The Maduro regime has reacted to yesterday’s election of far-right demagogue Jair Bolsonaro by issuing a statement congratulation the Brazilian people on the election, and calling for closer relations between the two countries.

In a tweet sent last night, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza said:

The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela @NicolasMaduro, extends his congratulations to the people of Brazil, for the celebration of their 2nd round election, which [Jair Balsonaro] won [to become] the [president elect] of that beautiful country. 

The full press release reads:

The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, in the name of the Venezuelan Government and People, extends his sincere congratulations to the People of the Federal Republic of Brazil, for the celebration of their 2nd round election that took place on October 28 2018, which Jair Balsonaro won to become the President of that South American country.

The Bolivarian Government would like to take advantage of the situation to call on the Brazilian president elect to once again take, as neighbouring countries, the path of diplomatic relations based on respect, harmony, progress, and regional integration, to the benefit of our peoples.

The Venezuelan People and Government, in the framework of Bolivarian Democracy of Peace, ratify their commitment to continue to work hand-in-hand with our brethren, the People of Brazil, in the struggle for a more just, multi-centered and multi-polar world, one in which the self-determination of peoples and non-interference in internal affairs prevails. 

Bolsonaro’s election is likely to signal the start of more hostile relations between Brasilia and Caracas. 

Bolsonaro ran on a campaign of unapologetic homophobia, misogyny and contempt for human rights. This, combined with his calls for a return to Brazil’s dictatorial days have led many observers to lament the arrival of fascism in Brazil with his electoral win. 

In previous statements to the media, Bolsonaro has taken a relatively neutral approach to the Venezuelan crisis, saying that he would not close the border to Venezuelan migrants, and that working with the United Nations to set up “refugee camps” inside Brazil might bring relief to the crisis.

US Commander Stresses Diplomatic Solution to Venezuelan Crisis

Admiral Kurt Tidd, the head of the United State military’s Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), said in comments to the press today that the solution to the Venezuelan crisis is a diplomatic one

Tidd said that this diplomatic solution must be “led and welcomed” by other countries in the region, and spoke highly of the efforts at international organizations like the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Organization of American States (OAS) to mount pressure on the Maduro regime.

As the commander of USSOUTHCOM, Tidd is in charge of U.S. military activity and planning in Central and South America, and the Caribbean. 

Regime Closes Border with Colombia to Commercial Traffic Citing Disease Outbreak

The Ministry of Productive Agriculture and Land announced today that it was closing the border with Colombia to commercial traffic, citing an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease is the neighbouring country.

The announcement came from minister Wilmer Castro Soltedo, who said in a press conference that the measure was put into effect out a desire to “protect the borders of the country” against the spread of the disease. 

Soltedo also asked the country’s farmers to be on the lookout for any symptoms of the disease in their livestock.

On Friday, Colombian authorities detected an outbreak of the disease in 23 pigs in the Maicao municipality in the country’s northern border with Venezuela. That marked the third outbreak detected by Colombian authorities this month.

PDVSA Corruption Case Nets Man 10 Years in Prison

Matthias Krull was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a U.S. court today for his role in a $1.2 billion corruption scheme involving PDVSA, the state-owned oil firm.

According to Reuters, Krull plead guilty in August 22 of this year to participating in a corruption scheme that hid stolen PDVSA money in “real estate and false-investment schemes”. The website reports:

Krull was among eight people charged by the Justice Department in July in the matter and was the first to plead guilty. Another defendant, Abraham Edgardo Ortega, the former executive director of finance at PDVSA, is scheduled to appear in Miami federal court on Wednesday and plead guilty, court records show. Like Krull, Ortega is also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Krull was apologetic at sentencing today, and sobbed while apologizing for his crime. Krull said:

I fully blame myself for being in this situation (…) I apologize for making a bad decision. I pray and hope you won’t look at me as a bad person

The National Assembly estimates that corrupt Venezuelan officials stole at least $11 billion out of PDVSA between 2004 and 2014 alone. 

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

One thought on “10.29.18: Tough Neighbourhood

  1. Pingback: The World This Week: Nov. 5th, 2018 - The Patterson Journal of International Affairs

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