Authoritarianism in Venezuela? A Reply to Gabriel Hetland



Venezuelan opposition protesters burn a National Bolivarian Police motorcycle at an anti-government barricade in the affluent ea

Venezuelan opposition protesters burn a National Bolivarian Police motorcycle at an anti-government barricade in the affluent eastern Caracas municipality of Chacao. (AVN)

Venezuela is once again dominating international headlines as violent opposition protests bent on toppling the elected Maduro government enter their seventh week. The demonstrations have claimed to date at least 54 lives since April 4, surpassing the previous wave of violent anti-government protests in 2014, known as “the Exit”. However, this time around, the unrest coincides with a severe economic downturn and a transformed geopolitical landscape defined by the return of the right in Brazil and Argentina as well as an even more bellicose regime in Washington.

Meanwhile, the international outcry at this latest violent effort to oust the Chavista government has been far more muffled than the last time.

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Standoff in Venezuela

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal | May 12, 2017

Venezuela has been rocked in recent weeks by almost daily protests and counter-protests, as right-wing opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro seek to bring down his government.
While the media portrays these events as a popular rebellion against an authoritarian government, supporters of the pro-poor Bolivarian revolution initiated by former president Hugo Chavez say the country is witnessing an escalation in what is an ongoing counter-revolutionary campaign seeking to restore Venezuela’s traditional elites in power and reverse the gains made by the poor majority under Chavez and Maduro.
Federico Fuentes interviewed Steve Ellner, a well-known analyst of Venezuelan and Latin American politics and a retired professor at Venezuela’s Universidad de Oriente, to get his views on recent events.

When it comes to the current turmoil in Venezuela, the media have been unanimous in their version of events: the Maduro regime is on its last legs due to the overwhelming opposition it faces from the people, including among the poorest sectors that previously supported the government, and therefore its only recourse for survival is violent repression. How accurate is this media narrative?

It’s hardly a far-gone conclusion.

There is no better indication of the deceptiveness of the mainstream media’s narrative than the spatial nature of the anti-government protests in early 2014 known as the “guarimba” and again this year.Read More »

Venezuela Government Accuses U.S. of Bankrolling Right-Wing Violence

 TelesurMay 11, 2017

A Venezuelan opposition protester wears a U.S. flag bandanna around his face.

A Venezuelan opposition protester wears a U.S. flag bandanna around his face. | Photo: Reuters

The Venezuelan government accused Washington Thursday of financially propping up violent opposition groups in the South American country, slamming U.S. officials for promoting an “unprecedented and systematic attempt” to intervene in Caracas’ affairs.

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“To preserve peace in Venezuela, there’s no choice but to convene nationwide dialogue to reform the Constitution”

The Dawn | May 02, 2017

Elías José Jaua Milano / Photo credit: Alba Ciudad

Elías José Jaua Milano / Photo credit: Alba Ciudad
From El Salvador, where the meeting of Chancellors of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is being held, the Minister of Education and leader of the Presidential Commission of the Constituent National Assembly affirmed that one of his goals is to restore the principle of cooperation of the powers, because that’s the only way to preserve peace in the country given the opposition’s lack of will to dialogue.

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Maduro Condemns Violence as Venezuela Death Toll Nears 40

Puebla, Mexico, May 5, 2017 ( – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro spoke out Thursday against the wave of political violence gripping his country, as the death toll continued to rise.

Speaking at the Tiuna Military Fort in Caracas, Maduro called for an end to “violence and guarimbas”. Guarimba is a term used to refer to violent demonstrations that use street barricades to shut down neighbourhoods across the country.

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Trump Advisor and Venezuela’s Pro-US Opposition Leader Meet

teleSUR | May 06, 2017

U.S. Army officer and White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster (left) met with Venezuelan National Assembly President Julio Borges (right).

U.S. Army officer and White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster (left) met with Venezuelan National Assembly President Julio Borges (right). | Photo: Reuters/teleSUR

Washington continues to ramp up its “regime change” measures versus the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster met with the head of the South American country’s opposition-led National Assembly, Julio Borges. The two decided that the ongoing political crisis, which has been exacerbated by a U.S.-led economic war against the socialist nation, should be brought to a quick and peaceful conclusion, the White House said.

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Venezuela: MEPs Back Regime Change In Caracas

by James Tweedie

Morning Star | April 28, 2017

EURO-MPs backed regime change riots in Venezuela yesterday, a day after Caracas quit the “interventionist” Organisation of American States (OAS).

The European Parliament passed a resolution that “strongly condemns the brutal repression exercised by the Venezuelan security forces, as well as irregular armed groups, against the peaceful protests.”

That came as the death toll in violent anti-government protests since the start of the month hit 29, with only four known to be caused by security forces and those responsible arrested.

At least five have been confirmed killed by supporters of the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mud) coalition, five by unknown assailants and nine as a result of their own actions.Read More »

In Detail: The Deaths So Far




Since April 4, 2017, violent anti-government protests have rocked Venezuela. Characterised by deadly clashes between state security forces and opposition demonstrators, vandalism and destruction of public institutions, and the assassination of Chavista supporters, the unrest has left 31 people dead to date. Hundreds more have been injured.

Despite the heavy press coverage, there is significant confusion over how these deaths occurred and at the hands of whom. In a bid for clarity, Venezuelanalysis provides readers with an in-depth and a complete account of the deaths so far below.

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Opposition “National Sit-in” Unleashes Fresh Wave of Violence, 4 Dead | April 25, 2017


Caracas, April 25, 2017 ( – Four people were killed across Venezuela Monday in the latest round of violent anti-government protests convened by the opposition.

Protesters took to the streets to block roads and highways throughout the South American country in a “great national sit-in” organized by the right-wing opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).

According to National Assembly Vice-President and hard-right Popular Will party leader Freddy Guevara, the goals of the mobilization were to “unmask the true face of the dictatorship” and “create ungovernability”. The opposition coalition called on its supporters to take to the streets indefinitely at the beginning of April in a bid to force early presidential elections among other demands.

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