The Venezuelan government has officially distanced itself from participating in the new round of talks with the opposition held in Barbados, the Caribbean. The mediation efforts are being spearheaded by Norway, and initially scheduled to take place on Thursday (today) and Friday. The late Wednesday decision by the Maduro Government came a day after the United States announced sanctions on individuals and companies negotiating with the Venezuelan Government.
It is now even more evident that the push by the US to have Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro vacate office is still actively on. In the most recent move to frustrate Maduro’s administration, US President Donald Trump has imposed a total blockade on the state assets of the Venezuela government in the US. The move by Trump is most likely aimed at imposing a future total embargo on Venezuela. Before Venezuela’s inclusion on the list, the blockade of state assets in the US was only effective on; Cuba, Syria, Iran, and North Korea.
Cuba has imposed a general price control plan on Tuesday for all state and private companies in the midst of a deepening economic crisis and increasing US sanctions. The new measures prohibit the rise in prices in retail and wholesale trade, except for products imported and distributed by the State, where current profit margins cannot be increased.
The US government warned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro that he has a “short term” to leave power if he does not want to face international justice and new US measures. US officials expressed confidence that the Lima Group will send the same message soon to Chavismo.
Today following the world news can be seen in a world at unrest. In these countries especially is apparent World Unrest:
Khazakhstan – The world’s largest land locked country and the ninth largest in the world with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometers. It is a democratic secular republic with a diverse heritage. After the elections resulting in the overwhelming victory of interim president Toqaev began wave of protests against the lack of fairness in the elections.
President Donald Trump (R) lifted his tariffs against Mexico and Canada, but is he scaling up on China. So what about cars, steel, aluminium, washing machines, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Huawei?
Cars: Trump asked for and received a government study on car imports. He was particularly angered last November when General Motors announced that it was closing car assembly plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Trump has threatened to impose a 25% tariff on imported cars in retaliation for GM’s moves.
The interim government of Venezuela, constitutionally appointed by the National Assembly and presided over by Juan Guaido, announced this week the creation of the National Communication Center in an effort to continue limiting the public capacity of the illegal regimen of Nicolas Maduro.
Things may be coming to a head in Venezuela on Wednesday as the major forces at odds in that country have both decided to hold major rallies on May Day (May 1).
Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó, 35, has called for huge protests on Wednesday to demand the resignation of the current President Nicolas Maduro. The regime, in turn, has asked its Chavista supporters (referring to supporters of the late president and Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez) to take to the streets on Wednesday in a show of support.
- Venezuela has the largest oil reserves of any country in the world, with more than 300 billion barrels of proven reserves. In 2011, the country surpassed Saudi Arabia to top the list of countries having the largest oil reserves, but the development of this huge reserves has taken a backseat due to political unrest over the past few years.
- In European elections, liberal Zuzana Caputova defeated Socialist Maros Sefcovic in the second round, to become SLOVAKIA’s first woman President. The election took place in the shadow of the murder of an investigative journalist last year. Meanwhile, in UKRAINE, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko trails Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian who portrays Poroshenko on television.
- The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared victory over the so-called Islamic State on Saturday, and the complete liberation of its territory. The battle for Baghouz, all that remained of Daesh’s once vast territory throughout Iraq and Syria, dragged on for more than ten weeks.
- Things have, for the most part, returned to normal, after a tumultuous week between nuclear-armed rivals, India and Pakistan. An Indian pilot was returned from Pakistan Friday, after being shot down over the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday. Now Washington wants to know if an F-16 was used in the dogfight.
- Oil dominates Venezuela’s economy, accounting for almost all of its export earnings. Its biggest customers have been the US, followed by India and China. But over the past decade, oil production and prices has collapsed and the country is in a deep economic crisis.
- At least four people were killed, and hundreds more were injured, in a wave of violence across Venezuela this weekend. Opposition activists defied President Nicolas Maduro and attempted to bring emergency food and medical supplies into the country from Colombia.
- SYRIA: The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced Sunday they were engaged in fierce fighting as part of a “final push” against Daesh in Syria. The offensive comes as President Trump announced plans to declare, as early as next week, that all Daesh territory has been recovered.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov a Chassidic master who lived from 1772-1810 in the Ukraine taught, The world is a narrow bridge to cross over, most important is not to fear to complete the journey. There is no such thing as hopelessness. The World is in turmoil. With faith in God mankind can cross the river to World Unity and Peace walking on water.
- The President of Venezuela’s opposition-dominated National Assembly Juan Guaido will announce new boards of directors for state oil company PDVSA and its U.S. business, Citgo, UPI reports. U.S. Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the he’ll hold PDVSA’s proceeds from crude oil sales to the United States, adding that the company could avoid being sanctioned if it recognized Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
- Saudi Arabia is determined to restore the balance on the oil market and is cutting deeper than required in the OPEC+ deal, with February crude production likely close to 10.1 million bpd, compared to the 10.3-million-bpd ceiling in the production cut agreement.
- PHILIPPINES: Terrorist group Daesh has claimed responsibility for a Sunday church bombing, which left 20 people dead and 100 wounded, on the southern island of Jolo. In response, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to “crush these godless criminals.”
- SYRIA: President Trump threatened to “devastate Turkey economically,” if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria, upon the Americans’ withdrawal. Trump also pushed for the creation of a safe zone for the Kurds, without mentioning any other details.
- GREECE: A deal to end a decades-long naming dispute between Macedonia and Greece has thrown the latter’s government into chaos. One of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ coalition partners announced their withdrawal ahead of parliamentary elections in October.
- CANADA: Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland welcomed 18-year old Saudi refugee Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun to Canada, as she arrived in Toronto on Saturday. Alqunun captured international attention, and thousands of Twitter followers, by resisting deportation in a Bangkok hotel room.
- CONGO: The Southern African Development Community is urging the creation of a unity government in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after long-delayed presidential elections ended in dispute. Two opposition leaders, Felix Tshisekedi and Martin Fayulu both insist they won.
- VENEZUELA: Opposition leader Juan Guaido had a simple message for followers and opponents Sunday, after being briefly detained by intelligence agents: “Here we are! We are not afraid!” Guaido was dramatically pulled from his car while driving from the capital, Caracas.
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- CHINA: Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Donald Trump of the United States remain optimistic about a possible trade deal between their two countries. The two spoke on the phone Saturday, and hope to reach a deal during the 90-day ceasefire period, which was announced at the G-20 summit.
- BRITAIN: Home Secretary Sajid Javid agreed to a joint action plan with French counterpart Christophe Castaner to tackle a rise of migrants trying to reach Britain in small boats. Some 220 people have attempted to cross the English Channel since November.
- CONGO: Long-delayed presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo are underway. Voters in the capital, Kinshasa, braved torrential rain, long delays, and broken machines to participate in what might be the first peaceful transfer of power in the nation’s history.
- VENEZUELA: The Venezuelan government announced it is willing to investigate a plot to assassinate Colombian President Ivan Duque, involving three of its nationals. Relations between the neighboring countries— and the leaders personally— have been tense.
- BANGLADESH: Bangladesh’s leading lady, Sheikh Hasina, won a third term as Prime Minister Sunday, amid widespread claims of vote-rigging. Seventeen people were killed across the country as the vote took place.
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- The Trump administration reinstated sanctions on Iran’s energy, banking and shipping industries. Washington granted temporary waivers to eight countries, including China and India, the biggest purchasers of Iran’s oil.
- The exemptions have been granted for 180 days, and will be reviewed toward the end of the period. China Waiver: 360,000 b/d. Purchases before sanctions: 658,000 b/d in Jan.-Sept. 2018
- Saudi Arabia has enough spare capacity to cover for any shortfall related to Iran, although any further unexpected outages – from, say, Venezuela, Libya or Nigeria – would test the cartel’s abilities. Saudis indicated a price level of approx. $80 per barrel is comfortable, and would target this price level.
- Venezuela’s crude production was in “free-fall” and could soon fall below 1 million barrels per day.
- The EIA expects U.S. crude oil production will average 10.9 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, up from 9.4 million b/d in 2017.
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