Consequent on food and medicines being short of supply, and generally a weakness in the economy leading to stagnation, the (Chavez appointed)  Maduro Government , has moved against its people. Protests and small demonstrations  were answered with military force, raids were carried out without judicial sanctions, imprisonments  unauthorized, and it is rumoured killing of protestors by paramilitary (Cuban)  troops, is taking place.

A shortage of basic food-stuffs, killings, assassinations of community leaders and affluent people, has shaken Caracas to its core, and their currency is falling rapidly to other compatible nations. Almost immediately there is inflation commensurate with decline in their currency exchange value, over 50%.

In the face of escalating violence, benefits the poor once enjoyed in public health, and education, have become unavailable; Chavez’s policy in supporting the poor has already shown much improvement in reducing inequality, and increasing a strong middle class. Now a family that obtained cancer treatment for their child is unable to even find imported medication, for continued treatment. 

Maduro’s Government have kept the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in a military jail while he awaits charges for inciting violence. The opposition blames the Government for denying the people the right to protest, and calls them the pawns of Havana; for the ‘’colectivos”, a militia-like armed group, are trained and supported by Cubans, who control and intimidate the protestors.

Still most people believe that peace can be resolved by negotiation and dialogue.

Yet the country shows areas of damage in Caracas, Valencia, and San Cristobal. In the area of AltaVista, witnesses said the National Guard troops on motorcycles shouting “puppets of Washington “shot rubber bullets and teargas at groups of students, who responded with sticks and stones. With increasing vehemence standbys’ shout “’that’s enough already” (Ya esta Bueno ya). Clearly, Venezuelans are unhappy with this developing situation.

How did these events arise? Just prior to his demise, Chavez appointed Nicholas Maduro, his vice-president, to take over the presidency of Venezuela, and continue his programs of social development. On the grounds that the electorate really wanted Lopez, the opposition leader decided to create dissension, but with reason. The electoral results were a close call.

Strike, stop-work orders, was common in the followings days, leading to gun-violence, the situation as it persists. Lopez appealed to the USA, for help, inviting Amnesty to comment: “Maduro’s behaviour smacks of politically pressure to restrict dissension in the country.”

Madura suspected this as political interference, and gave three U.S diplomats 48 hours to leave the country. At a recent rally, Maduro shouted ‘’Yankee Go Home” receiving cheers from the crowd.

U. S. President Barack Obama was not amused. He responded that the Government of Venezuela should desist from false accusations to American Diplomats, and concentrate on resolving legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people. This type of pressure and threat has not bothered Venezuela for over a decade, so their supply of oil to U.S. interests was scarcely interrupted, but it seems inevitable at this time.

Here in Jamaica, the Government is dismayed by these developments, which now threatens the future of Petro-Caribe, the company that manages Petroleum distribution throughout the Caribbean, giving preferential rates to Caribbean Nations. The Caribbean would like to see order and Governance returned to Venezuela, so that trade will be restored.

(Ref: Guardian Press Feb 2014, CNN Feb 2014,)


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