On the afternoon of July 1st, Rufo Chacon, a 16-year-old Venezuelan boy, was participating in a protest against Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship. He ended up blind after policemen fired rubber bullets that hit both his eyes. Rufo Chacon and his mother, Adriana Parada, were part of a movement protesting against the shortages of basic goods such as cooking gas and food in the state of Tachira.
Similar to former President Obama’s uncertainty to intervene in Libya, President Trump is hesitant to commit U.S. troops to Venezuela. This country, which has faced numerous economic crises, is now mired in a political conflict between a US-backed resistance and the government. There are calls for humanitarian actions to prevent the Venezuelan government from harming its people. Others cite the Monroe doctrine to push Russian and Chinese influence outside of Latin America. But the use of military action creates many unknown scenarios, making it challenging to predict what the outcome might be. It is better to use caution than take the risk.
TJ Roberts | United States
Venezuela has hit the news again after the Trump Administration announced support for the opposition. This decision has caused conflict not only with Maduro, but also with the Russian government for the United States. This is because Russia has secure financial relations with Maduro’s Venezuela. While it is the duty of any moral person to empathize with the socialist hell that the people of Venezuela suffer, it is also the duty of foreign nations to respect sovereignty. The Venezuelan people deserve a revolution. Especially given the citizens killed at the hand of the military while protesting Maduro. They do not, however, need American intervention to have this revolution. America must stay out of Venezuelan affairs and allow the people of that sovereign nation to sort its own problems out.
By Daniel Szewc | Poland
With the confirmation that the Venezuelan police force, under the control of Nicolás Maduro, has started shooting at protesters, the situation in Venezuela has only gotten tenser. This is all happening in the midst of the POTUS, Donald Trump, recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president, albeit an interim one. Not only are Maduro’s interests even more at stake now, but the People’s Republic of China’s are also facing a conflict in the region.
The nations of Brazil, Paraguay, Canada, and Colombia have all, within 24 hours, recognized Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela. This lack of balance of recognition in contrast to power may be the cause of the escalation of violence in the streets of Caracas.
According to Bloomberg, the Chinese government has agreed to extend Nicolás Maduro’s credit line by $5 billion USD. This given sword, as usual in the Eastern dragon’s case, has two edges: Venezuela is obliged to sell China it’s most valuable resource, oil, at a very cheap price. A huge manufacturing economy, China relies on oil for its production of goods, without which their fast-growing economy would fall into ruins.
If the American government decides to intervene in favor of it’s preferred side of Venezuela’s political scene, then a proxy war between China, which majorly invested in Maduro’s army, and the USA is extremely likely to occur. China will be anything but reluctant to give up its neo-colonial acquisition.
Even though this conflict is unlikely to spread outside of North and South America, the ensuing famine and mass migration is sure to destabilize the whole region, as well as possibly hit the United States.
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Ryan Lau | @agorisms
Protests are turning deadly throughout the country of Venezuela Wednesday following major leadership turmoil. Earlier today, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the interim president of the country. In doing so, he ousted authoritarian leader Nicolas Maduro, who had led since 2013. The Venezuela National Assembly has said that Maduro’s recent reelection was not legitimate, and thus, Guaido has a rightful path to the position. President Donald Trump concurred, recognizing Guaido as the country’s new leader, as have parts of the Venezuelan military.
Many of the people of Venezuela have joined across the country in opposition to the Maduro regime. A large portion of the citizens blames him for recent hyperinflation and food shortages. These protests, particularly in Caracas, have turned violent.
Numerous videos on Twitter show gunshot victims lying in the streets. One video from the Venezuelan Resistance, an anti-Maduro group, shows that bullets hit a young man 12 kilometers from Junquito, a district of Caracas.
[Warning: Video contains graphic content]
— Pedro Paolucci (@paolucci40) January 23, 2019
Venezuelan Military, Police Take Sides
Beginning two days ago, parts of the military actually began to break with Maduro. Early Monday morning, a Venezuelan national guard unit broke with Maduro, stating that they no longer recognize him as a leader. One man, Sargeant Armando Figueroa, also urged the people of Venezuela to take to the streets with him.
Not every unit of the Venezuelan military is taking a stand in support of Juan Guaido, however. Many military and security forces are actually shooting back at civilian protesters. A number of Tweets also show this occurring. One claims that the military shot at civilians in a small town for opposing the rule of Maduro.
Today this happened to these people while showing support in a small town in Venezuela. The military shooting at them because they are showing support against Maduro’s corrupt dictatorship @NicolasMaduro @realDonaldTrump @Mmorin_informa #donewiththecommunism pic.twitter.com/RlZwCNitGi
— Thabatha Acosta (@Thabathaa) January 23, 2019
Venezuelan broadcasting stations VPITV and NTV have reported similar findings. The latter posted a video on Twitter recording some of the protests. Though the video footage is largely unclear, the audio shows many gunshots being fired, followed by the wail of sirens. Citizens yell in the background.
Though Nicolas Maduro is losing power quickly, it is currently unclear how long unrest in Venezuela will last.
71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.