News / Americas

Protests Grip Venezuela

Protests Grip Venezuelai
X
February 19, 2014 11:14 PM
Nearly one year after the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, violent protests have erupted against his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the unrest is fed by deteriorating economic conditions and rampant lawlessness that cast fresh doubts on the viability of the socialist experiment Chavez launched in Venezuela more than 15 years ago.
Michael Bowman
Nearly one year after the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, violent protests have erupted against his hand-picked successor, President Nicolas Maduro. The unrest is fed by deteriorating economic conditions and rampant lawlessness that cast fresh doubts on the viability of the socialist experiment Chavez launched in Venezuela more than 15 years ago.

Growing numbers of Venezuelans are taking to the streets and confronting riot police.
 
One protester said, “We Venezuelans do not have food. There are no jobs, no education. There is insecurity. We don't want this anymore."

WATCH: Related video from VOA
Tensions Still High in Venezuela Following More Violent Protestsi
X
February 20, 2014 7:00 AM
Tension remains high in Venezuela's capital Thursday, following another night of violent anti-government demonstrations.

The unrest comes as no surprise to Latin America expert Michael Shifter. “Economic conditions have never been worse in Venezuela. Crime is off the charts, completely uncontrolled. Inflation is the highest in the world, there are shortages of basic goods. And there is widespread frustration and discontent with the government,” he said.

Maduro mobilizes supporters

Maduro has mobilized his backers, including petroleum workers like Jose Hernandez. “The oil industry stands with President Maduro, with his economic measures, in order to counter everything the oligarchy is doing.”

The “oligarchy” is a reference to Venezuela’s political opposition, whose leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has been arrested.

“We have to take up protests in the streets. It is a moral duty, a patriotic duty. If not now, then when?” asked Lopez.

Lopez stands accused of inciting violence. Maduro also accuses the United States of engineering unrest, and has expelled three American diplomats. White House spokesman Jay Carney refutes the charge.

“We have seen many times that the Venezuelan government tries to distract from its own actions by blaming the U.S. or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela," said Carney.

Deteriorating situation

Meanwhile, Maduro is making thinly-veiled threats about any effort to remove him from office.

“If one day you receive news that the oligarchy succeeded in toppling a government, a scenario that will not happen, then perhaps this peaceful, democratic revolution will take on another character, an armed one, deeply revolutionary. The world should know this. We are willing to do everything necessary,” said Maduro.

In his quest to boost the fortunes of Venezuela’s poor, former President Chavez concentrated political power and depleted Venezuela’s substantial oil revenues for massive social welfare programs. He is proving a tough act to follow, according to analyst Michael Shifter.

“Chavez really had the charisma. He had tremendous political skills, and he had money. He rode a boom in Venezuela. And his successor does not have charisma, does not have political skills, and is really strapped on the fiscal front,” said Shifter.

Shifter does not believe a coup is likely, but thinks conditions in Venezuela could deteriorate further, leading to far deeper, more widespread unrest and pressure for new elections on an accelerated timeline.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Peter from: Usa
February 20, 2014 4:04 PM
The problem is that elections will always show the same result due to a shady electoral system and communist non-democratic rulers. There is no way out through elections, even if the vast majority wants change.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

US, Cuba Teams Discuss Telecommunications Issues

US delegation visited Cuba this week as the two nations continued efforts to restore diplomatic relations broken over 50 years ago
More

Egyptian Court Adjourns Trial of Al Jazeera Journalists to April 22

Two journalists are charged with aiding a terrorist organization, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt banned following 2013 army takeover
More

Rio Exhibition Dramatizes Olympian Bay Cleanup Task

Display highlights problem of trash in Guanabara Bay, where sailing, windsurfing events are to take place in next Summer Games
More

Chile Says Drought Permanent, Lays Out Water Plan

President Michelle Bachelet says government will invest in desalinization plants and reservoirs to ensure access to potable water
More

Poll: Venezuelan Leader's Popularity Inches Up to 25%

Rise comes after United States declared Venezuela a security threat and ordered sanctions against seven officials
More

High Winds, Drought Feed Chilean Forest Fires

Blazes have ravaged swaths of China Muerta and Nalca Lolco reserves and Conguillio national park, revered for its ancient forests
More