Venezuela

Opinion: O, How Bolivia's Mighty Morales Has Fallen

Dec 4, 2019

Raúl Peñaranda is a Bolivian journalist, former Nieman journalism fellow at Harvard University and author of a book on former President Evo Morales' efforts to control the media in Bolivia. Peñaranda is the editor of the news site Brújula Digital.

Desmond Boylan / AP

As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, is something capitalist happening in the socialist countries of Latin America? We're talking about the sudden dollarization of Cuba and Venezuela.

Beto Barata / AP

This story was updated at 8:30 pm November 13, 2019. 

A group of Venezuelan opposition supporters took over the Venezuelan embassy in Brazil on Wednesday. By the evening, the Brazilian government said it had intervened to usher them out and return the mission to Venezuelan government control. At the same time Miami’s congressional delegation in Washington announced a new caucus to represent the interests of Venezuelan expats.

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Two years ago, Levin de Grazia told WLRN he was the victim of a malicious online defamation campaign.

“This situation is like a witch hunt,” he said.

De Grazia is a Venezuela native and co-owner of the Bocas restaurant chain in South Florida. He’s based in Doral – the largest Venezuelan enclave in the U.S. – and he feared the effort to smear his name could ruin his business.

“It could break us,” he said at the time. “No Venezuelans want to go to a Chavista restaurant.”

Daniela Granadillo / MDC Idea Center

Of all the problems immigrants need to solve when they settle in the U.S., Yllis Hernandez faced the kind that so often leads to a business.

Venezuela’s Business Elite Face Scrutiny In $1.2 Billion Money Laundering Case

Nov 4, 2019
PEDRO PORTAL / MIAMI HERALD

As Venezuela’s oil-based economy continues to crumble, a politically connected class of businessmen with financial ties to Miami has grown fabulously wealthy from energy deals with the socialist government. Among the Venezuelan upper crust who have made fortunes during the Bolivarian revolution: Alejandro Betancourt.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

COMMENTARY

I recently spent a day with 20 Venezuelan immigrant women who’ve got heads for business.

They’re in a Miami-Dade College program that teaches them entrepreneurial skills. We take access to those small business tools for granted in the U.S. But many of the venezolanas reminded me it’s still difficult to put them to use in Latin America – where coddled and connected economic elites often regard small- and medium-size startups as a threat to their cozy status quo.

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.

The Trump Administration recently issued new economic sanctions that bar U.S. companies from doing business with the regime in Venezuela. But one major U.S. tech firm may be taking that prohibition too far.

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.

MORGAN K. NALL / U.S. NAVY PHOTO

If a day comes when the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro collapses into chaos, the U.S. humanitarian aid agency has a plan to step into the breach.

USAID Administrator Mark Green told McClatchy in an interview on Wednesday that the agency has been “scenario planning” for Maduro’s departure, researching the logistical challenges that will face its teams in a devastated country twice the size of California.

Rafael Urdaneta Rojas / AP

Are Venezuela and Colombia headed for war? Believe it or not, that's the big worry in South America right now.

Susan Walsh / AP

COMMENTARY

When he was Undersecretary of State in the early 2000s, John Bolton insisted communist Cuba had an “offensive biological warfare research and development” program.

Cuba did have an advanced genetic engineering, biotech and vaccine complex. And Cuba was still ruled by Fidel Castro, a despot capable of such nefarious doings. Still, there was no evidence, and none ever surfaced, that cash-strapped Cuba was exporting anthrax instead of vastly more profitable meningitis vaccines.

But that sort of hawkish illusion, or delusion, is what the world came to expect of Bolton – whom President Trump fired this week as his national security advisor.

Amid the chaos and misery that have engulfed Venezuela lies a strange parcel of tranquility, tucked within a valley surrounded by poplar trees and mountains some 20 miles south of the Caribbean coast.

It is a field populated by dozens of lanky teenage boys who are spending this particular evening — as they often do — galloping around the grass in pursuit of an oval ball.

These impoverished Venezuelans are training in the skills of a sport not often seen in a South American nation that's mad about soccer, baseball and horse racing: They are playing rugby.

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