Violence Over Food in Venezuela Continues As Maduro Looks to Dissolve Legislature in Response to Recall Referendum Attempt
Some Venezuelans are reportedly raiding supermarkets and targeting food trucks as the food shortage, part of Venezuela's broader self-induced economic crisis, continues to get worse. Protests over the food situation continue, and some richer residents, according to the Washington Post, have taken to purchasing supermarket goods online from Miami. The government has also increased security at points across the Venezuelan food chain. "It's just cheese," one driver told the Post, at a warehouse from where the product is shipped that the Post described as looking like a garrison. "I've never seen anything like this before," the driver continued.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chavez as president after Chavez's death in 2013, is trying to use the Supreme Court, which his opponents say he controls, to shut down the opposition-led National Assembly. The opposition has collected more than a million signatures, which the National Electoral Council validated last week, in order to bring about a referendum that would remove Maduro from office.
A spokesperson for the Maduro government insists they will be charging opposition lawmakers with treason, breach of the constitution, and abuse of power. Venezuela's foreign left-wing apologists continue to attempt to downplay the severity of the crisis in Venezuela. At The Nation, Gabriel Hetland argued that mainstream media was "significantly exaggerated the severity of the crisis" in Venezuela, which was not, he argued, "in a state of cataclysmic collapse."
Juan Nagel of the Caracas Chronicles calls that the pendejos sin fronteras defense of the Maduro regime. "As the author says, there is looting, scarcity, inflation, rampant crime, but … c'mon, it's not that bad," Nagel writes of Hetland's argument. "Look on the bright side: as your kids cry themselves to sleep at night on an empty stomach, you can reassure them that at least we don't have neoliberalism!"
Maduro announced a 60-day "state of economic emergency" at the beginning of the year, which has been extended since. He declared another 60-day state of emergency in May, accusing the United States of trying to topple his government and destabilize its centrally-planned economy.
Hundreds of people have been arrested for food-related rioting and looting in the last month.