Facing a disastrous economy and growing political opposition, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently declared a 60-day state of emergency, which will most likely be used to stifle those rallying for his immediate recall. No, scratch that—that’s exactly what it’s going to be used for, as the Supreme Court and the election committee is pro-Maduro (via the Guardian):
Police have fired teargas at protesters calling for the resignation of the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, and shut down swaths of central Caracas to control the demonstrations, as the Caribbean nation slid deeper into political crisis.
Wednesday’s protests came the day after Maduro said the opposition-controlled parliament had become irrelevant and predicted that it might soon “disappear”, as his political enemies upped pressure for a referendum to force the leader from office.
If Maduro can put off a referendum until next year, losing would have a more limited impact. If he is ousted this year, it would trigger an election, while next year it would simply allow his deputy to take over power.
For now, Maduro has the upper hand, because the supreme court and election authorities are broadly supportive of his government, and can overrule parliament on the state of emergency and obstruct efforts to organise a recall vote.
But the opposition parties who took control of parliament with a landslide victory in December elections have warned Maduro against using his powers to ignore popular discontent.
Yet, socialist cronies or not, no one is going to stand for children being robbed in broad daylight. The Atlantic charted the harrowing decline of the country, which has impacted almost every aspect of its socioeconomic structure. The capital of Caracas is now a crime-ridden haven akin to John Carpenter’s Escape from New York:
…the Venezuelan government can no longer afford to provide even rudimentary law and order, making Caracas, the capital, by some calculations one of the most murderous cities in the world. Drug traffickers run large sections of the countryside. Prison gang leaders keep military-style weapons on hand, and while grenade attacks still make the news, they are nothing new. Recently, the police captured an AT4 antitank rocket launcher—basically, a bazooka—from a suspect.
The breakdown of law and order is so severe that even children are being robbed. At Nuestra Señora del Carmen school in El Cortijo, a struggling neighborhood of Caracas, supplies for the school-lunch program have been stolen twice this year already: Thugs have broken into the school’s pantry late at night after fresh food is delivered. The second burglary meant the school couldn’t feed the kids for at least a week.
So, when criminals raid school pantries due to a lack of food because the grand experiment of 21st century socialism has completely and utterly failed, don’t expect the people to just let things slide, even with a state of emergency. Besides food, people don’t have electricity or basic medical supplies. And now kids are being robbed. We shouldn’t expect this to end well.