Archive | July 18, 2017

Trump Threatens ‘Strong Actions’ against Venezuela*

Trump Threatens ‘Strong Actions’ against Venezuela*

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened Venezuela with “strong economic actions.” | Photo: Reuters

Maduro defends the Bolivarian process from interference by Western capitals.

In the wake of Sunday’s national dry run vote for the National Constituent Assembly or ANC, President Nicolas Maduro has defended Venezuela’s “dignity and sovereignty” against threats by U.S. President Donald Trump, who issued a statement Monday describing Maduro as “a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator.”

“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 threats come after record high numbers turned out to participate in a 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.

Voting in the dry run vote carried on until late evening. | Photo: teleSUR

 

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

E.U. diplomat Federica Mogherini likewise urged 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.

President Maduro has reacted sharply to the criticism, telling Rajoy “get your nose out of Venezuela” while reminding the “insolent” Mogherini that “Venezuela is a free, sovereign country … not a colony of Europe.”

In defense of the ANC, Maduro recounted the Battle of Ayacucho in Peru, a concluding military victory of the Latin American revolutionary wars, when the forces of Grand Marshal Antonio Jose de Sucre decisively forced the Spanish Empire to surrender and end its rein over South America.

“Ours is a Constituent Assembly for independence, sovereignty and national dignity,” Maduro claimed.

“Let Europe say what it wants to say, we do not care what Europe says. We care about this land, our dignity, the land of the liberators of the Americas!”

The dry run vote was held Sunday in anticipation of the official July 30 vote for the National Constituent Assembly.

Given the surge of right-wing protest violence, Tibisay Lucena, president of the CNE, said Sunday that the voting exercise was particularly important to ensure that the voters can exercise their right to vote in safe conditions. She explained that part of the exercise was to identify those localities within the municipalities where the safety of voters could be threatened during the electoral event.

“We continue to evaluate measures that protect the lives and physical safety of voters because there have been expressions of fear about going to vote … We assure people that we will continue to look for measures so that they can come out and vote peacefully on voting day,” Lucena said.

Voters form queues ahead of the opening of polling booths. | Photo: AVN

 

Voters wait outside one of the polling stations. | Photo: AVN

 

While there were some reports of violence, the dry run vote was largely carried out in a festive mood. Some 496 polling centres were authorized in all the municipalities of the country, 55 of which functioned as pilot centres, according to the National Electoral Council. Nearly 1,942 voting machines were deployed in the dry run to help voters learn how to use the machines.

“It is clear that the majority of Venezuelans want peace, dialogue and a future,” Jorge Rodriguez, head of the Zamora 200 Campaign Command, said at a press conference, noting the unprecedented nature of the turnout.

“Today a new machine has been born, one that will push forward a new history, a new dawn.”

The dry run vote for the National Constituent Assembly coincided with a symbolic referendum called by the opposition which asked people to vote whether they want a constituent assembly or not; whether they want the armed forces to support the existing constitution and the decisions of the national assembly; and whether they want immediate general elections.

Venezuelans in other parts of the world as far as Miami, New York City and Spain also participated in the non-binding referendum.

Opposition leaders claimed that more than 7 million Venezuelans participated, 98% of whom opposed the assembly, but short of the 11 million they had hoped for in a country of just under 20 million eligible voters.

Source*

 

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Undocumented Immigrant Is Working to Help Others Achieve the American Dream*

Undocumented Immigrant Is Working to Help Others Achieve the American Dream*

By Amelia Kinney

This activist has been in the US for almost 20 years, but if Trump overturns DACA, she could be deported.

 

Ana Rodriguez with a student. Credit: Cole Kazdin via Vice

Ana Rodriguez* is helping undocumented immigrant kids have the American dream. Rodriguez spent most of her life as an undocumented immigrant student in the public school system in L.A., until she was given a chance to stay in the U.S. legally by the Obama administration’s adoption of the DACA policy (deferred action for childhood arrivals) in 2012.

Born in Irapuato, Mexico, Ana came to the United States illegally with her parents in 1999, when she was five years old. She has two younger siblings that were born in the U.S. and have citizenship.

“Being undocumented was a huge part of my life,” Rodriguez, now 22, told Vice.

“Especially in high school. I saw all my friends getting into colleges and I was over here—with a 4.1 GPA, 100 hours of community service—I got accepted to so many places but I couldn’t go because I didn’t qualify for financial aid.”

 

Through the 2012 DACA policy, Rodriguez was finally able to apply for permissions to stay in the country legally. Although the policy did not make her eligible for federal aid, and she has to renew her permission every two years, Rodriguez is now able to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Unfortunately, DACA may be overturned by the Trump Administration.

Rodriguez currently works as a case manager with EduCare, an afterschool program for low-income kids. She helps other Latino DREAMers— a name for kids who meet the general requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Rodriguez is also attending graduate school to earn a masters degree in school counseling.

Rodriguez also wants to help kids have a better quality of life, and assists them with receiving resources like food, clothing and a safe place to sleep. Rodriguez experienced firsthand the domestic issues that drive many kids to drop out of school or become homeless.

“One of the greatest issues with my students is that their outside lives have a huge impact on them,” said Rodriguez during her Vice interview.

“If a student knows they are going to be homeless, they’re not going to be thinking about the answer to ‘3x = y = 26.’ They’re going to be thinking: I need to get a job.”

*Not her real name. 

Source*

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