Venezuela Crisis: What Is Happening In Venezuela

Venezuela Crisis: What Is Happening In Venezuela

A demonstrator catches fire after the gas tank of a police motorbike exploded during clashes in a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

If you’re wondering what exactly is going on in Venezuela and why the U.S. is getting involved, you’re not alone. Venezuela Crisis: What Is Happening In Venezuela.

On January 23th, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the country’s interim president. Claiming that Nicolas Maduro (the former or current president, depending on who you’re talking to) had been deposed, CNNreports.

Not long after, President Donald Trump recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president, calling the former regime “illegitimate.” However, analysts are “not clear the former bodyguard’s [Maduro’s] fall is anywhere near imminent or that Trump’s power play will pay off,” as per CNN.

How did the protests start?

Venezuela Crisis What Is Happening In Venezuela
Christian Veron | Reuters
  • Legislators election suspended.  In January 2016, the Supreme Court suspended the election of four legislators – three that were enrolled with the opposition and one with the ruling party – for alleged voting irregularities.
  • The opposition accused the court of trying to strip them of their super-majority, and went ahead and swore in three of the legislators in question.
  • Supreme Court takes over the National Assembly. In response, the Supreme Court ruled that the entire National Assembly was in contempt and all decisions it made would be null.
  • The deadlock continued when the court suspended a stay-or-go referendum against Maduro and postponed regional elections until 2017.
  • After the National Assembly refused to approve the country’s state-run oil company, PDVSA, from forming joint ventures with private companies, the Supreme Court ruled on March 30 that it will take over the Congress’ legislative powers.
  • Protests start. On the next day, protesters in Caracas took to the streets to protest the court’s take-over the National assembly.
  • The court quickly reversed its decision on April 1, but street protests continued on an almost daily basis for over three months with regular clashes exchanges of rocks and tear gas between young protesters and National Guard troops.
  • Demonstrators also protested hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicines in the country. 

What Is Happening In Venezuela?

Venezuela Crisis: What Is Happening In Venezuela
Venezuelan anti-government protesters attack a National Guard riot control vehicle. (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

Just two weeks after President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela was sworn in for a second term, an opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, declared himself the interim president, directly challenging the country’s leadership.

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied across the country on January 23th in support of Mr. Guaidó, and the United States, Canada and many Latin American countries quickly recognized him as the legitimate head of state.

Mr. Maduro, in return, severed remaining diplomatic ties with the United States and ordered its embassy personnel out of the country within 72 hours. A deadline the Americans said they would ignore.

“I am the only president of Venezuela,” Mr. Maduro told the country, speaking from the balcony of the presidential palace. “We do not want to return to the 20th century of gringo interventions and coups d’état.”

Here’s what we know about what’s happening in Venezuela, and what’s next.

Venezuelan constitution does not offer ‘a way out’

The opposition has argued that Maduro’s election last year was fraudulent. This left the country without a legitimate president since the end of his last term. According to the Venezuelan constitution, if the office of the president is vacant, the leader of the National Assembly automatically becomes interim president while new elections are convened. But Guaidó’s efforts to assume power have so far fallen short. Experts said Venezuela’s laws don’t offer an obvious solution to the standoff.

“The Venezuelan constitution doesn’t really offer a way out of the current situation,” said Harold Trinkunas, the deputy director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

One way to resolve to the crisis would be for Maduro to step down and allow for independent elections, Trinkunas said.

But so far Maduro has refused to cede power and Venezuela’s military has sided with his regime, including carrying out orders to block humanitarian aid from entering the country. But some experts said if the crisis continues the military’s rank-and-file members could stop supporting Maduro, sparking a split in the military that would worsen the conflict.

Maduro orders closure of Venezuelan border with Brazil

Venezuela Crisis What Is Happening In Venezuela
A woman with a sign reading “We starve” protests against new emergency powers decreed by President Nicolas Maduro in front of a line of riot policemen in Caracas on May 18, 2016. FEDERICO PARRA—AFP/Getty Images.

Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, has ordered the vast border with Brazil to be closed. Just days before opposition leaders plan to bring in foreign humanitarian aid he has refused to accept.

Maduro also orders closure of Venezuelan border with Curaçao

Venezuela Crisis: What Is Happening In Venezuela
Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro

Maduro said he’s also weighing up shutting the border with Colombia. He made the announcement on state TV on Thursday, surrounded by military commanders.

Opposition leaders led by Juan Guaidó are vowing to bring in US supplies of emergency food and medicine to highlight the country’s hardships under Maduro, who has said the country doesn’t need such help.

“What the US empire is doing with its puppets is an internal provocation,” Maduro said. “They wanted to generate a great national commotion, but they didn’t achieve it.”

Under Maduro’s orders, Venezuela this week blocked air and sea travel between Venezuela and the nearby Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao.

Maduro and his many arms of government have sworn to put a hard stop to these protests and opposition groups. But the situation is spiraling further and further out of control each day. As Businessweek points out, the last time Venezuela experienced such aggressive instability was during the 1989 Caracazo riots. Which led to the regime change that placed Hugo Chávez in power.

For further information you can visit:

Maybe you are also looking for:

You Might Like These

Leave a Comment