There is a lot of devastating news coming out of the near-failed, socialist state of Venezuela.
On Wednesday, the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas and other major cities in what was dubbed the “Mother of All Marches,” in opposition to their president Nicolas Maduro, who they have accused of becoming an authoritarian dictator.
The government has, on multiple occasions, subdued any attempts to take Maduro out of power via a referendum vote. Further, inflation is expected to rise by 1,660% this year, and 2,880% next year. The government is running out of money, too. Ninety percent of Venezuela’s exports consist of oil and they have more oil reserves than any other country—however, the low price of oil is making it nearly impossible to improve their economic situation and pay off debt.
With an economy in devastation, mere morsels left of democracy, gangs controlling rural areas, and an increasing humanitarian crisis leaving Venezuelans starving and without medicine, opponents of the state are now protesting in desperation for their basic human rights. On Wednesday, protesters were waving their country’s flag and shouting (in Spanish) things like “No more dictatorship” and “Maduro out.” The opposition’s main calls are for Maduro’s ouster and the release of numerous political prisoners. In response to the protests, Maduro commanded his security forces to fire tear gas at any citizens protesting against their leader. And further, the president handed guns over to pro-government paramilitary groups to help quash the protests. This month, nine people have been killed in these protests. The opposition has promised to keep the pressure on, with more protests to come following the Mother of All Marches Wednesday.
Venezuela is now on the path to becoming a militarized state, as at the beginning of the week, Maduro announced a new plan to arm 500,000 National Guard civilians, which the Organization of American States (OAS) outwardly denounced. Under the reign of the late Hugo Chavez, the Supreme Court of the country saw a purge of any opposition, and was then loaded with party loyalists—which means minuscule hope for any pushback on the personalist, militarized policies of the Maduro and his cronies.
With all of this, Maduro blames the United States for his own government-induced chaos. A pattern of many socialist presidents, Maduro places the blame on American and foreign intervention for the instability of his country. The socialist president manipulated a statement that State Department spokesman Mark Toner released, proclaiming that the spokesman said the U.S. will be pursuing direct aggression against Venezuela and announced plans for a coup d’etat. The statement Toner released mentioned nothing of the sort, and was focused on non-violence and accountability in Venezuela, reminding the Venezuelan government and security forces of their duty to protect peaceful protests, not prevent them—also declaring that if the state continued on this path of gross oppression, those responsible will all be held accountable by the Venezuelan people and the international community.
In another jab at the United States, the Maduro government seized the General Motors factory, pushing the country to pull the plug on its operations in Venezuela. This was a big move toward the United States, as GM is the America’s largest automobile producing company, and the Venezuelan government has now seized that factory’s assets, bank account, and plant.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Organization of American States head Luis Amalgro, Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes, and other Latin American states have all called on the Venezuelan government to have prompt elections in order to restore stability and democracy. Nine Latin American countries in total have formally denounced the violence occurring within Venezuela.
AJ Plus, run by Al Jazeera, posted a video showing footage and detailing the Mother of All Protests from Wednesday.
Massive anti-government protests broke out in Venezuela in what was called “the mother of all marches.” pic.twitter.com/74dxJip3bO— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 21, 2017