Blackouts and food shortages have become part of daily life as Venezuela grapples with a deep recession. As people resort to rationing meals and lining up for basic foodstuffs, tensions are beginning to flare.
The humanitarian tour will provide medical help to the crisis-ridden country, but Venezuelan officials said it was also part of a "strategic defense operation." Pharmaceutical prices have soared as the currency tanks.
People in the tiny north Caucasus region are taking to the streets over a secretive land treaty with Chechnya. Unlike protests elsewhere in Russia, the demonstrations are supported by the elite – and even the police.
Colombia has withdrawn from the South American organization set up by the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in 2008 to counter US influence. The bloc was the accomplice of a "dictatorship," the Colombian president said.
Venezuelan soldiers who want to flee their country must carefully weigh their options. If they return, they face severe penalties, and abroad they have little chance of finding work. Ofelia Harms reports from Ipiales.
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