Vice-President Jorge Arreaza arrived in Barbados last night for the meeting of the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM), a diplomatic organization made up for Caribbean nations. Originally, Maduro was expected to attend the meeting, but he sent Arreaza in his stead.

While Venezuela is not a member of CARICOM, Maduro was expected to address the summit, and most importantly, meet in person with Guyanese President David Granger. Century-old tensions between Venezuela and Guayana have flared up recently over the Esequiba, a region both countries claim as their own.

Guayana was granted ownership over the Esequiba region 116 years ago through a Tribunal of Arbitration made up of European and American diplomats. While the issue remained contentious in Venezuela in the immediate decades, it did not formally revive its claim to the territory until 1961.

Guyana: Esequiba Issue “A Monkey On Our Backs”

Guyanese President David Granger spoke at an event in Barbados last night, and vowed to work hard to make his country a regional economic power. Granger said that despite his country’s best efforts, economic development has been hard thanks to Venezuela’s territorial claims:

We have come here under a cloud because we have laboured with a monkey on our back and that is the territorial claim by Venezuela. It is something that has obstructed development.

Kerry: Negotiations With Venezuela To Continue

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday that high-level talks involving Thomas Shannon and the Venezuela government will continue to take place in the name of  “increasing cooperation” between the two countries.

Kerry also called on Venezuelans to remember their responsibility to one another as citizens in the lead-up to the December 6 parliamentary elections:

As the parliamentary elections near, political dialogue will be important when it comes to ensuring a peaceful resolution to disputes, and to insure the integrity of the democratic process.

While U.S.-Venezuela relations have been strained recently, Kerry spoke on the common ground the two countries share, including “strong” cultural and economic ties, as well as the two nations’ “love for baseball”.

Miguel Otero: El Nacional No Longer Buys Paper

The president of El Nacional, Miguel Otero, gave an interview with Portugal’s DN Globo in which he criticized the Venezuelan government and said that there is “practically” no freedom of expression in Venezuela today.

In the interview, Otero said that El Nacional has not been able to buy its own newsprint. Instead, Otero said, the newspaper relies on the charity of other Latin American publications, which have been providing El Nacional with the paper it needs to print, with one exception:

As a result, we’ve used paper given to us by thirteen newspapers from neighbouring countries who have taken on the role of lender. Cuba is the exception.

El Nacional is not the only newspaper to suffer from a lack of paper. In Venezuela, currency must be exchanged through CENCOEX, a government agency that decides to allocate money – or not – to the country’s different industries. Sometimes, exchanging currency through CENCOEX becomes impossible, which means that industry – in this case, newspapers – are unable to pay for importing the newsprint paper they need to stay in business.

Last month, El Carabobeño was forced to close after 81 years because it was not able to pay for importing paper.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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