Venezuela’s Guaido in ‘informal meetings’ with new Colombian government


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The latest in Latin American politics today:

Guaido held “informal meetings” with the Colombian government

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CARACAS — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido held “informal meetings” with members of newly elected Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s government, he said Friday.

“So far we have had (nothing) other than informal meetings,” Guaido told a news conference, adding that “formal mechanisms” would be sought to open up Colombian exports to the Venezuela.

Guaido said the opposition was ready to resume negotiations with the Venezuelan government, a process started in Mexico in August 2021 but suspended by ruling party delegates in October.

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Venezuela and Colombia seek to restore ties with the appointment of new ambassadors

CARACAS/BOGOTA — Venezuela and Colombia have appointed ambassadors to each other’s capitals, working to rebuild relations between the two countries that have been broken for more than three years.

The appointments come days after the inauguration of Colombia’s first leftist president, Gustavo Petro, who expressed his intention to normalize diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

Maduro appointed former foreign minister Felix Plasencia as ambassador to Bogota, calling him “a man of great diplomatic experience”. Petro appointed Armando Benedetti, former senator, Colombian ambassador to Caracas.

Mexico’s AMLO sparks anger after Navy helicopter theft in mascot

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MEXICO CITY — President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador faces a barrage of criticism after the Mexican Navy loaned a military helicopter to fly in his home team’s mascot during an important baseball playoff during a week of violent unrest elsewhere in the country.

Tabasco’s Olmecas club mascot Pochi – dressed in a full turtle costume – followed servicemen out of an Airbus Panther helicopter that landed in the middle of a Tabasco state stadium, surprising fans who came see Mexican Baseball League. game Thursday.

Lopez Obrador criticized the decision, although it was unclear who approved it.

Nicaraguan authorities ban Catholic procession in church crackdown

Nicaraguan police banned a Catholic procession and pilgrimage in the capital Managua on Saturday, citing internal security concerns, the archdiocese announced Friday as the crackdown on the church intensifies.

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The move comes just over a week after the Ortega government pulled seven Catholic radio stations.

Relations between the Catholic Church and the Nicaraguan government have been strained since the church tried to mediate in 2018 after an Ortega-backed social security proposal sparked nationwide protests.

Paraguay’s Vice President Velazquez resigns after US accuses him of corruption

WASHINGTON — Paraguayan Vice President Hugo Velazquez said Friday he would step down and withdraw his candidacy for president after being blacklisted by the United States for alleged “significant” acts of corruption.

Velazquez denied the accusation but said that, to “protect” his party, he would tender his resignation next week.

“I speak with the calm that my behavior gives me, because I did not do what they accuse me of,” he told local radio station Monumental. (Compiled by Steven Grattan; Editing by David Holmes and Sandra Maler)

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