People’s Summit Opens to Counter Neoliberal Mercosur Agenda

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Demonstrators march to participate in the central meeting of the Peoples
More than 80 organizations will be part of the event in Argentina from all over the region.

Ahead of the Mercosur summit in Argentina, social movements are holding their own People’s Summit Thursday in the city of Mendoza to oppose the regional bloc’s right-wing turn and its neoliberal agenda.

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The political gathering, held in the Faculty of Arts and Design, National University of Cuyo in Mendoza, is focused on four main issues, including regional sovereignty, natural resources, foreign interference and colonialism.

The topics related to the neoliberal policies imposed by President Mauricio Macri in Argentina and the recent labor reform approved by the lower chamber in Brazil will be addressed as well.

“The decision to organize and convene this People’s Summit is based on the need to face the challenges that arise from the current regional situation and the advance of the right, supported by representatives of neocolonialism, and needs as an inseparable element of its goal of domination, to destroy the popular processes that occurred in recent years,” a statement from the group said.

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Sao Paulo Forum, Meeting of Latin America’s Left, Defends Venezuela

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  • Jose Balaguer of Cuba

    Jose Balaguer of Cuba’s Communist Party (L), Mónica Valente of Brazil’s Workers’ Party (C) and Jacinto Suarez of Nicaragua’s Sandinista National Liberation Front (R).

     The delegates affirmed that “calling the people to vote” is the best way to decide the future of a country, referring to Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly.

Hundreds of participants from Latin America and the Caribbean’s left forces gathered at the 23rd Sao Paulo Forum in Managua, Nicaragua affirmed Tuesday their support for Venezuela and its National Constituent Assembly proposed by President Nicolas Maduro.

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Forum participants pledged to send election observers to Venezuela on July 30, when elections for the National Constituent Assembly will take place.

“We will send an electoral observer mission to the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela, because we support it,” Brazil’s Workers’ Party President Gleisi Hoffmann said.

During the Forum’s closing, Hoffman pressed that “calling the people to vote” is the best way to decide the future of a country.

The participants of the event have pledged to provide an electoral oberver mission during the National Constituent Assembly in Venezuela proposed by President Nicolas Maduro. | Photo: EFE


The four-day convention also saw the representatives of 18 leftist political parties from 26 countries issue a number of resolutions in a 24-page document titled “Consensus of our America.”

The document expressed support for the defense of the peace negotiation process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, an end to the revived U.S. blockade on Cuba and support for former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, who has been accused of corruption by Brazil’s right-wing, coup-imposed government.

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US May Consider Banning Oil From Venezuela, a Top Supplier.

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A Venezuelan petroleum worker processes crude oil at a government-run center.

If Washington decides to ban oil imports from Venezuela, it would lose its third major oil supplier in the world.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump may consider banning oil imports from Venezuela if the country moves forward with its July 30 National Constituent Assembly, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

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A senior White House official said that “all options are on the table” when asked if such a ban was possible. Moreover, Trump’s administration has reportedly not taken a position on whether Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro should be sent into exile.

“We have not made final decisions but we have a pretty good idea of the direction we are heading,” the official added.

The revelation comes a day after Washington issued sanction threats against Caracas.

“If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions,” Trump said in a statement on Monday.

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El Salvador’s FMLN Defends Venezuela Amid US Sanction Threats.

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El Salvador’s President Salvador Sanchez Ceren defended Maduro at Nicaragua

The Salvadoran president stated his country support for the Constituent Assembly.

El Salvador’s President Salvador Sanchez Ceren expressed his support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after the United States threatened a new round of sanctions if the sovereign country goes ahead with its National Constituent Assembly on July 30.

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“I want to express our great solidarity with President Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan process,” Ceren stated from Nicaragua where he is participating in the 38th anniversary of the Sandinista popular revolution and the Sao Paulo Forum.

“The Venezuelan process is preparing for elections to elect the Constituent Assembly, a process that Venezuela has always pursued by following the will of the people,” the Salvadoran president added.

In a White House briefing Tuesday, U.S. director for South America’s National Security Council Fernando Cutz informed the press that if the Constituent Assembly goes ahead, the United States would impose severe sanctions against the Bolivarian nation.

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US Promises Robust Actions Against Venezuela.

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Donald Trump has promised " strong and swift economic action" if Venezuela continues with the National Constituent Assembly.

Fernando Cutz, the director for South America of Donald Trump’s National Security Council,

Trump’s man for South America has promised robust measures against Venezuela but refused to give details in a White House briefing Tuesday.

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Fernando Cutz, the director for South America of Donald Trump’s National Security Council, told journalists that no decision has yet been taken on new sanctions against Venezuela, so he was not prepared to discuss specific actions or the names of individuals or entities that might be targeted. Cutz was answering questions from the media in a telephone briefing after President Trump threatened to take “strong and swift economic action” if the Venezuelan government continues with elections for a Constituent Assembly on July 30.

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America Venezuela Armed Forces Reject Interference in Internal Affairs.

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Mural of Venezuela

The minister also denounced opposition street actions that set people on fire, attack medical and educational centers and attempt to destroy cities.

The Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez stated in a press conference Wednesday that the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela strongly rejects the interference of western powers in the internal affairs of the country.

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“The FANB categorically rejects the alliance of governments operating against the nation and repudiates as firmly as possible the statements of (U.S. President Donald) Trump who, in an affront to Venezuela has dared to threaten the Venezuelan people with imposing economic sanctions on the government if it goes ahead with its Constituent Assembly. It is a shameless and vile statement that represents clear meddling in the internal affairs of the country.”

The minister also denounced the opposition that calls its supporters into the streets, leading to violence that “sets people on fire, attacks medical and educational centers, and attempts to destroy cities.”

Stating the firm anti-imperialist character of the armed forces, Padrino called on the military to close ranks against these interventionists attacks.

The military official also described how forces will be deployed starting Friday to distribute electoral equipment to the over 14,000 polling centers in the country ahead of the CNA vote on July 30.

Vice President Tareck El Aissami also denounced Trump’s interventionist plans, stating that the civic-military alliance will be activated on July 21 to ensure the safe and free participation of the Venezuelan people during the vote.

The statement came after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro led a session of the National Defense Council Tuesday night at the Miraflores Presidential Palace aimed at developing strategies to defend Venezuela’s sovereignty after Trump promised “swift and strong actions” if Venezuela decided to proceed with elections for the National Constituent Assembly.

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Maduro criticized Trump’s threats as “vulgar,” arguing “the process of the constituent assembly is already in the hands of the people who will exercise their right to vote.”

“This is my response, the constituent assembly does not belong to me. On July 16 the people said this constituent assembly belongs to me,” added Maduro, referring to the historic dry run vote where million

Maduro’s call for the National Defense Council after the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry in a statement rejected the U.S. government’s “unbelievable” comments on Venezuela that “shows its absolute bias towards the violent and extremist sectors of Venezuelan politics, which favor the use of terrorism to overthrow a popular and democratic government.”

The ministry was referring to a statement issued Monday by President Donald Trump, who said, “If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions.”

Trump’s threats were repeated by the U.S. State Department which released a statement calling on “the Government of Venezuela to abandon the proposed National Constituent Assembly. ”

“The thin democratic veil of the Venezuelan opposition has fallen, and it reveals the brutal interventionist force of the U.S. government, which has been behind the violence suffered by the Venezuelan people in the last four months. It is not the first time that we denounce and confront threats as ludicrous as those contained in this unbelievable document,” the statement added.

The document called on the people of the world to defend sovereignty, self-determination and independence.

“The National Constituent Assembly will be elected by the direct, universal, and secret ballot of all Venezuelans, under the authority of the National Electoral Council, as contemplated in our legal framework. It is an act of political sovereignty of the Republic, nothing and no one can stop it. The Constituent Assembly will go on!” the statement concluded.

The threats come after record high numbers turned out to participate in the historic dry run vote for the ANC, which is aimed at easing tensions and creating a more representative constitution. Despite the mass show of public support, the event was largely ignored, as international leaders continued to criticize the Venezuelan government and demand immediate elections.

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White House spokesman Sean Spicer called on Miraflores to cancel the ANC and convene “free and fair elections.”

EU diplomat Federica Mogherini likewise urged President Nicolas Maduro to suspend plans to convene the ANC, noting that the move would be “an important gesture” toward de-escalating tensions.

This message was echoed by Spanish President Mariano Rajoy and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who penned an opinion piece for Spanish newspaper El Mundo criticizing the Venezuelan government.

Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro chimed in Tuesday, saying that if the ANC went ahead it would be inappropriate, and he demanded that the assembly be canceled.

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Cuba Expresses Solidarity for Nicolas Maduro and Lula da Silva.

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Cuban President Raul Castro at the country

The Cuban president has condemned the attempts to destabilize Venezuela.

President Raul Castro has repeated Cuba’s support for the Venezuelan government as it faces “an unconventional war” led by “imperialism” and the country’s “oligarchy” in a bid to topple President Nicolas Maduro with a coup.

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During a speech marking the end of the Cuban Congress’s extraordinary session, Castro condemned the opposition violence initiated in April on the streets of Caracas and other cities as “fascists actions.”

He mentioned the videos showing several young Venezuelans being burnt alive during anti-Maduro protests.

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Raul Castro Denounces Trump’s Cuba Policy as a ‘Setback’.

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Cuban President Raul Castro gives a speech during the first ordinary meeting of the National Assembly of Power Popular in Havana, Cuba, on July 14, 2017.

The Cuban revolutionary leader said his country remains open to negotiating with the United States.

Cuban President Raul Castro on Friday denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s changes to relations with Havana, saying they ignored broad public support for better relations.

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In his first public comment on Trump’s new Cuba policy, Castro told the country’s National Assembly that any attempt to topple the revolution would fail, as it had under 11 previous U.S. presidents.

“Any strategy that seeks to destroy the revolution either through coercion or pressure or through more subtle methods will fail,” Cuba’s president told legislators.

Surrounded by Cuban-American exiles and Cuban dissidents in Miami, Trump announced last month that he was cancelling former President Barack Obama’s “terrible and misguided deal” with Cuba.

Trump ordered new limits on U.S. travelers to the island and a clampdown on U.S. business dealings with Cuba’s military-linked conglomerate, but called for maintaining diplomatic relations with the Cuban government.

He said the United States would consider lifting those and other restrictions only after Cuba made a series of other internal changes including freeing so-called “political prisoners,” allowing “freedom of assembly” and holding “free elections.”

Speaking to the National Assembly, Castro called Trump’s policies a “setback” and ejected any “lessons” on human rights from the United States.

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Nordic Parliamentarians Slam Right-Wing Venezuela Violence.

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Protesters clash with riot police in Caracas.

Warning against further violence, the group claimed that “nobody would win” if the country became ungovernable or if a civil war broke out.

Dozens of parliamentarians from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland have launched a declaration calling on the international community to reject ongoing right-wing violence in Venezuela, which has since claimed at least 94 lives.

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The signatories, calling themselves the Nordic Initiative, expressed support for the upcoming National Constituent Assembly, a process called for by President Nicolas Maduro to ease political tensions. They called on opposition forces to respect the nationwide campaign, along with the December 2017 regional elections and the December 2018 presidential election.

“We adhere to the democratic forces in the world that demand a halt to the violence that affects Venezuela at this moment,” the declaration reads.

“We are convinced that dialogue and a peaceful solution are the best way to end the confrontation between the government and the opposition. We condemn the violent actions that have led to the death of innocent people and the destruction of public and private institutions and buildings.”

Warning against further violence, the group claimed that “nobody would win” if the country became ungovernable or if a civil war broke out.

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Venezuela Signs Deal With US Company to Improve Oil Production.

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the strategic alliance will strengthen the technology of the state-owned oil company PDVSA.

Venezuela has signed an agreement between the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, PDVSA, and a U.S. oil company, which is intended to improve oil production in the South American country.

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The document was signed by the Minister of Popular Power for Petroleum, Nelson Martinez, and the chairman of Oklahoma-based Horizontal Well Drillers, Todd Swanson, at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.

The agreement proposes a joint venture for the development of oil in Venezuela. Martinez announced that the deal will include an initial investment of US$200 million for a three-year project, which will eventually be expanded to US$1.3 billion.

“We discussed the creation of two work teams to initiate in the next 90 days a joint plan identifying opportunities, defining levels of investment and creating at least one joint venture in that time,” Martinez said.

During the ceremony, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the strategic alliance will strengthen the technology of the PDVSA.

He added that Venezuela is a country whose Constitution and laws create conditions of security and legal stability for these agreements, citing deals signed with China, India, Russia and other nations as examples.

“I invite all U.S. capital in all areas of economy and energy to come to Venezuela. We are ready to broaden the horizons of all investments,” Maduro said.

Maduro also reiterated his willingness to establish respectful relations with U.S. President Donald Trump, despite political and ideological differences.

“I hope the gates will open for a relationship of respect and height between the United States and the Venezuelan government.”