The number of Venezuelans seeking political asylum in the United States has risen by 600% since Maduro came to power in 2013, according to a report by Univision. The network points out that while 2013 saw 855 Venezuelans request political asylum in the United States, the number jumped to 2,939 in 2014, and 6,014 in 2015.

The figures, which come from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), means that Venezuela is the top exporter of political asylum seekers in all of Latin America as of January of 2015. The spike in Venezuelan asylum seekers matches Maduro’s election in 2013, and the repression that marked the 2014 protests.

Urban Agriculture Minister: We Can Feed 1.3 Million People

Minister of Urban Agriculture Lorena Freitez said that her newly created office had identified 1,200 hectares of urban space suitable for agricultural purposes, which she claims is enough to feed 1.3 million people.

Freitez explained:

So far, with the little information that we’ve managed to get a hold of over these last few days, we’ve mapped 1,200 hectares which means – for the people who don’t know about agriculture – that we can produce 34,750 tonnes of food and [provide food for] 1.3 million people in little time.

In laying out her ministry’s next steps beyond working the spaces it has already identified, Freitez said:

The second thing we have to do – specially because this is a new ministry – is establish fluid communication mechanisms with people.

Bernal Bodyguard Murdered

A bodyguard of high-ranking PSUV official Freddy Bernal was murdered in the Antimano neighbourhood of Caracas while escorting Bernal through the area early this morning. The bodyguard, whose name was Harold Marcano, was riding a motorcycle when he was attacked and shot by a group of men. El Nacional speculates that the reason for the murder was to steal the officer’s firearm.

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

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