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Tourist stand in front of Peak Bolivar at the Sierra Nevada in the Andean state of Merida July 30, 2008.

REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Venezuela loses its glaciers, Renewables hit 30, MTG flames out, Thailand smokes cannabis industry, Kenya bulldozes flood-prone homes

6: It may surprise you that Venezuela, located just north of the equator, has glaciers. Well, it had glaciers. The country has just become the first in modern history to lose all of its Andean mountain glaciers, which once numbered six in total. Global warming has caused the last of them, the Humboldt Glacier, to shrink so much that it is now a mere “ice field.”

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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, his wife Cilia Flores, and Vice President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Diosdado Cabello participate in a rally during May Day celebrations in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 1, 2024.

REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria

Is Venezuela’s election going to be too lopsided to steal?

Until about two weeks ago, Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro looked like he’d managed to sideline the beleaguered opposition enough to ensure a win in this summer’s presidential election.
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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro leads the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of late President Hugo Chavez's return to power after a failed coup attempt in 2002, in Caracas, Venezuela April 13, 2024

REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez

Biden reimposes sanctions on Venezuela*

The Biden administrationannounced this week it will reimpose oil sector sanctions on Venezuela because President Nicolas Maduro’s government has backed away from a commitment to hold a free and fair presidential election this year.

The US lifted sanctions six months ago, but Maduro’s government has since banned opposition leader Maria Corina Machado from running for president and blocked her chosen replacement from running too.

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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro meets with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) at Miraflores Palace, in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2024.

REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria

Venezuela picks election date

The government of Nicolás Maduro has picked July 28 as the date for the next presidential election.

With the popular opposition candidate María Corina Machado banned from running because of financial impropriety charges that she says are bogus, late July leaves precious little time for Maduro’s opponents to coalesce around an alternative challenger.

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FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attends to a military event in Caracas, Venezuela August 4, 2018.

Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Is Maduro behind a murder in Chile?

On Sunday, Chilean prosecutors said they had arrested a suspect in the murder of Ronald Ojeda, a 32-year-old Venezuelan ex-lieutenant and vocal critic of the government of President Nicolás Maduro, who was found dead in Santiago on Friday. Authorities said the lack of ransom demands and Ojeda's political history means he may have been abducted and killed by Venezuelan agents.

Ojeda had fled Caracas for Santiago in 2017, where he lived as a political refugee. He was charged with treason by the Venezuelan government in January, just weeks before he was abducted by four armed men on Feb. 21. His body was found encased in cement in a suitcase following a nine-day search. The detained suspect is a 17-year-old Venezuelan national.

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A meeting has been called at the Place de la Sorbonne by the collective Abortion in Europe, Women Decide.

Hard Numbers: France enshrines abortion rights, US inflation cools, Venezuela’s many elections, Trump barred from Illinois ballot, House votes to avert shutdown, Dozens killed while seeking aid in Gaza

⅔: France is expected to enshrine the right to an abortion in their constitution next week if the bill achieves a majority vote in a joint session of parliament. President Emmanuel Macron proposed the measure in response to the rollback of abortion rights in the US, and it overwhelmingly passed in both houses of the French Parliament.

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Venezuelan migrants are pat-down before boarding a repatriation flight as a part of an immigration enforcement process, at the Valley International Airport, in Harlingen, Texas, U.S. October 18, 2023.

REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

Hard Numbers: Venezuela grabs Biden by the border, EU reaches deal on Ukraine aid, US strike on Houthi drones, Professional trust crisis, ICJ rules on Russia, Amelia Earhart found at last?

14: Venezuela has given the US 14 days to back off its “economic aggression,” or it will stop accepting deportation flights from the US carrying undocumented Venezuelan migrants. Washington has threatened to re-impose oil sanctions on Caracas after Venezuela banned the leading opposition candidate from running for president. But Venezuela is hitting Biden where it hurts: The migration crisis at the US southern border is becoming a major political liability for him, and Venezuelans are the third most common nationality of undocumented migrants apprehended.

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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro addresses supporters at an event, in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2024.

REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria

​Venezuela defies the US on elections

Maybe there was never a good enough carrot to get Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to hold a real election, but with his latest move, the “21st-century socialist” strongman seems willing to suffer the stick rather than face his voters.

Last week, his top court disqualified popular opposition leader Maria Corina Machado ahead of presidential elections that must be held later this year. That move violated a 2023 deal with the US in which Washington loosened crippling sanctions on Venezuela’s lucrative oil sector in exchange for a promise to hold a free vote.

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