Vox demands that it be evaluated if Pablo Iglesias can access CNI secrets

In several questions written to the Government, he demands that the vice president fill out the form with information about his past to know if he is fit for his ties with Venezuela

Pablo Iglesias and Pedro Sánchez, last Tuesday, in the Senate.

Vox offensive for the inclusion of Pablo Iglesias in the Government Delegate Committee for Intelligence Affairs. The Santiago Abascal party has registered in Congress a series of written questions to the Executive in which he demands that the second vice president be officially evaluated to know if he can access the secrets of the State and the CNI.

Specifically, Vox requires that the leader of United We can complete the so-called Personal Security Declaration that examines the suitability of people who will access classified information after analyzing, among other issues, details about their past, as well as potential vulnerabilities.

This issue is what Vox places at the center to question Iglesias as there is a specific section that would demand detailed information about his links with “the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Iran.”

The Vox deputies who sign the questions,Julio UtrillaYCarlos Fernández-Roca, they suspect that the vice president would not receive the accreditation to handle classified information for this relationship with these countries, the Personal Security Authorization.

The form that Vox requires you to complete asks the interested party to explain their relationships with people from countries that are not members ofNATOwaveEuropean Unionor with foreign governments and intelligence services. Also, ask for stays or long trips to other countries in the last 10 years. Or the relationship you might have with radical groups or drug and alcohol use.

Although there are doubts that the members of the Government have to fill out this form, it is certainly mandatory for the rest of the officials, Vox argues that it is an “indispensable requirement” for NATO because of the flow of information shared by the allies.

Therefore, Vox demands that Iglesias provide these relevant details since, according to sources in the parliamentary group, not doing so “would put us in a serious hurry before other intelligence services”, since “with those links with foreign countries, any one would be denied official access to classified information “.

In parallel, the Parliamentary group of Vox has registered in parallel another question in which it asks the Government about whether the “political orientation” of the new Government can be an obstacle in cooperation with the information services of other allied countries and, in Special, with US agencies.

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Colombian Congress investigates Iván Duque in case of Aída Merlano

The Commission of Accusation and Investigation of the House of Representatives of Colombia, has opened a formal process against the president of the country, Iván Duque, in relation to the accusations that the former congresswoman Aída Merlano poured over him from Venezuela, ensuring that the head of state was aware of the vote buying network in the Caribbean region that benefited him in the 2018 elections.

The president will be investigated for allegedly committing a crime of coercion against voters, for traffic of votes and attempted homicide, in relation to the latter, to the accusations that Merlano issued stating that there was a plan created by the high spheres of national politics, whose figures were those of the president, to end his life by being aware of the corrupt practices that were being carrying out during the elections that placed Duque in Casa Nariño.

The commission of inquiry

The Commission, chaired by John Jairo Cárdenas, has appointed Deputies Edward Rodríguez, of the Democratic Center; Andrés Calle, of the Liberal Party; and Wilmar Leal, of the Green Alliance as researchers of this first cause against the Colombian president, as reported by the newspaper ‘El Espectador’.

For his part, Cárdenas has confirmed that he will be himself in charge of the other offense of which Duke is accused, prevarication and denial of functions, following complaints from the opposition, which has ensured that the president “not only met the existence of the vote buying in your favor, but met with the people who promoted this practice. “

Merlano’s complaints

For its part, the Supreme Court of Justice has also opened a preliminary investigation in relation to the copious allegations of Merlano, who pointed out members of the Char and Gerlein families not only to be behind this network of buying votes, but also of to have participated in his escape and subsequent “kidnapping” to kill her then and throw your body into “a mass grave.”

In early February, the Ministry of Interior of Venezuela announced that “after arduous investigations,” Merlano had been arrested in the city of Maracaibo, in the state of Zulia, after fleeing in October 2018 from Colombia.

Merlano, who was member of the Colombian Congress by the Conservative Party between 2014 and 2018, he managed to enter the Senate, but was charged and sentenced to 15 years in prison for having bought votes to win his seat.

After hearing the news, the Colombian Ministry of Justice announced that the Government would make a extradition request “before the legitimate Government of Venezuela that heads Juan Guaidó”, since they do not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro as president.

Tensions with Venezuela

However, this generated controversy as Juan Guaidó, despite proclaiming himself “president in charge,” he has no control over the Venezuelan courts or security forces. For his part, Maduro, who described the Duque Government’s movements as “opera bufa,” announced that he would be willing to re-establish consular relations with Colombia in order to try to solve this issue, however, he found himself with the Colombian president’s refusal.

Since she was arrested by Venezuelan authorities, Merlano has always defended being “persecuted” by the Government of Colombia by having sufficient evidence to “drop” several prominent figures of his country’s political class.

“I was always a danger because of all the information I handled. I have tests, videos, audios, written tests, rigged contracts and tenders. All would fall with the evidence that I have, “he warned during the preliminary hearing of the trial for forgery of documents and usurpation of identity that he will have to face in Venezuela.


The military is back in Latin America

The military has become a relevant factor in the political game of several Latin American countries. The most recent case has been the entry into Parliament of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele escorted by military. In October, the military leadership forced Evo Morales out of the presidency. And in Venezuela, for two decades the armed force tightly maintains control of the reins. Each case is different and each country must be analyzed separately before reaching a general conclusion.

We have asked five experts to give us their insight on this moment. Is there a risk that the Armed Forces will once again be the arbiter of political life? Why in some countries are responsible for security in cities? Is there a risk of democratic involution? Analysts consulted by LA RAZÓN dismiss the scenario of a Latin America dominated by the military, as happened in the seventies of the last century. Although there are countries where there has been a setback in this regard, such as Venezuela and Nicaragua, the greater presence of the uniformed in the public life of these nations is more related to the dissatisfaction with political and economic instability and with the demand for order and security in a region especially punished by violence.

The growing prominence of the military follows different patterns in each country. The teacher Gustavo Flores-Macías, from Cornell University, in the United States, points four routes used by the Armed Forces in their return to the political scene.

1. Support authoritarian governments: Venezuela

Venezuela It is the greatest exponent of the authoritarian path. In this country, the Armed Forces maintain a government that has lost legitimacy and is unable to provide the most basic public services. From the seizure of the power of chavismo in 1999, power has been controlled by the uniformed. Hugo Chavez himself was a commander who had tried two military coups before coming to power by the polls.

In 2016 the creation of Camimpeg, a state-owned oil and gas company parallel to PDVSA, directed by the military, to which President Maduro had already granted space in other areas of the economy, following the Cuban model. At the moment two military occupy portfolios in Maduro’s cabinet, they are Nestor Reverol, Minister of Interior and Justice, and Vladimir Padrino López, in charge of Defense.

2. Suppress protests: Chile and Colombia

The government of Sebastian Piñera He decided to use the uniforms to quell the protests in October last year and imposed a curfew. After several weeks of demonstrations and clashes in the streets, the number of victims was 31, and many have reminded them of the dark page of the Pinochet dictatorship. Human rights organizations criticized the brutality of the Army and the police used against the protesters.

In colombia, the Government of Iván Duque He also turned to the military to appease the streets of the main cities, where thousands of people protested against the Executive. The Office in Colombia of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about the increased presence of military personnel.

The political consultant Antonio Sola says that the deployment of military in these countries was done to maintain order, “as happened in France when Macron ordered the deployment of soldiers at some critical points during the protests of the yellow vests.” He also cites the case of Mexico, where President Felipe Calderón took out the Army in 2006 in the states overwhelmed by the violence derived from drug trafficking.

3. “Appoint” the president: Bolivia

The Armed Forces became a key factor in the departure of the presidency of Evo Morales in October of last year. It was General Williams Kaliman who “suggested” the president to resign after the protests after his October electoral victory, qualified by the OAS as fraudulent.

In El Salvador, the president Nayib Bukele sent the military to the headquarters of the National Assembly to coerce deputies in order to approve a loan that allows the government to execute its security plan against gangs. It should be remembered that El Salvador lived several decades under a military dictatorship and that it only reached democracy after a bloody civil war.

In Peru, President Martín Vizcarra dissolved the Congress and called elections surrounded by the high command of the Armed Forces and the Police. And in Ecuador, Lenin Moreno He showed himself with the military dome when he announced a state of emergency.

4. Take charge of public safety: Mexico

The Armed Forces have taken the reins of public security in countries such as Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua, where high levels of violence have contributed to justify the Army’s participation in public affairs. The case of Brazil combines some of the exposed routes, says Flores-Macías. “The military in Bolsonaro’s cabinet They are in charge of public policies in several areas, not only in public security, as is the case in Mexico and other countries. The army has also deployed to control protests, as in Chile. Bolsonaro is a former military man, so it should not be ruled out that during his presidency the influence of the armed forces will increase further, ”adds the analyst.

Although there are four different routes, “they all point to return of democracies with guardianship control of the military, those that maintain the democratic scaffolding through elections and a more or less free press, but where the real power is held by the Armed Forces, ”adds Gustavo Flores-Macías.

Another factor that explains the reappearance of the military has to do with the weakness of institutions in countries where democracy is not firmly established, As it explains Miguel Tinker Salas, Professor of History in Pomona Collegue, California. “Unfortunately, the military remains a decisive factor in Latin American politics,” explains this analyst.

In his opinion, “the events in El Salvador demonstrate the imposition of a presidentialism that without the support of the army would be forced to negotiate with the congress” The unusual entry of the military into parliament a few days ago reminded Tinker Salas of what happened in Peru “when Alberto Fujimori made a self-coup in 1992. Bukele now and Fujimori at the time democracy is something that bothers them and prefer to use the army to impose an authoritarian order.

Instead, the political consultant Antonio Sola considers that Latin American societies are demanding order and security, something that is reflected in the concerns of the Latinobarometer. “The European social democracies, for lukewarm and weak, have failed to impose an effective hand against crime and drug trafficking, and that is a whip for the countries of Latin America.”

For Sola, “what we are seeing is a final fight, the last flashes of a Cold War which faces Russia, Iran, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba against the United States and more progressive countries. That battle was clearly defined in Bolivia, where the departure of Evo Morales had the Russians and the Americans involved, each defending their respective interests. ”

The continued appearance of the military on the political scene in Latin America has a historical origin, he says. Fernando Mires “There is a precarious political conscience in the region, to such an extent that, with few exceptions, it could be said that Latin America still lives under the primacy of pre-political conditions.”

The analyst Moses Naim He says that “in Latin America the inherent nature of the military in the political life of their countries has varied greatly.” “Let’s not forget that for decades the vast majority of Latin Americans lived in countries ruled by bloodthirsty and repressive military dictatorships. Then came a period where – with the exception of Cuba – the military almost disappeared from politics and submitted to the control of civil society and its government. ”

But in all these oscillations, he adds, it is important to highlight political events that in the past were ruled (sometimes wildly) by the Armed Forces. “Now, however, this has not been the case.” Naím gives an example of what happened in Brazil and Guatemala. “Both the president Dilma Rousseff as the president of Guatemala, his vice president and his ministers were removed from power by civil society and in accordance with the constitution and laws. ” The Armed Forces are used as a moderating arbitrator to resolve political crises that leaders have failed to solve, as in the recent case of Evo Morales in Bolivia.

The intervention of the uniformed for the maintenance of public order has been a constant in the last decade in countries such as Mexico, where the magnitude of the violence derived from drug trafficking has been such that the Government militarized certain regions, which motivated hundreds of complaints about their practices. In Chile, as we said at the beginning, there have also been complaints from civil organizations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for the use of excessive force in protests.

For years, some armies in the region have lived without making excessive noise and have maintained a close alliance with the political sphere, with well installed domes and in some cases leading the control of public companies and social services. Further, they have enjoyed the approval of a good part of society, which often sees this institution as the most reliable in the midst of a context often dominated by corruption.


The Venezuelan PDVSA appoints a new vice president for supplies and exchanges between shakeups, sanctions – sources – Agricultural products

February 24 (Reuters) – Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela has appointed an army lieutenant colonel with no apparent industry experience as vice president of its supply and trade division, according to two people familiar with the appointment.

The move comes after the company, known as PDVSA, asked several vice presidents to step down following a shakeup announced last week, when socialist president Nicolas Maduro appointed a commission led by vice president of economics Tareck El Aissami to restructure the sector.

The company, struggling under the intensification of U.S. sanctions, aimed to chase Maduro by appointing Antonio Perez Suarez to head the supply and trade division. Perez previously led Productive Venezuela, a state-owned distributor of locally made products.

The supply and trade role will present significant challenges for PDVSA after the United States sanctioned Rosneft Trading last week, a unit of the Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft that became the main intermediary of Venezuelan crude oil after Washington sanctioned PDVSA at early 2019.

PDVSA did not officially announce the change internally or externally, and it was not immediately clear whether the appointment was permanent or a temporary measure until the Maduro commission made recommendations, people said.

Neither PDVSA nor the oil ministry immediately responded to requests for comment Monday, which is a national holiday in Venezuela due to Carnival celebrations.

The company’s head of international affairs, Marcos Rojas, who ran the Supply and Trade division, will now have oversight authority over that unit, sources said, adding that Rojas will remain vice president of international affairs.

Last June, Rojas took over the vice chairmanship of provisional supply and trade. (Report by Marianna Parraga in Mexico City Additional report by Luc Cohen and Deisy Buitrago in Caracas Written by Luc Cohen Edited by Marguerita Choy)


One in three Venezuelans faces food insecurity, warns the UN




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One in three Venezuelans faces food insecurity and requires assistance, according to the conclusions of the evaluation carried out by the World Food Program (PMA) in Venezuela, country that lives immersed in a serious political, economic and humanitarian crisis. According to the UN agency, 32.3 percent of Venezuelans have problems to guarantee their food, a figure that includes 2.3 million in a situation of severe food insecurity (7.9 percent of the population) and the 7 million who face moderate insecurity (24.4 percent).

Those are the main conclusions of the evaluation carried out by WFP between July and September at the request of the Venezuelan Government with a view to estimating the needs and vulnerabilities of homes.

The lead agency David Beasley He has assured in his final report that “he had complete independence in the design and implementation of the evaluation” as well as “access without any impediment throughout the country for data collection at the household level”. The states in which it has been detected a higher prevalence of the severe food insecurity that the national average are those of Delta Amacuro (21 percent), Amazonas (15 percent), Falcón (13 percent), Zulia (11 percent) and Bolívar (11 percent).

Unacceptable consumption

On the other hand, the evaluation has confirmed that in almost one in five homes, 17.8 percent, there is an unacceptable level of food consumption. In the case of 12.3 percent, there is a limit food consumption and 5.5 percent a poor consumption. According to WFP, “the lack of a diversified diet is a major concern.” Thus, he explained that Venezuelan families consume cereals, roots or tubers on a daily basis and complement their consumption of cereals with legumes three days a week and with dairy four days a week.

The consumption of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruits is below three days a week for each of these food groups. “The lack of diversity in the diet it indicates an inadequate nutritional intake ”, highlights the PMA.

Although seven out of ten Venezuelans say there is always food available, they recognize that access to it is not always possible because high prices. The hyperinflation of Venezuela has caused that 59 percent of households lack sufficient income to buy food and 65 percent are not able to buy essential hygiene items, clothing and footwear.

Loss of income

Along these lines, 51 percent of the respondents have suffered a partial loss of their income, due to the reduction of their salary or the loss of their employment, while 37 percent had totally lost his income. According to WFP, 18 percent of households currently depend on government assistance and social protection systems.

In order to survive, 74 percent of families have reduced the variety and quality of the food they eat, while 60 percent of households have chosen to reduce the portion of their meals. Among the survival strategies adopted, 33 percent of households have accepted work for food and 20 percent have sold family assets to cover basic needs. In addition, WFP has found that six out of ten families have spent their savings on food.

Thus, the UN agency has warned that as families deplete their survival strategies to maintain basic food consumption, “they may not be able to cover your nutritional needs in the short term »which« will affect the most vulnerable, including children, pregnant and lactating women, and older adults ».

Finally, in terms of basic services, 25 percent of households lacks a stable source of drinking water and in four out of ten homes there are daily interruptions in the water supply. In addition, 72 percent of households face an irregular supply of gas, while there is an average of fifteen days a month with electrical interruptions.