Pressure has been mounting on the populist President Nicolas Maduro to set the date for the 2015 parliamentary elections. The scheduled vote comes as a severe economic downturn has eroded Maduro and the chavista regime popularity, leading to speculation in some quarters that the election may not be called at all.
“Where are they getting this idea that we won’t have elections?” Tibisay Lucena said in an interview with the Televen television channel.
“From the start of this year, we’ve said that this is an electoral year. We can say that in the last quarter of this year we’ll have the elections. We’re going to announce it very soon.”
PanAm Post, 5/6/2015
The Brazilian Senate passed a vote of no-confidence on Tuesday against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro over the “arbitrary detention” of members of the opposition.
The text, written by Senator Roberto Jucá of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), “rejects” the arrests of the mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma — imprisoned since February— and opposition leader Leopoldo López, who has been in jail for 14 months, as well as the detention of other dissidents.
The body approved the text on the eve of a visit by López’s and Ledezma’s wives, Mitzy Capriles and Lilian Tintori respectively, to the Brazilian Congress to present allegations of human-rights violations in Venezuela.
Hannah Dreier and Adriana Gomez Licon – ABC News, 11/6/2014
A Venezuelan official’s seemingly low-key visit to Brazil has drawn a rare rebuke from a staunch ally and prompted grumbling at home about privileges enjoyed by top government officers.
Brazil contacted Venezuelan diplomats on Wednesday to complain that the socialist country’s former foreign minister, Elias Jaua, had met with a domestic activist group without providing any kind of heads up.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo said the surprise visit was out of step with the excellent relations between the two countries, and could be interpreted as interference in internal affairs. Brazil does not require ministers to provide notification when they do work in the country, but it is considered good form.
Brian Winter – Reuters, 3/28/2014
Brazil, Latin America’s biggest economy and diplomatic power, has toned down its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro because of disappointment over how he is handling mounting economic problems and opposition-led street protests.
The shift, while subtle, has deprived Maduro of some of the regional backing he wants at a time of food shortages, high inflation and political uncertainty in the OPEC nation.
Broadly speaking, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff remains an ally of Maduro. While Rousseff is more moderate, both are part of a generation of leftist Latin American presidents who grew up opposing pro-Washington governments and believe they are united by a mission to help the poor.
The Economist, 3/22/2014
SINCE it is the only big power in South America, Brazil inevitably catches the eye of outsiders looking for a country to take the lead in resolving the region’s conflicts—such as the one raging in the streets of Venezuela. Yet leader is not a role that Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, is keen to play. She has reasons for her reluctance—and they explain why Brazilian foreign policy has run into trouble.
Ms Rousseff has behaved as a loyal ally to the elected, but autocratic, government of Nicolás Maduro, which faces opposition protests almost daily. Brazil worked hard to thwart any role in Venezuela for the Organisation of American States, which includes the United States. Instead, the foreign ministers of the South American Union (UNASUR) have agreed to promote talks in Venezuela. It is an initiative without teeth: the ministers expressed their solidarity with Mr Maduro, disqualifying themselves as honest brokers in the opposition’s eyes.
Brazil’s wrong-headed calculation is that the protests will fizzle out. Mr Maduro took a UNASUR statement on March 12th as a green light to launch another crackdown. Faced with a deteriorating economy and mounting unpopularity, Mr Maduro’s rule is likely to remain repressive. Given that Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party (PT) claims to stand for democracy and human rights, he is a strange ally.
Paul Guzzo – The Tampa Tribune, 3/4/2014
From Tampa to the Senate floor in Washington, and throughout the United States, Cuban Americans who defend continued isolation of the Communist island nation are throwing their support behind Venezuelan Americans in their efforts to bring order to the South American country.
With 55 years of experience battling a socialist government, these Cuban Americans believe they have the knowhow Venezuelan Americans need to back an opposition party that has made waves in Venezuela since the launch of student protests blaming the government for poverty and corruption.
Foreign policy analysts, on the other hand, question whether any moves from U.S. soil can help. Instead, these voices say, the U.S. should step aside and urge mediation by an interested party closer to the turmoil — Brazil.
Carlos Alberto Montaner -The Miami Herald
President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil canceled her visit to President Obama. She was offended because the United States was peeking into her electronic mail. You don’t do that to a friendly country. The information, probably reliable, was provided by Edward Snowden from his refuge in Moscow.
Intrigued, I asked a former U.S. ambassador, “Why did they do it?” His explanation was starkly frank:
“From Washington’s perspective, the Brazilian government is not exactly friendly. By definition and history, Brazil is a friendly country that sided with us during World War II and Korea, but its present government is not.”