On Sunday, October 15, President Nicolás Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela won a surprising majority in 17 of the country’s 23 states in the regional gubernatorial elections over the Democratic Unity opposition party.
Political conflict has continued to escalate in Venezuela since the controversial election of July 30th.
Exultant after the results of the election for a Constituent Assembly became public, on the late night of July 30th, president Nicolás Maduro announced the end of his regime’s benevolence towards the opposition (se acabó lo que se daba), anticipating that the process of constitutional reform will provide the occasion for chavismo to settle all scores (se cobrará toda
“This government is going to fall!” was the chant that echoed through almost 50 cities and towns across Venezuela as part of the nationwide movement protesting President Nicolas Maduro’s rule.
Claims of conspiracy and sabotage, ones all-too-familiar for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, resulted in the expulsion of three U.S. diplomats from Venezuela on February 16th. As might be expected, the decision was made after the U.S. State Department articulated its concerns over the perpetual discord throughout the nation, most evident in the February 12th protest that gained international attention. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry was quick to issue a statement critiquing the U.S.
What started out as a relatively calm student protest in Venezuela on the afternoon of February 12th turned into a day of grieving for three Venezuelan families whose loved ones perished in an effort to affect change in light of the continuous corruption that marks the fabric of the country. This march was the most recent in a series of manifestations rallying against the ineffective economic policies of President Nicolás Maduro.
On February 12th Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez called on opponents of the socialist Venezuelan government to take to the streets and support student groups that had been protesting the overwhelming problem of violent crime in Tachira State the week before. Ever since protests have continued on an almost nationwide scale.
Venezuela is an incredibly dynamic country. After several decades of stability, the country has been shaken by major political realignments, economic shifts and policy changes since El Caracazo took place in 1989. In that year, the population rose up violently in response to the government's economic reforms that included increases in the price of gasoline and transportation.
On February 25th, the United States ordered the removal of three Venezuelan diplomats the U.S. This action was in direct response to Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s decision on February 17th to expel three American diplomats for allegedly instigating the protests that have killed at least 13 people thus far.
As the third week of anti-government protests in Venezuela starts an important question has been lingering: why has the international community been so passive in the face of violent repression against protesters in Venezuela? This, even as prominent international human rights organizations have condemned the government’s unchecked response against dissidents. Why have they not acted with the same resolve as in other similar recent cases in Honduras in 2009 or Paraguay in 2011?