Venezuela teeters on verge of collapse


Venezuela is teetering on the verge of total collapse. Anger is growing with President Nicolas Maduro who has utterly failed to meet
people’s most basic needs. Hundreds of thousands in Venezuela
cannot get access to food. Economic crisis is only getting worse. Inflation is out of control and government has no cash to import food and medicine.
No wonder, desperate and angry protesters are coming out in droves across the country. And the crisis seems to have entered a dark and alarming chapter. It has only grown worst in recent months.
The daily protests have become a new normal in the country. In what was the bloodiest night of protests on Thursday, at least 12 people died in demonstrations and looting across the capital Caracas. The violence erupted as demonstrators attempted to march downtown Caracas, denouncing what they say is the country’s slide into authoritarianism and economic collapse.
Maduro has rarely appeared more vulnerable since his election in 2013 after the death of his predecessor Chavez. Fears of violence spiked recently as Maduro said he would increase the size of a citizen militia that supports the government to 500,000 members and give each cadet a gun. At a rally last week, Maduro accused Julio Borges, the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, of trying to foment a coup and blamed him for the violence.
The mass protests continue as Maduro faces scrutiny abroad and within his own government after the country’s top court last month tried to grab power from the opposition-controlled congress. Maduro’s opponents are exploiting this chaos for their political gain. The opposition has accused the beleaguered president, whose popularity has hit the rock bottom, of seeking to cling to power by barring opposition leaders from office and misusing state institutions. They have flayed Maduro for unleashing deadly force on protesters. The opposition lawmakers accused security forces of using excessive teargas and force to block the marches, which have seen exchange volleys of rocks and teargas between protesters and national guard troops. The country’s public prosecutor has ordered investigations into the deaths, which were caused by gunshots and electrocution.
The countries dueling political factions are locked in blame game. Maduro’s political foes are accusing him for everything that is happening in Venezuela and said the president’s heavy-handed efforts to repress the protests have fueled the violence. But Maduro and his allies have said the recent wave of unrest is akin to a coup, led by government opponents at home and abroad. The opposition is trying to strengthen its momentum after its attempt last year to oust Maduro with a referendum was quashed by election officials. Although Maduro’s opponents have called on their supporters to rally again in the coming days, demanding the embattled
president hold fresh elections, the challenge for them now is to build
collective leadership that can channel popular demands. But it will further increase the risk of violence as Maduro’s government will never give in to the pressure and will deploy every possible measure to maintain its power.

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