News / Americas

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Supporti
X
Brian Padden
April 17, 2014 9:15 PM
During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Brian Padden
During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup.  Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.

Hundreds of students took part in a barefoot march through Caracas, as talks between the government and opposition to end anti-government demonstrations continued with no end in sight.

The ongoing crisis has led to speculation about whether the Venezuelan military will continue to support the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro if conditions in the country continue to deteriorate.

President Maduro has repeatedly accused the protesters of trying to stage a coup. In March, three air force generals were arrested for plotting against the government.  But the military leadership has expressed its loyalty to the embattled president.

Alejandro Sanchez, an analyst with the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, says that is, in part, because Venezuela has become Latin America’s largest weapons buyer.

“In spite of the economy being as bad as it is, the military’s budget doesn’t seem to have been affected. I would say as much because for the past couple of months we keep hearing all about these sales," said Sanchez.

The late President Hugo Chavez cut military ties with the United States in 2005 and replaced most military leaders with officers loyal to him.  

General John Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, says today it has zero military contact with Venezuela.

“Very few officers in Venezuela of any rank have any recollection of working with the U.S. military.  Those that do, frankly, I think are, well, they’re probably retired now," said Kelly.

Some critics of the Maduro government say the deteriorating economic and security conditions in the country are testing the limits of the military’s support. Latin America analyst Roger Noriega is with the American Enterprise Institute.

“Maduro is not a military man, and he doesn’t have the confidence, certainly hasn’t inspired the confidence of the military in the last year, and I think the military is very wary about following Maduro over a cliff," said Noriega.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles says he does not want a coup but is demanding action to address the country’s high crime rate, shortages of goods, and soaring inflation.  

Critics of the government do not expect the military to intervene, but, if the situation in Venezuela spirals out of control, they argue the armed forces have a constitutional role to maintain order.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mixed Signals on Second Migrant Wave at US Border

The number of Central Americans apprehended at the border peaked in June, but reports from migrants indicate more might be on the way
More

Cuba Enacts New Rules to Restrict Imports

New rules increase duties on items such as televisions, limit the number of personal items air travelers can bring to Cuba and increase duties on mailed packages
More

Nicaragua Rescuers Save 20 Miners; Search Continues

Wall of mud, rocks trap miners at El Comal site in Bonanza, 420 kilometers northeast of Managua
More

Shortage-weary Venezuelans Scoff at Fingerprinting Plan

Proposal on food sales sparks backlash ranging from violent street protests to social media campaigns ridiculing the idea
More

Rescuers Contact 20 Miners Trapped in Nicaragua Gold Mine

Two miners have been rescued, others are believed to be alive
More

Brazil Enters Recession in Pre-election Blow to Rousseff

Experts say left-leaning policies have dented consumer and business confidence and caused heavy losses for financial investors
More