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How To Consolidate Power: From Venezuela To Florida

DeSantis HB 1
Miami Herald/The Florida Channel
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signs a law that immediately enhances criminal penalties for crimes committed during protests that turn violent.

For politicians who want centralized power, local governments can be an obstacle. In Venezuela, state and city governments run by the opposition have faced unrelenting attacks and have had their power stripped away. Now, many fear Florida is heading down a similar path – with a new law that punishes protesters and limits the power of local officials to rethink police funding.

Some of the ways Gov. Ron DeSantis uses his office and his party's majority in the state house to approve and propose laws that could punish protesters or local officials looking to rethink police funding, have drawn comparisons to the tactics of authoritarians like the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and his successor Nicolás Maduro.

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.
Daniel Rivero is a reporter and producer for WLRN, covering Latino and criminal justice issues. Before joining the team, he was an investigative reporter and producer on the television series "The Naked Truth," and a digital reporter for Fusion.