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Maduro Venezuela tightens its grip on power, aided by a coronavirus lockout



President Nicolas Maduro accuses opposition leader Juan Guaido of being behind a military raid designed to oust him during an online press conference in Caracas on May 6, 2020.

On Tuesday, the Venezuelan Supreme Court suspended the leadership of the main opposition party Primero Justicia and ruled that a pro-government MP must take responsibility. On Monday, the same thing happened to the second largest opposition party, Acción Democrática. Both decisions are based on complaints from party members issued.

A week earlier, the country’s highest court appointed a new member of the Electoral Council, a five-member body charged with organizing elections. Of the new judges, two previously served as judges at the same Supreme Court, and one was a former Socialist MP who has been under US sanctions since 2017.

The court, which has traditionally supported the president, made a decision even though the Venezuelan constitution said the National Assembly – controlled by the opposition – had to elect members of the Electoral Council. The ruling was part of a pattern in which the high court refused to recognize the legitimacy of the assembly.

Welcoming the verdict on Tuesday, Maduro stated: “We will change everything that must be changed in the National Assembly. With a lot of strength and a lot of confidence, our actions will be grandiose.”

The politics of corona viruses

The quick-succession decision by the Supreme Court showed that the balance was tilting in Venezuela and that Maduro felt confident enough to strengthen his power while the opposition had been effectively silenced by coronaviruses.

Until at least March 2020, Venezuela lived through a kind of institutional limbo: on one side was Maduro, who had ruled the country since 2013 and who was accused of rigging elections after elections and changing his presidency in a dictatorship. On the other side was Juan Guaido, the leader of the National Assembly recognized by the US and dozens of other countries as the temporary interim president as long as Maduro remained in power.

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Guaido has no authority in Caracas, but he has the support of the international community, which was exemplified when he was invited as a guest at President Trump’s state address in February.

Coronavirus changed all that: Suddenly political and institutional clashes were removed and Maduro declared himself responsible for fighting the pandemic.

He issued a curfew, received medical assistance from China, and began appearing on television detailing the steps and announcing new cases and deaths almost every day.

With populations locked up to prevent the spread of the virus, the opposition can no longer organize street protests or even gather directly at the National Assembly.

“It is quite clear that Maduro is taking advantage of this pandemic,” Geoff Ramsey, a Venezuelan expert at the Washington Office’s think tank for Latin America, told CNN. “If at any time in the last two years he seems weak or irresponsible, he makes it up now.”

To date, Venezuela has registered fewer than 3,500 cases of corona virus and only 28 deaths, although experts doubt the reliability of these figures because the country’s health system is in chaos and has limited capacity to conduct Covid-19 tests.

Luisa Ortega Diaz, a former attorney general who is an enemy of Maduro, told CNN that he could not believe the success story painted by the government. “I’m sick of Maduro claiming to be an anti-Covid paladin when he isn’t interested in people’s welfare.”

Ortega despite acknowledging Maduro was able to use a pandemic to strengthen his power.

Maduro’s big leap forward

Maduro’s latest steps have not been missed. On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the new Electoral Council “illegal” and said the sentence “took Venezuela further away from the democratic transition.”

Similar criticism came from the European Union and Group Five, which attracted several Latin American countries that did not recognize Maduro.

Venezuelan naval cruises crash into passenger cruises, self-destruct, sink

But aside from condemning the latest push by the Venezuelan leader, there seems to be little the international community can do to bring change to Venezuela for now.

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Maduro and some of his closest officials have been under direct US sanctions since 2017, followed by an oil embargo in 2019. He survived several attempts to bring him down and nearly as many negotiations aimed at mediating a peaceful solution. Despite all this, he still stands.

In addition, Latin America has become a pandemic hotspot and most of its governments are more busy fighting viruses than finding solutions to political deadlock in Venezuela.

“The pandemic is like a perfect opportunity for Maduro,” said Margarita López Maya, a Venezuelan historian at the Central University in Caracas.

His decision to hold the military responsible for the coronavirus’s response strengthened his social control, he said. [10] In March, the Venezuelan Army was deployed to impose strict social long-distance measures throughout the country, while recently the army has been managing gas stations for fuel rations.

“In Venezuela, we have an expression – fleeing to the front,” Lopez Maya said. “Obviously, the government feels this is the right time to make a big leap forward to position itself in the future.”

What happens next?

The future is still unclear in a volatile country like Venezuela.

One of the five new Election Board members, Rafael Simón Jiménez, told CNN that he saw himself as Maduro’s opponent and that the opposition should consider his appointment as progress towards fair elections.

Jimenez was part of a large group of opposition “chavista dissidents”: the politician who worked with Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez before disputing with the authorities. Similar to former AG Ortega Diaz, Jimenez is not an ally of Maduro, but also does not automatically become a member of the opposition led by Guaido.

Venezuela claims to have captured two Americans involved in a failed invasion

So far, Guaido said he did not recognize the decision of the Supreme Court, and that he would not participate in elections held by the new Electoral Council.

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Nevertheless, opposition parties new leaders appointed by court orders this week may decide to compete in elections, further destroying the sphere of opposition between groups that recognize the leadership of Guaido and groups that do not.

Ramsey, analyst, still found some hope for a peaceful solution in Venezuela.

The international community in particular, he said, still saw negotiations between Maduro and the opposition as the best outcome, and while condemning the new Election Council, it seemed open to the possibility that Maduro himself would participate in the next round of elections.

Maduro’s departure has long been cited as a precondition for any meaningful negotiations in Venezuela, but if the opposition will cancel the conditions, the government can be persuaded to engage in meaningful negotiations to get sanctioned assistance, Ramsey said.

Pompeo’s statement on Monday named five “key areas” as important for free and fair elections. None of them discussed Maduro’s role, leaving the door open for his eventual participation. “The window is small, faded, but the door is not fully closed,” Ramsey said.

López Maya on the other hand has more pessimistic results. “I don’t see the logic behind the government’s push,” he said. “Even by stealing the election and winning the National Assembly, what do they do? What happens the day after? More conflict and division and the Venezuelan people are bored with it.”

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Jean Pierre received an offer to trade Avai to the Portuguese team



Jean Pierre received an offer to trade Avai to the Portuguese team

Jean Pierre has to trade Florianopolis for Portugal. The attacking midfielder, loaned to Avai by Grêmio, is interested in the Portuguese team and is in talks to work in Europe. The transaction model must be a loan with a call option.

At 24, Jean Pierre has been with Avai since April and has a contract with Gremio until the end of 2023. With the interest of the Portuguese, he should extend his contract at Porto Alegre, and then he will be transferred until the middle of next year, when the European season ends.

The name of the Portuguese team interested in the player has not yet been disclosed, but the interest is concrete and has already reached Grêmio. The Rio Grande do Sul club has given the go-ahead for negotiations, which depend on the formalization of the offer.

The international transfer window in Portugal remains open until 22 September. However, the idea is to complete the negotiations in August.

In Florip, Jean Pierre took part in 12 matches for Avai in the Brazilian championship, scoring a goal. The debut took place against Inter at the Beira Rio stadium in early May.

Revealed in the Gremio youth categories, Jean Pierre made his professional debut in 2017 and has experienced ups and downs in Porto Alegre. At his most recent contract renewal, he received the highest termination fine of any youngster at the club.

At the end of 2021, he was left out of the squad led by Wagner Mancini and negotiated his departure to Alaves from Spain, then began negotiations with Atlético-PR and finally was transferred to Giresunspor from Turkey.

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In Europe, the football player was diagnosed with a rare tumor of the testicles, and he returned to Brazil for treatment with the removal of the tumor. The case created a sort of legal limbo in which the attacking midfielder was not paid. In April, he was assigned to Avai to return to acting.

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Luis Figo is the first Portuguese to star in a Netflix documentary. Here comes the controversy – Culture



Luis Figo is the first Portuguese to star in a Netflix documentary.  Here comes the controversy - Culture

Before the footballing world surrendered to Cristiano Ronaldo, another Portuguese had reached sky-high levels of popularity in the sport. The importance of Luis Figo in the football market will be analyzed in the documentary About Caso Figo: The Transfer That Changed Football, which will be released on Netflix on August 25.

Created by David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas, the format focuses on what is to this day one of the most controversial transfers of all time: In 2000, Luis Figo leaves Barcelona for rival club Real Madrid. From the pesetero to being targeted by pig heads thrown on the turf, during his first classic game as a merengue player, the 49-year-old Portuguese became the most contested man in the Spanish league at the time.

The Figo Affair: The Transfer That Changed Football revisits that era with the testimonies of the main characters 22 years after the transfer: Luis Figo himself, José Veigi (the agent of the footballer who made the deal at the time) and Florentino Pérez. then president of Real Madrid.

Luis Fig case

credits: Netflix

data-title=”Luis Figo case – Luis Figo is the first Portuguese to star in a Netflix documentary. And here comes the controversy – IGG”>

credits: Netflix

This format is the first Netflix documentary to feature a Portuguese as the protagonist. Among the various figures associated with the world of football who talk about that time, there are names such as Paulo Futre, Roberto Carlos or Jorge Valdano. The documentary will also show previously unseen footage from Figo’s personal collection during his stay in Barcelona and his holiday in Sardinia in the summer of 2000.

watch the trailer

“Focusing on the transfer rather than on Figo’s career, the film tells us about truth, greed, morality and the whole sport in the process – this is the birth of football as a big immoral business with romantic notions of loyalty; not to mention Florentino. History of the origin of Perez. I was honored to direct this film and after the release of Pele last year, we are thrilled to be working with Netflix again on another major sports story.” from Netflix.

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Ambassador of Portugal to Venezuela praised the local community



Ambassador of Portugal to Venezuela praised the local community

“This (RUS) is important for the Portuguese community, and it is also important, as an example of solidarity, that the Portuguese give to those who live here in Caracas and beyond,” said Joao Pedro Vasconcelos Fins do Lago in an interview with Lusa. the end of a visit to an NGO supporting needy Portuguese and homeless Venezuelans.

It was a visit that I wanted to make from the first day I was here, because this is an organization that works with very difficult situations, situations of deep social need, people who have many needs in terms of housing, health and food for people. of all ages, with a special focus on the elderly, the most needy and the most helpless, in a range that deserves all the attention“, these.

The diplomat stressed that “Regala una Sonrisa is exemplary and does a wonderful job,” given that the visit served as an introduction to the ongoing work, the difficulties and proposals that it presents.

“This is an institution that the Portuguese state pays full attention to. In fact, it receives financial support from the Portuguese state in the form of support that has increased over the years and has led to results,” he said.

João Pedro Vasconcelos Fins do Lago said that “there is a beneficial effect of meeting people on the street, where they have to feed them, give them medical care, and also give them shelter.”

Regarding the proposals made by the president of the NGO, Francisco Soares, the ambassador said that “they are aimed at making it easier and more flexible to help people,” without specifying the content.

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“Obviously, we know that we have come out of a very difficult two-year period, a pandemic in which the bureaucratic part of the case was also difficult, and there are several ways to make some situations more flexible and remove the bureaucratic burden. very specific in the sense that a hand that helps those in need can get to those people faster,” he concluded.

For more than seven years, Regala Una Sonrisa has been organizing homeless awareness days every month and promoting the weekly “Sopa Sorriso” initiative for more than 200 people in need in the center of Caracas.

The NGO is also responsible for the Anjos Lusitanos program for Portuguese people living in isolation and in dangerous situations.


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