by Roman King | U.S.
After years of severe economic crisis, the South American oil republic of Venezuela and their many, many economic, political, and social problems are finally reaching critical mass. Among other things, President Nicolas Maduro has stacked the Supreme Court with oligarchs and political supporters, dissolved Venezuela’s National Assembly, and crashed the Venezuelan bolivar to the point where World of Warcraft gold is literally worth more per capita, but with the controversial and disputed snap elections for the legislative branch last week, any last shred of human rights or economic freedom may be as good as gone.
The new Constituent Assembly, a 545-seat lawmaking body conveniently filled with President Maduro’s backers and supporters, was elected last week, despite massive citizen protests and sanctions from U.S. President Donald Trump. The new Assembly has a majority large enough to rewrite the Venezuelan Constitution, and fears are rising of an absolute dictatorship among Venezuelans and international pundits alike. President Trump has called Maduro a “dictator”; even Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega spoke out against the elections, saying that “…[this] is the end of freedom of expression, and this freedom has been battered for some time now.”
This is a smokescreen to hide the corruption and crisis that Venezuela faces. But they will have to climb over the institution that I represent, the people of Venezuela and our constitution. — Attorney General Luisa Ortega
The election is a culmination of months of political corruption and power grabbing from Maduro and his United Socialist Party. On July 16th, over 7 million Venezuelans cast ballots in support of recalling President Maduro; his government ignored and delegitimized the results. Over 100 Venezuelans have been killed by the National Guard in protests against the executive and judicial branches. Despite a coalition of minority parties currently holding government in the National Assembly, Maduro has continued to enact devastating cuts to personal and economic freedom, putting heavy taxes on the businesses not scared overseas. State-level political dissidents have found themselves jailed and even killed as a punishment for speaking out against the government.
71 Republic will continue to report on the Venezuelan crisis as important developments arise.