VIO News Blog

July 17, 2008

Venezuela and the U.S. Discuss Anti-Drug Cooperation

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 6:18 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Venezuelan foreign minister Nicolas Maduro said today that the government is in dialogue with the U.S. about resuming anti-drug cooperation. El Universal reports that he indicated that the U.S. would first need to establish “a policy of respect” in bilateral relations. U.S. anti-drug officials in Venezuela were in the past accused of spying. State Department rep Thomas Shannon called the talks “a diplomatic opening,” the AP reports. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that President Chavez weighed in on the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, saying: “The two candidates for the U.S. presidency attack us equally, they attack us defending the interests of the empire.”

In other international news, President Chavez and Lula da Silva of Brazil will be in Bolivia on Friday to sign development accords. El Universal reports that this show of solidarity on economic issues comes ahead of recall referendum for Bolivia’s President Morales. Chavez, meanwhile, will continue on to visit other nations in Latin America and Europe. According to the AP, the Venezuelan leader will be received by heads of state in Nicaragua, Spain, Russia, Belarus and Portugal.

Citgo’s new community assistance program began in Houston, Texas today, the AP reports. The program is donating half a million energy efficient light bulbs to low-income families in 11 cities. Citgo is a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, which contributed to a similar switch to low-impact lightbulbs in that South American nation. The program is expected to bring savings and reduced energy use to 23,000 U.S. homes. This is in addition to the quarter of a million homes that received reduced-cost heating oil from Venezuelan-owned Citgo last winter.

Finally, the human rights group Amnesty International has questioned the enforcement of a law passed in Venezuela last year to prevent violence against women. The AP and BBC report that the group is pressing the government to make good on its promise to open hundreds of new shelters for battered women. President Chavez has said that Venezuela has “a very machista society and we need to be equal.”


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