Nicolás Maduro

Student-organized protests against the Nicolás Maduro Administration turned violent yesterday when pro-government groups began shooting into the crowd in Caracas.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro met with regional leaders on Wednesday, including one of his staunchest opponents, Henrique Capriles, following the assassination of former Miss Venezuela Mónica Spear and her ex-husband, and the shooting of their five-year-old daughter.

Government officials from the Dominican Republic and Haiti will meet next month to discuss a controversial court decision that would take citizenship away from thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent, Haiti’s foreign minister Pierre Richard Casimir said on Thursday.  A commission made up of five officials from both countries will meet in Ouanaminthe, a town on the Haitian border, on January 7.

Cambios políticos y estructurales venían discutiéndose en Venezuela cuando un estallido social en 1989 evidenció que la situación exigía acciones inmediatas. La Comisión para la Reforma del Estado -creada en 1986- había oficializado el debate apenas un año antes, pero “El Caracazo”, revuelta social que marcó un punto de no retorno para el país, fue lo que impulsó la rápida creación del marco legal del proceso de descentralización.

A finales de 2002, empresarios, trabajadores y algunos medios de comunicación venezolanos unieron fuerzas e iniciaron una paralización nacional en protesta al gobierno del entonces presidente Hugo Chávez, que acababa de sobrevivir a un golpe de estado ocho meses antes.

Likely top stories this week: Venezuela’s National Assembly is increasing presidential powers for President Nicolás Maduro; Demand for U.S. oil grows in Latin America; Michelle Bachelet enters second round of presidential elections in Chile; Arrest warrants are issued for bankers and politicians involved in Brazil’s biggest corruption trial; Cristina Fernández de Kirchner returns to office.

On Monday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro redoubled his efforts to lobby the National Assembly for special powers to govern by decree under the Ley Habilitante (Enabling Law). Just days before the legislature is expected to vote on the measure, President Maduro vowed to extend Venezuela’s ineffective price controls to all consumer goods.

La vida en Venezuela es imprevisible. No se sabe cuándo los bienes básicos llegarán a los anaqueles, ni cuánto tiempo un corte eléctrico puede dejar el país a oscuras. Desplazarse de una ciudad a otra—en un país de 912 mil kilómetros cuadrados—puede llevar una hora como cinco. Ni siquiera el crimen es organizado. En términos prácticos, es como si cada día fuese una sorpresa, pero a la vez como si se tratase de un guión que se repite de manera incesante.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro requested on Tuesday that the National Assembly implement the Ley Habilitante (Enabling Law), granting him special powers in order to fight corruption, economic issues and “capitalist logic” for one year. Maduro will need at least one opposition vote next week to receive the legislative powers.

The United States Department of State announced today that it is expelling the three top Venezuelan diplomats in Washington after Caracas ousted three of their American counterparts on Sunday. The Venezuelan officials, including charge d’affaires Calixto Ortega Rios, were given 48 hours to leave the country.

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