During the overnight hours, residents of the Mucajai municipality in Brazil attacked a group of 50 Venezuelan migrants who had been living in an abandoned school in the town. The residents forced the migrants out of the school.

According to El Universal, a group of approximately 300 residents descended upon the school after an altercation involving some of the migrants resulted in the death of a Brazilian man named Eulis Marinho de Souza. The altercation had taken place earlier in the day on or around the abandoned school.

Once inside the school, the residents burned some of the migrants’ belongings. One of the residents clarified that the group had “only burned clothes”, while another said that the Venezuelans “fled in fear”.

Mucajai is located south of the city of Boa Vista in Roraima state, which borders Venezuela to the north. The area has been receiving increasing numbers of Venezuelan migrants in recent months, as the crisis in the country forces more and more Venezuelans to seek a better life elsewhere.

A man named Juan Bautista identified by El Universal as “a leader of the group” that attacked the school said:

We can’t stand their presence anymore. We want the authorities to do something. There are a lot of thefts in our city.

One of the Venezuelan migrants who was forced out of the school, a man named Juan Mariño, told Brazilian media that he was not a criminal. Mariño said:

I’m here to work. I’m not a criminal. This is very sad.

The video below appears to show a group of Roraima residents holding signs and speaking on the Venezuelan migrants. The residents are chanting “Justice!” at the beginning of the clip. Because the video appears to have been recorded in a cemetery, it is possible that the individuals in the video were there to participate in the burial of Eulis Marinho de Souza:

La Patilla has pictures from the school after the attack here.

US Earmarks $2.5 million to Colombia for Venezuela Aid

The United States government announced today that it was setting aside $2.5 million to help Colombia cope with the influx of Venezuelan migrants. The aid will arrive in Colombia in the form of food and medical supplies.

The news came via Mark Green, an administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), who said that the money would go toward helping Venezuelans who have fled their country and are now taking refuge in Colombia. On the nature of the crisis that is driving Venezuelans out of the country, Green said:

Regrettably, this crisis in Venezuela, which is now spilling into the broader region, is man-made – the result of continued political mismanagement and corruption by the Maduro regime.

According to Reuters, there are more than 550,000 Venezuelans living in Colombia, a figure that increased by 62% in the last half of 2017 alone.

USAID clarified that the money was meant to be stop-gap measure to bring some relief to the Venezuelan migrants, rather than part of a long-term plan to address to crisis.

TIME: Russia Helped Venezuela Set Up the Petro

TIME published an article today in which it claims that Russia provided aid to Venezuela in setting up the Petro, the Maduro regime’s cryptocurrency, in an attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s finances.

According to the publication, the Petro was the brainchild of two Russian nationals: Denis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky, which TIME describes as having “ties to major Russian banks and billionaires close to the Kremlin”. On the Petro’s connection to Russia, the article continues by saying:

According to an executive at a Russian state bank who deals with cryptocurrencies, senior advisers to the Kremlin have overseen the effort in Venezuela, and President Vladimir Putin signed off on it last year. “People close to Putin, they told him this is how to avoid the sanctions,” says the executive, who spoke to TIME on condition of anonymity. “This is how the whole thing started.”

Yesterday, the White House announced a measure banning any U.S. entity from buying or otherwise participating in transactions involving the Petro. The cryptocurrency was launched by Maduro on February 20 as a magic solution to every one of the country’s economic problems.

Maduro: Petro Ban is “Shameful and Absurd”

Maduro reacted to the White House ban on Petro transactions today by calling the measure “shameful and absurd”. Speaking to supporters at an event celebrating the construction of subsidized homes, Maduro said:

Yesterday you saw the bad thing that the U.S. government did yesterday, while here in Venezuela we spend our time working. Last year I founded the Venezuelan cryptocurrency, and since this is going well and is good for every Venezuela (…) the imperialist government of the United States issued a decree against the Petro.

Earlier this month, the Weiss cryptocurrency ratings agency called the Petro “worthless”, and said that not a single unit of the coin had been purchased in the two weeks since its launch.

Maduro spoke more on the Petro ban, saying:

This is a shameful decree, it’s absurd, and it was requested by the Venezuelan opposition because the National Assembly issued a statement against the Petro. Who could be against a monetary instrument that is going to help Venezuelans?

In his typical defiant tone, Maduro said that “no one will stop the Petro”, and continued:

No one and nothing will stop the Petro, buddy. Neither Trump nor a million Trumps will stop the Petro. The Petro is here to stay, buddy, and it’s going strong.

Maduro also announced that his government will finance the construction of 230,000 new homes with the Petro, but provided no specific details on the measure.

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


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