Manuel Rosales, mayor of Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second largest city, is missing—in what the opposition is calling the latest instance in wave of persecution by the government of President Hugo Chávez. After Chávez vowed on national TV to have Rosales imprisoned, the government filed corruption charges against the 56-year-old mayor. Two weeks ago, Rosales dropped out of sight, and his supporters say he is in hiding. (Fox News, April 14)
In a rare instance of cooperation, Venezuela gave the US Coast Guard credit on last week for their assistance in a large drug seizure. Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said in a statement the US Coast Guard discovered 2,030 pounds (925 kilograms) of cocaine on a fishing boat off Venezuela’s Caribbean coast after Venezuelan officials gave them permission to board. He said five Venezuelans were arrested.
Chávez and President Barack Obama are both scheduled to attend an April 17-19 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. Chávez suspended cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005, accusing its agents of espionage—an accusation the DEA denies. (AP, April 9)
See our last post on Venezuela.