jueves, 24 de octubre de 2013

Venezuelan President wants all ministers to join state militia

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro Moros said on 23 October that he wanted the regime's civilian militia to have 500,000 members by 2015 and one million by 2019, and "all our ministers...must join...as militiamen and women," the broadcaster Globovisión and agencies reported. He told a meeting of armed forces officers at the Historical Military Museum in Caracas that the National Bolivarian Militia, formed in 2005 and performing a range of public-service or civic tasks, should defend Venezuela's "sovereignty and right to peace." Militia members were recently sent into supermarkets to attend to the public and control prices, Argentina's La Nación reported on 24 October, citing news agencies. The militia includes a "territorial militia" consisting of the "people," and "fighting" units including public-sector employees, the daily reported, observing that opponents have qualified it as the regime's "praetorian guard." Mr Maduro said not for the first time, that the country was the target of an economic war waged by enemies. The country's Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez said the same day that Venezuela envisaged "massive" imports of foodstuffs in the following two months to combat shortages and inflation, without elaborating, Europa Press reported. He was addressing a conference on the Isla Margarita off Venezuela's Caribbean coast. The country was to hold municipal elections on 8 December, a date Mr Maduro declared would become the day of "love and loyalty" to the "legacy" of the late President Hugo Chávez, the official AVN agency reported on 23 October.

Former Colombian leader's party seeks decisive position in 2014

The party founded by Colombia's arch-conservative former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez was to elect a presidential candidate on 25-26 October and set a strategy for the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2014, which it hoped would make it a decisive - or the decisive - political force that year. Media reported that the Uribe Democratic Centre (Uribe Centro Democrático) would seek four million votes in coming elections hoping to bank on voters' nostalgia for the enhanced security they enjoyed when Mr Uribe was President in 2002-10. Many votes were expected to be snatched from Unity or U Party and Conservatives currently supporting President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, Cali's El País reported on 23 October. Mr Uribe's actual election support was for now speculative in spite of projected figures set out in El País, but Mr Uribe has an undoubted public support that has likely irked President Santos and divided the U Party, said to harbour an unspecified number of Mr Uribe's admirers. Colombians who took part in a survey in June 2013 voted him as Colombia's most admired personality of recent years. Supporters of President Santos sought on 23 October to downplay Mr Uribe's prospects. The Speaker of the lower legislative chamber Juan Fernando Cristo Bustos qualified the Democratic Centre's bid to take more than 860,000 votes from U and 300,000 from the Conservatives as a "harmless dream," observing that Mr Uribe would more likely become an "important" opposition senator during the President's "possible second term," El País reported. "Without doubt" he said, "Liberalism would be the country's greater political force." The Conservative Senator Arturo Yepes Alzate said in turn that votes were not to be counted like "cattle, not anymore." Those attending the Democratic Centre's convention on 25-26 October were to elect one of three pre-candidates as the party's presidential candidate, namely the former minister Óscar Iván Zuluaga Escobar, diplomat Carlos Holmes Trujillo and the former vice-president and cousin of President Santos, Francisco Santos Calderón.