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Venezuela Moves Closer to What?

February 6, 2019
Plain English Version

Juan Guaido, left, Venezuela’s opposition leader, and President Nicolás Maduro. Photo Credit: Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

The regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro may be coming to an end. He is the successor to President Hugo Chávez who died of cancer while in office in 2013.

 Venezuela is rich in oil reserves. Much of its income comes from the sale of oil to other countries. Chavez put programs to benefit the poor into place. They made him popular.  When oil prices dropped, the economy went into decline. By then, Maduro was in charge. From decline, the country went into economic freefall. The people of Venezuela faced hunger, no jobs, growing inflation, and no medicine. Millions fled the country.

Maduro’s responses were to wipe out the Venezuelan constitution. The new law gave him power over the court. They reduced the powers of its legislature. He staged an election that made him president with the powers of a dictator. He turned the oil industry over to cronies. He gave the revenue from oil to his generals. Oil production dropped.

Venezuela is now in a full-blown crisis.

Hope for change has arrived. What was left of the Congress was in the hands of the opposition to Maduro’s leadership. It chose Juan Guaidó as its leader. Guaidó declared himself the legal president of the country. The United States, Canada and most of the countries in South America recognized him as president of Venezuela. The European Union followed. The people of Venezuela are taking to the streets. There are huge demonstrations.

The U.S. is closing the door to oil revenue for Maduro and his cronies. The big question of what happens next will most likely be a matter for the Venezuelan military. If the military generals desert Maduro, most think his time will come to an end.

But then, the real world may assert itself. And, if so, the biggest question is what happens next?

Will Maduro go without a struggle? This will call for diplomacy from interested nations. Will he go to jail or might he be executed? Execution would get the new regime off to bad start. Millions of Venezuelans still support Maduro because of his ties to the Chavez legacy. Can Juan Guaidó establish his claim to be the president?

A new government will have to come into place. It will have to begin to move to democracy and hold new elections. It will have to start a program of economic recovery. Can they do this without the financial support of other nations? Will Venezuela stay independent or become just a client of America and the West?

Russia and Cuba still support Maduro. China is waiting to see what happens. South America and Central America states view the U.S. with suspicion. U.S. “imperialism” is always a cause for concern for many other countries and observers.

Maduro has no support from Western nations to remain president. Still, this does not make Guaidó the legal head of the nation. The Venezuelan military generals have not yet moved to remove Maduro. No one can read the future of Venezuela.

Source: The New York Times February 4, 2019


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