Increasing political danger in Venezuela – #15
The sinking feeling in my stomach tells me things are going to get far worse in Venezuela in the near future.
10/27 – Reuters at Yahoo news – Venezuela crisis enters dangerous phase as Maduro foes go militant – Article gives a depressing summary of the last few days.
On the same day, four different courts around the country released identical rulings saying the signatures gathered for the recall were invalid. Four courts. Same day. Identical rulings.
The election board said the referendum was off because the signatures were invalid.
Many of the opposition concluded that means they are living in a complete dictatorship.
The legislature is holding what is called a symbolic trial to impeach the president. I don’t understand the system but I have seen several articles saying that is an empty gesture.
The opposition then called for a general strike on 10/28.
10/28 – AFP at Yahoo news – Venezuelan President threatens to jail opponents – This article and another indicates the general strike had relatively few people participating.
The president said he will prosecute and jail any members of the legislature who participate in the impeachment proceedings. He claims there is no provision of the Constitution for an impeachment and as a result in such effort would be an attempted coup.
10/29 – The Atlantic – How Much Longer Can Venezuela Go On Like This?– Deep background on the political landscape and development of the last few years. Article is an in-depth interview with a reporter who is focused on Venezuela.
The political opposition has united which is giving them much more influence. The reporter thinks the government made a severe mistake in shutting down the referendum. This will turn out to be a failure. Far better strategy would have been to stretch it out, but allow the election after the point when the president would be succeeded by his vice president.
Not allowing elections makes it obvious the government has moved into dictatorship. If they had found some way to allow the appearance of elections, the government would have retained some legitimacy.
The military is now a major player. They ought to be outside politics but in practice military has very heavy role. At the moment they control most of the guns with pro-government militias being very strongly affiliated with the military. So, essentially all the guns are on the side of the government. I think that will be the major deciding factor.
The reporter doesn’t think that there will be a coup from inside the military but more likely thinks gradual insubordination will have the military troops just sit out and do nothing. Keep in mind the lower-level troops and mid-level troops are hungry. Their babies and children don’t have enough to eat, just like everyone else in the country.
The author seems to think most likely change agent will be the government giving orders and those orders being ignored at the mid-level or lower-level.
Great article. Check it out.