Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro started a second term on Thursday, defying critics in the United States and Latin America who called him an illegitimate usurper of a nation where economic chaos has wrought a humanitarian crisis. Before he had even completed his inaugural speech, the United States decried a “usurpation of power,” and Paraguay announced it was cutting diplomatic ties – highlighting the growing isolation that Maduro will face.
Former Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice Christian Zerpa has fled to the United States to protest President Nicolas Maduro’s second term that will begin with his inauguration this week, the onetime Maduro backer told a Miami broadcaster on Sunday. The latest defection from the crisis-stricken OPEC nation’s government comes amid growing international pressure on Maduro over his new term, which resulted from a broadly boycotted 2018 vote dismissed by countries around the world as a sham.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sent a clear warning to his administration’s ‘imperialist’ opposition in the US, Colombia, and Brazil saying their troops ‘will not make it out alive’ if they step foot on Venezuela’s ‘sacred soil.’ Maduro addressed Venezuela’s militia and called himself a ‘warrior of peace’ trying to protect the country from external aggression.
Amid accusations of crimes against humanity from six nations, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro attended the UN General Assembly on Wednesday to ‘defend his country.’ Maduro previously threatened to skip the assembly over fears for his safety. The US Treasury Department imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela’s First Lady Cecilia Flores a year after freezing Maduro’s assets.
Venezuela accused the US of plotting against its President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday. The Trump administration previously held meetings with Venezuelan military officers to discuss Maduro’s overthrow. US officials decided not to aid the coup plot and ‘declined to answer detailed questions’ about the discussions. Venezuela’s Foreign Minister cited ‘crude evidence’ of the plot.
Six people were arrested in Saturday’s assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. A drone attack took place in Venezuela’s capital Caracas as Maduro gave a televised speech at a military parade. Maduro blamed the attack on Colombia’s outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos and far-right elements. Those arrested are accused of ‘terrorism and assassination.’
Venezuela released two Chevron employees arrested in April amid a national anti-corruption investigation into embezzlement and conspiracy related to the international oil company. The arrests were firsts at a foreign oil firm since the government launched a purge last year resulting in the detention of over 80 executives at Petroleos de Venezuela SA and partners.
Brazil and Canada have retaliated with their own ejections after Venezuela expelled their officials from Caracas. Canada and Brazil have become outspoken critics of Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, accusing his government of harassing opposition and violating human rights. Diplomats from Brazil and Canada have been accused of meddling in Venezuelan affairs.
Venezuelan officials announced several people were killed during an operation to arrest an ex-officer accused of stealing a helicopter and attacking government buildings months ago. Oscar Perez, a former officer and an action movie actor, became a fugitive in June 2017, after the attacks. Perez posted videos during the siege, saying ‘They don’t want us to surrender, they want us dead!’
In reaction to the re-election of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the Trump administration barred Americans from engaging in risky transactions with Venezuela’s state-owned companies. The new sanctions are meant to block Maduro from selling off government debt to enrich himself and to prevent an ‘avenue for corruption’ following what the US called a ‘sham’ election.