Amnesty sought for Venezuela’s jailed, exiled Chavez opponents

CARACAS, (Reuters) – Venezuela’s opposition is pressing President Hugo Chavez for a Christmas amnesty for scores of his foes in jail and exile over their roles in the many political conflicts of his 14-year rule.

They hope that after a comfortable re-election in October, followed by reconciliatory words about opponents, the socialist leader may be feeling more generous.

Fanning optimism among relatives and opposition circles, three heavyweight Chavez allies – the vice president, head of Congress and the attorney general – have agreed to study a list of more than 100 names presented by an opposition commission this week. Perhaps the most controversial case is that of a judge, Maria Lourdes Afiuni, who was jailed in 2009 after defying Chavez in a corruption case. She shocked Venezuelans with an account of being raped in jail and then having an abortion.

Also on the list are Pedro Carmona, who was president for a day during a brief 2002 coup against Chavez and then fled to Colombia; Manuel Rosales, a former presidential candidate accused of corruption and now in Peru; and Ivan Simonovis, a former security official wanted over deaths during the coup.

“We want the many exiled Venezuelans to come home, and for the government’s political prisoners to be freed. That would be real proof of a will to promote dialogue and reconciliation,” opposition commission head Antonio Ledezma said. Chavez, who returned to Venezuela from medical treatment in Cuba on Friday, has not spoken publicly on the issue. The opposition’s list includes 87 people living outside Venezuela and 22 listed as “political prisoners.” Chavez rejects that term, saying any opponents in jail are there for breaking the law, not because of their views on him.

Christine Lagarde

IMF’s Lagarde to stand trial in Tapie case

PARIS, (Reuters) – France’s highest appeals court ruled yesterday that International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde must stand trial for her role in a 400 million euros ($440 million) state payout in 2008 to businessman Bernard Tapie.

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Sagicor moving from Barbados to Bermuda

(Barbados Nation) Sagicor Financial Corporation has officially moved its headquarters to the British oversees territory of Bermuda after more than 100 years in Barbados in its previous incarnation as The Mutual.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh

Dengue strikes T&T health minister

(Trinidad Express) Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh revealed yesteday that his recent and sudden hospitalisation was due to dengue. Deyalsingh was admitted to the Port of Spain General Hospital (POSGH) on July 13 after experiencing a two-day history of fever and fatigue.

Al Miller

Judge says pastor facilitated desires of ‘Dudus’ Coke

(Jamaica Gleaner) Parish Judge Simone Wolfe Reece said that based on evidence presented by prosecutors in the corruption trial of Al Miller, she is convinced that the clergyman’s “behaviour facilitated the desires” of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.

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Cheaper power coming soon for Barbados

(Barbados Nation) Barbadians longing for cheaper electricity will start getting an ease now that Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BL&P) has completed its ten megawatt solar farm.

Naresh Persad shows some of the dead fish that washed up Wednesday on the Mosquito Creek, La Romaine.

Aboud blames 2013 Petrotrin spill for fish kill

(Trinidad Guardian) As more dead fish continued to wash ashore along the Mosquito Creek yesterday, president of Fishermen and Friends of the Sea, Gary Aboud, put the blame squarely on Petrotrin’s shoulders.

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