VIO News Blog

September 8, 2008

Venezuela, Russia Announce Joint Naval Exercises

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 4:05 pm
Tags: , , , ,

In the headlines today are joint naval exercises planned between Venezuela and Russia. According to Reuters, the exercises will include a nuclear-powered battle cruiser, but officials in Moscow say they are “not in anyway connected to current political events… [and] will in no way be directed against the interests of a third country.” President Chavez affirmed that the Russians would be welcomed, and brushed off criticisms from Washington. The Los Angeles Times reports that the maneuvers come in the wake of NATO’s decision to deploy warships in the Black Sea, as well as in the context of the U.S.’s arms embargo against Venezuela and re-installment of a naval fleet in Latin America.

Also in international news, Venezuela’s National Guard has detained a former Colombian senator who facing charges of conspiring with paramilitaries to conduct kidnappings. The AP reports that the man was captured in Venezuela’s western city of Maracaibo. About one third of Colombia’s current lawmakers have been accused or convicted of similar offenses, which have fueled that country’s ongoing civil war.

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council will draw up new campaign protocol this week in response to complaints from opposition leaders. The AP reports that questions surround Chavez’s political pronouncements during his weekly presidential address. Information Minister Andres Izarra explained that, in the face of “hostile and manipulative private press, it’s our duty to take advantage of the public media.” Venezuela TV, radio, and newspapers remain largely private-owned and are dominated by opposition voices.

Finally, a Washington Post editorial about Thailand criticizes Venezuela and Bolivia, wrongly calling their leaders “populists… [who] sought to entrench themselves in power and eliminate competition.” Presidents Chavez and Morales have repeatedly won elections because they deliver on their promises to the poor and have designed better policies than their political challengers. A letter in the Washington Times refutes similarly ill-informed arguments.

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