The situation in the Ukraine has been getting a lot of press, and justifiably so. A potential hot war involving Russia has implications as far reaching as it gets in the political and violence realm. While the situation in the Ukraine has been deteriorating since December, another situation involving civil unrest and government instability has been brewing in Venezuela. In February, the unrest boiled over.
Political unrest in Venezuela has been going on for some time. The unrest that has been boiling over in the streets of Caracus has been brewing for over a decade while now Hugo Chàvez was still alive. Chàvez’s successor, current President Nicholàs Madura won a very close, very disputed election in the spring of last year. He came into office during an economic depression in which food, milk, and other essentials such as toilet paper are in short supply across the entire country.
The situation has boiled over in the last several months. According to Al Jazeera a female student claimed was sexually assaulted, causing a wave of protests to begin. Why? Rape is bad, but protests of sexual assault don’t usually lead to violent protests that put a government on the brink of collapse. According to The New Republic, the university had been asking the government for better security for over a year to combat rampant crime in the area.
In the eyes of the majority of the people of Venezuela, the government is unable to provide them with food, water, shelter, employment, or safety. The sexual assault at ULA’s Táchira in San Cristóbal sent the boiling water frothing over the edge.
February 4th is when the protests started. February 13th is when they turned violent. How? Why? By whom? Has been disputed in so many conflicting reports I honestly can’t say. From what I’ve gathered by the data I’ve read, it would seem that the protesters pushed a little too hard, and the police/military used deadly force to push back. The human condition always wins out no matter how civil we think we are.
Since the protests turned violent a month ago 50 people have died. Madura has ordered all US diplomats out of the country claiming the US is involved in a conspiracy against his Socialist Party along with the far right party members of Venezuela. The leader of the protest movement Leopoldo Lopez turned himself into police. The charges against him have been reduced from terrorism to arson but President Madura continues to call the college aged protestors terrorists. Bashir Al-Assad of Syria says the same thing of the protesting civilians of his country where his military has killed 100,000 civilians in the past three years.
In Venezuela; the economic depression continues, the political unrest continues, the protests continue, the violence continues. There is no end in sight, there are no simple answers. Surprised? Well, welcome to Post 2008 1st World Earth.