Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza spoke in a televised interview today on a range of topics, including the country’s relationship with Colombia and the United States.

During the interview, Arreaza accused Colombia of refusing to communicate with Venezuela. Arreaza said that he briefly met his Colombian homologue, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, at the United Nations several months ago. However, Arreaza said that Trujillo refused to speak to him, since he claimed to lack “authorization” from Bogota to do so. Arreaza said in the interview that the stance of non-communication “hurts both nations”.

Arreaza also stressed the regime line that the United States “heads all of the aggression” against Venezuela, and compared president Trump to the CEO of a “big company”, while all other Latin American leaders who are not aligned with Venezuela are “his executive directors”.

Video Allegedly Captures Migrant Plight at Colombia Border

A video shared on social media today captured a tense moment at a border crossing. The video appears to show National Guard soldiers stealing shopping bags from Venezuelans who had crossed the border earlier in the day to find food in Colombia

In the video, stern-faced National Guard soldiers at a checkpoint. One of the soldiers is stacking what appear to be shopping bags, while an indignant man tells them, “Look, the president [Maduro] said that you can’t take anything from anyone!”. The soldiers ignore the man and continue their task.

Towards the end of the video, a visibly shaken woman is arrested by one of the soldiers. The woman is carrying what appears to be shopping bags full of food. As the woman pleads with the soldier to let her go, a young girl cries in terror: “Mom, let it go please! Please let it go!”. Based on the context, it appears that the soldier was attempting to take the bags that the woman was carrying, but the woman was refusing to do so.

Below, the video:

Iconic Hallacas Out of Reach for Most Venezuelans

Hallacas are Venezuela’s holiday food. Before the crisis, entire families would gather over weekends early in the Christmas season to prepare as many hallacas as possible–over a hundred, ideally–both to eat themselves during the holidays and to give away as gifts to friends and loved ones.

The crisis has impacted every facet of Venezuelan life, and the hallaca is no exception.

According to Cronica Uno, current prices mean that a family will need to spend at least BsS. 50,000 to make 50 hallacas this year. That sum represents approximately 11 months worth of wages. According to the publication, the price for 50 hallacas this year is 400% more expensive than it was last year.

Hallacas are fairly complex dishes that require as many as nineteen individual ingredients for the preparation, from the banana leaves and twine needed to encase them to the olives, onions, capers and meat that fill them. A jar of olives alone ranges in price from BsS. 6,000 to 8,000; while the minimum monthly salary sits at BsS. 4,500.

Video Captures Scuffle Involving Maduro Security Detail

Mexican television cameras captured a scuffle between men in Maduro’s security detail and Mexican authorities. The event took place yesterday in Mexico City, while Maduro was attending the inauguration of president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The video begins with Maduro, Cilia Flores and their entourage entering a building. Maduro stops briefly at the door to wave to people, and then enters. The video then cuts away to the announcers.

At approximately 0:55, the video shows that Maduro and Flores have already entered the building, but some of the men in his entourage have not. Some of the men in Maduro’s entourage can be seen shoving the Mexican authorities posted at the door, as if they were trying to enter the building but were being prevented from doing so.

The announcers speculate that the men were not allowed to enter the building because they were not on any official list of invited guests. The announcers then quip: “If you already know what he [Maduro] is like, why did you invite him?”

Below, the video:

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

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