Shortly after meeting with the Tamin bin Hamar al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, in the Palacio de Miraflores in Caracas, Maduro spoke to the media about the state of oil prices.

Maduro said that “abrupt drops” in oil prices are harmful to the world economy:

We’ve always said that these abrupt drops are harmful to the world economy, [and that] they are the result of created, induced conjectures. These oil [price] drops and raw material [price drops] in general — but in this specific case, with oil, it’s always harmful and that’s why the oil-stabilizing policies from OPEC these past few years injected a lot of stability into the world economy.

He also said that the world has already “digested” the idea that oil costs less than $100 per barrel, but he remained optimistic that the price would eventually go up:

Today, oil prices went up to $57 per barrel – which is low – but we’re making progress.

Maduro continued on his efforts to increase oil prices, saying:

[We’ve started to see] a really important recovery – but it’s still too soft – of the oil markets, of oil prices. Today, we’re working on an agreement which we will hopefully ratify in July between OPEC and some of the world’s most important producers so that we can stabilize prices during the second semester.

Finally, Maduro said that he spoke with the Emir for an hour and a half on a wide range of topics.

Below, a video showing Maduro welcoming the Emir to the Palacio de Miraflores earlier today:

ABC: We’re Ready to Back Up Our Sources

Bleito Rubido, the director of Spain’s ABC, the publication which broke the Leamsy Salazar story earlier this year, said today that he stood firmly behind the paper’s sources and that he was willing to prove the validity of the sources before a judge.

Earlier this year, the newspaper published an article which quoted Leamsy Salazar, a former bodyguard to both Chavez and Diosdado Cabello, as saying that Cabello was the head of a drug trafficking organization called El Cartel de los Soles. Cabello reacted to the story by suing ABC as well as any Venezuelan media outlet that reported on the story.

In an article published in ABC today, Rubido said:

We remain firmly [behind] the information regarding the Cartel de los Soles, which is that Diosdado Cabello is its director. Our correspondent in Washington [D.C.], Emily Blasco, has sources in North American intelligence agencies and in anti-drug trafficking organizations. The information has been proven.

Rubido also said that he was saddened that the Venezuelan media was currently struggling with “something as fundamental to democracy as is the freedom of expression”.

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