Maduro announced today that he had ordered Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez to send a formal declaration of protest to Unasur and Celac, two regional diplomatic and trade bodies, over comments made about Venezuela over the weekend by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. The move is the latest escalation in a week of insults leveled against the Peruvian president by Venezuelan officials over the comments.
Speaking at an event at Princeton University over the weekend, President Kuczynski said:
The United States focuses on those areas where there are problems. Like the Middle East. It does not invest much time in Latin America because it is like a good dog that is sleeping on the carpet that does not cause any problems.
The only exception to that generalization, President Kuczynski clarified, was Venezuela.
Today, Maduro called the Peruvian president’s comments “offensive”, which he argued necessitate the formal measure at Unasur and Celac.
Last night, Maduro spoke in a televised address in which he called President Kuczynski “corrupt”, and accused him of conspiring with the Venezuela opposition to undermine his regime. Without providing any kind of evidence, Maduro said:
I have the evidence. He has sent messages to the Venezuelan right wing and he tells them that there’s no solution to this, and that what they have to do here is go nuts. He has recommended that the Venezuelan opposition go nuts. That’s the expression that he used.
UN HR High Commissioner Speaks on Venezuela
Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented the organization’s Global Update today on human rights conditions around the world. On the case of Venezuela specifically, al Hussein expressed his “increasing concern” over the deteriorating conditions in the country, including continued violations against fundamental rights including the freedom of movement, association and expression.
Below, the entirety of the High Commissioner’s comments on Venezuela:
I am increasingly concerned about the extreme polarisation in Venezuela, with continued restrictions on the freedoms of movement, association, expression and peaceful protest. I am also disturbed by the lack of independence of rule of law and national human rights institutions. My Office continues to receive reports of arbitrary detention and intimidation of opposition leaders, and I repeat my calls for the release of all political detainees, many of whom we believe were detained arbitrarily. As the economic and social crisis in Venezuela deepens, we have received reports of a marked increase in Venezuelans arriving in neighbouring countries, and I urge authorities to ensure appropriate support. Shortages of medicine and food across the country, and spiralling prices, are severely affecting economic and social rights. I welcome mediation efforts by the Vatican, and encourage further respect of human rights as a common ground for resuming political dialogue.
Video Shows Civilians, National Guard Soldiers Looting Truck on Highway
A video that is making the rounds on Twitter shows a crowd of civilians looting what appears to be a broken down truck carrying some kind of food product. The video, which was allegedly recorded somewhere along the highway connecting Caracas to Valencia, also shows National Guard soldiers carrying food away onto one of their trucks. The soldiers do not appear at all concerned with attempting to restore order to the situation.
Below, the video:
Starvation Claims 8 Children in San Felix in 2017
Eight children have died of starvation in San Felix, Bolivar state in the first two months of 2017. The figure comes from Correo del Caroni, a local newspaper which reported today the two latest victims—a four month old girl and a four year old boy—died three days apart at the Dr. Raul Leoni hospital last week. The newspaper also revealed that the boy had been hospitalized this past June due to malnutrition.
The same article that all of Bolivar state, which covers an area of 240,528 square kilometers and has a population of approximately 1.5 million people, had only one nutritional health centre. That centre was closed in 2014 with no official reason given.
The PSUV has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that there is a public health crisis in the country given the chronic food shortages.
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