By Alejandra Arredondo/Voice of America (VOA)Edited by Diálogo Staff August 31, 2020 Venezuela is now less prepared for free and fair elections than it was in 2018, when the results of the presidential elections were rejected by more than two dozen countries, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliot Abrams said on July 28.“The conditions for free and fair elections are actually much worse today than they were in May 2018, when [Nicolás] Maduro held the presidential elections,” Abrams said in a phone press conference.The Nicolás Maduro regime has called for new parliamentary elections for December 6, 2020, a measure that the opposition has criticized as another attempt to squelch their political representation.Civil rights groups have denounced the elections, which seek to renew the opposition-controlled National Assembly, as designed to favor the ruling party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV, in Spanish).“The parliamentary elections in December are already rigged,” Abrams said, as he pointed to the National Electoral Council (CNE, in Spanish), an institution under government control designed to regulate elections and whose members were appointed by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ, in Spanish).“The CNE […] is supposed to be an independent body […], however, the TSJ stopped negotiations to elect the members and appointed them itself,” Abrams said.U.S. in contact with Norway about VenezuelaThe diplomat also spoke about the visit of Norwegian government representatives, who have attempted to mediate a solution to Venezuela’s crisis. Abrams said that the United States is in contact with Norway and that he has spoken with some Norwegian diplomats.“As for the Norwegians, we are, of course, in contact with Norway, and I’ve spoken to Norwegian diplomats since the return of the group that was in Caracas — a difficult trip for them if you think about it, from Oslo to Caracas in a time of COVID,” he said.“I can’t say that I feel particularly optimistic about this trip, because it seems that the regime has already made up its mind […]; it seems to want to go forward with this phony election,” the U.S. official said.Venezuela and North KoreaThe United Nations (U.N.) warned Maduro that the military agreement with North Korea would violate Security Council regulations. U.N. investigators discovered that Diosdado Cabello himself signed that agreement.In this respect, Abrams said that a violation of U.N. sanctions is potentially serious for the Maduro regime, because many countries would be willing to impose sanctions, although they have not yet done so individually.“It also shows, again, the nature of this regime. We’ve seen recently the regime begin to build its relationship with Iran. Iran, Venezuela, a pair of pariah states. Iran and North Korea now — North Korea and Venezuela. And I think one of the other impacts, besides the potential sanctions themselves, is reminding countries worldwide about the nature of this regime and the partners that it seeks worldwide,” Abrams said.
Facebook77Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Olympia Zine FestOlympia Zine Fest invites community members to a three-day celebration of zines and DIY culture. The 3rd annual festival will take place October 13-15 in downtown Olympia.Zine creators Chelsea Baker and Max Carl Key attended the 2015 event. Photo credit: Emily McHugh.Zines are self-published works, often photocopied, and can be about any topic. Olympia Zine Fest welcomes newcomers and seasoned zine-makers alike.The event kicks off with a Zine-athon at the Olympia Timberland Library, where participants can use the library’s supplies to create a zine, swap with other zine-makers, and partake in an open mic-style zine reading. Olympia Zine Fest events are open to people of all ages.The second day of the festival begins with an expo at the Olympia Center, where attendees can purchase zines and participate in workshops. The expo will be followed by zine readings and live music at Obsidian.Olympia Zine Fest concludes with a day of workshops at the Mixx 96 Conference Room.Workshop topics include creating a collaborative giant comic, combating fatphobia, making shrinky dinks, project problem-solving, self-publishing, suicide awareness & prevention, and keeping the art of letter writing alive with Olympia’s Correspondence Club.Olympia Zine Fest ScheduleFriday, October 13Kick-off Zine-athon!6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.Olympia Timberland Library – 313 8th Ave. SEFreeSaturday, October 14Expo and workshops11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Olympia Center – 222 Columbia St. NWFreeZine readings hosted by Guest of Honor Nia KingReaders include Auro Rose, Eileen Chavez, M. Sabine Rear, Nia King, Niamh Timmons, and Nicole Witch Hazel7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.Obsidian – 414 4th Ave. EFreeSunday, October 15Workshops11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Mixx 96 Conference Room119 Washington St. NEFree