As Ukraine Dominates Headlines, Protests Continue in Venezuela

31 dead, hundreds injured


Although the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has been dominating international headlines recently, the protests in Venezuela—which have been going on for over a month and have resulted in the deaths of 31 people—are continuing.

What are the anti-government protesters upset about?

In Venezuela there is a lot to be frustrated and upset about: rampant corruption, one of the world's highest homicide rates, a lack of press freedom, hyperinflation, and food shortages.

As recent polling from Gallup shows, most Venezuelans do not see the economy getting better or feel safe:

However, while there may be plenty to complain about in Venezuela, the anti-government protesters are not a homogenous group, as CNN's Global Public Square explains:

On the one hand you have a moderate wing of protesters, a group whose leader narrowly lost out in the last elections. These protesters are looking for minor concessions from the government, as they bide their time for the next national vote. But a more vocal, even radical, wing of protesters has emerged in recent months, which have been calling for the overthrow of the President Nicholas Maduro. These calls have, of course, been the perfect excuse for a brutal government crackdown.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chavez, has blamed the ongoing unrest in Venezuela on "fascist groups."

Unsurprisingly, Maduro's government has cracked down on opposition leaders, as the AP explains:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has used the military, legislative and judicial power consolidated during 15 years of socialist rule in a sudden series of blows against opponents who have spent more than a month protesting in the streets, knocking down their barricades and throwing dissident leaders in jail.

Thursday dawned with two more opposition politicians behind bars, one of them sentenced to more than 10 months in jail. And pro-government lawmakers had already started trying to put another outspoken critic behind bars as well, moving to strip an opposition congresswoman of her legislative immunity from prosecution.

Analysis and commentary:

Over at The New Yorker, Girish Gupta outlines the dire economic situation Venezuelans are facing.

Writing in the "Comment is Free" section of The Guardian's website, Mark Weisbrot argues that Venezuela is not Ukraine and that it "is far from the authoritarian state that most consumers of western media are led to believe."

British freelance journalist Jason Mitchell wrote in the Financial Times about the worsening situation in Venezuela and a death threat he received from a local paramilitary commander.

At The Washington Post Adam Taylor examined if Ukraine is getting more attention than Venezuela.

Writing in The Christian Science Monitor, David Smilde argues that the protests in Venezuela show that Maduro is no Chavez.

Read more from Reason on Venezuela here.

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  1. I can’t tell; is Maduro doing Socialism right or wrong?

  2. There is an important point to look at with the Ukraine or down south as Barry threatens this and that at which Putin is completely ignoring. And that is this is what happens with an unchecked tyrant.
    I’ve seen several videos of the Ukraine people being shot at with nothing but metal shields as they continued to stand defiantly against the police forces.

    I wonder how easily the Russians could walk in if they were met with pockets of rebel forces coming out, opening fire and disappearing into the crowds? I wonder what the Russian soldier would feel like knowing he might be going home in a box?

    This is why we “right wing nutcases” cling to our guns. Our economy is going to collapse. It has to. We have an unresolvable debt. And when it does we will have chaos in the metropolitan areas. And the government’s answer will be to disarm the people. How do I know
    this? I watched the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. Because we are a society that favors the criminal and entitlement driven over the law abiding.

    Barry, I would watch closely to the happenings in these countries I’ve predicted in my fiction the incoming tyranny to the United States. But we aren’t the Ukraine. And we have millions of firearms in our homes, Barry.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. Creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

  3. Maduro is being very very earnest about socialism, but he lacks Chavez’ wit and charm. I think when he installed price controls, especially on food, he really thought it would make food cheaper and easier to buy and it would therefore increase his popularity. If anyone had said it would cause shortages to the point of food riots, he probably would have had them shot. And he’s still sure that the price controls have nothing to do with the shortages. He’s that much of a blind fanatic.

    1. I’ve read it somewhere (unfortunately I can’t recall where) that “economists’ primary task is to tell government what it can’t do”.

  4. In 1994 the US had no problem at all reinstalling Aristide to the presidency of Haiti over the military coup leadership at the time. But then, Aristide was socialist and the military was right wing. So nobody said a mumblin’ word.

    But the same standard doesn’t apply to left wing dictatorships.

  5. I’m waiting for american socialist to post here and tell us why this particular socialist experiment is failing, compared to every other socialist experiment which, well, has failed also.

    1. Er, Scandinavia? That’s usually the poster child for socialism…

      While I don’t think socialism works very well, at the same time, a lot depends on how its implemented.

      In a culture of hard working, honest people it’s going to work reasonably well.

      In a culture where corruption rules, it’s going to be a disaster.

      In a lot of third world countries, people won’t even do their basic jobs unless you bribe them to (on top of their actual salary).

      Of course, that’s why capitalism is better, it’s based on the premise that people are greedy…which is far closer to the truth.

      1. Socialism doesn’t work, period. It’s premised upon logical fallacies and justified by an immoral code of pseudo-ethics, it just does not function. The cases where it ‘appears’ to have some success are cases where you can thank free market interactions or some other happenstance. In the case of Scandanavia, you have huge countries, with huge natural resources and a tiny population. On top of that, Scandanavia has a lot of free market policies that aren’t being cited at all by socialists in their praise of those countries.

        1. Similarly you wouldn’t credit the greatness of Sharia law because of apparent success of some wealthy oil oasis country.

          1. ” On top of that, Scandanavia has a lot of free market policies that aren’t being cited at all by socialists in their praise of those countries.”

            I think this is crucial. According to Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom ratings, Denmark, though nominally socialist is more economically free than the US.

  6. my co-worker’s step-mother makes $63 every hour on the computer . She has been laid off for 6 months but last month her pay was $18624 just working on the computer for a few hours. i was reading this…….

  7. my roomate’s step-aunt makes $67 /hr on the laptop . She has been laid off for ten months but last month her payment was $16399 just working on the laptop for a few hours. site link……

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