Maduro Promotes Military Officers as Candidates for the National Assembly

first_imgBy Diálogo November 20, 2020 The illegitimate Nicolás Maduro regime nominated 16 military officers, some of them proven corrupt and sanctioned, in an active reserve capacity for Venezuela’s December 6 fraudulent parliamentary elections. Some of them could even still be on active duty, as the pronouncements of their retirements have not been published.Maduro disclosed these names as part of the 120 nominations for the renewal of National Assembly representatives, the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal reported. Notable among the new faces are General Jesús Suárez Chourio, former commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB, in Spanish), and Major General Alexis Rodríguez Cabello (Diosdado Cabello’s cousin), former head of the Capital Integral Strategic Defense Region and former Bolivarian Army commander.The illegitimate regime also nominated Bolivarian National Guard (GNB, in Spanish) major generals Manuel Quevedo and Antonio Benavides Torres, who served respectively as chair of Petróleos de Venezuela and general commander of the GNB.The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned generals Suárez Chourio, Quevedo, and Benavides Torres due to their support for the Maduro regime, their participation in the corrupt diversion of resources needed to mitigate the humanitarian emergency in Venezuela, and violations of citizens’ fundamental human rights. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Gen. Suárez in July 2017, Maj. Gen. Quevedo in February 2019, and Maj. Gen. Benavides Torres in March 2015.The European Union also sanctioned Maj. Gen. Benavides Torres, in a decision approved by its parliament in January 2018.According to Luis Alberto Buttó, a Venezuelan historian who specializes in civil-military relations and director of the Latin American Center for Security Studies at Simón Bolívar University, the decision to promote these officers to the National Assembly is the result of a political model that was conceived two decades ago.“The regime’s leadership has always referred to a political-military leadership of the revolution, which means that the military are front-line political actors. From executors of public policies, they have become the government, and now [the regime] wants to control the legislative power with them,” Buttó said.He said that this group of candidates for the Venezuelan Parliament, who emerged from FANB ranks, represents the recognition of a share of power for the military within the ruling party.“There is a symbiosis between the high command and the revolutionary leadership. That is indisputable. That identity precedes this election, because this is a project with military origins,” he said.International repudiationThe United States and the European Union announced that they will not recognize the results of this farce election, considering that the minimum conditions to guarantee equality and transparency in the results are not met, demanding free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections.The opposition, led by Interim President Juan Guaidó, announced that it would not take part. Representatives of other political opposition entities, such as Henrique Capriles, also opted to withdraw from the election, once the European Union decided not to send an electoral observation mission, as announced by Josep Borrell, high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on September 30.According to Bolivarian Army Brigadier General (ret.) Juan Antonio Herrera, head of the Military Institutional Front, an organization of 266 retired officers aimed at preventing the FANB from deviating from the constitutional mandate, these officers’ nominations “further politicize the Armed Forces in all its elements,” in open violation of the constitution’s Article 328 provisions, which states that the military institution will only be at the service of the nation, not of any political preference.Brig. Gen. Herrera said that the regime aims to consolidate the FANB as the “armed wing” of the ruling party.“This military faction will legislate in favor of politicizing the Armed Forces, putting it at the service of a political project,” he said.The military institution itself is conducting an operation to support and monitor the electoral process, and in the last week of October carried out the first voting simulations in every state of the country.Brig. Gen. Herrera noted that this process, in which the military are arbitrators and also an interested party, raises conflicts and contradictions within the FANB, as there is “still a sector that reads the constitution.”According to Buttó, the debate should focus on the elections’ lack of legitimacy, as well as on the fact that the results will not have the international community’s official recognition.last_img read more

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Women’s hockey: Mikayla Johnson embraces, navigates family legacy at UW

first_imgComing to Wisconsin meant dealing with higher expectations for Wisconsin women’s hockey redshirt sophomore Mikayla Johnson.Following in her family’s footsteps in Madison, Mikayla has to overcome some of the difficulty of following the “Johnson” legacy throughout Badger history but it was always a goal of hers to wear the cardinal and white of a Wisconsin women’s hockey sweater.“It’s been my dream,” Mikayla Johnson said. “It’s hard not to. It’s my hometown. The campus is awesome. And the program here is unbelievable, so I was pretty jacked.”Bob Johnson, Mikayla’s grandfather, coached the men’s hockey team for 16 years and is a member of the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame.Mikayla’s father, Mark Johnson, was a Badgers men’s hockey player from 1976-79 before becoming a national sensation as a member of the 1980 United States Olympic team when he scored the tying goal against the Soviet Union as part of the “Miracle on Ice.”Mark Johnson also played in the NHL for 10 seasons with five different teams.Patrick Johnson, her brother, played for the Badgers from 2007-11, before being picked by Montreal in the 2008 NHL draft. He has had to deal with many of the same issues her sister now faces.“They need to understand all of the parameters of being on the team being a part of Wisconsin and maybe dealing with some of the things that other student-athletes don’t have to deal with,” Mark Johnson, now the Wisconsin women’s hockey team head coach, said. “In her case, the dad is the coach, and my son’s case, trying to follow in my footsteps and my dad’s footsteps and being a ‘Johnson’ and understanding all that goes into that. It’s probably harder on her, and certainly harder on Patrick because of those situations they were in.”Mark Johnson had to deal with a similar situation in his time as a member of the Badger men’s hockey team. He played in Madison with his father coaching him during that time, so he understands the complexity of coaching a child.His responsibilities as a coach are to put the team first, a line that Mark Johnson believes he has dealt with well.“I had played for my dad here and gone through that,” the elder Johnson said. “So the shoe is on the other foot, so now I’m the coach. So you take each day at a time and each situation at a time and handle it the best, knowing you have the best interest of the team.”He understands that having your father around practice every day could be difficult for a college student to get used to.But Mark Johnson has been impressed with how his daughter has handled the situation, especially now that he gets to see her on a daily basis and can see how she interacts and fits in with her teammates.“I think the resilience of playing for your dad at the university and dealing with some of the things a coach’s daughter or a coach’s son has to deal with and conduct themselves on a daily basis,” Mark Johnson said. “Some days are hard, but I’ve been impressed with the way she has handled it. I think she has matured and grown and learned a lot about herself in that situation.”The recruiting started normally, with assistant coach Jackie Friesen starting the conversation with Mikayla about playing for the cardinal and white. In fact, her in-house recruiting visit was in her house. She was sitting at home when Mark Johhson walked in and asked her to play for Wisconsin.She knew what she was getting into when she took the offer from her father to play at Wisconsin, but she also could not turn down the opportunity to succeed where her family has made such a name.But it was not exactly what Mikayla expected when she decided to play in Madison.After red-shirting her freshman season, she played in 27 games last season for Wisconsin, tallying just a goal and an assist. This year Mikayla has seen limited game action, as well, playing in more than half of the 32 total games thus far. But she’s doubled her goal scoring output this season with a goal on the road at Lindenwood Sept. 27 and adding another on the road at New Hampshire on Nov. 29.Dealing with the family name can be difficult at times for her, but she also sees a different side to her father now.“It’s also been a lot more fun than I expected,” Mikayla said. “He’s goofy and fun to be with. I didn’t get to see him every day until I came to play here.”For some people, dealing with a parent daily, especially in front of friends, could prove to be difficult, but Mikayla has taken everything in stride. Playing for the Badgers has strengthened their relationship in ways she could not previously imagine, she said.“Some people would think it could make it awkward between us, but I think we’ve gotten a lot closer between us actually,” Mikayla said. “It’s goofy and weird, and serious at other times. It’s fun because I get to see him all the time.”last_img read more

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