Airport meeting lands Spanish minister in Venezuela controversy

José Luis Ábalos met Venezuela vice-president, who is banned from EU, on plane in Madrid

Opposition parties in Spain are calling on the government to explain why one of its ministers met Venezuela’s vice-president in a secretive encounter onboard a private jet at Madrid airport.

It emerged on Thursday that José Luis Ábalos, the transport minister in the leftwing coalition government and a senior member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ party, met Delcy Rodríguez in the early hours of Monday morning.

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Venezuela’s Guaidó in Davos plea for help to overturn ‘dictatorship’

Juan Guaidó says country facing refugee crisis on a par with Syria as millions flee

Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, has urged the world not to turn its back on his struggling country and the millions of people who have fled across its borders to escape poverty and political turbulence.

Addressing the World Economic Forum on Thursday, Guaidó said the international community had a duty to help those suffering in Venezuela and those trying to leave.

Related: A year on, Juan Guaidó’s attempt at regime change in Venezuela has stalled | Tony Wood

Venezuela’s current plight can be traced to a revolution that went terribly wrong.

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A year on, Juan Guaidó’s attempt at regime change in Venezuela has stalled | Tony Wood

An underestimation of Chavismo’s resilience means the US-backed drive to topple Nicolás Maduro has fizzled out

A year ago, on 23 January 2019, Juan Guaidó, chairman of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled national assembly, proclaimed himself president of the country and vowed to remove Nicolás Maduro from power. Guaidó’s pretender government was swiftly recognised by the Trump administration, as well as by the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Brazil, and eventually some 50 countries in total. As street protests flared in Caracas, it seemed to many outside Venezuela that Maduro’s days in office were numbered – and with them those of Chavismo, the radical left-populist movement that first surged to power in 1998 under Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez. Yet, one year on, Maduro remains firmly ensconced in the presidential Miraflores Palace. And not only has the US-backed attempt at regime change failed to dislodge him, but it is now Guaidó’s position at the head of the Venezuelan opposition that is looking shaky.

The fact of US backing for Guaidó’s coup attempt was itself a major factor in rallying support for Maduro

Related: Aid workers toil amid crisis and corruption to give Venezuelans the drugs they need

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Armed rebels impose brutal rules in Venezuela-Colombia border region

Human Rights Watch report finds rape, murder and kidnappings on both sides of border, where people are unable to move freely

Guerrilla groups have supplanted state rule on both sides of the lawless border between Venezuela and Colombia, where they impose their own brutal rules on civilians, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In Colombia’s eastern Arauca province and the neighbouring Apure state in Venezuela, civilians are unable to move freely, forced to obey a strict curfew and taxed on virtually all economic activity. HRW documented abuses including murder, kidnappings, disappearances, child recruitment and rape.

Related: Peace is war as armed groups roil Colombia’s lawless border region

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Venezuela: convoy attacked as lawmakers barred from assembly

Lawmakers hold session on outskirts of capital after people dressed in civilian clothes target their vehicles

Government security forces and armed motorcycle groups loyal to Nicolás Maduro have forcefully blocked opposition lawmakers from entering Venezuela’s national assembly building, prompting them to hold their session on the outskirts of the nation’s crisis-torn capital.

It was the second time this month that lawmakers have been barred from the building that houses the only branch of government that remains out of control of Maduro’s socialist government.

Armed civilians attacked a convoy of vehicles carrying Venezuelan opposition politicians to congress on Wednesday, as Maduro seeks to bar Guaido from presiding over parliament. (Video by Guaido’s press team)https://t.co/ys3T1dS0iM pic.twitter.com/ZIji0EFDFg

Related: Aid workers toil amid crisis and corruption to give Venezuelans the drugs they need

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Aid workers toil amid crisis and corruption to give Venezuelans the drugs they need

In Venezuela, hospitals lack the basics and medicine shortages are common, forcing humanitarian groups to pick up the slack

Feliciano Reyna masterminds a drug running network that spans Venezuela. His organisation moves substances through ports, trucks them across the country, and deliver them into customers’ hands. But he is not on any DEA watchlist.

“I am the biggest dealer in Venezuela,” says Reyna – though he is quick to qualify the remark – “If we’re talking about legal drugs.”

Related: UN urged to declare full-scale crisis in Venezuela as health system ‘collapses’

Related: Venezuela crisis takes deadly toll on buckling health system

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Venezuela: Maduro opponents storm parliament to reinstall Guaidó as leader

  • Juan Guaidó sworn in for second term as caretaker leader
  • Maduro attempted to seize control of parliament on Sunday

Venezuela’s increasingly byzantine political meltdown took its latest turn on Tuesday as opponents of authoritarian president Nicolás Maduro stormed the country’s parliament to reinstall Juan Guaidó as their leader.

Troops loyal to Maduro had surrounded the palm-dotted national assembly compound in Caracas in a bid to keep Guaidó and his supporters out after the president’s attempt to seize control of the parliament on Sunday.

En la unión de los venezolanos está la fuerza para salir de la dictadura.

Entramos al hemiciclo a cumplir con nuestro deber, no con la violencia, sino con la fuerza de la razón y la mayoría.

Unidos, organizados y con firmeza, es posible. #100diputados #ANLegítimaConVzla pic.twitter.com/6S1mjuE0LF

Related: Latin America’s tumultuous year turns expectations on their head

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Yemen heads list of countries facing worst humanitarian disasters in 2020

Venezuela also in top five as IRC’s David Miliband warns of devastating impact from war, floods, droughts and disease

Yemen has topped an annual watchlist of countries most likely to face humanitarian catastrophe in 2020, for the second year running.

Continued fighting, economic collapse and weak governance mean that more than 24 million Yemenis – about 80% of the population – will be in need of humanitarian assistance this year, according to analysis by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which found that another five years of conflict could cost $29bn (£22bn).

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Maduro accused of parliamentary ‘coup’ after replacing Guaidó as president of assembly

Troops blocked presidential rival from entering the parliament building in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas

Venezuela’s opposition has accused president Nicolás Maduro of masterminding an illegal parliamentary “coup” after an apparent bid to decapitate the challenge from his presidential rival Juan Guaidó by replacing him as head of the country’s opposition-controlled parliament.

Guaidó shot to international prominence last January after he was elected president of Venezuela’s national assembly and used that position to declare himself the country’s legitimate interim leader.

The moment Juan Guaidó tries to jump a fence to get inside the parliament as the PSUV’s ‘opposition’ candidate Luis Parra is illegally sworn in as president of the National Assembly pic.twitter.com/4p6lgO3qBf

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