Venezuela is back in the news for three immediate reasons: Growing popular protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, the declaration by an opposition lawmaker of the illegitimacy of the government, as well as the involvement of other countries. In the beginning of the week, a small team of soldiers – days ahead of a national call for protests issued by the opposition-controlled National Assembly – attempted an uprising against the government. Later in the week, Vice President of the United States Mike Pence publicly criticised Mr. Maduro, sending a videotaped message to the country’s residents. President Donald Trump then recognised the opposition leader as the interim president. These moves are crafted with the intent to pressure Mr. Maduro to step aside and to restore democracy in Venezuela, and countries in Latin America such as Argentina and Brazil followed with recognitions. Yet countries such as Bolivia, China, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey continue to back the government of Mr. Maduro. The country’s military chief also declared loyalty to him. Continue reading
There were presidential developments in Colombia and Venezuela in the past weeks. In Colombia, the presidential race is headed to a June run-off between conservative candidate Ivan Duque and leftist Gustavo Petro, and the 2016 peace agreement with former terror group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is a key issue. In Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro may have won a second term last week, but his poverty-stricken country is compelling people to move out of the country. Continue reading
During the first debate of the United States presidential election last year, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said: “Words matter. Words matter when you run for president, and they really matter when you are president”. One year on, having just unsettled many with his bellicose rhetoric towards North Korea last week – threatening to unleash “fire and fury” and further adding that the country could “be in trouble like few nations ever have been” – President Donald Trump’s reaction to a white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, has been criticised. While he eventually denounced the neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan as criminals and thugs, he was slammed with his initial remarks that there were “many sides” involved, and in fact later in the week, the president went on to defend his initial remarks over the protests, by laying “blame on both sides” for the violence which transpired.
And words matter too beyond the United States. In chaotic Venezuela, where President Nicolás Maduro seeks to consolidate power through a new constituent assembly, Mr. Trump’s threat of a military solution has only emboldened Mr. Maduro to attack the opposition. Continue reading