Jim Wyss

Jim Wyss is the South America bureau chief for The Miami Herald. He has a master of science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor of arts degree from American University in journalism and Spanish. He lives in Bogota, Colombia.

Ways to Connect

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.

Associated Press

The White House on Monday continued tightening financial sanctions on Venezuela, issuing an order prohibiting U.S. citizens from making any transactions in the Petro, the socialist administration’s newly launched cryptocurrency.

The presidential order prohibits U.S. citizens from dealing in “any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token” issued by Venezuela after January 9, 2018.

Venezuela launched the Petro last month, and had touted the new cryptocurrency as a way to raise international financing amid Washington’s crackdown.

State Department

For the first time in more than 18 months, Venezuelans trying to go to the United States for business or pleasure can apply for a visa in Venezuela.

In a statement on its website, the U.S. embassy in Caracas said it will begin accepting applications for B-1 and B-2 visas — used for temporary business and tourism travel — starting Jan. 17.

Associated Press

One of Venezuela’s highest-profile political prisoners, the former mayor of Caracas, escaped from house arrest early Friday and made his way into Colombia, immigration officials confirmed.

Antonio Ledezma has been under arrest since Feb. 19, 2015, when the socialist administration accused him of plotting a coup against President Nicolás Maduro — charges the U.S. State Department has called “ludicrous.”

Speaking to radio reporters in the Colombian border town of Cúcuta, Ledezma said he was going to travel the world to keep fighting for Venezuela.

Jim Wyss / Miami Herald

ST. MARTIN -- Ten days after Hurricane Irma turned St. Martin into a jigsaw of ripped metal and shattered wood, residents were still struggling with an existential question: Should they cling to an island that can barely support life or start over elsewhere?

Irma hit the shared Dutch and French Caribbean island as a Category 5 hurricane with winds in excess of 200 miles an hour, turning the picturesque tourist haven into a sweltering trash heap without power, water or communications. What the hurricane didn’t steal, looters often did.

Associated Press

The U.S. will not rule out a “military option” as it continues to ratchet up sanctions on Venezuela, President Donald Trump said Friday.

“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf club.

“We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away,” Trump said. “Venezuela is not very far away and people are suffering and dying.”

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, who's seen as a symbol of anti-government protests, has been released from prison and put under house arrest, the country’s Supreme Court confirmed Saturday.

Associated Press

Venezuelans took to the streets again Thursday, braving tear gas, beatings and bloodshed as they try to force President Nicolás Maduro to hold elections in the crisis-riddled nation.

But even as a growing number of people seem willing to put their lives on the line to push for change, Maduro appears to have the backing of the one group that might make a difference: the military.

Since taking office in 2013, Maduro has showered the armed forces with privileges and powers that have isolated them from the worst of the economic malaise, and guaranteed their loyalty.

We Have A Winner In Venezuela, Or Do We?

Apr 15, 2013
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Guillermo Esteves

Nicolas Maduro, heir to the late Hugo Chavez, appears to have won Venezuela's presidential election.

But it's by a margin so thin that opposition candidate Henrique Capriles is challenging the legitimacy of the results, demanding a full recount.

Maduro, acting president since Chavez's March 5 death, held a double-digit advantage in opinion polls just two weeks ago, but electoral officials said he received just 50.7 percent of the votes compared to 49.1 percent for Capriles. With nearly all ballots counted, that's a difference of about 300,000 votes.

Chavez Faces Toughest Test In Venezuela Election

Aug 15, 2012
http://www.flickr.com/photos/www_ukberri_net/7644910450/
cc-by Valter Campanato - Agencia Brasil.

Forget the US election. 

There may be an even more important presidential vote taking place in Venezuela this fall. 

Miami Herald South America bureau chief Jim Wyss updates WLRN's Phil Latzman on Hugo Chavez's fight to keep his job against upstart opponent Henrique Capriles. Also discussed: political strife in Colombia and Latin American countries tasting rare Olympic glory during the Summer Games in London.