Venezuelan government, opposition head to talks in Norway

Posted Thursday, 16 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

CARACAS, Venezuela — The Venezuelan government and opposition have sent envoys to Norway to attend talks on ways of ending the South American country's crisis, though their mutual mistrust and differences on key issues are likely to slow chances of progress. The development reported by officials Wednesday appeared to reflect a recognition that neither side had been able to prevail in the struggle for power, leaving Venezuela in a state of paralysis after years of hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine. It was also a policy reversal for the opposition, which has accused President Nicolás Maduro of using previous negotiations to play for time. Senior members of both sides will be involved in the exploratory discussions in Oslo, said members of Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. Delegations from the two opposing camps had received separate invitations from a group of Norwegians, one official said. The representatives include Information Minister Jorge Rodríguez on the government side and Stalin González, a leading member of the National Assembly, the officials said. Maduro did not directly comment on the talks during televised remarks, but he said Rodríguez was on a "very important" mission outside Venezuela. The planned talks seemed likely to dampen speculation that the United States, the main backer of the Venezuelan opposition, might be considering military action as a way to end the crisis in the near term. U.S. officials have previously said they are focusing on diplomatic and economic measures to force out Maduro, though opposition leader Juan Guaidó said his Washington envoy will meet with the head of the U.S. Southern Command on Monday. The two sides are currently far apart on many issues. The opposition has insisted that Maduro was illegitimately elected last year and that he must step aside to make way for elections. Maduro, in turn, accuses the opposition of being U.S. stooges intent on illegally seizing power. The Norway dialogue comes as a mostly European group of nations prepares to send a high-level delegation to Venezuela to propose solutions to the country's protracted crisis. The International Contact Group consists of eight European countries, the European Union and four Latin American countries. The group formed after Guaidó, the head of the National Assembly, declared himself Venezuela's interim president early this year in a direct challenge to the rule of Maduro, who says his government champions the socialist principles of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez. The opposition, which is backed by the United States and about 50 other nations, says Venezuela's dire economic state is the result of years of corruption and mismanagement. Maduro blames the country's problems on U.S. sanctions that were imposed more recently. Also Wednesday, the United States suspended all commercial passenger and cargo flights between the U.S. and Venezuela, saying the political unrest and tensions there pose a risk to flights. The announcement by the Department of Homeland Security affected a dwindling number of flights between the two countries, since U.S. airlines no longer fly to Venezuela. The measure reflected the increasingly sour relationship between the Venezuelan government and the U.S. Conditions in Venezuela "threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew," the department said. It said the flight suspension will continue indefinitely, though the decision will be reviewed if the situation in Venezuela changes. Maduro criticized the suspension of flights, saying the measure was an attack on freedom of movement. American Airlines stopped its flights in mid-March after union leaders told pilots not to go there due to safety concerns. Some other international airlines quit flying to Venezuela years ago because of the country's deteriorating economy. Some Venezuelan airlines had been operating commercial flights to and from Miami, though those were already affected by the upheaval in the South American country, including after a failed call for a military uprising by the opposition on April 30.

Other articles published by Las Vegas Sun

Warped view of religious liberty is just a license for discrimination Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

President Donald Trump’s May 2 announcement of his administration’s new “conscience” rule for health care providers was swamped by a number of other stories on a busy news day. But the rule was a bombshell in terms of its potential ramifications. ...

Pre-existing condition is no reason not to be protected Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

As many as half of all non-elderly Americans have a pre-existing condition, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This number increases dramatically in older age brackets. According to eligibility criteria that were used by...

Winnowing of candidates has begun Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

“We’re cutting out some of this ear hair that you get when you get older,” said the 46-year-old manchild who is auditioning to be skateboarder-in-chief. Live-streaming his visit to an El Paso barbershop, Beto O’Rourke continued: “It grows out...

Bill expanding suicide prevention training deserves lawmakers' support Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Even up close, he looked happy and cute, like many of the other 9-year-olds in his fourth grade class. He giggled. Played soccer at recess. He seemed content, sporting a big smile, definitely was not withdrawn or angry, or so his teacher — the...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Memorial Day doesn’t just serve as the official entry to summer. It always brings one of the biggest holiday weekends to Las Vegas and that means it’s time to take in some big Vegas entertainment. GOOD CHARLOTTE The Fremont Street...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

CARSON CITY — Proposed legislation tackling water rights has environmental activists concerned about the specter of a north-to-south pipeline. Assembly Bill 30 would allow the state engineer’s office to create monitoring, management and mitigation...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Vegas Dave’s legal troubles appear to be a thing of the past, but so are his sports-betting privileges in Nevada. David Nakama Oancea, as he is known to the U.S. District Court of Nevada, says that’s just fine with him. “I became a sports...

Suicide merits greater attention Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Every 28 seconds, someone in the United States makes a suicide attempt. Suicide is the eighth-leading cause of death in Nevada. After losing my good friend Eric to suicide in 2007, I started having honest conversations about mental health. My mother...

Don’t dodge the nuclear question Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Presidential candidates should provide copies of their tax returns and state where they would store radioactive nuclear waste. The issue has been studied for over 50 years, and avoiding the issue by continuing to suggest additional science-based...

Restore peace at Red Rock Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area once offered some respite from the hustle and noise of Las Vegas. You could visit for a solitary moment surrounded by one of the most beautiful canyons in the world. Now, the canyon has become increasingly...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas authorities are expected to face sharp questioning over why cellphone video Sandra Bland took during her confrontational 2015 traffic stop never publicly surfaced until now. A state House committee wants answers at a hearing...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

WASHINGTON — Sometimes even the president of the United States needs somebody to vouch for him. No, Trump insisted Thursday, he did not have a temper tantrum a day earlier when he cut off a White House meeting with congressional Democrats after just...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

BOSTON — Celebrity chef Mario Batali is set to appear in court on a criminal charge that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017. Batali is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Boston Municipal Court on a charge of indecent...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An outbreak of nasty storms in the Midwest spawned tornadoes that razed homes, flattened trees and tossed cars across a dealership lot, injuring about two dozen people in Missouri's capital city and killing at least three others...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has directed the U.S. intelligence community to "quickly and fully cooperate" with Attorney General William Barr's investigation of the origins of the multi-year probe of whether his 2016 campaign colluded with...