Venezuela Starts National Polio Vaccination Campaign

Caracas, July 14 (Prensa Latina) Venezuela starts this Sunday national polio vaccination campaign activating 6,500 spots in the country for the free immunization of minors ranging from two months to six years.

According to Venezuelan Ministry of Health, vaccination days will last until August 11, counting on UNICEF's support, the United Nations Children's Fund donated three million doses to the State of Venezuela.

The initiative includes the participation of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security, Social Security and Assistance Institute for the Personnel of the Ministry of Education, Military Health, the governorates, municipalities and different social movements in favor of children's health.

To vaccinate their children mothers only have to attend the nearest health center with the vaccination card.

This preventing measure is part of the campaign for the global eradication of polio, a disease that Venezuela controls very well having no risk at all.

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Pope Francis Restates His Sympathy With The Venezuelan People

Vatican City, July 14 (Prensa Latina) Pope Francis restated on Sunday his sympathy with ''the beloved Venezuelan people, particularly tested by the ongoing crisis.''

In a statement after concluding the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter's Square, the Supreme Pontiff added that 'we pray to the Lord to inspire and enlighten the involved sides, so that they can reach an agreement to put an end to the suffering of the people, for the the country's and the entire region's sake'.

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Venezuela: U.N. Report Omits Social Programs, U.S. Sanctions

Venezuela planning chief: the Bachelet report fails to mention the gov't spends 75% of funds on social programs, meanwhile U.S. sanctions have cost the nation US$116 billion.

Venezuela’s Vice President of Planning Ricardo Menendez says the government rejects the report presented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet because it omits several major successes by the Nicolas Maduro administration and fails to mention the simultaneous economic war being thrust upon the country by the United States administration.

RELATED:  US Sanctions on Venezuela Illegal Under UN, OAS and US Law

During an interview with Es Noticia, Menendez said the report issued this week by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Ohchr) does not include critical information that Venezuelan authorities gave to Bachelet when she visited in late June.

The vice president of planning asked why the report, released last week, made no mention of the state investing 75 percent of its funds in social programs. He questioned why the Local Committees for Supply and Production (CLAP) food distribution program, which benefits 120 million people per year, was hardly mentioned in the final U.N. document.

Menendez said that while these statistics were left out of the document, so too was the economic war imposed on the country at the hands of the U.S. Trump administration.

The Maduro government has been able to maintain paying its 4.6 million pension recipients, despite Trump’s sanctions that created a loss of US$116 billion for Venezuela, that’s 11 times more the country’s international reserve, asserted the official during the Friday night interview. 

Since 2017, the Trump administration has imposed 150 sanctions on individuals and entities of Venezuela that several U.N. officials and renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs say are categorically illegal under U.N. and OAS charters. The sanctions have resulted in the direct deaths of over 40,000 citizens who haven’t been able to receive their medicines or proper health care, according to an April report co-authored by Sachs. 

During the interview, Menendez said said he personally presented documents to the Bachelet team showing the product of the economic war however none of this showed up in the Ohchr report. 

The planning expert told Es Noticias “we demand that they respect us,” asserting that “Venezuela can not be blackmailed to kneel” before any other nation or entity, referring to not only the U.S., but the Lima Group and Organization of American States (OAS) officials who continue to call for a military overthrow of democratically-elected Maduro.

Last week, international human rights law expert and former consultant to the Ohchr, Alfred de Zayas, said Bachelet's report is “unfortunately unbalanced and does not draw conclusions that can help the suffering Venezuelan people." Zayas called her conclusions, “fundamentally flawed and disappointing,” saying more attention should have been drawn to the crippling economic sanctions.

Menendez said the country’s resources can’t be stolen and demanded that the U.N. do something to help lift the U.S.-led sanctions from the oil-rich South American country. 

Likewise, the testimonies from victims of violence on part of the right-wing in 2017 and 2014 were not included in Bachelet’s report that were presented to her. 

"We presented the information and took the opportunity to denounce our situation as victims" Menendez told Es Noticia.

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Russia, China, Iran & Venezuela developing crypto to challenge US financial control – study

A new report by the American Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) says the US’ geopolitical adversaries are deploying blockchain technology to help avoid sanctions and counter US financial power.

According to the FDD, with the increase of adoption of cryptocurrencies around the world, efforts are underway to build new systems for transferring value that work outside of conventional banking infrastructure.

Governments in Russia, China, Iran, and Venezuela are experimenting with the technology that underpins the crypto market, said the report. They are prioritizing blockchain technology as a “key component of their efforts to counter US financial power.”

Also on rt.com Russia bringing back the gold standard may kill US dollar & solve main problem of cryptocurrencies...

“Russia, Iran, and Venezuela have initiated blockchain technology experiments that their leaders paint as tools to offset US financial coercive power and increase sanctions resistance. China is also wary of US financial power and the ever-present threat of sanctions against Chinese officials,” the study finds.

The efforts of the four nations go beyond mere sanctions evasion, according to the report, which said that they “seek to reduce the potency of unilateral and multilateral sanctions by developing alternative payment systems for global commerce.”

Also on rt.com Iran plans launch of national cryptocurrency to ditch dollar in oil trade...

The authors of the report noted that the US position of influence is not necessarily permanent.

“Technology has created a potential pathway to alternative financial value transfer systems outside of US control. The target timeline may be two to three decades, but these actors are developing the building blocks now. They envision a world in which cryptocurrency technology helps them eclipse US financial power, much the way that the dollar once eclipsed the British pound.”

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Three Decades of a Miracle

A humane job, performed by Cuban doctors who returned sight to millions of people worldwide.  

"In the field of Ophthalmology there hasn’t been in Cuba a more important task than the Operation Miracle", quoted doctor Marcelino Rio Torres at the time of celebrating this July 10th the 15th anniversary of the creation of a program that made possible that millions of people worldwide recovered one of the most important senses: sight.  

The date serves as excuse to speak about the topic with whom still runs the Cuban Institute of Ophthalmology Ramón Pando Ferrer, facility where this wonderful humane work was born – performed by the Cuban doctors – through which three millions 88 thousand 516 patients were assisted, according to figures offered by the Unit of Medical Cooperation of the Ministry of Public Health.  

Doctor Marcelino told that in the evening of July 9th, 2004 Fidel arrived, without prior notice, to the hospital. "In that encounter we participate, among others, the doctor Eneida Pérez Candelaria (who currently directs Microsurgery service) and Doctor Reinaldo Ríos.  

"Fidel pointed out that President Chávez had commented, soon after the implementation of educational missions that Venezuelans didn't learn, and the cause was that they couldn’t see well, apparently, they suffered from cataracts. Then the Commander in Chief asked us if we were willing to operate 50 patients per day. Can you imagine!, how could we refuse before such request?  

"The Venezuelans were already in Cuba, therefore on the following day, which was July 10th, we were already assisting patients in doctor’s offices and taking them to the operation theater, with the foreseen diagnosis. That was the beginning".  

How did the name Miracle come up?  

"We suppose it was the Commander in Chief’s idea. The program was born in Cuba with the name of Operation, in Venezuela they call it Mission. But the truth is that when the dressing of patients were removed from their eyes, the first thing they exclaimed was: ` This is a Miracle `. Most likely, Fidel knew what they would say.  

“That’s how we started until one day we operated on 500 cataracts. That led us to think of the need of creating two work groups, in order to do this we incorporated specialists from other hospitals and provinces, we even had to bring some quickly from abroad, where they were working on a mission. That made everything easier because when one group was working during the day, sometimes until the early morning the other one was resting. Thanks to that by late October and early November we had already carried out 13 thousand 600 surgical interventions of this kind."  

When did the program reach world level?  

"On the following year (2005) it was then that we decided to send our professionals to Venezuela, to Bolivia, where several eye care centers. That’s why we say that Operation Miracle was born here; it’s our work we ended up having presence in one more than a dozen countries, although some refused to receive Cuban doctors, like Brazil and Argentina. What did patients do then? Well they walked across the border with Bolivia, unbelievable!, and they were operated there.  

"In the homeland of President Evo Morales we built more than 8 eye care centers and in Venezuela a few, others were opened in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. In Argentina we built one and named it after Ernesto Che Guevara, and another in Uruguay which we called José Martí, and in these places the very people who at first `detested` us, began to send their children to be trained as specialists.  

"In the African continent we had a Miracle Mission in Benguela, Angola, and in Mali, without counting the eye doctors we have in Algeria, where Cuban physicians worked for the first time as internationalist."  

What has Operation Miracle meant for Doctor Marcelino?  

"Come to think about it! As a professional it has been the greatest thing in my life. A work began by Fidel and our doctors have known how to complete until today. Actually, a great satisfaction."

Venezuela Denounces US Intention to Sabotage Political Dialogue

Caracas, Jul 10 (Prensa Latina) Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza charged on Tuesday that US authorities are trying to sabotage the political dialogue between the Venezuelan Government and the opposition, which is taking place in Barbados.

On his Twitter account, the foreign minister noted that 'Washington's objective is to implement its new interfering script in the South American country, with consent from local right-wing groups.'

'After the resounding failure of all its modalities of aggression against Venezuela, the Trump administration wants to destroy the process of political dialogue between the Government and the opposition, by trying to impose its warmongering agenda. They will not succeed. Peace will overcome!' Arreaza wrote on Twitter.

The post by the head of Venezuelan diplomacy responded to an article published by the Spanish news agency EFE, according to which, a spokeswoman for the US Department of State noted that 'any discussion on a transition must include Maduro's departure as a previous condition for elections'.

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Moro and Lava Jato Tried to Interfere in Venezuela's Internal Affairs

New leaks published by Brazilian media show that former Judge Sergio Moro instructed the prosecutors involved in Operation Lava Jato to reveal information (under summary secrecy) on the company Odebrecht about corruption in Venezuela.

The messages, published on the website The Intercept and analyzed by the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo and the webpage reveal that Lava Jato members mobilized to interfere in Venezuela's domestic policy by exposing information, after being instructed by Moro, who is the incumbent Minister of Justice in the Jair Bolsonaro administration, on Augusto 2017.

According to the report, the intention of disclosing secret information against the legitimate administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, which is not the role of the Federal Public Ministry, would take place at a very sensitive time.

In July 2017, the United States threatened Maduro with new sanctions and at the time, Brazil still had normal relations with Venezuela.

According to other journalistic sources, the non-authorized revelation of confidential information by Brazilian prosecutors might theoretically characterize the crime established in Article 325 of the Penal Code, which punishes public agents with prison sentences of up to two years for 'revealing the facts that they are dealing with and that must kept secret, or facilitating their revelation'.

'Perhaps it is time to publicize Odebrecht's information about bribes in Venezuela,' former Judge Moro said at the time.

In response, Prosecutor and Lava Jato Coordinator Deltan Dallagnoll said, 'I agree. There are some limitations in the agreement so we have to see how we do it. Even more, I think it is time to file charges here for international money laundering against those responsible there if there is evidence'.

As Moro and Dallagnol articulated the charges against Venezuela, the members of the Lava Jato working team expressed concern about the risks.

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UN expert says Bachelet report on Venezuela is fundamentally flawed

International human rights law expert and former consultant to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Alfred de Zayas, says Michelle Bachelet's report on Venezuela released earlier this week is, "unfortunately, unbalanced and does not draw conclusions that can help the suffering Venezuelan people."  He said the real and most urgent remedy for Venezuela is to immediately lift United States sanctions on the nation.

Zayas, a leading expert on human rights and international law and a signatory of several guiding United Nations declarations on human rights and peace, tweeted Friday that the report by current High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bachelet, “should have clearly condemned the violence by extreme right opposition leaders and the calls for foreign intervention #Venezuela.”

Instead, Zayas emphasizes, the report “is fundamentally flawed and disappointing,” and the visit proved to be a “missed opportunity” to open up UN channels with the Venezuelan government that “has requested and needs advisory services and technical assistance, but in good faith,” wrote the expert on his personal webpage Friday.

Zayas went to say on his site that the “report should also have focussed on the criminality of the repeated attempts at a coup d’etat (in Venezuela because) there is nothing more undemocratic than a coup.”

During Bachelet's official visit to Venezuela in June, the commissioner heard the personal testimonies of victims of opposition violence and received 123 documented cases of citizens who were lynched, beheaded and killed by them in protests of 2013, 2014 and 2017.  The commissioner, who is the ex-president of Chile, had promised to incorporate them in her report, but they didn’t make the final cut.

Zayas remarked that "the fundamental principle that guides any honest researcher is to audit all the parties, all sides must be heard. … It is unprofessional for the UN staff to ignore or not give appropriate weight to the submissions by Fundalatin, Grupo Sures, the Red Nacional de Derechos Humanos, and the specific answers provided by the government," but these voices were left out of the final product.

Zayas, a Harvard Law School graduate, said the report "pays little attention to the central problem: the financial blockade and the sanctions that cause so much suffering and death."

“If responsibility to protect means anything, it means that the international community must protect the Venezuelan people from United States sanctions, and make its rejection of unilateral coercive measures felt #Venezuela,” tweeted the expert Friday.

“United Nations support to the people of Venezuela is urgently needed.  The international community must find a way to force the United States to lift the criminal sanctions #Venezuela,” concluded the expert.

An April report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), co-authored by Jeffrey Sachs, concludes that U.S. sanctions on Venezuela have led directly to the deaths of over 40,000 residents unable to receive imported medicines, equipment, or foods.

“The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food and other essential imports,” said Mark Weisbrot, the CEPR Co-Director and co-author of the report. “This is illegal under international laws and treaties that the U.S. has signed. Congress should move to stop it.”

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