Tag Archives: Venezuelan

Venezuelan police move in on gang-run Caracas neighbourhoods

After two days of heavy shootings in eastern Caracas, law enforcement agents enter the ‘Cota 905’ area.

Venezuelan security forces have entered certain areas in the capital, Caracas, seeking to end days of deadly fighting with armed gangs.

No official death toll has been given but local media say a dozen people, including several bystanders, have lost their lives since clashes broke out between gangsters and police in the eastern Caracas neighbourhoods on Wednesday.

After two days of heavy shootings, law enforcement agents managed to get inside “Cota 905” shantytown on Friday morning.

“We control the area but there may still be a few snipers,” an officer told the AFP news agency.

The Cota 905 neighbourhood is the main zone of influence of the so-called Koki gang, which faced law enforcement agents with guns several times this year.

Although the leaders of Koki have so far evaded the police siege, the government of President Nicolas Maduro affirmed on Friday that the dismantling of this criminal organisation is under way.

On Thursday, the authorities had issued search warrants and offered rewards of up to $ 500,000 for gang bosses behind the deadly clashes but now on the run.

‘Traumatic’

In the parts controlled by the gang, the ground was littered on Friday with bullet casings, evidence of thousands of shots fired in two days, according to images on social media.

“I am going to El Valle [area in southwestern Caracas, where a relative lives], because my children are scared to be there [in Cota 905]; they were crying, so I don’t want to have them there in the house,” Marleni, a Cota 905 resident who did not give a surname, told The Associated Press news agency.

Enrique Alvarez, another Cota 905 resident, said: “We are experiencing a trauma there with those people, since the day before yesterday. That’s what I can tell you, a trauma. One is not used to that.”

Venezuelan police move in on gang-run Caracas neighbourhoodsPolice officers take positions in one of the operations to capture alleged members of the Koki criminal gang [Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/Reuters]

Interior Minister Carmen Melendez tweeted that police have “advanced in the dismantling of the criminal structures that have settled in these territories with the intention of sowing terror”.

The government blames the violence on an alleged plot by the opposition to “destabilise” Maduro.

“The enemies of the homeland intend to sow anxiety through the financing of criminal gangs, we will not sit idly by,” Maduro wrote on Twitter. “We are acting forcefully, adhering to the laws.”

About 800 security personnel were deployed as part of the operation, searching pedestrians and homes, and seizing cars, motorcycles and barrels of diesel thought to belong to the gangs.

In June, similar clashes killed at least three people, including a nurse who fell victim to a stray bullet.

In 2020, Venezuela registered 12,000 violent deaths, according to the Venezuelan Violence Observatory. This is a rate of 45.6 per 100,000 inhabitants – seven times higher than the global average.

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UFC queen Nunes to settle slanging match with ‘Venezuelan Vixen’ Pena in bantamweight title bout

UFC queen Nunes to settle slanging match with ‘Venezuelan Vixen’ Pena in bantamweight title bout

UFC two-division champion Amanda Nunes will settle a grudge by defending her bantamweight title against Julianna Pena at UFC 265 in August.

As confirmed by the organization boss Dana White to ESPN, the Brazilian will face the Venezuelan-American at UFC 265.

The card is tipped to take place on August 7, and its main event thus far will see Nunes battle at bantamweight for the first time since December 2019.

Then, ‘The Lioness’ retained her belt via a unanimous decision win over Germaine de Randamie, who finished Pena with a third-round technical submission last year.

Ever since beating Sara McMann in a similar fashion in January, however, Pena has called out Nunes with demands that the champ “quit ducking” her, which ignited a feud between the two brawlers.

“Ducking? You couldn’t even make yourself a contender for me,” Nunes had fired back on Twitter.

“Remember that one time you guys were supposed to fight, but then she lost?” chimed in Nunes’ wife Nina Ansaroff.

“Twice,” Nunes confirmed, in reference to defeats Pena suffered at the hands of Valentina Shevchenko in 2017 and the aforementioned Germaine de Randamie slip-up.

Later critical of the Bahia native’s decision to take an easy featherweight strap defense against Megan Anderson last month, Pena noted the lengthy amount of time passed since Nunes put the 135lb title on the line.

Looks like I was dead on here in saying that Megan didn’t deserve a shot at the title over me, but now maybe you guys will listen,” she wrote on Instagram. 

“Julianna Pena’s been texting all of us all night,” revealed White at the post-fight press conference, after Nunes dismantled Anderson.

“She’s been busy tonight. Yeah, we could do that,” he added.

White obviously following through with his plans, the rivals can now settle the score for once and for all in what will be Nunes’ sixth defense of her crown since taking it from Miesha Tate at UFC 200.

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Venezuelan president's Facebook page flagged for COVID-19 misinformation

Facebook has frozen the account of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro[1] after he promoted false claims about COVID-19 that violated the social media platform’s policy against misinformation, a spokesperson confirmed with The Hill. 

The Facebook spokesperson said it had taken down a video in which Maduro claimed Carvativir, an oral solution derived from thyme, is a “miracle” medication that combats the virus causing COVID-19, something doctors have repeatedly disputed. 

Facebook told The Hill that the video violated policies against “misinformation about COVID-19 that is likely to put people at risk for harm.”

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“We follow guidance from the WHO (World Health Organization) that says there is currently no medication to cure the virus,” the spokesman said. 

Facebook added that due to the video, as well as Maduro’s “repeated violations of our rules,” it was “freezing the page for 30 days, during which it will be read-only.”

However, Reuters[2], which first reported the freeze Saturday, the Venezuelan president’s account on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, will not be impacted by the freeze. 

Last month, Maduro claimed that he was the victim of censorship by Facebook after videos of him promoting Carvativir were removed, and also claimed that he and his allies have been unfairly targeted by social media platforms. 

Facebook in December updated its policies combating coronavirus-related misinformation online, including that anyone who likes, shares or comments on a post will receive a personalized notification if Facebook removes it for violating misinformation policies. [3]

The social media platform has previously taken action against other world leaders who promoted false or misleading information about the virus, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro[4], who posted a video that Facebook later deleted claiming that the drug hydroxychloroquine was effective at treating COVID-19. 

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Facebook also previously deleted multiple posts from former President TrumpVenezuelan president's Facebook page flagged for COVID-19 misinformationDonald TrumpDemocrats see Georgia as opening salvo in war on voting rights MLB could move All-Star game from Georgia after controversial new voter restrictions Biden fires majority of DHS advisory council members MORE[6][7][8][9][10][5], including one in which he claimed COVID-19 was “less lethal” than the flu. The platform, as well as others like Twitter, have since removed Trump’s accounts following repeated posts promoting false information on the 2020 election both in the leadup to and after the deadly pro-Trump mob attack on the Capitol in January.

Despite their current policies, platforms like Facebook and Twitter continue to face pressure to more aggressively combat coronavirus misinformation, especially surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines. 

A group of 12 state attorneys general sent a letter to Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday pressuring them to take more action, arguing that content on the social media sites are increasing vaccine hesitancy, which will “slow economic recovery and, more importantly, ultimately cause even more unnecessary deaths.”[11]

Updated at 2:25 p.m.

[email protected] (Celine Castronuovo)