Venezuela

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.

An invitation for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro to attend the Summit of the Americas has been withdrawn after the Latin American country's decision to hold early presidential elections – a move seen as all but shutting out the opposition.

In a terse statement on Tuesday, Peru's Foreign Minister Cayetana Aljovin said Maduro's "presence will no longer be welcome" at the Summit of the Americas, a regional policy gathering scheduled this year to be held in Lima in April.

Miami Herald

Sundial guests on Tuesday, January 30th, 2018: 

Tim Padgett, WLRN's Americas Editor discusses a controversial call for elections in Venezuela.

Miami Herald Editor Amy Driscoll talks about covering the Gianni Versace murder more than 20 years ago.

Miami New Times Managing Editor Tim Elfrin talks about the announcement of a new Major League Soccer team in Miami.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro says he will seek reelection in snap elections in April, despite mounting pressure from opposition parties who say he is responsible for the nation's economic collapse and growing authoritarianism.

The pro-government Constituent Assembly this week announced that the vote would be held by April 30, months ahead of when it traditionally takes place.

The United States criticized the upcoming vote as an effort that will only serve to undermine Venezuela's constitutional order.

YouTube

COMMENTARY

A lot of Venezuelans who oppose their authoritarian socialist regime are into self-flagellation at the moment. They feel guilty because they didn’t rally behind rebel cop Oscar Pérez – whom authorities killed last week – until it was too late.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

Over the past year, much of the world has begun talking about Venezuela more as a dictatorship than as a democracy. The socialist regime in that oil-rich South American country hoped to change that Tuesday by announcing it will hold a presidential election by the end of April.

But it didn't exactly hear worldwide applause.

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.

Richard Drew / AP

COMMENTARY

Let’s make one thing crystal clear: Rafael Ramírez is no hero. Venezuela’s former oil czar is almost as complicit in the country’s economic and democratic ruin as President Nicolás Maduro is.

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