Putin vows ‘support’ as Venezuela’s Maduro seeks financial aid

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the talks with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (AP)
Updated 05 December 2018
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Putin vows ‘support’ as Venezuela’s Maduro seeks financial aid

  • Hit by low oil prices, mismanagement and the impact of US sanctions, Venezuela is in freefall and Maduro is seeking support from allies
  • Maduro, who took over following the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, has come under strong pressure from Trump’s administration, which calls him a “dictator”

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday voiced support for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro as he visited Moscow seeking financial assistance for the socialist country’s collapsing economy.
Putin at a meeting at his residence outside Moscow told Maduro “we support your efforts to achieve mutual understanding in society and all your actions aimed at normalizing relations with the opposition.”
Putin added that “naturally we condemn any actions that are clearly terrorist in nature, any attempts to change the situation by force.”
Hit by low oil prices, mismanagement and the impact of US sanctions, Venezuela is in freefall and Maduro is seeking support from allies after winning a second presidential term this year.
Maduro, who took over following the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, has come under strong pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration, which calls him a “dictator.”
While he won the May elections, most of the international community did not recognize the results. Formally, Maduro’s second mandate only begins in January next year.
Maduro told Putin he was sure their talks would bring “good news for cooperation between our countries and for the economies of our countries.”
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said ahead of the meeting that Maduro had traveled to Moscow specifically to ask Russia — itself the target of US sanctions — for financial assistance.
“The talks will focus on the help that the Venezuelan leadership needs,” Peskov told reporters, declining to be more specific on how much Russia could lend.
He said the economic situation in the Latin American country remained difficult but noted “signs of improving dynamics.”
Venezuela, which has been rocked by deadly protests and economic chaos, is counting on Russian support amid growing international isolation.
Food and medicine shortages have sparked an exodus of some two million people. The International Monetary Fund projects hyperinflation of 10 million percent next year.
After talks last year between Maduro and Putin, Russia, Venezuela’s major creditor, agreed to restructure $3.15 billion of debt from a loan taken out by Caracas in 2011 to finance the purchase of Russian arms.
Largely isolated from the international community, Maduro is now trying to shore up support from his allies.
He was visiting Moscow after hosting his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Caracas.
Russia and Venezuela enjoy a long history of ties and Maduro’s predecessor Chavez, known for his passionate tirades against the United States, was a welcome guest at the Kremlin.


Official count shows Widodo reelected as Indonesian leader

Updated 21 May 2019
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Official count shows Widodo reelected as Indonesian leader

  • Widodo’s challenger for a second time, former general Prabowo Subianto, has refused to accept defeat and declared himself the winner last month
  • Police this month have arrested 31 Islamic militants they say planned to set off bombs during expected street protests against the election result
JAKARTA, Indonesia: The official count from last month’s Indonesian presidential election shows President Joko Widodo won 55.5% of the vote, the Election Commission said Tuesday, securing him a second term.
The formal result from the April 17 election was almost the same as the preliminary “quick count” results drawn from a sample of polling stations on election day.
Widodo’s challenger for a second time, former general Prabowo Subianto, has refused to accept defeat and declared himself the winner last month.
Thousands of police and soldiers are on high alert in the capital Jakarta, anticipating protests from Subianto’s supporters.
Subianto has alleged massive election fraud in the world’s third-largest democracy but hasn’t provided any credible evidence. Votes are counted publicly and the commission posts the tabulation form from each polling station on its website, allowing for independent verification.
Counting was completed just before midnight and the Election Commission announced the results early Tuesday before official witnesses from both campaigns.
“We reject the results of the presidential election,” said Azis Subekti, one of the witnesses for Subianto. “This refusal is a moral responsibility for us to not give up the fight against injustice, fraud, arbitrariness, lies, and any actions that will harm democracy.”
Under Indonesia’s election law, Subianto can dispute the results at the Constitutional Court.
He and members of his campaign team have said they will mobilize “people power” for days of street protests rather than appeal to the court because they don’t believe it will provide justice.
In a video released after results were announced, Subianto again refused to concede defeat but called on supporters to refrain from violence.
Police this month have arrested 31 Islamic militants they say planned to set off bombs during expected street protests against the election result.