FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this March 31 — Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly — which is operating in contempt of the Supreme Court — and self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, has been barred from holding public office for 15 years. This decision came as a result of an investigation into undeclared travel and lodging expenses, following the process established by the Law Against Corruption. According to the comptroller general, the total amount spent on trips outside of the country, mainly to Panamá, was over 310 million bolivares, which is approximately $100,000. These expenditures, particularly when considered along with money spent on hotels inside and outside the country, is unreasonably high given the salary of a National Assembly deputy. Guaidó has refused the request to present legal documentation of his sources of income, which has led officials to suspect that he has illegally accepted funds from foreign governments. (tinyurl.com/yxwku2ef)This is the second legal action taken directly against Guaidó for his role in the attempted coup. The first was a travel ban, which Guaidó violated by crossing the border into Colombia several days before Feb. 23.On that day, the right-wing coup plotters tried to break the Bolivarian National Armed Forces and bring U.S. trucks over the Colombian border. This assault was stopped. Now, the legal investigations that were opened at the start of the coup are concluding. The coup plotters can expect to face constitutionally appropriate punishments.The resistance of the Venezuelan people and the unity between the military and civil society have managed to foil imperialism’s plans for now, causing the U.S. to resort to sabotage and an economic blockade. During the month of March, the Venezuelan government denounced several attacks against the country’s electrical grid. These attacks, which have taken digital, physical and high-technology forms, resulted in several power outages during the month.Dictatorship vs. ‘democracy’The informational attacks against Venezuela, carried out by imperialist-aligned media such as CNN, New York Times, Fox and others, have been a defining feature of imperialist regime-change efforts. These corporate news outlets have manufactured the narrative that dominates in the imperialist countries. According to them, Bolivarian Venezuela is an oppressive and corrupt dictatorship.These same outlets are characterizing the actions taken against Juan Guaidó as yet another dictatorial abuse of power. The truth is that the Venezuelan government has gone to great lengths to ensure that even citizens involved in an attempted coup have their democratic and constitutional rights respected.One has to first review the facts, which are easily lost when the imperialist narrative is being pushed from all angles. Juan Guaidó was, constitutionally, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly. That National Assembly has been in contempt of the Venezuelan Supreme Court since March 29, 2017.On Jan. 23, Juan Guaidó swore himself in as “interim president” of Venezuela in a public square. U.S. President Donald Trump almost immediately recognized him. Then, the self-proclaimed president stated his intent to bring trucks into Venezuela supplied by a U.S. state agency without permission from any legitimate Venezuelan institution.On Feb. 23, Guaidó and other opposition officials led a series of violent attacks from Colombia against the border. On the other side of the bridge, Venezuelan state forces and the pro-government “collectivos” — organized community groups — prevented any major incident. In the end, as the New York Times was later forced to admit, the opposition burned its own trucks and tried to blame that on Bolivarian forces.How is a democratic and sovereign country to respond to an open attempt to overthrow the government? These are acts of high treason, and to make matters worse, the coup plotters are not just looking for personal gain. They are openly working with U.S. imperialism to sell the country to North American business interests.The Venezuelan justice system has responded by opening a series of investigations into concrete crimes, gathering evidence over the course of several months. The Venezuelan constitution guarantees the rights of all citizens, even the ones carrying out a coup d’état.On the other hand, in the Latin American countries that imperialism labels as “democracies,” leaders of social movements are regularly murdered just for voicing opposition to neoliberal policies. For example, Colombia registered 120 deaths of social movement leaders in the first 100 days of President Ivan Duque’s term. (tinyurl.com/ya6mqs5q)The total number of leaders murdered in 2018, according to the Colombian Office of the Ombudsman, is 172. That same office also noted that the number of deaths had noticeably risen since the Peace Accords were signed. (tinyurl.com/y3ar8csp)In the U.S., children are placed in concentration camps just because their parents crossed the border, and Black communities have been criminalized and regularly experience police brutality.
Among the other creatives who have bowed out from the project are Danny Elfman, who was originally attached as the composer, lyricist David Yazbek and librettist Kurt Andersen. Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin stepped in for Andersen, but withdrew from penning the book in January 2013 due to scheduling conflicts. Hugh Jackman announced his Houdini departure later that year in December. The project was first announced by producers Scott Sanders and David Rockwell in April 2008. Schwartz still has other projects in the works, including the animated Bollywood film starring Lea Michele, now titled The Monkeys of Mumbai, that inevitable movie about a belting green witch, and the stage adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is currently playing San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse before heading to Paper Mill. While we’ll have to wait a little longer for some creative team to conjure up Houdini on the Great White Way, we’ll at least have The Illusionists to terrify us with their magic act on Broadway. View Comments Another Houdini creative has pulled off a vanishing act. According to the Hartford Courant, Stephen Schwartz has left the troubled project, which was initially to be led by Hugh Jackman. The Pippin and Wicked scribe did note that while his involvement is no more, “others may pursue it.”
QPR face growing opposition to their new stadium bid with current landowner Cargiant claiming they “will not enter into any future talks with the club”. Cargiant managing director Tony Mendes is a QPR season-ticket holder, but the company has released a statement denying discussing selling the company’s land with the club. “We are very surprised by QPR’s PR campaign regarding a proposed new stadium in Old Oak Common and in particular on land owned by Cargiant,” the statement read. “The company are not in negotiations with QPR and will not enter into any future talks with the club. “The company will announce in due course details of its own scheme for the regeneration of its land holdings that will incorporate the residential units, jobs and community facilities that the GLA detailed in their vision for the regeneration for the area. “Cargiant’s commercial arm of the business views this opportunity as a long-term investment opportunity.” Cargiant bosses rejected the notion of QPR obtaining a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO), a legal function which allows bodies to claim land without the owner’s consent if considered in the public interest. QPR could seek council backing to obtain such an order against Cargiant, but the company remain unfazed by the prospect. “In regards to the threat of CPO, there is no legal basis on which to serve a CPO on Cargiant. We are a willing developer,” the statement continued. Press Association The former QPR sponsors holds a 30-acre plot on the Old Oak site where the west London club hope to build a new 40,000-seater stadium. Rangers have support from all the major bodies required to build the new ground as soon as 2018, but Cargiant is seeking to scupper their plans. “This is also not a ‘tool’ to increase the land value to QPR or anyone else. If the company wanted to pursue this route, it would be talking to other developers, which we are not. “We are fully committed to regenerate our land. We have the funding and the professionals in place to do it.” Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes released a statement in December detailing the club’s new stadium plans. The New Queens Park project has Greater London Authority, Network Rail and Genesis Housing Group backing. The club aim to regenerate the area along with their proposed move from Loftus Road, pledging to build 24,000 new homes and create 55,000 jobs. QPR bosses remain confident they will be able to press ahead with plans. “The future regeneration of Old Oak requires everyone to work together for the common good – the boroughs, the Mayor, landowners and the local community,” a club statement released on Monday read. “Our current consultation has so far attracted the views of over 1,000 local residents with over 80 per cent in support of our stadium-led regeneration. “The future of Old Oak lies in the regeneration of the entire area and not the uncoordinated and piecemeal development of individual land holdings.”