South America

At least 29 inmates killed in clashes at Venezuela jail

by Alexander MARTINEZ and Esteban ROJAS CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — At least 29 prisoners were killed and 19 police wounded in clashes at a jail in western Venezuela Friday, authorities said. The incident at the police station jail in the town of Acarigua, in Portuguesa state, occurred when police special forces (FAES) tried to stop a “massive prison break” which resulted in the deaths of 29 inmates, according to Portuguesa public security secretary Oscar Valero. […]

Eleven killed in shooting in bar in Brazil: officials

  RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Gunmen killed at least 11 people in a bar in northern Brazil on Sunday, officials said. The shooting took place in the city of Belem, the public safety department of northern Para state said. There was no immediate word on the motive of the shooting. The attackers fled but the news website G1 quoted police as saying one was wounded and is in police custody. The fatalities are […]

Brazil students, teachers protest budget cuts

by Mauro PIMENTEL RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Tens of thousands of students and teachers held street protests across Brazil in “defense of education” on Wednesday in response to a raft of budget cuts announced by President Jair Bolsonaro’s government. Classes were suspended in federal universities and secondary schools in the first nationwide protests against the far-right president since he took office on January 1. Protesters flocked onto the streets in Brazil’s biggest cities, […]

Amnesty urges ICC to probe ‘crimes against humanity’ in Venezuela

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — Amnesty International said Tuesday it believes the Venezuelan authorities have committed crimes against humanity in their crackdown on anti-government protests, and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate. The rights group said President Nicolas Maduro’s government responded with “a systematic and widespread policy of repression” in late January, when anti-government protests swept the country after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president. Maduro opponents were tortured and killed during […]

Guaido blasts Venezuela regime after security forces block congress

by Diego URDANETA CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Juan Guaido accused the Venezuelan government of trying to “gag” Congress after security forces prevented opposition lawmakers from entering the National Assembly on Tuesday, two weeks after the opposition leader’s failed uprising against President Nicolas Maduro. Deputies said members of the National Guard, who provide security for the building, along with police and SEBIN intelligence agents blocked access to the opposition-controlled National Assembly. The move came as Amnesty […]

Venezuelan general calls for military uprising against Maduro

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — A Venezuelan air force general has called on his country’s armed forces to rise up against President Nicolas Maduro, who remains in power with military support despite a sweeping economic crisis. “It’s time to rise up, it’s time to fight … it’s time that the armed forces became aware,” General Ramon Rangel said in a video appeal issued Sunday on social media. Rangel — who appeared in civilian clothes and whose […]

Venezuela’s Maduro warns of military escalation with Colombia

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro warned Wednesday of a possible “military escalation” with neighboring Colombia after Bogota accused Caracas of sheltering leftist guerrillas on its territory. “There is an escalation of statements that could end in a military escalation on the border,” involving “the criminal forces of Colombia against Venezuela,” Maduro said in a speech to supporters. “Everything is part of the plan of US imperialism,” he said. The televised speech followed […]

Mexican president’s new airport flies into turbulence

by Sofia MISELEM / Sylvain ESTIBAL Agence France-Presse MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) – For a groundbreaking ceremony, there was suspiciously little ground broken as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador symbolically inaugurated work on a new Mexico City airport — a pet project analysts warn could go badly wrong. Smiling and waving an orange flag, the anti-establishment leftist stood before a line of heavy construction equipment last Monday, declaring work was officially under way to turn […]

Backers ‘failed to follow through’ in abortive uprising, Guaido tells AFP

by Guillaume DECAMME / Alexander MARTINEZ Agence France-Presse CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said Monday that backers who had pledged support for his abortive uprising last week had “failed to follow through” to dislodge President Nicolas Maduro. But that “doesn’t mean that they won’t do it soon,” Guaido told AFP in an interview in Caracas. Guaido, recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries, said it was “obvious today, there […]

Panama’s Cortizo declares victory in presidential vote

PANAMA CITY, Panama (AFP) — Former Panamanian minister Laurentino Cortizo declared victory in presidential polls on Sunday that saw a large number of voters turn out amid concerns over corruption scandals and the country’s image as a money-launderer’s paradise. But Panama’s Electoral Tribunal has yet to announce an official result due to the narrow difference in tallies between contenders for the country’s top office. “I feel very happy. I won. We won. What we have […]

Maduro exhorts Venezuela military to fight ‘any coup plotter’

by Alexander MARTINEZ CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday called on the armed forces to oppose “any coup plotter” after a military uprising in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido fizzled out, and subsequent street clashes left four protesters dead. On Tuesday, Guaido — who has been recognized by more than 50 countries as the crisis-wracked country’s interim president — urged the armed forces to rise up against the embattled leader. […]

One dead, 46 hurt in Venezuela May Day clashes

by Alexander MARTINEZ / Esteban ROJAS CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — May Day clashes between opposition supporters and Venezuela’s armed forces in Caracas left a woman dead and 46 people injured on Wednesday, with opposition leader Juan Guaido attempting to rally demonstrators against President Nicolas Maduro. Jurubith Rausseo, 27, died at a clinic after being hit by a “bullet in the head during (a) demonstration,” the non-governmental Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict said on Twitter, condemning […]