Envoys From Venezuela, US Meet in Haiti, Hinting at Rapprochement

(Diosdado Cabello speaking, Rafaelsigala12, CC BY SA 4.0)
(Diosdado Cabello speaking, Rafaelsigala12, CC BY SA 4.0)

Top Story — Representatives from the United States and Venezuela reportedly met on Saturday while visiting Haiti, a possible sign that the two governments are seeking to redress long-standing tension.

U.S. diplomat John Shannon, an adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, spoke with Diosdado Cabello, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly. Cabello, widely considered the second-most influential politician in Venezuela, after President Nicolás Maduro, is reportedly being investigated by the United States for claims (which he denies) that he is involved in drug trafficking.

The meeting, brokered by Haitian President Michel Martelly, lasted about an hour and a half, Reuters reported. Venezuela’s foreign minister tweeted that the meeting was held “en route to normalizing relations.”

The bilateral relationship has been tense since the 1999 election of leftist Hugo Chávez to the presidency, an office he held until his death in 2013. As Reuters notes, tensions have flared up in recent months, such as when the United States sanctioned several top Venezuelan officials, following accusations by Maduro that the United States was plotting a coup in Venezuela.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Margarita Zavala, an activist for Mexico’s conservative National Action Party and the wife of former President Felipe Calderón, has announced that she will run for president in 2018.
  • Mexico’s National Electoral Institute has confirmed election results that saw President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ruling party keep a slight majority in Congress, though official results will not be released until July, when all appeals have concluded.
  • A number of decisions by Mexico’s Supreme Court have effectively legalized gay marriage despite laws in most of the country’s states that only allow marriage between a woman and a man, according to The New York Times.

Caribbean

  • Hundreds of Dominicans of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republican protested in front of the Haitian Consulate in Santiago de los Caballeros on Saturday, over what they say is the Haitian government’s inaction in providing them with crucial immigration paperwork that needs to be filed before June 17 in order for them to continue to reside legally in the country.
  • Famous Afro-Cuban artist Susana Delahante organized a black hairstyle competition this weekend in order to boost black pride among Afro-Cuban women.

Central America

  • Thousands of Nicaraguan farmers demonstrated on Saturday against a Chinese-financed canal that will be longer and deeper than the Panama Canal, but which protesters argue will result in irreversible environmental damage.
  • The New York Times provides a comprehensive analysis of continuing protests in Guatemala and Honduras over government corruption.

Andes

Southern Cone

  • A Brazilian teachers’ union representing public school teachers in São Paulo state on Saturday voted to end a nearly three-month-long strike over wages and basic services.
  • With a vote planned for this month over the legal age of criminal responsibility, Brazilian lawmakers and public opinion are divided over whether to try teenagers who commit violent crimes as children or adults, reports The Washington Post.

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