Venezuela

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COMMENTARY

I’m thankful to Ricky Gervais. As host of the Golden Globes this month he mocked Hollywood’s brazen hypocrisy – calling “The Morning Show,” for example, “a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company who runs sweatshops in China,” referring to Apple Inc.

That skewering of moviedom’s politically correct double standards has helped me understand why conservative Brazilians are irked by this week’s Oscar nomination of the documentary “The Edge of Democracy.”

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In 2012, the Presidents of Venezuela and Iran met at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas. The bromance between Hugo Chávez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alarmed Washington, since Venezuela and Iran were (and still are) sworn enemies of the U.S. So Chávez had fun joking that Ahmadinejad had come to help him “fire large missiles” at America.

That remark may have sounded merely mischievous back then. But not today. Not with the U.S. and Iran actually trading missile fire this month and raising fears of a larger military conflict.

Andrea Hernandez Briceno / AP

Things haven’t gone so well lately for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó. And last weekend it looked like the country’s socialist regime had left him powerless. But Guaidó made a comeback on Tuesday that heartened Venezuelan expats here in South Florida.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Venezuela is starting the year with a dramatic new twist to its political crisis.

On Sunday, allies of President Nicolás Maduro hijacked a session of the country's National Assembly while security forces locked out the body's president, Juan Guaidó, and his supporters. Meanwhile, inside the chamber, lawmakers allied to Maduro's government quickly selected a new head of the chamber.

Venezuelan security forces on Sunday blocked opposition leader Juan Guaidó from a special session of the National Assembly, where he was expected to be reelected as the legislature's leader — an apparent bid by President Nicolás Maduro to outmaneuver the man who has staked a rival claim to the presidency.

In Guaidó's absence, supporters of Maduro elected one of their own to head the body. Hours later, however, a majority of National Assembly lawmakers met in emergency session elsewhere, reelecting Guaidó and accusing Maduro of attempting a "parliamentary coup."

Rodrigo Abd / AP

It's hard to wrap your arms around everything that happened 2019 in Latin America and the Caribbean. It's even harder to find any good news — from the violent political unrest that rocked capitals from La Paz to Port-au-Prince, to a record number of fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest.

MATIAS DELACROIX / AP

Senior Trump administration officials discussed plans to “increase pressure” over the coming year on Venezuela’s embattled ruler, Nicolás Maduro, with top opposition leaders at the State Department this week, Colombian and Venezuelan opposition officials confirmed to McClatchy and el Nuevo Herald.

The State Department hosted four of Venezuela’s largest opposition parties, starting with one-on-one sessions that began earlier this week before all the parties gathered together on Wednesday.

AP (left) and Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Most of America, even some Republicans, were stunned this week by President Trump’s letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That is, the raging, six-page tirade at the articles of impeachment against him — you don’t often see “you have found NOTHING!” typed on Oval Office stationery — which the U.S. House of Representatives approved Wednesday night.

But in South Florida, people probably weren’t all that shocked.

JUAN BARRETO / AFP/Getty Images

A newly negotiated government funding compromise on Capitol Hill includes nearly a half-billion dollars in humanitarian aid to support Venezuelan refugees and codifies sanctions against the regime of embattled Venezuelan ruler Nicolás Maduro.

Fernando Vergara / AP

The U.N. says the number of Venezuelans fleeing their country is on pace to surpass even the Syrian refugee crisis. But a new study finds the Venezuelan crisis is receiving far less international aid.

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.

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