Venezuela

Joshua Holt, a Utah native held in Venezuelan jail for nearly two years, returned to U.S. soil on Saturday, and was welcomed by President Trump.

In 2016, the 26-year-old set out for Venezuela to marry his fiancée Thamara Candelo, but ended up in the El Helicoide prison without trial, after police claimed to have found weapons in the couple's apartment.

As NPR reported last year:

The former head of the Miss Venezuela contest—who had ties to pageant-style television programming in Miami—has been accused of pimping out pageant contestants.

Osmel Sousa ran the Miss Venezuela pageant for nearly four decades. But he stepped down in February.

Alan Diaz / AP

COMMENTARY

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro won another six-year term in an election so laughably rigged – and mostly boycotted by Venezuelans – it made last month’s presidential vote in communist Cuba look Jeffersonian.

Associated Press

President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday expelled the top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela and his deputy for allegedly conspiring against his government and trying to sabotage the country's recent presidential election.

"The empire doesn't dominate us here," Maduro said in a televised address, giving charge d'affaires Todd Robinson and his deputy Brian Naranjo 48 hours to leave the country. "We've had enough of your conspiring."

What The World Needs To Do After Venezuela's Vote

May 22, 2018

Ted Piccone (@piccone_ted) is a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | It’s not easy for Jesús Mendoza to talk about all the things he’s had to sell to buy medicine – life-saving medicine.

AP

The White House on Monday announced it would block the Venezuelan government from selling off the nation's assets in exchange for cash in response to what it called an illegitimate and "sham" election Sunday that gave leader Nicolas Maduro another term.

C.M. GUERRERO / Miami Herald

As the international community piled on Venezuela Monday, the White House rolled out new sanctions and more than a dozen countries rejected Sunday’s “sham” presidential elections that handed Nicolás Maduro a new six-year term.

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an order limiting Venezuela’s ability to liquidate assets “at fire sale prices,” the Associated Press reported.

The move might be aimed at keeping Venezuela from selling off its stake in the CITGO oil company, which operates in the United States.

Venezuelan leftist President Nicolás Maduro has easily won a second term, but his main rivals have refused to accept the results, calling the polling fraudulent — a view shared by the United States and many independent observers.

Venezuela's National Election Council, run by Maduro loyalists, said that with nearly 93 percent of polling stations reporting by Sunday, Maduro had won almost 68 percent of the vote, beating his nearest challenger, Henri Falcon, by almost 40 points.

Ariana Cubillos AP

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - The U.S. Treasury slapped sanctions on one of Venezuela’s most powerful men Friday — Diosdado Cabello, along with his family and economic adviser — accusing him of drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal mining.

The sanctions come as Washington is turning up the heat on the South American nation just days before presidential elections.

Also named in Friday’s report are Cabello’s brother, Jose David Cabello, the head of the tax department, and Cabello’s wife, Marleny Josefina Contreras.

The U.S. State Department has expressed concern over the welfare of a Utah man jailed in Venezuela, a day after he managed to upload a video to Facebook saying inmates at his prison had seized the complex and were trying to kill him.

Rather than a sunny, uplifting campaign message, Henri Falcón, the main opposition candidate in Venezuela's May 20 presidential election, has settled on the more blunt "¡Se va!"

That's Spanish for: "He's leaving!"

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

If there were any doubts about the deadly madness of Venezuela’s dictatorial socialist regime, they were erased this week by a stunning Reuters report:

Venezuela’s state-run oil firm PDVSA has bought nearly $440 million worth of foreign crude and shipped it directly to Cuba on friendly credit terms – and often at a loss….”

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

First of a three-part WLRN series, "Escape From Venezuela"

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | This is what the Venezuelan refugee crisis sounds like: the fists, knuckles and open palms of destitute – and above all hungry – Venezuelan migrants pounding on the metal gates of humanitarian relief stations here in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta.

Sonia Osorio

The Nicolás Maduro regime, already accused of destroying one of Latin America's most prosperous economies, is now ruining the finances of Venezuelans abroad who feel obligated to send much-needed assistance to relatives in the oil-producing country.

Many Venezuelans living in Miami spend $200 to $300 per month to buy food and ship it to relatives back home using freight companies. They also spend money on medicines, which are in short supply in Venezuela.

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