Wednesday, December 13, 2017

There is a dictatorship in Venezuela but there is also a democratic opposition struggling to be free

Venezuela's democratic opposition honored by the European Union

Earlier today, Julio Borges, head of the opposition-led National Assembly upon receiving the European Union's Sakharov Prize on behalf of the entire Venezuelan democratic opposition warned "[t]he regime has kidnapped democracy, and installed hunger and misery." On December 10, 2017 Venezuelan strong man Nicolas Maduro announced that main opposition parties would be banned from participating in the 2018 presidential elections.

"Since the beginning of [2017], more than 130 opponents have been murdered and more than 500 have been arbitrarily imprisoned [in Venezuela]" reported the European Parliament.

Brief Background on Venezuela
Venezuela overthrew a military dictator on January 23, 1958, a transition government prepared elections that were held in December 1958. On February 13, 1959 social democrat Rómulo Betancourt took office and served out a full term leaving on March 13, 1964.

Including Betancourt eight different presidents representing three different major opposition parties that had competitive elections in Venezuela ruled the country from 1959-1999. There was one failed and bloody coup attempt in 1992 led by Hugo Chavez that was put down. 

Hugo Chavez won the presidency of Venezuela in 1999 and began dismantling Venezuela's democracy. Survived a military coup attempt in 2002, but died in office in 2013. Chavez's successor Nicolas Maduro outlawed opposition parties and has erected a full blown dictatorship.

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