Nicolas Maduro

Miraflores Palace via AP

Venezuela’s socialist regime claims 8 million voters turned out on Sunday to OK its plan to rewrite the constitution and form a dictatorship. But the company that counts Venezuela’s votes cried fraud on Tuesday.

Fears of a dictatorship forming in Venezuela seemed borne out early Tuesday  when the government hauled opposition leaders to jail. But this is shaping up to be a bad week for democracy and free enterprise across the Caribbean.

Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, had promised to jail many of his opponents once a new constituent assembly was elected on Sunday. That body will now rewrite Venezuela’s constitution to give Maduro sweeping new executive powers that critics call a dictatorship.

U.S. Sanctions Venezuelan President Maduro After ‘Sham’ Vote

Jul 31, 2017
Miraflores press office via AP

The Trump administration froze assets, banned travel and prohibited business transactions Monday for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, accusing him of undermining democracy after he carried out an election Sunday for an all-powerful new legislative assembly in defiance of warnings from the U.S. and international community.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Florida Senator Marco Rubio likes to tweet verses from the Book of Proverbs, an Old Testament favorite among conservatives that says, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

You could paraphrase that to describe the Republican Senator’s diplomatic philosophy: “Fear of America is the beginning of foreign policy.”

Rubio clings to the Cold War belief that the U.S. can and should make every geopolitical rogue from Cuba to North Korea cry uncle. So does President Trump.

Teresa Frontado / WLRN.org

More than 100,000 Venezuelan expats came out to vote in South Florida Sunday in a hastily arranged election that officially means nothing - but which could end up meaning a lot if the international community is paying attention.

Twitter via El Nuevo Herald

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López was released from prison over the weekend. But that doesn’t change the fact that Venezuela’s unpopular socialist government remains firmly in power – thanks largely to the loyalty of Venezuela’s military leaders. Many of those top brass are accused of having links to drug trafficking – and they fear that if President Nicolás Maduro is overthrown, they’ll have to face justice.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

Venezuela’s political violence took an ugly turn Wednesday – the country’s independence day. Pro-government militants stormed the National Assembly and beat opposition lawmakers. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s rebel helicopter cop has reappeared.

Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami appeared inside the National Assembly and urged supporters of President Nicolás Maduro to come to the chamber. Shortly after, government street enforcers known as colectivos burst into the congress and injured more than a dozen people.

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COMMENTARY

Since the late Hugo Chávez’s socialist revolution came to power in 1999, its opponents have made more missteps than hacks like me can count. 

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Venezuela’s chaos turned bizarre Tuesday evening when a rogue police officer flew a helicopter over the Caracas presidential palace and later urged Venezuelans to rise up against their government. The cop has done this sort of thing before – on the big screen.

Oscar Pérez is an officer in Venezuela’s investigative police force. But now it seems he’s an insurrectionist.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Goldman Sachs made a dumb p.r. move last week when it bought a $2.8 billion tranche of Venezuelan government bonds – and did so in a way that appears to have handed President Nicolás Maduro’s embattled socialist government an important financial lifeline.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Three years ago, Venezuela’s socialist regime jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López for leading anti-government protests – and also tried to imprison López’s top lieutenant, Carlos Vecchio.

But Vecchio went into hiding and then into exile in South Florida. From here Vecchio helps lead López’s party, Voluntad Popular, or Popular Will.

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UPDATED April 27 at 9 pm

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro calls his country’s tens of thousands of anti-government protesters “terrorists.” But the son of one high-ranking Maduro official is publicly telling the regime it’s wrong.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

Venezuela’s massive anti-government protests appear to have the staying power they’ve lacked in years past. That’s good news, since Venezuela's socialist government has destroyed an oil-rich economy and once-sturdy democracy.

But – along with the 29 people killed so far in this month's unrest – here's the bad news. The longer the demonstrations last, the greater will be their defeat if they don’t succeed in forcing that disastrously erratic and dictatorial regime to restore democratic norms and elections.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Venezuela is in its fourth week of massive anti-government demonstrations – and so far 21 people have been killed in the unrest.

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COMMENTARY

How much do Venezuelans hate President Nicolás Maduro? Apparently they revile him so much that – in a country where food shortages are so acute the average adult lost almost 20 pounds last year – they’re willing to throw eggs at him.

This is Semana Santa, the Easter Holy Week, a time when Maduro hoped most Venezuelans would pause their angry anti-government protests and head to the beach. Instead they pelted him with stones and eggs as his open car moved through Ciudad Guayana on Tuesday.

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