own soil, on Thursday most states face a shortage of gasoline that has led to long lines at gas stations around the country. Venezuelans have spent hours in such lines, as they await a product that has been in short supply for several days in different cities across the country.
Tareck El Aissami, the recently appointed vice president in Venezuela, took out a full-page in The New York Times on Wednesday to rebuke sanctions against him and other Venezuelan officials leveled by the US government over drug trafficking charges. El Aissami, who was named alongside an alleged associate, was declared by the US Treasury Department to be a specially designated narcotics trafficker for allegedly playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Venezuela to free jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez immediately, posting a picture of himself and Vice President Mike Pence with Lopez's wife at the White House.
Venezuela pulled CNN's Spanish-language television channel off the air on Wednesday, accusing it of spreading propaganda about an alleged visa racket at the country's embassy in Iraq. The state National Telecommunications Commission ordered the immediate suspension of broadcasts by the news channel CNN in Spanish in Venezuela, a government statement said.
Central Bank employees will count about 30 tons of Venezuelan currency seized in a private house in Paraguay, while officials try to figure out why the vast quantity of 50- and 100-bolivar bills was brought into the country. The cash was discovered in Salto del Guaira, a city about 370 kilometers northeast of the capital of Asuncion, on the border with Brazil in a region known for the contraband trade.
The president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro is working to set up a meeting with Pope Francis in hopes of restarting talks with the Venezuelan opposition. Maduro is reportedly hoping to meet with the Pope at the Vatican, along with representatives from his opposition.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday shuffled his cabinet by naming a new economy czar to oversee the OPEC country's decaying populist system and a new oil minister to confront the economic difficulties caused by low oil prices. He also appointed a new vice-president, state governor Tarek El Aissami, a hard liner that could replace Maduro if he is forced to step down.
The Venezuelan military is selling food staples at up to 100 times the government-mandated costs in illegal marketplaces, according to an independent media investigation. The black markets are carried out at all levels of the military from foot soldiers on up to generals.
Venezuela announced on Friday that it had transferred the Mercosur pro tempore chair to Argentina, having ended its legitimate tenure of the post, although the rest of the block's members had already complied with the formalities two weeks ago when they also decided to suspend the regime of president Nicolas Maduro.