Last week, protestors made a rare move and marched on the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. They were protesting the lack of access to food. The march on President Nicolas Maduro’s residence was stopped by police, but if you think there’s going to be a popular uprising that will force Venezuela’s president to step down from power, the PanAm Post gave a serious reality check: it’s not going to happen.
Nearly two million people have signed a petition demanding a recall referendum over President Maduro’s leadership. The decision over whether it’ll go through has been delayed. Even as all aspects of socioeconomic life begin to circle the drain, the nation’s Supreme Court and election commission are still pro-Maduro. So, the prospects of a recall election actually happening are slim to none.On top of that, the government is operating on two-day workweeks to deal with the ongoing energy shortages. Speed isn’t necessarily part of the decision making process.
In short, even as there’s little to no access to food or medicine (looting has become an issue) and growing unrest over Maduro's administration, it’s “Nazi-like” tactics are going to protect from political harm, and the country already has it own army of stormtroopers that will break up opposition rallies at a moments notice:
If at any time a group of people gather or protest, they will almost immediately be violently attacked by Chavista “colectivos”— the local euphemism for Brownshirts — with full support from the paramilitary Bolivarian National Guard. The main streets of every major barrio in the country are controlled by these modern-day, Nazi-style Brownshirts.
Control over basic food staples and medicines are now in the hands of “Local Committees for Supply and Distribution” known by their Spanish acronym, CLAPS. Private supermarkets have now been limited to offering non-essential supplies.
These are local soviets, designed to control the population into submission. If your teenage son throws a rock at a National Guardsman, you do not get milk for your one-year-old.
Under these conditions, it’s almost impossible for the population to organize, rise up and topple a government that has already shown its willingness to shoot at its own citizens.
In the meantime, the hunger will continue, hospitals will lack basic items like soap and gloves; babies will continue to suffer in the maternity wards plagued by blackouts. Reynaldo Trombetta wrote in The Guardian that to shift Maduro’s current bunker mentality, he would need to be pushed by his allies, who he says are benefitting from his government, despite the horrific economic decline:
As shortages of food and medicines worsen, Venezuela is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. If the few remaining international allies that the Maduro government has (is Jeremy Corbyn still one of them?) care at all about the Venezuelan people, now is the time to speak up.
Maduro has proved that he will not accept public criticism. He recently accused Organisation of American States secretary-general Luis Almagro, a member of Uruguay’s leftist, anti-oligarchic and anti-imperialist Broad Front party, of being a CIA puppet for encouraging the Venezuelan government to allow a presidential recall referendum. Maybe a private word from a close ally of Venezuela could have better results?
But the truth is that most of Maduro’s friends, including the leaders of China, Russia, Cuba and Iran, not only have a terrible record defending the human rights of their own citizens, but they are also so busy making money out of Venezuela’s “revolution” that they will probably choose to keep their mouths shut.
Some airlines are longer flying to Venezuela, while the nation’s neighboring progressive allies are beginning to criticize Maduro’s management. Former Uruguayan president José Mujica said that Maduro was “crazy like a goat.” Yet, it’s doubtful if this criticism will yield any substantive repercussions, as Venezuela has given oil to many leftist governments in the region for years. Hence, why the Organization of American States’ plan to censure Venezuela, which requires two-thirds majority, is unlikely. Cuba voiced their support for the nation over the weekend ahead of the emergency meeting by the OAS over Venezuela’s deteriorating situation. Raul Castro says that Cuba isn’t going to rejoin the OAS, calling it "an instrument of imperialist domination".
So, in the end, Maduro will sleep soundly, confident his “colectivos” (brownshirts) will keep people in line.