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

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurd President Urges World Community to Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Dehydration Is Top Killer of Southern Arizona's Migrants

US Border Patrol's search and rescue unit launches 'blue blinking light of life program' - a series of poles strategically placed throughout desert that emit high-intensity blue light
More

United States Steps up Pressure on Guatemala over Labor Rights

Trade representative says Obama administration would push ahead with legal action under free trade agreement to make Guatemala meet international standards
More

Video US Attempts Crackdown on Trafficking Along Southern Border

Nogales, Arizona, notoriously known as 'tunnel city,' used by traffickers to smuggle humans, narcotics into US and Border Patrol responds with new technologies
More

Video Arizona Non-Profit Helps Keep Dehydrated Migrants Alive

The Sonoran Desert, a common crossing point for illegal immigrants, is one of North America's hottest places
More

Colombian National Pleads Guilty to Killing of US Drug Agent

Andres Garcia entered plea of guilty at district court in southeastern state of Virginia; will be sentenced in December
More

Attack on Colombian Police Kills 7

Defense ministry vows to 'maintain and intensify' operations against armed groups, drug traffickers following the attack
More