Venezuela in Crisis
The United States has just announced that President of the Bolvarian Republic of Venezuela is now sanctioned economically in the United States. This means he will no longer be allowed to personally help himself by purchasing American goods while his people continue to starve in the streets and the Constitutional Assembly elections last night creating more discontent with the president. The election, held Sunday evening, was largely boycotted by the opposition parties as they claimed it would be rigged. Maduro has spent today celebrating his victory from last night.
Widely condemned across the world as a sham election to try and increase Maduro’s grasp on power, the election was supposed to elect a new Assembly and give the majority vast powers over the Constitution. Largely boycotted by the opposition, the Assembly was created to help rewrite the Constitution of the failing socialist Republic. Unlike the 1999 Constitutional Assembly which was called for by a referendum, this Assembly was brought on unilaterally by the President and is largely seen as a ploy by Maduro to keep hold on power.
The past year in Venezuela has been plagued with riots, starvation, and has run out of basic supplies like food and medical supplies, making Maduro and the democratically elected Socialists extremely unpopular in the country. Seeing the inevitable loss of power coming, Maduro sought this election as his last attempt to hold onto power, which for now has worked.
Across the world, Maduro and the elections have been condemned. United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called the election a sham and said it was another step to dictatorship in the country. Many in Venezuela are calling for sanctions by the US on Venezuela even if it will hurt them in the short term by not giving them access to food. This is to try and oust Maduro faster before he can start going after his political opponents. Mexico, Colombia, and Panama have also sanctioned the country and the Organisation of American States condemned the vote.
All reactions were not negative, however, as Nicaragua and Bolivia came to the defense of the vote, saying it’s “a historic day for a brave people” and “to respect the choice of the Venezuelan people.” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a notable American “democratic” socialist, has stated positively about Venezuela’s socialist policies, including its bread lines. It remains to be seen how much longer Maduro can hold onto power, but it seems for now he has cemented his place as the world’s newest de jure dictator.