Venezuela

Danny Hwang

South Florida’s Venezuelan community honored Florida Sen. Bill Nelson on Friday, April 13 - recognized in Miami-Dade County and other South Florida municipalities as the Day of the Venezuelan Exile -  by awarding him with the “Rómulo Betancourt Proclamation.”

The award is named after a former Venezuelan president considered “the father of Venezuelan democracy” and is given by the Venezuelan Organization of Politically Persecuted in Exile (VEPPEX).   

Sen. Nelson condemned Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for making Venezuelans suffer.

Fernando Vergara / AP via Miami Herald

At a warehouse near Miami International Airport, Adelys Ferro is unpacking boxes and making a checklist of donated medicines for Venezuelans.

Associated Press

Five police officials are suspected of being responsible for a fire that killed 68 people in a police station jail in Venezuela and have been detained, the nation’s chief prosecutor said Saturday.

Tarek William Saab wrote on Twitter that the officials are believed “responsible for the tragic events that caused the death of 68 citizens” but provided no further details.

Among the detained is Jose Luis Rodriguez, sub-director of the police station in Valencia where a fire tore through cells where about 200 prisoners were being kept.

At least 68 people died when a fire broke out during a riot in the jail area of a police station in Venezuela, the country's chief prosecutor said late Wednesday.

Venezuela Attorney General Tarek William Saab wrote on Twitter that 66 of the victims were men, while two women who were visiting the police station overnight were also killed.

Evan Vucci / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

When Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died two years ago, then U.S. President Barack Obama issued a lame response: “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

Mister Rogers would have offered a tougher assessment of Castro, a communist caudillo whose repressive revolution has ruled Cuba for 59 years. When Obama’s statement reached Havana, you could hear regime apparatchiks high-fiving each other all over the island.

Associated Press

The Trump administration will provide $2.5 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelan refugees who have fled into Colombian border towns fleeing poverty and oppression.

The extra money, provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development, will provide emergency food and health assistance as the Colombian government struggles to provide necessary medical and social services, said Mark Green, USAID administrator.

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.

As Venezuela reels from hyperinflation that has caused a severe shortage of cash, one city is trying to mitigate the problem by printing its own currency.

Elorza, in western Venezuela near the border with Colombia, is selling its own bills featuring the image of an independence leader from the area, according to Reuters.

Fernando Vergara / AP via Miami Herald

As hundreds of thousands of desperate Venezuelans pour out of their country, calls are growing to officially designate them as refugees. The United Nations has now taken a big step in that direction.

The numbers – and the suffering – have simply gotten too big for the international community to ignore. Venezuela’s economy is in the middle of the worst collapse in the world today. Food and medicine shortages are catastrophic. Since 2014, more than a million people have fled the country - and the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum abroad has risen 2,000 percent.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Venezuelans are fleeing to places like South Florida because of their country’s humanitarian crisis, but also because of its human rights crisis. On Thursday the University of Miami was a focal point of the outcry over the socialist regime’s abuses.

More and more, the international community is waking up to the worsening human rights situation in Venezuela. This week, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an inquiry into reports of hundreds of killings of civilians by state security forces.

Associated Press

Venezuela's presidential election has been moved back a month. The government had originally scheduled it for April; but on Thursday the National Electoral Council announced it's holding off until May 20.

Even that puts the election more than six months ahead of when government opponents say it was legally supposed to be held. That's a big reason almost all of Venezuela's opposition is boycotting the vote. They say it's being rigged by President Nicolas Maduro and his authoritarian socialist regime to make sure he wins another six-year term.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis is now a crisis in next-door Colombia. Thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their country’s economic collapse each day, and pressure is mounting to help them. The diaspora here in South Florida is making an especially strong call.

Former Venezuelan Senator and opposition leader Pablo Medina just arrived in Miami after touring the Venezuelan-Colombian border. Some 600,000 Venezuelans now reside in Colombia, and thousands more keep coming by the day.

YouTube

Last week Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said his country had found “the perfect kryptonite to defeat Superman!” By Superman he meant the U.S. And by kryptonite he meant cryptocurrency – el petro.

Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

Venezuela closed its consulate in Miami six years ago. Last week President Nicolás Maduro issued an order to open it again. But there’s one big problem: he probably can’t.

The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez closed the Miami consulate in 2012, even though South Florida is home to the largest Venezuela community in the U.S. He did so because almost all those expats opposed his socialist revolution.

Fernando Llano / AP

Every day thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their country to escape the worst economic collapse in the world today. Many have come to South Florida. Venezuela’s GDP is sinking so deep, and its hyperinflation is rising so fast, it’s hard to keep track of exchange rates, food prices, minimum wages, foreign reserves and other critical economic indicators. And the authoritarian socialist regime is trying to keep a lot of that embarrassing data hidden.

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