Venezuelan Opposition Chief Says Maduro May Block His Visit to Russia

Venezuelan Opposition Chief Says Maduro May Block His Visit to Russia

Russian oil companies have been making major investments in the region - paying billions to the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela, exploring wells in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest and cozying up to Argentina's government - and cultivating a reserve of friends in the Western Hemisphere.

Venezuelans will go to the polls Sunday in regional elections that are viewed as vital tests for both President Nicolas Maduro and the opposition.

Venezuela has defaulted ten times since the turn of the 19th century - a record matched only by Ecuador - yet not once did it lead to the downfall of the government in charge.The government has not survived months of sky-high inflation and crippling shortages without good reason. But voter apathy, a confusing ballot and a last-minute decision to relocate more than 100 voting sites could impact turnout. The Venezuelan government is under pressure to meet debt commitments including more than $2 billion in bond payments by November 2, while Russia is in talks on restructuring bilateral loans.

Maduro has threatened the magistrates elected by the National Assembly with jail time, prompting Colombia, Chile, Mexico and the U.S.to offer political asylum to the magistrates.

He said governors-elect chosen in Sunday's vote would have to be "sworn-in and subordinate themselves" to the Assembly, on pain of dismissal.

It sells 40 percent of its oil to the United States, with which it has increasingly tense relations.

Even if his allies suffer at the polls, the elections could provide a boost for Maduro, said David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America.

Borges's trip seeks to shore up international support for congress, which Maduro has tried to supersede entirely by installing the legislative super body, according to Elsa Cardozo, professor of international relations at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas.

"I already knew that he was moving around in the government and when President Chavez fell ill, the Vice President began visiting our projects". “We have vanquished them before and we will vanquish them again.

Diaz fled Venezuela in August after being ousted from her position as chief prosecutor by the new and powerful constituent assembly. International consultants Eurasia Group said Thursday Maduro was expected to win only 5 states, with the opposition taking the rest.

CNE president Tibisay Lucena said Friday that officials had made a number of candidate substitutions and would soon publish a final list. GDP is projected to contract 7.4 percent this year. Its crime and murder rate is also among the world's highest. According to illegitimate Attorney General Tarek William Saab, Maduro's regime is processing a red alert at Interpol for the capture of Euzenando Prazeres de Acevedo. "They have lost an average of 8 kilos (17.6 pounds) per person", Cardenas said.