For the first time in at least two years, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his political team have met with several opposition leaders in attempt to defuse the country’s political crisis. The opposition’s main demand is to revive a suspended a recall referendum that could lead to the ouster of President Maduro. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in recent days to support to recall effort.
Venezuela's opposition-majority legislature declared on Sunday that President Nicolas Maduro's government had committed a coup d'etat by blocking a referendum on removing him from power, vowing mass protests and international pressure.
Diphtheria, an extremely contagious disease that has been mostly eradicated worldwide through vaccination, has reappeared in Venezuela and so far has killed four children with another twenty cases reported in just one month. The reappearance of diphtheria, a disease not seen in Venezuela in more than 20 years, is yet the worst symptom of the country's collapsed health system.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday announced the creation of peace prize in honor of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, and said he was awarding it to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The announcement comes on the same day that the Nobel Committee awarded its annual Peace Prize to Juan Manuel Santos, president of neighboring Colombia, for his role in negotiating a peace agreement with Marxist FARC rebels.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his Brazilian counterpart, Michel Temer, agreed on Monday on the need to strengthen Mercosur and to make its rules more flexible to ”give a certain autonomy to the (member) states in their international relations.”
Uruguay's deputy foreign minister Jose Luis Cancela said that if Uruguay had not complied with the other Mercosur three founding members' joint declaration ignoring Venezuela's presidency and demanding it complies with the group's legislation and treaties, Mercosur would have been launched into a period of full paralysis.
Mercosur full members are working on a resolution calling on Venezuela to comply with all rules, regulations and international treaties of the block, which should be incorporated by next December, and if not the country could lose its membership, according to Uruguayan foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa.
The impeachment process that led to the removal of Dilma Rousseff from office on Wednesday, August 31, increased the gap among the continent's governments. While the U.S. said that the definite ousting of the now-former president of Brazil followed constitutional proceedings, the so-called Bolivarian governments – Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia – reacted by calling their ambassadors back.
Opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded Venezuela's capital on Thursday in one of the biggest mass protests against socialist rule for more than a decade. Dressed in white and chanting “this government will fall,” hundreds of thousands rallied across Caracas to demand a recall referendum against Maduro and decry a deep economic crisis in the oil rich country.
Venezuela on Wednesday withdrew its ambassador from Brazil and froze ties in response to president Dilma Rousseff's removal from office.