In response to US President Barack Obama’s use of an executive order to sanction Venezuelan authorities, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro requested decree powers to pass an “anti-imperialist law to prepare for all scenarios”. On March 11, a majority of Venezuela's National Assembly voted in favour. The bill, which must be approved by 60% of the Assembly according to Venezuela’s constitution, will now move on to a second reading to obtain final approval.
In celebration of the nationally acclaimed Day of Indigenous Resistance on October 13, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro handed over collective land titles to 14 original communities. Maduro also established a presidential council for indigenous peoples, lowered the threshold age for indigenous pensioners, and announced the creation of an institute to protect the country’s 44 native languages.
The Venezuelan National Assembly swore in grassroots leader Juan Contreras to assume the vacant post of the late deputy Robert Serra on October 7. Serra, a 27-year-old socialist deputy, was stabbed to death alongside his partner Maria Herrera in their Caracas home on October 1. Legislators also voted to ban former right-wing Colombian president Alvaro Uribe from entering Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused Uribe of being linked to the killings.
After speaking at the United Nations climate change summit on September 23, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seized the chance to visit community leaders, local activists and grassroots groups in an event hosted by Hostos Community College of the South Bronx in New York City. About 1000 people attended the event, which was organised by Citgo, a subsidary of Venezuela's state-own oil company. Many arrived early to wait outside for good seats and to hold signs welcoming Maduro as “president of the people”. The Bronx community
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on July 1 the need for “a complete and profound revolution within public administration”. Maduro appointed planning minister Ricardo Menendez and vice-president Jorge Arreaza to facilitate a “restructuring” of the government system, to take place until July 15. “From July 1 to 15, we’re going to shake-up the revolutionary government entirely, to change everything and authentically improve socialist efficiency in the Homeland Plan’s development,” Maduro said from the Caracas working-class neighbourhood Los Magallanes de Catia.
In Washington, the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate approved, in a 13-to-2 vote, the “Venezuelan Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act” on May 20. The bill includes sanctions on key Venezuelan government representatives and at least US$15 million to “defend human rights… and strengthen the rule of law”. Committee chair, Democrat Robert Menendez, played a lead role in the writing of the proposed legislation. He plans to present the bill before the whole Senate in the coming weeks.
Thirty Venezuelan military officers, including several generals, have been arrested for alleged conspiracy to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, a leading national newspaper has reported. The information, reported by Ultimas Noticias, was attributed to “high level sources” in Miraflores presidential palace. Most arrested were from the Venezuelan Air Force, however a few officers from the National Guard, Navy and Armed Forces were included.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ebulliently congratulated president-elect Salvador Sanchez Ceren of El Salvador’s FMLN party, who was declared winner on March 10 by just 6000 votes after a tense electoral race. The left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) resisted a string of US backed governments throughout the 1980s during El Salvador’s devastating civil war. Maduro wrote on Twitter: “Sanchez Ceren is a legendary leader for democracy and human rights in El Salvador. The results mean another triumph for left-wing Latin America, thank you for waking up history.”
The Organization of American States (OAS) approved a statement on March 7 expressing solidarity and support for the Venezuelan government in light of recent events. After two full days of heated debate at its summit, 29 states of the OAS voted in favor of a declaration lamenting the victims of protest-related violence in Venezuela, detailing the need for ongoing dialogue, and decidedly rejecting any intervention into, or sanctions against, Venezuela’s democratically elected government.