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Venezuela - The Crisis of 2017

Opposition leaders called on to their supporters to shake up the country and reject the invoking of a National Constituent Assembly, a measure that President Nicolas Maduro announced on May Day in a bid to appease social tensions in the country. Julio Borges, president of the National Assembly, called President Maduro's move a coup d'Etat and called everyone to take to the streets tomorrow in order to shake up the country.

With Venezuela's capital girding for massive demonstrations, President Nicols Maduro accused the United States April 19, 2017 of trying to overthrow his leftist government. In an address from the national palace in Caracas, Maduro complained of "a State Department push" to "provoke an imperialist intervention" in the South American country, with pro- and anti-government demonstrations as a backdrop.

At a press conference called by the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition, Henrique Capriles a representative of the Justice First party said that one of the fundamental requirements for the opposition to abandon street protests is for the democratically-elected government of Maduro to schedule general elections despite the fact the Maduro's term does not end until 2019 and that it runs contrary to what is established in the country's constitution.

Venezuela's Vice President Tareck El Aissami indicated that the opposition is trying to depict Venezuela as a country in chaos to justify foreign intervention. "We know there are groups interested in selling the world a country in chaos, Henrique Capriles has said in an irresponsible manner that the government is guilty of these deaths and therefore will have to prove these serious allegations in court."

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the implementation of a "special plan" dubbed Zamora against an alleged coup in the country. "I have decided to launch strategic, special, civil and military plan to ensure the functioning of our country, its security, internal order and social integrity," Maduro said. He added that the current phase of the plan was directed against reported activities of the United States in order to "cope with a coup, escalation of violence and to ensure peace in Venezuela." According to Maduro, the US Department of State had ordered to "attack" the Venezuelan revolution and institutions in order to approve "an imperialistic intervention."

Venezuela's center-right opposition organized "the mother of all marches" to protest Maduro's administration, and the Venezuelan leader rallied his supporters to turn out for a counter-march. He ordered military troops to fan out across the country and announced plans to vastly expand the country's civilian militia to half a million members from its current 100,000.

The turbulence erupted after the Venezuelan Supreme Court's March 30 announcement that it would strip the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its legislative powers. The court stacked with appointees of Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez reversed its position in the wake of domestic and international outcries about an attempted power grab.

Background

The National Socialist Party has ruled Venezuela for 17 years. Economic pressures have mounted in recent years, especially since the price of oil Venezuela's chief export began falling in 2014. Venezuelans face chronic, severe shortages of food, medicine and other basics in what once was Latin America's wealthiest country.

since taking office in 2013, Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution have faced non-stop attacks from Venezuelas U.S.-backed right-wing opposition, making advancements difficult. Improving upon destabilization tactics used during Chavezs administration, the opposition seemed to have perfected the art of sabotage.

Despite right-wing sabotage, Maduros government has lived up to its promise to continue improving living conditions for Venezuelas poor and oppressed. Under his administration, Venezuela expanded its free health care coverage to more than 60 percent of the population, according to the countrys Ministry of People's Power for Health. The Venezuelan president has also made free health care available to people in historically impoverished departments like Amazonas, Bolivar and Delta Amacuro.

Public housing for all Venezuelans has also been a mantra of Maduros administration. In January 2017, he announced that his government reached its goal of delivering 1,400,000 homes to Venezuelans across the country. The public housing program is either free or low of cost, depending on the family's means. Venezuela currently has the second lowest rate of homelessness in Latin America, with only 6.68 percent of its population being unhoused.

Maduro, who actively supported Venezuelas student movement against neoliberalism during the 1980s, has made important strides in public education since coming to power. The Venezuelan president has significantly grown the countrys Canaima program, a computer literacy and technology education campaign established by Chavez in 2009. Maduros administration has provided more than 4,800,000 computers and over 100 million technology textbooks to students across the country.

Maduro has also made tremendous advancements in improving the representation and civil rights of historically oppressed sectors of Venezuelan society, like women, Afro-Indigenous people and the LGBTQ community.




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