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Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez Proposes Roadmap to End Dictatorship

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Jan 2, 2017, 2:19 pm
Leopoldo Lopez has emerged as the face of the Venezuelan opposition in recent years (
Leopoldo Lopez has emerged as the face of the Venezuelan opposition in recent years (Panorama).

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The Venezuelan political leader and prisoner, Leopoldo López, sent a message to the country on the eve of ushering in the year 2017. In the letter, written in his handwriting, he established a “road map” for ending the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro.

The opposition leader said that it is necessary to resume the offensive against the regime. This, after 2016, the ruling party crossed “a line that the Venezuelan democrats and the democratic world should not tolerate with passivity.”

Lopez said that failure to recognize the authority of the National Assembly, the regime’s total control of public powers and the arbitrary elimination of the recall referendum were the facts that made it clear that Venezuela is in the grasp of a dictatorship.

In the “road map” the political prisoner asked the National Assembly “to confirm the political responsibility of Nicolás Maduro for failing to discharge his constitutional duties.” In addition, he proposed that “before the regime has further opportunity to disregard the National Assembly” the opposition must hold “large popular demonstrations”.

Lopez called on the opposition to work together to recover the exercise of the right to a popular vote with the legitimate sanction of the authorities of the National Electoral Council (CNE).

He also proposed to transform the current opposition coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) to the Movement of Democratic Unity.

“Now is the time to put up resistance and struggle for our democratic rights, and this struggle requires the greatest commitment. That is why we propose to move from the “table” to the “movement” of Democratic Unity, whose central objective will be to recover the right to the popular vote, and defeat the dictatorship so that we can restore constitutional order and democracy.

For her part, Lilian Tintori, wife of the leader of Popular Will party, said that this letter “was able to escape from the walls of injustice and isolation in Ramo Verde”, the prison where López is being held.

Source: Sumarium

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Argentina Arms Itself with Israeli Technology to Fight Drug Trafficking

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Jan 2, 2017, 12:41 pm
Mauricio Macri has prioritized combatting drug trafficking on Argentina's borders (

Español The Argentine government announced plans to purchase military equipment from Israel to combat the growing drug trafficking threatening its borders. On January 2, the administration of President Mauricio Macri approved the appropriation of almost US $80 million for the purchase of four coastal patrol boats to be used on the Paraná River, one of the main marijuana entry points to Argentina. Read More: Argentina Could Face the Same Fate as Mexico in the War on Drugs Read More: Argentina Will Study Special Courts, Rehabilitation Program for Minor Drug Offenders The patrol boats will arrive in the South American country fully equipped and feature an integrated surveillance system capable of monitoring terrestrial border crossings, emphasizes the news site Infobae. The official gazette of Monday, January 2, states that the four boats acquired have a total value of US $49 million, while the border surveillance system is estimated to cost US $35 million. Infobae explains that the boats that will be destined to patrol the Paraná River feature artillery in both the bow and stern with a Typhoon cannon that uses projectiles of 25 mm, and a 20mm Oerlikon system, in addition to having two 50 caliber machine guns. Drug smugglers currently use the northeastern region of the Paraná River as their main entry route into Argentina, both with micro-trafficking in barges, and for the movement of large shipments. Subsequently the drugs are delivered at drop-off points to be transported via roads to the central cities. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); In northwestern Argentina, on the other hand, drug smuggling along the Bolivian border is largely facilitated by plane. On December 15, the governments of Argentina and Israel signed an agreement for the purchase of this military equipment, which resulted in the administrative decision to approve relevant appropriations. In November, Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich traveled to Israel to learn firsthand about the high technology utilized by that country, including radars, cameras, and command and control centers in border areas. In 2017, the Argentine government has ambitious plans to equip its military, including: aircraft for the Air Force, patrol boats for the Navy, armored vehicles and combat rifles for the Army, following a decline in Argentina's military capabilities during Kirchnerism due to lack of appropriations and necessary maintenance. Rearming the Argentine military will mean an expenditure between 2018 and 2019 of more than AR $40 billion (about US $2.5 billion). Source: Infobae

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