On Venezuela

Many of the readers of this blog are probably following the latest events in Venezuela.  For those that are not caught up, here it is what is going on in a nutshell:  For the past few weeks, there have been protests against the Venezuelan government.  President Nicolas Maduro has continued the policies of former President Hugo Chavez and this does not sit well with much of the population.  First of all, many believe that Maduro illegally stole the election from Henrique Capriles following Chavez’ death.  Even that aside, Venezuela has one of the world’s highest murder rates and its economy has suffered miserably under Chavez and Maduro.  Many people view Maduro as a bully who stomps on his opponents, much like his predecessor.  The protesters come from across the spectrum but have found particular support with university students.

In response to protests by tens of thousands across the country, Maduro has enlisted the police and military.  A number of people have been killed but the true number is not known.  Rather than recap all of what the news media has covered, I want to briefly share two statements from personal friends with family in Venezuela.

“Yes, we have a relative in San Cristóbal, where the repression has been especially brutal, and she sent me a pvt message on FB telling me that military planes have been flying over the city since Thursday.”

“My nephew, a teenager, just witnessed cops and masked men killing a man with a rifle. They put him in the trunk and left the scene.”

I think these statements say a great deal about the government of Venezuela.