News / Americas

Venezuela's Worsening Conditions Threaten Chavez Legacy

In Venezuela, Chavez Legacy Under Firei
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
Brian Padden
March 05, 2014 10:17 PM
One year ago, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the death of the country's socialist leader of 14 years, vowing to preserve his legacy. As VOA’s Brian Padden reports, recent unrest has many wondering whether Maduro can keep the Chavista coalition together.
Brian Padden
One year ago, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the death of Hugo Chavez - the socialist leader who had governed the country for 14 years - and vowed to preserve his mentor’s legacy. 

Today, worsening economic conditions, soaring crime and growing protests nationwide have many questioning whether Maduro can keep the Chavista coalition together - absent the late president's charismatic leadership.

Followers of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez took to the streets Wednesday to mark the anniversary of his death. Among Chavez supporters, affection for the charismatic leader still runs high.  

But there is also growing anger and frustration about the direction the country is heading.

Inflation hit 56 percent last year. There are shortages of basic commodities such as cooking oil and flour and one of the highest murder rates in the world.

  • Anti-government demonstrators wearing masks hold a makeshift shield during clashes with police at Altamira square in Caracas, Feb. 27, 2014.
  • Anti-government demonstrators shout during a protest at a barricade in San Cristobal, Venezuela, Feb. 27, 2014.
  • An anti-government demonstrator walks behind a burning motorcycle during a protest in San Cristobal, Venezuela, Feb. 27, 2014.
  • National Guard troops fire against demonstrators during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in San Cristobal, Feb. 27, 2014.
  • Nuns raise their arms during a women's march protesting repression against anti-government demonstrators in Caracas, Feb. 26, 2014.
  • Demonstrators fill a bottle with gasoline during protests against Nicolas Maduro's government in San Cristobal, about 660 km southwest of Caracas, Feb. 26, 2014. 
  • A motorcycle taxi driver walks past burning motorcycles set ablaze by anti-government demonstrators at Altamira Square in Caracas, Feb. 26, 2014. 
  • Men on motorcycles look at firefighters extinguishing motorcycles set ablaze by anti-government demonstrators at Altamira Square in Caracas, Feb. 26, 2014. 

Student-led anti-government demonstrations are heading into their second month and have in some cases turned deadly - as protesters clashed with National Guard officers and police.

Ronn Pineo, a Latin America analyst with the Council on Hemispheric Affairs who admired Chavez, says many people are losing faith in his successor President Maduro.

“Maduro is not that man," he said. "And part of what we are seeing now is an individual who just doesn’t have the same level of charisma. He’s not as savvy politically.”

Still, Venezuela's worsening conditions have not changed the country's political dynamics, says analyst Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue.

“A lot of the discontent extends to the people who supported Chavez," he said. "What hasn’t happened is that many of those people have come over to the opposition.”

In the most recent municipal elections in December, the ruling socialist parties bested the opposition.

Support for the social programs that Chavez initiated - that greatly reduced poverty and improved health care - remain popular.

But Pineo says Maduro has been unwilling or unable to make needed reforms to protect the sustainability of these programs, as his mentor had done in the past.  

“Chavez went too soon," he said. "He wasn’t given enough of an opportunity [to] finally cement into place some of the things that he had built.”

While Maduro has called for dialogue to deal with the nation’s problems, observers say his inaction so far has tarnished the legacy of Hugo Chavez.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kenneth G. Cone from: San Pedro Sula, Honduras
March 06, 2014 11:05 AM
By expropriations in the name of social justice, Chavez destroyed the productive capacity of Venezuela, leaving the country well over 90% dependent on imports. The statement that “Chavez went too soon," "He wasn’t given enough of an opportunity [to] finally cement into place some of the things that he had built.” flies in the ugly face of reality that the Venezuelans are living.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Better Lives Sought for Larimar Miners in Dominican Republic

Blue-green stone's existence on Caribbean island seen as both a boon and a curse for those looking for jobs in impoverished southwestern mountains
More

Antibiotic Resistance Found in Isolated Amazonian Tribe

Yanomami villagers in Venezuela offer rare chance to see what microbes likely shared our bodies before civilizations evolved
More

Brazil's Olympic Host Rio Has Phones Cut Due to Unpaid Bills

Brazilian telecoms firm Oi SA says it cut Internet and telephone lines after state government racked up debt of $55.7 million in unpaid bills
More

Pope Considering Cuba Stop During US Trip but No Decision

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit New York, Philadelphia and Washington in the last week of September
More

India and Canada Look Forward to Deeper Ties

Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Canada in 42 years
More

Colombian Rebels Blame Government for War's Rising Death Toll

But FARC rebels declined to say whether they had broken their own ceasefire with recent attack that killed 11 government soldiers
More