Maduro to reform cabinet (March 18, 2019)
Embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro asked his entire cabinet to resign yesterday. The move comes ten days after a blackout affected much of the country and led to extensive chaos and looting in some areas. (Efecto Cocuyo) It might be an attempt to shore up internal support, according to the Miami Herald.
This weekend Maduro promised to restructure state power company Corpoelec and promised to create a unit in the armed forces focussed on protecting key infrastructure from cyber attacks. The government maintains that outages were caused by sabotage, though most experts agree agree that worn out infrastructure is to blame. (Reuters) And blackouts are only likely to increase in frequency and intensity in Venezuela say technicians who point to chronic underinvestment and significant brain drain. (Wall Street Journal)
In the meantime, presidential challenger, National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó, is on a nation-wide tour dubbed "operation liberty." (Efecto Cocuyo)
More from Venezuela
Cuban doctors who participated in a Venezuelan government health program say medical services were used as a political tool, reports the New York Times. The investigation is based on interviews with 16 members of medical missions to Venezuela, a key element of the relationship between the two countries.
Reporting on Venezuela is also hyperpolitical, and it is often difficult for outside readers to trust the Venezuela portrayed in different media versions, writes Alberto Barrera Tyszka in a New York Times Español op-ed that lauds the efforts of independent Venezuelan media outlets: Efecto Cocuyo, Armando.info, Runrunes, El Pitazo, Crónica Uno, Tal Cual, Correo del Caroní.
Guaidó suggested that Spain is a good destination for Chavista officials who want to defect from Maduro in support of a transition. The U.S. and Spain have apparently had conversations in that vein. (EFE)
Sanctions against Venezuela are hurting the country's most vulnerable who have long been struggling to access enough food and medicine, reports Al Jazeera.
Close to 1,000 security officers -- military and police -- have fled to Colombia this year, according to Colombian authorities. (Efecto Cocuyo)
Press workers denounced paramilitary harassment of journalists covering a protest in Lara. (Efecto Cocuyo)
The Trump administration is considering sanctions against third countries that facilitate shipment of oil from Venezuela to Cuba, reports the Miami Herald.
Venezuela may try to divert U.S. bound oil to Russia. (Reuters)
U.S. financial dominance in the region is eroding in favor of a more multi-polar world that includes significant trade with East Asia, writes Leslie Elliott Armijo at the AULA blog. "... South American countries probably will try to find the right balance between embracing and rejecting the declining yet still dominant hegemon to the north and, as in the case of Venezuela, developing their own strategic vision, forging unity among themselves, and putting some muscle behind an agenda that prepares them for the future."
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump tomorrow -- both sides are heralding alignment between the ideologically similar, controversial leaders. This will be Bolsonaro's first visit as head of state, but critics say too warm a relationship with the U.S. could hurt Brazil's standing with its biggest commercial partner, China. (Guardian)
Steve Bannon will be Bolsonaro's special dinner guest tonight, reports McClatchy.
Bolsonaro is doubling down on plans to loosen gun regulations in Brazil, even as the country reels from a school shooting incident last week in which 8 people were killed. (Wall Street Journal)
Accusations that former Guatemalan attorney general Thelma Aldana faked a consultant hire are false -- the Public Ministry did commission a report from a Washington consultant. But though the work was carried out, the cost and quality raise questions, according to Nómada.
Attempts to reform the 2016 peace accord with the FARC could be disastrous, warns Humberto de la Calle. (El País)
Human smugglers have developed a new method of direct bussing migrants across Mexico, delivering Central American families directly at the U.S. border where they surrender to authorities and initiate asylum claims. U.S. authorities say the "conveyer belt" has contributed to increases in large groups of families attempting to enter the U.S. (Washington Post)
The U.S. State Department's reports on human rights abuses in the world highlight government repression in Nicaragua -- even as the Department of Homeland Security has sought to eliminate protection a temporary residency program for Nicaraguan nationals in the U.S. (New York Times)
Many descendants of small community in northern founded by African Americans fleeing slavery in the U.S. in the 19th century are now looking for work on the other side of the border. (Washington Post)
Jucuapa in El Salvador is home to a thriving coffin industry, that caters to victims of the country's violence epidemic. (Bloomberg)
A new history book, El Norte, revises 600 years of North American history to account for the mostly ignored Spanish impact on the United States' development. (Guardian)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...