U.S.-Venezuela relations

YAMIL LAGE / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Cuban government announced economic measures this week to seek dollars in a bid to stay afloat in the midst of an acute financial crisis triggered by its dependence on Venezuelan oil and new U.S. sanctions.

On Tuesday, Cuban Vice President Salvador Mesa and several ministers announced on television that the government was going to lower the prices of household appliances and other items on the condition that Cubans pay in dollars.

The move is an attempt to obtain a larger percentage of remittances sent from abroad.

AP

Washington on Tuesday pledged an additional $98 million in aid to Venezuela, saying the funds will be used to support civil society, human rights organizations and independent media.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) signed what it called a “historic bilateral agreement” with representatives of Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó administration.

Matias J. Ocner

Colombian president Iván Duque will speak Saturday morning at Florida International University’s Wertheim Theater.

The speech comes on the heels of Duque’s escalating condemnation of the Venezuelan regime.

At the U.N. General Assembly this week, the U.S. and Latin American countries denounced Venezuela for aiding criminal groups in Colombia.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Thousands of Venezuelans seeking political asylum continue to live in South Florida as a bill that would grant them Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, stalls in Congress. The U.S. House attempted to fast-track the bill to pass last month, but those efforts ultimately failed before the Senate left for a six-week break. 

JUAN BARRETO / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro regime continued lashing out after it was hit with punishing economic sanctions earlier this month, charging three opposition lawmakers with treason and other crimes.

But the country’s leadership stopped short of dissolving the National Assembly — the Venezuelan equivalent of Congress — or calling early legislative elections as some had feared.

On Monday, the country’s Supreme Court — dominated by ruling party judges — accused three opposition congressmen of treason, conspiracy and rebellion, among other charges.

MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 2ND CLASS MORGAN K. NALL / U.S. NAVAL FORCES SOUTHERN COMMAND

Medical staff aboard the U.S. Navy’s hospital ship Comfort said they are seeing a surge of patients who fled Venezuela on recent port stops in Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica and Panama, where it was docked Thursday.

“I would say 25 to 30 percent of the patients I see in these primary clinics are Venezuelan migrants,” said Navy medic Lt. Cmdr. Jean Fortunado.

Martin Chahin / DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

The U.S. is working with Colombia, Brazil and other regional partners on how to assist Venezuela if the embargo-like sanctions announced by the White House this week ultimately force President Nicolás Maduro to step down, the head of the U.S. Southern Command said.

Navy Adm. Craig Faller, the Miami-based head of U.S. forces in South America, said the nations are working on “planning and discussing what we could do, and will do for the ‘day after Maduro,’ when there’s a legitimate government, when we can go in and really assist the people of Venezuela.”

JOSÉ A. IGLESIAS / MIAMI HERALD

The House of Representatives passed a bill to grant Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for Venezuelans, the most significant legislative action to date in response to Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis.

The TPS bill, sponsored by Florida Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, and Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee, heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration a day before the House leaves Washington for a six week recess.

The bill passed by a vote of 272-158, with 39 Republicans and one independent joining 232 Democrats in favor.

It sounded like such a good idea at the time.

The year was 2005. Global oil prices were climbing dramatically. Countries in the Caribbean were facing major fuel shortages. Venezuela, one of the world's largest producers of crude, offered to ease the staggering fuel costs faced by its neighbors.

ARIANA CUBILLOS / AP via the Miami Herald

The United States on Sunday accused Venezuelan authorities of torturing a Venezuelan Navy officer to death, saying the act of “barbarism must stir us into action.”

In a statement, the State Department said Navy Officer Rafael Acosta Arévalo died while in the custody of Nicolás Maduro’s “thugs and their Cuban advisers.”

The Trump administration is slapping economic sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's son in its latest effort to unseat the South American country's socialist regime.

Nicolás Maduro Guerra heads the Corps of the Special Inspectors of the Presidency and is a member of the pro-government National Constituent Assembly.

Tim Padgett / WLRN

Maria Diaz was confident that Saturday would mark a major step toward the collapse of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

As she walked out of a community forum in Weston on Venezuela’s political turmoil early in the afternoon, Diaz—who’s Venezuelan—learned the opposition had successfully sent some humanitarian aid shipments into the country. Carlos Vecchio, the opposition’s ambassador to the U.S., was also at the event and cheered with hundreds of attendees upon hearing the news. He said pressure on Maduro would only intensify.

Associated Press

On Tuesday, Venezuela’s self-declared Interim President Juan Guaidó has called for nationwide protests against the parallel government of President Nicolas Maduro, as part of an escalating standoff that has pitted both governments against each other and led the Trump Administration to lay its cards on the table.

Tim Padgett / WLRN News

Venezuelan protesters gathered across South Florida Wednesday demanding the resignation of the current leader Nicolas Maduro - and hailing National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó's declaration that he is the country's legitimate president. They were joining protests in Venezuela and around the world demanding that Maduro stepsdown on the 61st anniversary of an uprising that overthrew dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958. 

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the country's interim president amid nationwide protests Wednesday, in a bid to seize power from sitting leader Nicolás Maduro.

The U.S. swiftly proclaimed its support for Guaidó. Maduro responded by announcing a break in diplomatic relations with Washington.

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