Anti-Maduro Protests Heat Up Across Venezuela

They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, but Mr. Maduro isn’t exactly trying to hide any of his actions. The streets of Caracas and many other major cities throughout Venezuela were flooded last Wednesday. Thousands of angry Venezuelans protested against Nicolas Maduro and his government. Over the past several months, the situation in Venezuela has slowly reached a boiling point. With already 7 deaths in the recent protests in opposition to what now could be called the Maduro Regime, hope is as hard to come by as a jug of milk.

 Opposition supporters clash with Venezuela’s National Guards during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro’s government outside the Supreme Court of Justice in Caracas. Source: Reuters

Opposition supporters clash with Venezuela’s National Guards during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro’s government outside the Supreme Court of Justice in Caracas. Source: Reuters

Venezuelan flags and banners reading things such as “Dictator Maduro” were waved as the demonstration intensified. The violence of the protests deployed Venezuelan National Guard troops and riot police to combat and put down the protestors. In some cases, protestors, wearing gas masks or holding clothes over their faces, reacted to the tear gas and the rubber bullets fired into the crowd by launching firebombs. As the result of progressing violence, an international plea has been issued as well as a special request from the U.S. State Department for President Maduro to allow the peaceful assembly of protestors. 

All of this comes in the wake of a Venezuelan Supreme Court ruling to dissolve the legislature for practical purposes. An outcry in opposition of the international community ensued the Supreme Court ruling to be revoked. However, the legislature was left powerless in establishing Venezuela as a democracy in name only. With recent polls showing that 74% of the Venezuelan population are against the government and in favor of upcoming elections, the opposition is feeling confident. Subsequently, protests have continued to grow along with the issues in Venezuela’s economy.

Venezuela’s socialist economy is considered mostly to blame for a variety of concerns that have affected a substantial portion of the Venezuelan population. Food shortages have led to everyday goods such as bread and toilet paper hard to come by. When they can be found, they are too expensive for most Venezuelans to afford. Thus, there is an increased raiding and looting of bakeries, grocery stores and food distribution centers. In response, the government has forced bakeries to use 90% of all government provided wheat to make bread and then must sell that bread at artificially capped prices to make the bread more affordable. The price at which bread is being sold does not actually cover the cost, hence the remaining 10% is used to make specialty items to keep the bakeries in business. This is just one example of the fledging economy that Venezuelans are having to contend with. 

Venezuela is on the fast track to failure, and the opposition is rapidly gaining necessary momentum. With a legislature left powerless, elections that may never happen, and a failing socialist economy, revolution could be just around the corner for this Bolivarian Republic. A peaceful solution is achievable; but, based on the current situation, the outcome is hardly predictable.