Venezuela – Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, is accusing the United States of plotting a ‘coup’ to remove him from office. He also registered his displeasure at U.S. support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, describing Venezuela as a “victim of US conspiracy.” So far, close to twenty countries, including the United Kingdom, have thrown their weight behind Guaido, while the likes of Russia, Turkey, and China have shown support for Maduro. He has been given an ultimatum of up to eight days to call the elections.
United States – The United States has suspended a Reagan-era treaty with Russia. The Trump administration took the action after years of the US accusing the Kremlin of violating the arms control treaty. There are fears this could lead to an arms race between the U.S., Russia, and China. Russia has restarted building long range nuclear weapons and China has never been a part of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo says he believes states must be held “accountable” when they bend the rules.
Nigeria – The United States and the United Kingdom have warned of violence and corruption in the upcoming Nigerian elections. In a joint statement, both countries stated that people who indulge in such practices could face the consequences, including visa denials that may extend to their families. They have promised to pay close attention to happenings in the run up to the elections.
Ghana – The United States has imposed visa sanctions on Ghana for delays in processing 7,000 Ghanaian citizens who are said to have violated immigration rules. In a statement released on January 31st by U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen informed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the “unreasonable delays,” leading to the sanctions. In the past, Ghana has accused the U.S. of ill treatment of its deported citizens, a claim the U.S. denies.
Germany – With the overall number of refugee arrivals in Europe plummeting, Germany, a country that took in close to one million refugees years ago, is closing its doors while increasing deportation. The German interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has acknowledged the drop in asylum applications but insists the country will only allow vulnerable asylum seekers into the country on grounds that those who need no protection will return to their home countries. Germany has seen a rise in anti-immigration sentiments since the right wing party, Alternative for Germany (AfD) gained momentum.