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The political crisis in Venezuela: causes and reaction

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The first major anti-government protests in Venezuela began in early April. Weekly meetings gather thousands of sympathizers of both the opposition and President Nicolas Maduro, a score injured and arrested in clashes with police in the hundreds. TASS talks about how the political crisis affects the international image of Venezuela, which people took to the streets and why not in a hurry to leave.

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When and why people took to the streets?

The political crisis in Venezuela has intensified even 9 January, when its national Assembly declared the President “left his post”. Then the Supreme court (SC) of Venezuela announced that the Parliament had a majority of seats in which went to the opposition in 2015, no authority to send Maduro to resign.

However, non-binding resolution of the National Assembly has been negatively perceived by the President. Two months after the “antics” of the Parliament controlled by Maduro, the Supreme court assumed the powers of the Assembly. The relevant decision of the armed forces took on March 29.

This date became the starting point in a series of protests across the country, one of the largest in the history of Venezuela. The opposition called the ruling “a coup” and even appealed to the armed forces of the country.

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What was the reaction of the government?

On the rejection of the contradictory decisions of the Supreme court took only three days. Already on 1 April, faced with the discontent within the country and condemnation of a number of States, the court returned to the National Assembly of its powers.

However, this concession was perceived by the opposition-minded Venezuelans as a signal to start mass protests. The active phase of the anti-government demonstrations began on 4 April.

On this day in clashes between supporters of the United socialist party of Venezuela and the so-called collectives (Spanish colectivos — armed groups supported by the government) with the opposition were injured, 42 people arrested and more than fifty.

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As the situation developed further?

Unhappy with the policies of Maduro citizens and their opponents began to take to the streets across the country. Already on April 6 the first victim of the political crisis became a student shot in Carrizal in the North of the country.

The government has resorted to closure of public transport and the metro in the days of the protests, April 15, nicolás Maduro announced the discovery of more than two thousand checkpoints across the country in anticipation of the impending mass demonstrations in the capital.

The largest anti-government demonstration in the country’s history was the so-called “Mother of all marches” (Spanish La madre de todas las marchas) 19 APR. According to the Institute of public opinion Meganálisis, to the streets of Caracas left 2.5 million people across the country protested over 6 million. At the same time on the streets both supporters and opponents of President Maduro.

Amid the ongoing protests on may 2 , the President signed a decree on convocation of the Constitutional Assembly (CA), which can reform the public administration and to amend the basic law.

The decision was met with criticism from both the National Assembly and the absolute majority (about 90%) of the population. However, on 24 may it was announced that elections to the CA held in late July.

Maduro promised on 2 Junethat the draft of the new Constitution of Venezuela, which will be the result of work ON, will be put to a referendum. The following week, on 9 June, the opposition filed a lawsuit against the President for his intention to change the Constitution.

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In this active phase of the protests ended?

On the contrary, the conflict between supporters and opponents of Maduro escalated to the limit.

The attorney General of Venezuela was called to dissolve the current composition controlled by the President of the Supreme court on June 12.

And already on June 24 supporters of Maduro attempted to break into the Parliament building. Through four days, June 28, protestuschih attacked the Supreme court building with the helicopter, and the organizer of the attack demanded the resignation of Maduro.

After this incident, Parliament was again attacked by Pro-government groups: a minimum of five MPs and seven members of the National Assembly were affected.

According to the results of organized opposition national referendum, held on 16 July, more than 98% of Venezuelans voted against the convening of a Constitutional Assembly. According to the Chairman of the National Assembly, Julio Borges Venezuelans in a referendum proved that the want the resignation of Maduro.

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How many people were affected?

Data on victims and those arrested during the protests vary widely from source to source. So, on April 22 NGO “Venezuelan penal forum” announced the arrest of more than 1,300 people across the country since the beginning of April, of which 750 were detained for two days, from 19 to 20 April.

As the opposition says “the Block of democratic unity”, 220 people were injured and more than 10 were killed in the protests and during the wave of looting and riots in Caracas.

According to the Prosecutor General of Venezuela on April 25, the victims of the violence since the beginning of the month became 26 people.

The national Union of press workers said on 26 Aprilthat more than a hundred journalists were attacked on 31 March.

In two months the number of victims has increased dramatically. According to media reports, as of July 5, killing nearly 90 people and detained more than 3.6 thousand people.

The number of injured journalists to the 27th of June has tripled: up to 370 people.

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What was the reaction of the international community?

Even on 1 April of the foreign Ministers who founded the southern common market (MERCOSUR), Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay — has urged Venezuelan authorities to respect the principle of separation of powers.

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri said on 6 Aprilthat the Republic has “no democracy” and human rights are systematically violated.

U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson told reporters on 19 Aprilthat “the government Maduro is violating its own Constitution”.

The Minister of foreign Affairs of Venezuela DELSY Rodriguez said on 26 April on the country’s withdrawal from the OAS (Organization of American States) after it was decided to hold a meeting of foreign Ministers of member countries of the organization for the situation in the Bolivarian Republic without its consent.

The official representative of Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said on 27 Aprilthat “the problems of Venezuelans should decide only the Venezuelans on the basis of the Constitution and through dialogue”. The same day Syrian President Bashar al-Assad compared what is happening in Venezuela with the “orange revolution” in Ukraine.

And on may 19 the U.S. Treasury Department expanded sanctions against a number of Venezuelan officials of high rank in connection with the violation of human rights in the Republic.

See also

Nicolas Maduro and his presidency: what’s going on in Venezuela

Alexander Mosesov

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