On 5/18/2017 7:11 PM, jat wrote:
Part of the story as usual:
Human rights activists call on Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to
deport Venezuelan officials' children
May 19, 20171:11am
THE streets in her home country are lined with crowds protesting food
shortages, government corruption and brutality.
But Lucia Rodriguez is safely ensconced in Bondi, surfing and enjoying
cocktails at the beach between classes at Sydney's SAE Creative Media
She looks like any other foreign student, but the photogenic brunette is
the target of calls for her deportation, thanks to her family's
prominent role in the Venezuelan government.
Human rights activists have launched a petition calling for Ms
Rodriguez, and other children of the socialist regime's leaders, to be
thrown out of the country — and the source of their cash investigated.
The campaigners are furious that these privileged young Venezuelans are
free to enjoy all the trappings of living in a liberal democracy, while
their compatriots can't afford to buy medicine or bread, let alone send
their kids overseas to study.
And they want to know where the money has come from to fund these
students' Western lifestyles, at a time when the Venezuelan currency is
A bodyguard stands between Lucia Rodriguez and a protester in Bondi.
Ms Rodriguez's father is Jorge Rodriguez, a key member of late president
Hugo Chavez's socialist government, which stands accused of a raft of
human rights violations as the country grapples with a social, political
and economic crisis.
Her aunt Delcy Rodriguez, the troubled nation's Foreign Minister under
current President Nicolas Maduro, has defended Venezuela's economic
system at the United Nations, where she blamed the "imperial powers" of
the United States and its allies of seeking to "destabilise" the
Mr Maduro's regime stripped Venezuela's legislative assembly of its
power earlier this year, sparking fears the government is moving towards
In a petition to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, the activists called
for Ms Rodriguez's student visa to be cancelled.
Lucia Rodriguez cuddles up to a kangaroo. Picture: Instagram
"The Australian Government must be aware about the 'doubtful and
dishonest' origin of the money that finances Miss Lucia Rodriguez
studies and her expenses in Australia," the petition, which has drawn
close to 30,000 signatures, says.
"The current Venezuelan government is involved in serious allegations
of corruption, violence, human rights violations ... and Lucia
Rodriguez's father and her aunt are some of the politicians involved in
these serious crimes allegations.
"Ironically, Ms Rodriguez critiques capitalist countries but enjoys her
life in Australia."
Demonstrators hold candles during a vigil for the victims of the clashes
with the Venezuelan government security forces. Picture: Ariana Cubillos
A member of the protest group told news.com.au that family members back
home in Venezuela were struggling to survive amid food shortages and
"You can't buy Panadol, it is very hard to find any medicine and even
things like cooking oil are very expensive," the protester told news.com.au.
"The supermarket shelves are empty and you have to pay a substantial
price for basic food on the black market."
The Venezuelan currency has been so dramatically devalued that citizens
have taken to transporting bolivares in wheelbarrows.
An investigation by the Associated Press found that members of the
Venezuelan military were selling pallets of corn flour for 100 times to
government-set price, with one retired general stating that food had
become "a better business than drugs".
Police have been criticised over their response to the looting that has
broken out as desperate citizens hunt for food, with more than 40 people
shot dead during six weeks of unrest.
Among them was 15-year-old Jose Francisco Guerrero, whose sister Maris
Contreras told Reuters the boy had been sent out to buy flour for dinner
by their mother.
President Nicolas Maduro has hit back at the criticism, comparing the
attacks on officials' family members overseas to that of Jews in Nazi
His government often characterises its political opposition as "fascist"
and has recently accused its opponents of trying to stage a coup.