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Uproar over uptick of Venezuelans at Colombian border

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

FILE PHOTO – A Colombian police officer and a migration officer stand in front of people who are attempting to cross into Colombia from Venezuela through Simon Bolivar international bridge, at Cucuta, Colombia, July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Luis Parada

On Monday, shoving matches broke out at a protest in the border town of Cucuta between Colombians who were out demonstrating the approximately 615 Venezuelans living in their area.

Demonstrators came out to demand the Venezuelans camping out in what’s come to be called “Hotel Caracas” be removed.

Cucuta Mayor, Cesar Omar Rojas, arrived on the scene to ask for two days for a “progressive dislocation” of those Venezuelans who don’t have the proper documentation.

“Whoever is undocumented has to leave the country. Whoever is here legally, with a passport, we will all look for a way for them to be transferred to another part of the country,” said the mayor. 

Among other complaints, the local Colombians are saying the Venezuelans are taking care of their bathroom needs in public areas including a local sporting complex.

“It’s not against all Venezuelans. It’s against the Venezuelans who come to the country to do harm,” said Fernando Roso, a Colombian demonstrator.

The Colombian-Venezuelan border has for years been rife with smuggling and other tensions due to massive price differentials stemming from Venezuela’s state controls. — Reuters


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Venezuela removes immunity from lawmakers after drone explosions

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens gives a speech using a megaphone during a rally against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

On Wednesday (August 8), Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly removed the immunity for some opposition lawmakers it says were involved in an attempt to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro with exploding drones at a rally over the weekend.

The powerful president of the Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, had said that the pro-government body would lift the immunity for lawmakers involved in the “failed magnicide attempt.”

Venezuela confirmed the arrest of one lawmaker and ordered the detention of another, accusing the opposition politicians of scheming to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro with explosives-laden drones at a rally last weekend.

Two drones detonated during a military parade on Saturday, injuring seven officers and sending soldiers scurrying for cover during a Maduro speech broadcast live. Maduro himself was unharmed. — Reuters

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Venezuelan opposition leader condemns drone blasts

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henri Falcon via REUTERS/Marco Bello

A former Venezuelan opposition candidate for president said on Tuesday (August 07) that this weekend’s drone blasts were “condemnable,” but also said that the Venezuelan government itself is a “generator of violence.”

The former candidate and opposition leader, Henri Falcon said, “we condemn any act of violence no matter where it comes from or what side it’s on. But, it’s also necessary to condemn the causes that lead to it, and an exhaustive, objective, transparent, independent investigation is necessary.”

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro called the Saturday (August 04) afternoon drone blasts an assassination attempt during a televised speech shortly after the incident.

The Venezuelan government said suspects launched two DJI M600 drones laden with C4 explosives over an outdoor rally, which had been held to commemorate the founding of the National Guard.

One drone was “diverted” by security forces while the second fell on its own and hit an apartment building, authorities said.

Six people have been detained, authorities said on Sunday (August 05). Intelligence agents on Monday (August 06) searched an upscale hotel in eastern Caracas, workers at the hotel told Reuters, although it was not immediately evident if the searches were linked to the blasts. — Reuters

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Venezuelan engineers turn plastic trash into car parts amid crisis

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Albermar Dominguez works at Nedraki’s office in the Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela July 4, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Two young engineers have found an opportunity amid a collapsing economy in Venezuela – inside a garbage dump full of broken electronic hardware.

They are melting the plastic waste down and feeding it through 3D printers to make intricate pieces such as car parts. These have become increasingly hard to obtain in Venezuela as dysfunctional currency controls restrict the import of basic materials.

Albermar Dominguez and John Naizzir produce only a kilogram of plastic printing filament a day, but they aim to help once-wealthy Venezuela’s vanishing manufacturing sector by making it cheaper for companies that depend on expensive imports.

It’s a sign of how an unprecedented crisis has spurred some young people to innovate following five years of economic contraction caused by failed state-led policies and a plunge in global oil prices.

Many of their former classmates at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas have already left Venezuela, joining an exodus of over a million people amid widespread shortages of food and medicine. Annual inflation has hit almost 50,000 percent and Caracas ranks as one of the world’s most dangerous cities.

Dominguez said he had visited the United States to learn from people in the 3D printing industry, after becoming interested in recycling waste.

He then returned to Venezuela, and with 27-year-old Naizzir, began rummaging through their university’s garbage dump, collecting computer cases and old printers. Later, their company, Nedraki, struck a deal with a recycling plant in the Venezuelan city of Valencia for more material.

While the nation churned with street protests against President Nicolas Maduro in early 2017, the two men produced their first meter of plastic filament.

Nedraki now supplies 13 Venezuelan firms with the filament and produces plastic parts like transmission gear cogs for other companies. The filament is coiled on spools and fed into a 3D printer in a corner of the university’s campus.

Dominguez said their filament helps lower costs for a company by up to 40 percent, by removing the expense of importing and transporting the part. Nedraki sells a kilogram of filament for about $17.

They are now trying to encourage other Venezuelan companies to adopt 3D printing technology— Reuters

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