A couple days ago, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demanded that neighboring Guyana cease oil exploration in what is disputed offshore territory, calling it a “dangerous political provocation”. The region, west of the Essequibo River, has served as a bone of contentment between Venezuela and Guyana, and before that Venezuela and Britain (Guyana was previously a British colony) since the 19th century. While originally claimed by Venezuela after the country gained its independence in the early 19th century, the region was also claimed by the British, who needed territory in South America to serve trade sailboats on their trading route around South America. Back in 1899 an international tribunal ruled that the region belonged to Guyana, which at the time was a British colony. However, Venezuela has insisted that the tribunal was a sham acted out improperly by European judges, and have disputed its legality ever since.
Late last May, ExxonMobil announced a significant oil discovery in the area, prompting Maduro to issue a presidential decree claiming sovereignty over the waters around the disputing region. At the same time, the newly elected Guyanese President, David Granger, released a statement where he denounced the decree as a “flagrant violation” of international law, as well as accusing Venezuela of trying to “trample on the rights” of the much smaller Guyana. Granger insisted that Guyana would continue to develop the offshore natural resources that it considered its own.
Back on Tuesday, Maduro blamed ExxonMobil for the diplomatic row, and advised Guyana to not take “bad advice” from the company or any of its affiliates. With dialogue and diplomacy, he insisted, Venezuela and Guyana should be able to come to an agreement. It’s hardly surprising that Venezuela would denounce ExxonMobil; relations between the two have been tense since 2007, after the country’s then-President Hugo Chavez nationalized the company’s assets in Venezuela. Last year, an international arbitration ruled in favor of ExxonMobil, saying that Venezuela needs to pay them $1.6 billion in compensation for expropriated assets.
from Carlos Arias Delgado – Cosmology http://ift.tt/1e5x8SL
This weekend, demonstrators will be taking to the streets of Venezuela and Miami, calling for the release of political prisoners, an end to censorship and for the authorities to set a date for legislative elections. The protests, called for in a jailhouse video by politician Leopoldo López, have also become the latest test for an opposition that’s been struggling to maintain a common front ahead of the critical congressional vote. In the brief video, initially released by state-run television, López announced he was going on a hunger strike, and called for a “massive and peaceful” demonstration.
Rather than a rallying cry for the opposition, however, López’s call to action seemed to just generate infighting. In a statement, the coalition of 29 opposition parties known as the MUD chastised López’s Voluntad Popular party for not coordinating the activity with the rest of the alliance, saying that it couldn’t endorse the protest since some members had concerns about the march that couldn’t get resolved by the fixed date. This didn’t go over well, however, with the MUD being swamped with accusations that it turned its back on political prisoners. The protests will be extending to Miami, where 15 different organizations, including “Politically Persecuted Venezuelans in Exile”, or “Veppex”. The backlash from MUD’s statement has led to the party’s Secretary General Jesús Torrealba to defend the organization’s position, saying that the opposition needs to act in unison if it ever hopes to regain power.
Just a few weeks ago, the spirit of unity in the Venezuelan opposition was strong after MUD held primaried to find consensus candidates for the legislative race. While a date for the upcoming congressional election has yet to be set, the opposition is hoping to make gains. These gains are coming as the country reels from various issues, including food shortages, soaring inflation and rampant crime. While Venezuela hasn’t released any inflation data this year, the Bank of America said that its in-house calculations suggest that year-to-year inflation broke the three-digit mark in April after it hit 101 percent. The calls for a street demonstration have temporarily shifted the conversation away from the nosediving economy for at least a time, providing the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) a temporary distraction. However, the PSUV has warned that Saturday’s marches could get ugly, claiming that the opposition is planning to engage in various acts of “terrorism”.
from Carlos Arias Delgado – Health and Wellness http://ift.tt/1e5t4Su