Venezuela crisis: All the latest updates

With pro- and anti-government protesters taking to the streets, here is the latest in the Venezuelan crisis.

Venezuela''s Crisis

Here are the latest developments on Venezuela: 

  • Maduro bars opposition from next year’s vote. President Nicolas Maduro has announced that the country’s main opposition parties will be banned from taking part in next year’s presidential elections.
  • Maduro says government wins 90 percent of mayorships. Ruling Socialist Party won at least 90 percent of the 335 mayorships contested in local elections, President Maduro said on Sunday.

  • According to the latest official count, the socialists won 41 of 42 mayorships counted by late evening.
  • Venezuelans go to the polls. On Sunday, Venezuelans will vote for the mayors of 335 municipalities.

  • Venezuela to launch cryptocurrency. Nicolas Maduro looked to the world of digital currency to circumvent US-led financial sanctions, announcing the launch of the “petro” backed by oil reserves.

  • “Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency,” backed by oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves, Maduro said.

  • Political talks end without deal. Members of Venezuela’s government and opposition coalition failed to reach a deal in a new round of talks in the Dominican Republic on Saturday aimed at resolving the OPEC nation’s protracted political crisis. 
  • “This process is difficult, heavy, hard and full of debate and confrontation,” said Julio Borges,  president of the opposition-led congress, adding he hoped the two sides could come closer on  December 15.

  • US asks Venezuela for access to detained Citgo executives. Washington has asked the government of Nicolas Maduro for access to Venezuelan-American executives of US-based refiner Citgo detained in Caracas this week. 
  • Five of six Citgo executives arrested on graft allegations are US citizens. All six men are being held in the headquarters of Venezuela’s military counterintelligence department in Caracas. 

  • Venezuela’s output below OPEC target. Venezuela’s oil production, which has been falling by about 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) since last year, is on track to fall by at least 250,000 bpd in 2017. 
  • But heavy oil from OPEC member Iraq and non-OPEC producers Canada and Brazil are already replacing Venezuelan barrels to key customers the United States and India, Reuters reported. 
  • Creditors rule Venezuela state oil firm PDVSA in default. On Thursday, a committee of creditors ruled that Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has defaulted on its debt.

  • China confident Venezuela can handle debt issue. “We believe that Venezuela’s government and people have the ability to properly handle their debt issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
  • Venezuela has borrowed billions of dollars from Russia and China, primarily through oil-for-loan deals.

  • Ex-prosecutor wants Maduro tried at the Hague. Venezuela’s former chief prosecutor on Thursday asked the International Criminal Court to capture and try President Nicolas Maduro and other top officials for crimes against humanity.

  • Government and opposition to resume dialogue effort. Venezuela’s government and opposition will resume efforts to hold dialogue, the third attempt in a year. 

  • Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on Twitter, “the dialogue continues on November 15 in the Dominican Republic.”

  • New Sanctions. On Thursday the United States slapped more sanctions targeting 10 officials it said engaged in election irregularities.

  • EU to impose arms embargo. European Union ambassadors have agreed to ban the sale of weapons and surveillance technologies to Venezuela. 

  • Opposition leader seeks refuge. On Sunday, Venezuelan lawmaker Freddy Guevara sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas. The opposition and local media said that Sebin (Bolivarian National Intelligence Service) had surrounded Guevara’s house over the weekend.
  • Opposition parties to boycott elections. Three of Venezuela’s opposition parties: Justice First, Popular Will and Democratic Action, announced on Monday they will boycott municipal elections in December in protest against an election system they say is biased, and instead will focus on demanding reforms to the election board in anticipation of next year’s presidential poll.

  • Venezuela, PDVSA bonds rise. Bonds issued by Venezuela and PDVSA rose in price as the state oil company began the process of making payments on the 2020 bonds, easing short-term worries about default.

  • Moscow to restructure Venezuela’s debt. Russia said on Friday it had generally agreed with Venezuela on terms to restructure a total of $3bn of its debts to Moscow, including a postponement of debt repayment.

  • Venezuelan officials arrested for US probe. Spanish authorities arrested a former Venezuelan deputy minister and three former executives at Venezuelan state companies for alleged links to money laundering and international corruption, as part of a US probe, according to Spain’s Civil Guard.

  • New governor dismissed. The newly elected opposition governor of Venezuela’s western Zulia state, Juan Pablo Guanipa, was dismissed on Thursday by the local state legislature after he refused to swear loyalty to the Constituent Assembly, also known as the National Assembly.

  • Lima group calls for more sanction. The Lima Group, who has denounced Maduro’s government, has agreed that more steps may be needed to isolate the country.  Canada , a member of the group, has said if need be “concrete steps” can be taken to isolate the government of Venezuela from the international community and that Canada is mulling a second round of sanctions against Venezuelan officials.

  • Government crackdown on corruption. Orlando Chacin, a top executive at Venezuela’s PDVSA, and ten other oil executives were arrested  as part of the government’s crackdown on corruption. The accusations include overpricing and non-execution of planned projects.

  • Opposition demoralised. Venezuela’s young opposition supporters are demoralised by the shock election defeat they suffered this month. 

Maduro warns of repeat elections

  • Venezuelan state elections may be repeated in the five states won by the opposition if the governors-elect continue to refuse to be sworn in by the National Assembly.

  • Authorities have mandated that all elected governors participate in a ceremony before the pro-government Constituent Assembly, but the five opposition winners did not take part.

  • “Anyone who wants to be governor will have to recognise the Constituent National Assembly; otherwise elections will be repeated in states where the Assembly is not recognised,” Maduro said.

Venezuelans defiant in the face of US travel ban

  • President Donald Trump’s third attempt to ban travel to the US from several countries has been blocked, hours before the executive order was to go into full effect in a number of countries, including Venezuela.

  • The ban would apply to members of the government, military police, intelligence services and anyone that could have been involved in human rights abuses.

  • The US says the sanctions are destined to hurt the government, but people in Venezuela remain defiant to the latest threat from the US.

Nicolas Maduro defends Sunday’s vote

  • “[On Sunday] we made a feat, the sons and daughters of Chavez did,” Maduro told an international press conference on Tuesday. 
  • Responding to the accusations of fraud, Maduro said on Tuesday that Venezuela’s electoral process is “the most audited and secure in the world”, adding that “nobody can commit fraud”.  

  • “We met [with the opposition] more than 100 times, I have the evidence,” Maduro said. 

  • “However the empire has given an order, not to recognise this victory … but we will respond to this.” “They [the opposition] do not have the capacity to make their own decisions, and we do not know who in Washington is answering to their calls,” he added. 

Opposition rejects results 

  • Venezuela’s opposition coalition refused to recognise the results of Sunday’s gubernatorial elections.
  • The Democratic Unity’s (MUD) election campaign chief, Gerardo Blyde, demanded a complete audit of the 23 governor races and called on its candidates to lead “street activities” on Monday.
  • President Nicolas Maduro approved an audit of the ballots, and said his government had scored an “emphatic victory” over its rivals. 

  • Maduro also criticised international media coverage of the election: “I’ve been tuning into the BBC, CNN and others, and today’s elections were completely ignored”.

  • “This is one of the best electoral processes, audited several times by all parties and political actors,” said Alfredo Arevalo, the Ecuadorian representative of the Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America 

Ruling party wins landslide in regional elections

  • President Nicolas Maduro’s Socialist Party won a landslide 17 out of 23 states in Venezuela’s regional elections, according to official results announced by the National Elections Council.

  • The opposition Democratic Union Roundtable (MUD) coalition, which earlier said the upcoming results were “suspicious”, took only five of the states, said the council.

Regional elections, today 

  • Venezuelans go to the ballot box on Sunday to vote in regional elections, postponed since December 2016.

  • The ruling Socialist Party currently controls 20 of 23 state governorships but this could be a chance for the opposition Democratic Unity coalition to score a victory, according to polls. 

  • Two hundred voting centres have been relocated on security grounds.

PDVSA delays debt payment 

  • The payment of $121m in interest on debt owed by Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA, which had been scheduled for October 12, has been delayed
  • By missing the interest payment, the oil company is entering a grace period of 30 days with lenders rather than defaulting.
  • Also, in the first week of November, PDVSA must pay another $1.1bn in capital payment and interest, according to a local consulting firm.

Thirty-three magistrates to operate from the US

  • Thirty-three magistrates from Venezuela’s top court were sworn in at a ceremony in the US on Friday to begin operating in exile.
  • The Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ), designated by the National Assembly in which the opposition holds the majority, took the oath of office at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) regional bloc in Washington.
  • The magistrates will begin work on October 13 and the TSJ will be called the Supreme Court in Exile.

Ortega plans to visit the US 

  • Venezuela’s former chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega said her team had supplied the US with evidence “compromising” top officials in the administration of President Nicolas Maduro
  • “The prosecutors in Colombia with me … have been meeting with prosecutors from the United States and some other countries to exchange information,” Ortega told reporters after meeting United Nations rights boss Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein in Geneva.
  • “We’ve supplied them with a mix of evidence that compromises high-level government officials,” she said, adding she planned to visit the United States.

US to maintain sanctions 

  • President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States would maintain sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela until they restore political and religious freedom.
  • “We’re confronting rogue regimes from Iran to North Korea and we are challenging the communist dictatorship of Cuba and the socialist oppression of Venezuela,” Trump told a conservative political conference. “And we will not lift the sanctions on these repressive regimes until they restore political and religious freedom for their people.”

‘Historic’ satellite launch from China 

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday celebrated China’s launch of the South American nation’s satellite as a “historic event” key to furthering national independence
  • The satellite was launched into orbit a little past midnight Caracas time Monday, from China’s satellite launch centre in Jiuquan, in northwest Gansu province.
  • The satellite, named in honour of Venezuelan-born independence hero Antonio Jose de Sucre, is the third satellite the two countries have jointly launched into space, Chinese local media reported.

 Maduro thanks Trump for making him ‘famous’

  • “It’s an honour that the head of the empire mentions me every day,” said the 54-year-old president. “That means I’m doing something right,” he added. 
  • Saying Venezuela has become a corrupt and repressive dictatorship, the US government has widened individual sanctions on top officials including Maduro and also prohibited new debt dealings with Caracas.

  Opposition release inflation reports

  • Inflation in Venezuela’s crisis-hit economy was 536.2 percent in the nine months to September the opposition-controlled National Assembly said.
  • The government stopped releasing price data more than a year ago, but Congress has published its own figures since January and they have been close to private economists’ estimates.
  • The government says it is a victim of an “economic war”, including speculation and hoarding, by pro-opposition businessmen.

 ‘Ballot sheet unfair for October 15’ 

  • Venezuela’s opposition said the pro-government election board was seeking to skew regional elections in favour of President Nicolas Maduro’s party by including the names of candidates defeated in primaries on the ballot.
  • The Democratic Unity coalition is targeting winning 18 governorships, while the government is trumpeting the election as proof against growing criticism Venezuela has become a dictatorship.

Maduro hails relations with Turkey

  • President Nicolas Maduro hailed a new era in relations with Turkey, after being welcomed by counterpart Erdogan at his Ankara palace. 
  • “We want to open a new era in relations between Venezuela and Turkey,” Maduro said in a joint statement with Erdogan after their talks.  “We want to sketch out a new era for the world. A multi-polar world where everyone can find their place.”
  • Commenting on the strife in Venezuela, Erdogan said there was “nothing superior to the will of the people” and warned that “external intervention” usually made problems worse. “We hope that Venezuela will find a solution to its problems through sense, dialogue and reconciliation,” he added.

 Payments to Russia may be restructured 

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday that his country’s debt payments to Russia might be restructured.
  • Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft is buying a growing volume of Venezuelan crude and other products while extending loans to Maduro’s government.
  • Rosneft said in August it had made around $6bn in pre-payments to Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and had no immediate plans to make any further advance payments soon.

  Maduro approval rises to 23 percent 

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s approval rating rose to 23 percent in September, up 6 percentage points from 17 percent in July, according to a poll by local firm Datanalisis.

  • The rebound followed several rounds of sanctions by US President Donald Trump’s administration as well as a sharp drop-off in four months of violent anti-government protests.

  • Nearly 52 percent of respondents opposed the Trump administration sanctions that came in response to the creation of a legislative super body called the Constituent Assembly. 

Venezuela criticises Spain over Catalonia

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro slammed his President Mariano Rajoy for trying to halt a banned independence referendum in Catalonia, saying the leader was a hypocrite for supporting Venezuela’s opposition while cracking down on dissent at home.
  • Venezuela’s opposition, in turn, accused Maduro of hypocrisy in attacking Rajoy, saying the Venezuelan leader violently clamped down on four months of protests. 

White House accuses  Venezuela of human trafficking

  • The White House said it had ordered that Iran, Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan, and Sudan be added to a US list of countries accused of failing to crack down on human trafficking.
  • Under a 2000 US law, the US does not provide non-humanitarian, non-trade-related foreign assistance to any country that fails to comply with minimum standards for eliminating trafficking and is not making efforts to do so.
  September 26, 2017 

 Opposition declines dialogue with government

  • Venezuela’s opposition said it will not join scheduled talks with President Nicolas Maduro’s government, insisting that the talks should not distract from the country’s economic crisis.
  • “Negotiation is not to go and waste time, to look at someone’s face, but rather so that Venezuelans can have immediate solutions,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles told reporters.

Trump warns Venezuela is ‘collapsing’

  • President Donald Trump warned on Monday that Venezuela is “collapsing”, suggesting the United States may take additional steps to restore democracy.

  • Trump told Latin American allies gathered on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that President Nicolas “Maduro defied his own people” and was guilty of “disastrous rule” that may necessitate further punitive measures.

  • “The Venezuelan people are starving. Their country is collapsing,” he said.

  • The meeting was attended by Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos, Brazil’s Michel Temer, Panama’s Juan Carlos Varela and Argentina’s vice president Gabriela Michetti.

Maduro says talks will produce deal, opposition call it a ‘show’

  • President Nicolas Maduro has predicted a new foreign-led effort to mediate Venezuela’s political crisis would produce a deal soon, but the opposition said it would not accept another time-wasting “show”. 

  • Both sides sent delegations to meet the Dominican Republic’s president this week for a possible start to a negotiated solution. 

  • “After weeks of conversations, we are close to an agreement of political co-existence of peace and sovereignty,” Maduro said in a speech on Friday. “We’re very near.” 

  • But the opposition insisted the talks in Santo Domingo were only “exploratory” and said it would not proceed without firm guarantees of democratic change. They want a date for the next presidential election, due by the end of 2018, with guarantees it will be free and fair, plue freedom for hundreds of jailed activists, a foreign humanitarian corridor, and respect for the opposition-led congress.

  • “If we don’t have iron-clad guarantees … that everything is leading to democratic change … we won’t take a step more,” Julio Borges, the leader of the opposition-led congress, told reporters on Saturday, recalling failed 2016 Vatican-led talks. “We want to avoid a repeat of last year’s show.” 

Maduro accepts talks offer with Venezuela opposition

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday his government was prepared to meet the opposition for talks, offering a glimpse of a breakthrough in a political standoff marked by months of deadly protests.

  • He told his ministers he would accept to undertake talks brokered by Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina and ex-Spanish premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

  • “Zapatero and President Medina know very well that I have been a promoter of this dialogue and I accept this new day of dialogue,” Maduro said.

  • Maduro appointed influential Caracas politician Jorge Rodriguez as his representative at the talks, and said he would leave for the Dominican Republic “in the next few hours”.

  • The opposition announced in turn that it would hold an exploratory meeting on Wednesday with the Dominican president. However, it insisted it did not mean it was the beginning of formal talks with the government.

UN: Venezuela may have committed ‘crimes against humanity’

  • The United Nations human rights chief has said that Venezuelan security forces may have committed “crimes against humanity” against protesters and called for an international investigation.

  • “My investigation suggests the possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed, which can only be confirmed by a subsequent criminal investigation,” Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday.

  • But Venezuela’s foreign minister defended the record of the government of President Nicolas Maduro, rejecting the allegations as “baseless”.

Delcy Rodriguez: No humanitarian crisis in Venezuela

  • Delcy Rodriguez, the president of the new Constituent Assembly tells Al Jazeera that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
  • “I have denied and continue denying that Venezuela has a humanitarian crisis,” she says.
  • Rodriguez also speaks to Al Jazeera about allegations of abuse of power and Venezuela’s economic crisis.

WATCH: 700% inflation in Venezuela (2:27)

Venezuela’s opposition-led congress seeks support in Paris

  • Venezuela’s opposition-led congress leaders met with French President Emmanuel Macron to press for humanitarian aid to thei crisis-hit nation.

  • “I stressed the urgency of opening up the door to humanitarian aid in Venezuela,” congress President Julio Borges said. 

  • The meeting with the French president took place on the first leg of a European tour seeking support against President Nicolas Maduro.  

Venezuela bars opposition activist from Europe trip

  • A prominent Venezuelan opposition activist has been barred from leaving the country for planned meetings with leaders of France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

  • Lilian Tintori on Saturday posted a photo on Twitter of herself at Caracas’ international airport holding a document from migration authorities ordering the seizure of her passport before she was to board an afternoon flight.

  • No explanation was given, but the move came a day after she was ordered to appear before a judge on Tuesday to answer questions about the 200 million bolivars found in her car.

Venezuela secret service holding ex-minister: family

  • Venezuelan former defence minister Raul Isaias Baduel, a government critic whose whereabouts have been unknown for three weeks, is being held by the intelligence service, his family has said.

  • Baduel’s daughter Andreina told a press conference the family were only told of his whereabouts in a phone call from new attorney general Tarek William Saab, and that she and her brother were taken to see him.

  • Considered by the opposition to be one of the country’s most prominent political prisoners, the retired former army chief, 62, was “wearing the same clothes” as when he was last seen on August 8 during his transfer from a military prison outside Caracas, his daughter said.

  • Baduel was due to be released last March after serving a nearly eight-year sentence for corruption.

  • However, the prosecutor’s office charged him with alleged conspiracy to oust Maduro for which he could face up to 26 years in prison.

Venezuela’s assembly votes to prosecute ‘traitors’

  • Venezuela’s all-powerful constitutional assembly has passed a decree ordering authorities to investigate and try those believed responsible for supporting new US economic sanctions.

Venezuela holds military drills after US threat

  • Venezuela has kicked off two days of nationwide military drills seen as a deterrent against military intervention by the United States. 

  • War planes, tanks, and 200,000 troops of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) were deployed along with 700,000 reserves and civil militia members as the exercises formally launched on Saturday.

  • “Against the belligerent threats of the United States, all Venezuelans between the ages of 18 and 60 are required to contribute to the integral defence of the nation,” said an announcement broadcast on state television.

Sanctions may be the ‘worst aggressions to Venezuela in last 200 years’: FM

  • The financial sanctions imposed by the US on Venezuela are the “worst aggression to Venezuela in the last 200 years,” Venezuela’s foreign minister said on Friday after meetings at the UN. 

  • Jorge Arreaza said it was possible the US was trying to “promote a humanitarian crisis” in the country. 

  • “What do they want? Do they want to starve the Venezuelan people? What is it they are looking for? We really don’t understand,” Arreaza said.

White House: No US military action in Venezuela ‘in near future’ 

  • The White House has ruled out any near-term intervention in Venezuela, two weeks after President Donald Trump raised the specter of military action in the crisis-wracked country. 

  • “We always look at a broad range of contingencies of how this might evolve in the future,” Trump’s National Security Adviser HR McMaster said on Friday during a White House briefing.

  • “Any decision will be in conjunction with the partners of the region and military actions are not anticipated in the near future.” 

Trump administration imposes sweeping sanctions on Venezuela

  • The US has slapped sweeping financial sanctions on Venezuela, dramatically ratcheting up tensions between the two countries and making it harder for President Nicolas Maduro to raise badly needed funds to prevent a debt default. 

  • The sanctions US President Donald Trump signed by executive order prohibit financial institutions from providing new money to the government or sate oil company PDVSA. 

Venezuela will hold referendum on new constitution: assembly

  • Venezuela’s future constitution, to be written by a new assembly packed with allies of President Nicolas Maduro, will be put to a referendum, the pro-government lawmakers have announced. 

  • The 545 members of the Constituent Assembly – which has seized power from the opposition-led legislature, and drawn international scorn – unanimously decided they would approve the text and then set a referendum date.

Venezuela’s dissident ex-prosecutor granted six months refuge in Colombia 

  • Venezuela’s former top prosecutor, who fled to neighbouring Colombia last week, may freely enter and leave the South American country for the next six months, Bogota said, in a move likely to anger President Nicolas Maduro.

  • Following her removal from her post as prosecutor, she fled Venezuela for Colombia with her lawmaker husband.

  • She was removed after accusing Maduro of violating human rights and eroding democracy.

Pence: US will not allow ‘collapse of Venezuela’

  • US Vice President Mike Pence vowed on Wednesday that the US would not allow “the collapse of Venezuela,” saying such an event would “endanger” countries in the wider region.

  • “We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles,” Pence told a sympathetic crowd of Venezuelans in South Florida.

  • He also said the US will use its economic and diplomatic power to push for free elections, adding that there were more sanctions to come. 

Venezuela’s dissident ex-prosecutor ‘received threats’

  • Venezuela’s former chief prosecutor has resurfaced in Brazil, warning that her life remains in danger and claiming to possess “a lot” of proof of President Nicolas Maduro’s corruption.

  • Speaking at a crime-fighting conference in the capital, Brasilia, Luisa Ortega said on Wednesday: “I have received threats that there may be an attempt against my life and I hold the Venezuelan government responsible if this happens.”

Ousted chief prosecutor left Colombia for Brazil

  • Luisa Ortega, who fled Venezuela last week, has left Colombia for Brazil, Colombia’s migration agency said on Tuesday.
  • President Maduro said he would seek international cooperation to arrest her.

  • “Venezuela is going to ask Interpol to issue a red notice against these people involved in serious crimes,” Maduro told a news conference, referring to ex-chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega and her lawmaker husband.

Parlasur rejects intervention in Venezuela 

  • South American regional economic group Mercosur  issued a statement rejecting interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, local media reported. 
  • We defend the inalienable right of the Venezuelan people to decide their own destiny. Any threat to the sovereignty of Venezuela or any other Latin American country is unacceptable,” the statement read.

‘Congress in resistance’ rejects assembly

  • Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress rejected the self-proclaimed lawmaking authority of a new legislative body, widening the political divide in the crisis-hit country.
  • Congress’s declaration of resistance followed statements from a group of 12 regional nations plus the United States saying they would continue to regard congress as the  Venezuela ‘s only legitimate lawmaking body.

Parliament rejects new assembly’s powers

  • Venezuela’s National Assembly convened Saturday in defiance of a declaration by the new Constituent Assembly that it was seizing full powers from the opposition-led legislature.

  • The move Friday by the Constituent Assembly, which is loyal to socialist President Nicolas Maduro, was angrily rejected by opposition leaders and has drawn widespread international condemnation as a power grab by Maduro loyalists.

Ousted chief prosecutor arrives in Colombia 

  • Colombian migration authorities confirmed that chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz and her husband German Ferrer landed in Bogota aboard a private plane from Aruba.

  • The Supreme Court ordered Ferrer’s arrest on Thursday, accusing him of being part of a $6m extortion ring.

Constituent assembly assumes power to legislate

  • Venezuela’s new legislative superbody gave itself the power to pass laws, superseding the opposition-led congress and fuelling criticism by government adversaries that socialist President Nicolas Maduro is consolidating a dictatorship. 

Prosecutor vows to jail protest leaders

  • Tarek Saab, appointed by the new Constituent Assembly early this month, vowed to track down the leaders of demonstrations.
  • Venezuela will hunt down and jail leaders of violent protests, its new top prosecutor said, a day before a hate crimes law is expected to be approved despite fears it will be used to crush dissent. 

Dozens killed in gun battle at Venezuelan prison

  • Thirty-seven inmates were killed during an overnight raid by government security forces on a prison in Venezuela’s southern jungle state of Amazonas.

‘Truth commission’ to investigate opposition

  • Opposition candidates running in Venezuela’s October gubernatorial elections will be investigated to make sure none were involved in violent political protests this year.

Russia comments on crisis 

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed the need to resolve the crisis peacefully and without external intervention.

  • “We are united in the need to rapidly overcome the disagreements that exist in the country exclusively in a peaceful manner, through national dialogue without any kind of pressure from the outside” Lavrov said.

Maduro requests civilian trials

  • The president of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), Delcy Rodriguez, reported that President Nicolas Maduro requested that cases of violence to be held in civilian rather than military courts. 

Da Silva rejects US threats 

  • Brazil’s Former President Lula da Silva said on Tuesday that Maduro’s actions do not justify a military intervention in the country.

  • “We can not allow that whatever mistake Nicolas Maduro committed or will commit, allows the US president to say he will use force to overthrow him”

Mike Pence in Colombia

  • “President Trump has made it very clear that we will not stand by while Venezuela collapses into a dictatorship,” US Vice President Mike Pence told reporters in Cartagena, Colombia, according to Reuters news agency.

  • “A failed state in Venezuela threatens the security and prosperity of our entire hemisphere and the people of the United States of America,” he added.

Maduro calls for military drills

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called for military exercises after US President Donald Trump’s threat of a possible armed intervention in the country.
  • Maduro told supporters in Caracas to prepare for an “imperialist” invasion.

Saint Lucia plans visa restrictions

  • Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has announced plans to impose visa restrictions on Venezuelans visiting the island as a precautionary measure in the face of Venezuela’s situation, local media reported.

Maduro condemns US remarks

  • President Maduro said Trump should solve his own problems and promised that – should the US attack Venezuela – the Vietnam War “would seem small in comparison”.

Trump threatens military action

  • “The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump told reporters in an impromptu question and answer session.
  • “Congress obviously isn’t authorising war in Venezuela,” he said in a statement.

Court orders jailing Chacao’s mayor

  • Ramon Muchacho, who governed the opposition bastion of Chacao, has gone into hiding after Venezuela‘s Supreme Tribunal sentenced him to 15 months in jail.

New attorney general appointed 

  • Venezuela’s newly elected representatives of the National Constituent Assembly have sworn in Tarek William Saab as the attorney general, following the removal of Luisa Ortega.

Venezuela launches manhunt 

  • A country-wide manhunt was launched in Venezuela for the men who assaulted an army base.

  • Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino said in a televised address that two of the men who attacked the base had been shot dead and eight captured. About 10 others are on the run.

  • “This band of criminals did not act out of noble ideals or patriotic principles of any kind. They operated as mercenaries paid by extreme right-wing groups in Miami,” he said.

Military rebellion crushed

  • Two people have been killed and at least eight others captured in an armed attack by “terrorists” on a Venezuelan military base, President Maduro announced on state television.

  • Military officials said the rebels, whom they described as “terrorists,” were trying to steal weapons.

Ledezma released back 

  • Another prominent dissident, 62-year-old Antonio Ledezma, was released back to house arrest after being hauled away the same day as Lopez. He had already been in home detention since 2015.

Lopez returned to house arrest 

  • Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was returned to house arrest after being detained in military prison for four days, his wife Lilian Tintori said.

  • “They just moved Leopoldo home,” Tintori wrote on Twitter. “We continue with more conviction and strength for peace and freedom in Venezuela!”

Ortega is removed 

  • Ortega told reporters she was attacked when she attempted to enter her headquarters and accused the government of attempting to hide evidence of wrongdoing.
  • “I reject this siege. I denounce this arbitrariness infront of the national community and international”

New Assembly votes on Ortega

  • Venezuela’s new assembly has voted to remove the country’s dissident attorney general, Luisa Ortega, after security forces surrounded the entrance to her office in Caracas.
  • The assembly has also ordered her to go on trial for alleged “irregularities” while in office.

Maduro inaugurates new Assembly

  • Venezuela’s President sworn in the new Constituent Assembly that has the power to rewrite the constitution.
  • The 545-member assembly, including Maduro’s wife and son, held its inaugural session under tight security in the capital Caracas  

Maduro rejects claims of vote fraud

  • Venezuela’s President rejected allegations that his government inflated turnout figures from its constituent assembly election.
  • Maduro accused the international firm behind the claim of bowing to US pressure to cast doubt over what he called a “transparent vote”.

Opposition leaders sent to jail

  • Two of Venezuela’s leading opposition figures, who were detained a day after constitutional vote, were sent to jail on the orders of the country’s top court. 
  • The Supreme Tribunal revoked house arrest measures granted to Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma and put them back in jail.
  • The Supreme Tribunal alleged that they had been planning to flee, either into hiding in the country or abroad.

Maduro criticises US sanctions 

  • Maduro, however, said that he had no intention of deviating from plans to rewrite the constitution and lashed out at US sanctions, saying the move smacked of “imperialism”. 

  • “They don’t intimidate me. The threats and sanctions of the empire don’t intimidate me for a moment,” Maduro told a cheering audience. “I don’t listen to orders from the empire, not now or ever.” 

US slaps new sanctions 

  • Sanctions came as electoral authorities said more than eight million Venezuelans voted on Sunday to create a constitutional assembly – a turnout doubted by independent analysts.

  • The election, which spurred unrest that killed at least 10 people, was labelled illegitimate by leaders across the Americas and Europe.

People vote for Constituent Assembly

  • Venezuela voted to select a new constitutional assembly.

  • In the capital, Caracas, violence has flared with police firing tear gas at protesters boycotting the vote.

  • At least nine people have died in election-related violence in the country.

Maduro calls for dialogue

  • Venezuelan President suggested talks with opposition parties before votes to elect a constituent assembly.

  • A national strike led by the opposition is now in its second day.

Call for two-day strike

  • Four days before the national vote to elect a Constituent Assembly, Venezuela’s opposition called on citizens to join a civic strike for 48 hours.

  • The strikes and march are intended to voice disapproval with President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution 

Vigil held in Caracas

  • Venezuelans held a vigil in the capital, Caracas, for the more than 100 people killed during protests.

Neighbours offer mediation

  • South American leaders offered to broker talks between Venezuela’s government and the opposition at a meeting of the Mercosur trading bloc in Argentina.

UN diplomat resigns

  • Isaias Medina, a senior Venezuelan diplomat at the UN, break ties with President Maduro

Call for national strike

  • Opposition leaders said Venezuela’s democracy reached a tipping point, and they called for a 24-hour national strike, after 7.6 million people rejected a Constituent Assembly.

Maduro’s reaffirms July 30’s vote 

  • The government announced it will go ahead with a election of a Constituent Assembly on July 30, despite a threat of economic sanctions by US President  Donald Trump .

Opposition calls for nationwide strike

  • Venezuela’s opposition officials called for a nationwide strike against President Maduro to protest against his plan to rewrite the constitution.

  • The 24-hour strike  was part of what the opposition called a “final offensive” aimed at forcing Maduro out through early elections, before his term ends in 2019.

Unofficial referendum 

  • The opposition asked voters if they support the government’s plan to elect a National Constituent Assembly that will overhaul the 1999 constitution.

  • The plebiscite did not have the support of the electoral power nor the government, which considers it illegal. 

100 days of protests

  • Thousands gather in an east Caracas square on Sunday to hear opposition figures including the wife of Lopez, Lilian Tintori, speak.

  • At least 91 people have died in three months of street clashes between protesters and police, troops and government loyalists.

Opposition leader moved to house arrest

  • Venezuelan jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was transferred to house arrest after spending more than three years behind bars in a military prison.

National Assembly stormed

  • Dozens of pro-government activists have stormed the grounds of Venezuela’s National Assembly and attacked politicians, leaving several injured.

Attorney general refuses court summons

  • “I am not going condone a circus that will stain our history with shame and pain and whose decision is foretold,” Ortega told a news conference at the public prosecution department.

  • “I have committed no crime nor errors and I am not going to submit to this unconstitutional and illegitimate court,” she added. “We already know that today I will be removed from my post.”

Hunt for helicopter attack pilot

  • The government looked for the police officer who’s suspected of carrying out a helicopter attack on the Supreme Tribunal.

  • Venezuela’s chief state prosecutor says she will defy a supreme court ruling that partially strips her of her duties.

  • Protesters are again on the streets demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro.

Army on alert 

  • Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro put the military on alert.

  • “I have activated the entire armed forces to defend the peace,” Maduro said. 

  • “Sooner or later, we are going to capture that helicopter and those that carried out this terrorist attack.”

Court bars Ortega from travelling

  • Supreme Tribunal slapped an asset freeze and travel ban on Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega, after she accused him of creating a “climate of terror”.

Supreme Court attacked from helicopter

  • A police helicopter dropped grenades on Venezuela’s supreme court building and fired shots at the interior ministry.

  • President Maduro labelled this as a “terror attack” against his government.

  • Information minister Ernesto Villegas said the stolen helicopter fired 15 shots on the ministry in Caracas

  • In the afternoon, a video is released showing men with assault rifles flanking Oscar Perez, a former member of the forensic police force, known as the CICPC. 

Regional summit

  • The regional diplomatic bloc was unable to agree on how to resolve the crisis in Venezuela

Attorney General to face trial

  • Venezuela’s supreme court approved proceedings against the attorney general, Luisa Ortega, who is accused of allegedly committing “grave errors” in her role as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Twitter accounts suspended 

  • At least 180 Twitter accounts of the Venezuelan government were suspended.

Orders to prosecute Attorney General

  • Bolivarian official Pedro Carreno called on the Supreme Tribunal to prosecute Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz, with magistrates ruling that Ortega was prohibited from leaving Venezuela.

Thousands march for peace 

  • Thousands marched for peace during the Divina Pastora procession in Barquisimeto, Lara.

Protests in Altamira 

  • Protests occurred in Altamira, with the National Guard firing tear gas at national 

Peru’s president warns of refugee crisis 

  • The deadly unrest in Venezuela could lead to “a bloodbath” and create a major refugee crisis, Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski warned.
June 09, 2017

Students march against censorship 

  • Movimiento Estudiantil students marched to CONATEL to deliver a document critisicing censorship in Venezuela.

  • The march was not impeded by authorities and they successfully delivered their statements.

Students protest constitutional assembly 

  • Students from various universities protested against the constitutional assembly with dozens injured following the response of the National Guard.

Protests over food shortages and inflation

  • Opposition politicians called for a march to protest against food shortages.

  • At least 63 people have been killed in street protests since April 1.

Maduro vows constituent assembly referendum 

  • Nicolas Maduro pledged to hold a referendum on a new constitution 

  • The move came after the plan to create a super-body known as a “constituent assembly” to rewrite the national charter 

Tens of thousands protest amid OAS talks 

  • Security forces in Venezuela used water cannon and tear gas to disperse tens of thousands of opposition protesters heading towards the foreign ministry, as the Organization of American States held another meeting on the crisis.

Opposition leaders wounded in march

  • Two Venezuelan opposition leaders were among more than a dozen people wounded by security forces dispersing protests

Maduro launches constitution overhaul

  • At an open-air rally Maduro signed a document formally establishing the terms for electing members of a “constituent assembly” 

  • “Votes or bullets, what do the people want?” Maduro asked the crowd, presenting the proposed 540-member body as a way to defuse increasingly violent protests, which he says are part of a US-backed conspiracy to overthrow “21st-century socialism”.

Health professionals protest

  • The March of Health occurred in Caracas with demonstrators attempting to travel to the Ministry of Health headquarters to protest against the shortages of medicine and other essential medical supplies.

  • Police fired tear gas to drive them back in scenes familiar after weeks of turmoil.  

50th day protests 

  • Government protesters marked 50 days of their demonstrations.

  • At least 46 people have died in clashes since the protests began.

  • On the 50th day of consecutive protests, millions of Venezuelans protested in Caracas during the “We Are Millions” march.

US sanctions on supreme court judges

  • The United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s chief judge and seven other members of the country’s Supreme Tribunal as punishment for seizing powers from the opposition-led congress earlier this year.

  • Those sanctioned had their assets frozen within US jurisdiction, and US citizens were barred from doing business with them.

Protesters block roads

  • At least one person died as thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro staged sit-ins and roadblocks across the country in a seventh week of anti-government rallies.

  • The national sit-in occurs with thousands of Venezuelans blocking designated areas of trafficking for up to 12 hours.

  • That brought the death toll since the start of the protests to at least 39 people.

Venezuelans clog roads in protests

  • Venezuelans in cars and on motorcycles, bikes and horseback clogged roads go out and protest

Protesters fling faeces at soldiers

  • Protesters in Venezuela lobbed bottles and bags of faeces at soldiers who fought back with tear gas to block the latest march.

Capriles rejects plan to rewrite constitution

  • Venezuela’s opposition ruled out discussions with President Nicolas Maduro on his plan for an elected assembly to draw up a new constitution. 

Women take to Caracas streets 

  • Opposition leaders called for women to march dressed in white, a traditional show of defiance, against what they brand a repressive government. 

  • In contrast, the government announced it would be organising its own women’s march in the western part of the capital, a traditional pro-Socialist stronghold.

Eight countries denounce crackdown

  • Eight Latin American nations, including Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, collectively denounced Venezuela’s “excessive use of force” against civilian protesters after the death toll from anti-government unrest in the country rose to 36.

Clashes over plans to rewrite constitution

  • Protesters, primarily students, marched in and around Caracas, with tear gas being used near the Central University of Venezuela.

  • Supporters of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez held a vigil outside his prison demanding to see him after rumours about his health rattled the protest-hit country.

Maduro calls for a new constitution 

  • President Maduro called for the formation of a constituent assembly to replace Venezuela’s current constitution.

Rival marches for Labour Day

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro raised wages and handed out hundreds of free homes as part of efforts to counter a strengthening protest movement seeking his removal.

  • The announcements came as government supporters and Maduro’s opponents prepared for rival marches to commemorate May Day.

‘That could’ve been me’ 

  • Juan Pablo Pernalete, a 20-year-old student, was killed by the impact of a tear gas canister in his chest during protests in Altamira. 

  • Following the death of the student, the son of politician Tarek Saab uploaded a video on YouTube stating that he had protested that night and that, “That could’ve been me!”, and pleaded to his father saying:

  • “Dad, in this moment you have the power to end the injustice that has sunk this country. I ask you – as your son and in the name of Venezuela, to whom you serve – that you reflect on the situation and do what you have to do.”

Venezuela to quit OAS 

  • Venezuela said it will withdraw from the Organization of American States (OAS) in reaction to pressure from the bloc over the government’s handling of the country’s political crisis.

Silent March 

  • Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans participated in a silent march in memory of those killed.

  • For the first time, demonstrators were able to travel to western Caracas without being barricaded by authorities. 

Twelve killed in Venezuela 

  • Twelve people were killed in Caracas overnight following two days of mass street protests.

  • The office of the Venezuelan attorney general said that eleven of those deaths were caused by electrocution and gunshot wounds in El Valle del Espiritu Santo. 

‘Mother of all marches’

  • The “mother of all marches,” as it was called by organisers, occurred.

  • Two Venezuelan students and one police officer died after being shot.

  • Later in the evening, a National Guard sergeant was killed and a colonel wounded when their squad was attacked with gunfire while trying to control disturbances in a city near Caracas. 

  • He was the first person of authority killed in the year’s protests, with the day’s deaths raising the death toll of 2017 protests to at least eight people.

Army vows loyalty to president

  • Venezuela’s defence minister declared the army’s “unconditional loyalty” to President Nicolas Maduro. 

  • President Maduro ordered the expansion of the Venezuelan National Militia to involve 500,000 loyal Venezuelans. 

‘Overflow Caracas’ 

  • The opposition announced the “mother of all protests” march to take place on April 19 to “overflow” Caracas.

‘The government cannot continue to protect these groups’ 

  • Venezuela’s Catholic Church reiterated the call for calm with Archbishop Jorge Urosa Savino saying “the government cannot continue to protect these groups that are acting illegally”. 

Student shot during protests 

  • Daniel Queliz, a 19-year-old student of the Arturo Michelena University, was shot and killed during a protest in Valencia by a Carabobo Police officer.

  • More than 50 individuals wounded were reported.

The Supreme Tribunal attacked

  • During the protests, 16 subway stations and 19 Caracas Metrobus routes were closed.

  • The Supreme Tribunal was attacked by violent protesters, burning furniture, breaking windows and damaging the front door.

Henrique Capriles banned from office 

  • Venezuelan authorities banned top opposition leader Henrique Capriles from running for office for 15 years.

  • “When the dictatorship squeals, it’s a sign we’re advancing,” he said in a speech surrounded by other leading opposition figures, many of whom themselves have been targeted. “The only one who is disqualified here is you, Nicolas Maduro.”

Protester shot dead 

  • Venezuelan authorities confirmed a young man was killed during protests and vowed to investigate the death, the first since a controversy over the Supreme Tribunal blew up.

  • Jairo Ortiz, a 19-year-old student of the Bicentenary University of Aragua, was shot and killed while protesting in Carrizal, Miranda.

Maduro supporters and opposition clash 

  • With thousands out, supporters of the 54-year-old president organised their own rally.

  • “They want an intervention in Venezuela,” said Juan Aponte, 34, who wore the red colours of the governing Socialist Party.

Top court backtracks on Congress take-over

  • Venezuela’s supreme court abandoned measures to take over the opposition-led congress.

Maduro calls on Court to backtrack

  • The announcement came hours after Maduro had called the court to annul its initial ruling “in order to maintain institutional stability and the balance of powers”.

OAS condemn government

  • Governments across Latin America condemned the government move, which the head of the Organization of American States (OAS) likened to a “self-inflicted coup” by President Maduro.

Police crack down protests

  • Security forces repressed protests that broke out in Venezuela’s capital. 

Protests in Caracas 

  • Protesters blocked roads, unfurled banners and chanted slogans against Maduro’s government, including “Freedom!” and “No To Dictatorship!”

Government assumes legislative powers 

  • The Venezuelan constitutional crisis began, when the immunity was taken away from opposition parliamentarians by the Supreme Tribunal.

  • The government assumed  legislative powers of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

Source: Al Jazeera