It is May Day today, and I know some brain donors are celebrating the joys of Marxism, so I will post this reality check, via Moonbattery as to what Communism actually does
When Yolanda Abreu got her check for severance pay after five years working as a cardiologist, she let out a laugh of sheer disbelief: it was barely enough for a cup of coffee.
Like her, millions of Venezuelans have seen their salaries decimated by rampant hyperinflation that is expected to drive prices up by 13,000 percent this year, IMF figures show.
Her story hit the headlines after she tweeted a photo of the check for 156,584.29 bolivars, which equates to about $0.20 on the black market.
You can get a coffee for 20¢ in Venezuela? Not at Starbucks, you can’t. Then again, Starbucks may have to lower its prices after its new racial pandering policies reduce it to a homeless shelter. That’s the March of Progress.
Don’t worry about the inflation in Venezuela. The Workers’ President can fix it by raising the minimum wage some more.
On the eve of International Workers Day, Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro moved to double the monthly minimum wage, raising it by 95.4 percent to 2,555,500 bolivars — or $37 (30 euros), according to the central bank’s official DICOM rate.
Boy, that sounds just awesome huh?
Via Moonbattery. I don’t think additional commentary is needed here. From the mouths of Communist swine…………
No need to be terrified into turning away from Democrats’ agenda by its application in other countries; officials assure us that Venezuelan shelves are empty not because socialism has been imposed but due to the traditional capitalist sin of gluttony:
Venezuela’s former Vice President turned Minister of Education Elías Jaua claimed in remarks this weekend that the country’s depleted supermarkets would be full of food if people did not eat so much.
Jaua praised the socialist Bolivarian Revolution for bestowing upon the People the “right to eat meat, chicken, milk, that they did not have ten, 14 years ago.” Back then it was the other way around; they had the food, but allegedly no right to eat it. Now they have the right, but no food.
“If the Venezuelan people did not eat, surely the shelves would be full.”
Bob Owens reminds us that history does, indeed, repeat itself. And Venezuela is the latest example
The natural right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment was previously reflected in the English Bill of Rights (which also saw it as a preexisting right). That right was written down after Kings and Parliaments disarmed their opposition and raised their own militias to quash political foes.
It looks like Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro is trying to play from that despicable centuries-old playbook, arming up his loyalist militia to put down the citizens his nation has disarmed.
Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced plans Monday to expand the number of civilians involved in armed militias as tensions in the crisis-wracked South American nation continued to rise.
Maduro said he hopes to expand the number of civilians involved in the Bolivarian militias created by the late Hugo Chavez to 500,000, up from the current 100,000, and provide each member with a gun.
Speaking to thousands of militia members dressed in beige uniforms gathered in front of the presidential palace to mark the force’s seventh anniversary, Maduro said it is time for Venezuelans to decide if they are “with the homeland” or against it.
“Now is not the time to hesitate,” he said.
The announcement comes as Maduro’s opponents are gearing up for what they pledge will be the largest rally yet to press for elections and a host of other demands Wednesday.
Thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets since the Supreme Court stripped the National Assembly of its last vestiges of power nearly three weeks ago, a decision it later reversed. At least five people have been killed, dozens hurt and more than 100 detained in the demonstrations.
History repeats itself, and those that forget that…….
Intelligent citizenries with a sense of history will never listen to governments that demand they disarm “for the common good.”
The “common good” is always abused by dictators and tyrants.
Demonstrations are turning bloody in Venezuela even now, and a teenager was murdered by one of Maduro’s armed militiamen in Caracas today.
He will not be the last to fall, in a nation that unwisely listened to the government’s demand to disarm.
This my friends is why we must never allow our right to self-defense be taken away. That “common good” always turns out to be common slavery to the State
A great failure, as history shows, and as Venezuela is finding out
Here is what happens to them when Big Government does take care of everyone, suffocating the private sector:
The economic crisis in Venezuela is now so bad that doctors are using cardboard boxes instead of incubators to keep newborn babies.
The upside is that this streamlines burials, since the infant mortality rate has gotten 100 times worse over the past 4 years at Venezuelan public hospitals, and Venezuelans have been reduced to burying their dead incardboard boxes.
Incubators aren’t the only thing in short supply:
According to the Pharmaceutical Federation, the shortage of medicines is more than 80 percent and around 13,000 doctors, more than 20 percent of the medical staff in the country, have emigrated in the last four years because of the crisis in their sector and because of low salaries.
Yet, the Left continues to advocate for Marxism………
As every country that has tried it knows, not only is socialism immoral and inherently tyrannical, it does not work. Ask Venezuelans, half of whom are ready to abandon their own country. Under end stage socialism, food is scarce:
There are dire reports of people waiting in supermarket lines all day, only to discover that expected food deliveries never arrived and the shelves are empty.
There are horrific tales of desperate people slaughtering zoo animals to provide their only meal of the day. Even household pets are targeted as a much-needed source for food.
President Maduro is doubling down on the proven failed policies and philosophies of “Bolivarian Socialism,” while diverting attention away from the crisis — pointing fingers at so-called “enemies” of Venezuela such as the United States, Saudi Arabia and others.
A dozen eggs was last reported to cost $150, and the International Monetary Fund predicts that inflation in Venezuela will hit 720% this year.
To the outrage of many in Venezuela, embattled President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday jokes about the shortages and hardship under his administration.
“The Maduro diet. Makes you hard without needing any Viagra,” said Maduro Sunday, laughing, during an exchange with the audience.
Maduro had asked a man in the audience, “why are you so skinny?” To which several people in the audience responded, on live television: “That’s the Maduro diet!”
The “Maduro diet” is what Venezuelans call slow starvation due to economic dysfunction inflicted by the socialist government.
Get that punchline? People are starving, they are unable to get medicines, medical care, or even properly bury their dead, but to Maduro, it is funny somehow! Suffering is funny because Marxism brings equality comrades. Sure it is always equality of hunger, sickness, suffering and slavery to the State but none of that matters because equality is Utopia! No, as a wise man said, you can have equality or liberty, but you cannot have both. And the results? Well they matter not because in the pursuit of “equality” the individual seeks to matter, and in fact, becomes the enemy. And the Marxist will never admit the evil of their ideology
Hugo Chávez has been dead for more than three years, and the results of his irresponsible fiscal policies and criminally despotic rule have finally come to light in the form of pain and misery.
Images of Hospitals that look like catacombs, and prisons that have become maximum security business centers for criminals where no law applies, have become a reference when speaking about the country. But the wound goes much deeper than that.
We’re not just talking about shortages of basic staples such as toilet paper and soap, or daily electricity cuts, the five-day weekends for public employees, or about any of those stories that have turned Venezuela into a punchline with a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council. No. The economic collapse at the hands of chavista economic policies has brought something deadlier, and so much simpler: hunger.
Children who eat once or twice a day, who don’t go to school because they don’t have the energy. Families of four sharing a portion for one person. These stories have become as common as social media posts from people hunting for medicine to tend the ailments of their loved ones. This is the new kind of misery porn that has been drawing attention to Venezuela. A country that squandered close to a Trillion Dollars of oil revenue under chavista rule. Try to wrap your head around that sum for a sec. And now try to refocus on the country that today drowns in a humanitarian crisis. It’s as if the rate of the fall is proportional to the income received and wasted.
And yet, the Maduro administration remains paralyzed. If Chávez was guilty for the decisions that steered Venezuela onto this collision course, then Maduro’s sin is inaction, watching as the country crashes into the iceberg without lifting a finger, except forcefully preventing anyone else taking the helm.
Sadder still is that right now, today, in America, the nation that better than any other, illustrates how Capitalism and individual liberties benefit all, college students are being taught that Marxism and all the bastard “isms’ it spawned give power to the people, and provide for everyone’s needs. Right now, people here, in this nation, look at policies that are rooted in Marxism and swoon. Just look at both presidential candidates proposals on how to make child care “more affordable”. Of course we now have “affordable” health insurance because of Obama Care right? Yeah, how is that working out? And how about our tax code? It is confiscatory, and punitive, as graduated income taxes, another Marxist ideal, always are. Look at our out of control regulatory overlords that work for the alphabet soup of governmental agencies.
The biggest tragedy of Marxism is that the fools who buy into its false promises never learn from the actual history of Marxism. They never learn from 110,000,000 that it killed in the last century. The gulags of the Soviet Union of the past, or from the modern-day gulags in North Korea. The trampling of liberty? Who cares about that, the lemmings want their promised free stuff. The inherent destruction of everything good that Marxism always brings? Bah, tell the lemmings what they want to hear, to Hell with facts. So, the destruction will come again, and again, and again. And people will continue to believe the lies, the sweet promises that always bring destitution and misery rather than paradise.
I can not bring my mind to envision a more disturbing scenario. History lays out, indisputably, how the American model our Founders laid out, brings prosperity, opportunity, and liberty. That same history also illustrates how the Marxist path leads to evil ends. Yet some, many in fact simply will not see. Yesterday it was Russia and China, today it is North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, tomorrow, it will be…………May God help us
Not even the dead can escape the consequences of letting socialism get out of control in Venezuela:
As the South American nation grapples with soaring inflation, rising murder rates and shortages of basic supplies and medicine, there is one more thing that Venezuelans are having problems getting their hands one: coffins.
The situation has become so dire that many cash-strapped Venezuelans have resorted to burying their deceased loved ones in cardboard boxes. Coffins made of more durable materials can, however, be rented for a few hours to use during the funeral.
Apparently some can’t even afford the cardboard or rental coffins:
The coffin crisis has become so acute that many families have been forced to bring their loved ones to crematoriums in bags.
“I felt so depressed. I didn’t have all the money the funeral parlor was asking for,” Miriam Navarro, who had to borrow money from neighbors to bury her brother, told AFP. “If it hadn’t been for people in my community, I would have had to bury him in the yard.”
Equality? Yep, equality of depravity, suffering, starvation, poverty, and enslavement to the State!
An 80-year-old Venezuelan woman died, possibly from trampling, in a scrum outside a state supermarket selling subsidized goods, the opposition and media said on Friday.
The melee at the store in Sabaneta, the birthplace of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, was the latest such incident in the South American nation where economic hardship and food shortages are creating long queues and scuffles.
The opposition Democratic Unity coalition said Maria Aguirre died and another 75 people were injured – including five security officials – in chaotic scenes when National Guard troops sought to control a 5,000-strong crowd with teargas.
“Due to the shortage of food… the desperation is enormous,” local opposition politician Andres Camejo said, according to the coalition’s website. It published a photo of an elderly woman’s body lying inert on a concrete floor.
Camejo said thieves had also attacked the crowd, members of which were seeking to buy cheap food on offer at an outlet of the state’s Mercal supermarket chain in Barinas state.
There was no confirmation of the incident by authorities.
El Universal newspaper reported that Aguirre was knocked to the ground during jostling in the crowd, while the pro-opposition El Nacional said she was crushed in a stampede.
Another person was killed and dozens detained following looting of supermarkets in Venezuela’s southeastern city of Ciudad Guayana earlier this month.
President Nicolas Maduro accuses opponents of deliberately stirring up trouble, exaggerating incidents, and sabotaging the economy to try and bring down his socialist government.
Critics, though, say incidents of unrest are symptoms of the increasing hardships Venezuela’s 29 million people are facing due to a failed state-led economic model. Low oil prices are exacerbating economic tensions in the OPEC nation.
H/T Conservative Infidel
Communism, in all its forms, destroys liberty, wealth, and hope, as Venezuela shows us. Food rationing, nationalization of businesses destitution, in an oil RICH nation, and of course gun confiscation
The socialist President of Venezuela is spending a whopping $47 million on disarmament centers. They can’t even keep stores stocked with toilet paper, or other necessities, but he’s concentrating on disarming Venezuelan citizens.
It’s what happens to gun owners and freedom when a lawless, leftwing, socialist president who doesn’t like America, who uses the power of his office to intimidate his political opponents, and who will do nearly anything to preserve his power gets elected. On Sunday, Nicholas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, announced that he will spend $47 million for 60 civilian disarmament centers, where people can turn in their privately owned guns. Venezuela banned the commercial sale of guns in 2012, and Maduro–continuing the fundamental transformation of the country begun by his predecessor, Hugo Chavez–now says “We are building peace from within, and for that, you need disarmament.”
History repeats itself, and God help the people of Venezuela if they are foolish enough to comply.
Yet, the Left continues to embrace so many aspects of Marx and Engel’s failed utopian ideals The Lonely Conservative confirms how bad it is going in Venezuela
Central planners always create all sorts of problems when they begin controlling the economy. In Venezuela price controls and other left wing policies have led to food shortages, which have led to hoarding. So to solve the problem they created they’re now issuing food ID cards that will restrict users from shopping more than once per week. For now signing up for the cards is voluntary, how long do you think it will be until it’s mandatory?
Venezuelans queued on Friday to register for an electronic card system designed to end food shortages that have plagued the country – but which some fear may be the thin end of the rationing wedge.
The ID card, introduced this week, will limit Venezuelans to once-a-week shopping and will set off an alarm to halt any transaction if a purchaser breaks the rules. The government wants to prevent individual shoppers from “over-buying” in a country hit by acute shortages of basic items including milk, sugar and toilet paper. Critics say it is an admission of failure of economic policy in one of the world’s big oil-producing nations.
Away from the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is quietly seeking a foothold in Latin America, military officials warn.
To the alarm of lawmakers and Pentagon officials, Putin has begun sending navy ships and long-range bombers to the region for the first time in years.
Russia’s defense minister says the country is planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and just last week, Putin’s national security team met to discuss increasing military ties in the region.
“They’re on the march,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.”
Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command said there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America.
“It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” Kelly said at the March 13 hearing.
The U.S. military says it has been forced to cut back on its engagement with military and government officials in Latin America due to budget cuts. Kelly said the U.S. military had to cancel more than 200 effective engagement activities and multi-lateral exercises in Latin America last year.
With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.
Iran has opened up 11 additional embassies and 33 cultural centers in Latin America while supporting the “operational presence” of militant group Lebanese Hezbollah in the region.
“On the military side, I believe they’re establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,” Kelly said.
China is making a play for Latin America a well, and is now the fastest growing investor in the region, according to experts. Although their activity is mostly economic, they are also increasing military activity through educational exchanges.
The Chinese Navy conducted a goodwill visit in Brazil, Chile and Argentina last year and conducted its first-ever naval exercise with the Argentine Navy.
Meanwhile, the U.S. had to cancel the deployment of its hospital ship USNS Comfort last year.
“Our relationships, our leadership, and our influence in the Western Hemisphere are paying the price,” Kelly said.
Some experts warn against being too alarmist, and say Russia, China and Iran do not have the ability or desire to project military power beyond their borders.
Army War College adjunct professor Gabriel Marcella said Russia’s maneuvering is more about posturing than a real threat.
“Latin America is seen as an opportunity to challenge the United States in terms of global presence,” he said. “They want to show the flag to assert their presence and say they need to be counted on the world stage.”
Other experts said the encroachment of rivals has huge economic implications for the U.S., which has more trade partners in Latin America than in any other region in the world.
“[Russia’s presence] serves to destabilize what has become a more stabilized, middle class continent with an increasing respect for the rule of law… Any type of unsettling of that environment will scare off investors,” said Jason Marczak, deputy director at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.
“Market economies and democracies are fundamental for trade, for jobs, and for stable investment environments,” he said.
Marczak noted the instability in Venezuela, which is facing civil unrest from anti-government protestors.
“In Venezuela, a lot of the money that’s been able to prop up President Chavez and now Maduro has been Chinese money,” Kelly said.
So far, 31 protestors have been killed in clashes with government security forces.
“I see a real degradation in what used to pass as Venezuelan democracy. There’s less and less of that now,” Kelly said.
And while Chinese investment in Latin America could have positive aspects for the region, it could also make it more difficult for U.S. official to push labor and environmental safeguards that it argues are building blocks for democracy, Marczak said.
Angel Rabasa, a senior political scientist at RAND, said cuts to the defense budget are going to accelerate a long trend of U.S. neglect and disengagement with Latin America.
According to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), there are 10 countries in Latin America that currently have no U.S. ambassador because they either haven’t been nominated yet or confirmed, a sign that the region is seen as a low priority.
“We will be losing the ability to influence developments in a region that is very important to us because of proximity,” Rabasa said.
In Venezuela food, cosmetics, toiletries and even toothpaste are being rationed because of government policies extricating foreign corporations from Venezuela.
As a means of controlling the available supply of these products, Venezuelan authorities are now marking human beings with serial numbers and in some cases barcodes. It is applied with permanent marker and takes hours to remove.
Ah the wonders of Communism, how is that from each, to each thing working?
Opposition protesters in Venezuela today decapitated a statue of the former Marxist leader Hugo Chavez.
The National Guard shelled the Francisco Fajardo Highway with tear gas cannisters.
The opposition continued to confront the Maduro regime today.
Venezuela is aflame with the fires of rebellion after President Nicolás Maduro arrested opposition leader Leopoldo López and sent communist Cuban forces to assault young, unarmed protesters. Nowhere has there been more rebellion than the western state of Táchira, however, where protesters beheaded a statue of Chávez today.
Táchira, located on the border with Colombia and home to nine universities, is the first state in which the governor, himself a Chavista, turned on Maduro. Governor José Gregorio Vielma Mora said in a speech earlier this week that he disagreed with the arrest of Popular Will Party leader López and that he was “not a part of the regime,” though he later tried to make amends on Twitter with the Chavistas his comments upset.
His comments came after a series of human rights abuses in the capital city of San Cristóbal, where Maduro shut off electricity and the internet temporarily, asserting martial law in the region, leading to some of the most violent images of National Guard attacks on civilians surfacing there. The oversized population of students, proximity to the free and prosperous nation of Colombia, and excessive use of force has made Táchira the heart of the opposition movement in Venezuela.
The civilians, it seems, have had enough. The giant bust of Hugo Chávez that made its home in the state was found decapitated by students today, with the moving images distributed throughout Twitter. The students deliberately decided to cut off its head, rather than topple it completely, and spread the image through social media. “The statues of Chávez are beginning to fall,” posted the first; it is unknown who committed the deed. The image was first published by the media in Argentine website Infobae.
Suppressing protesters in Las Mercedes in Caracas with water and teargas (Gabriel Bastidas)
As dawn broke, the residents of a quiet neighborhood here readied for battle. Some piled rocks to be used as projectiles. Others built barricades. A pair of teenagers made firebombs as the adults looked on.
These were not your ordinary urban guerrillas. They included a manicurist, a medical supplies saleswoman, a schoolteacher, a businessman and a hardware store worker.
As the National Guard roared around the corner on motorcycles and in an armored riot vehicle, the people in this tightly knit middle-class neighborhood, who on any other Monday morning would have been heading to work or taking their children to school, rushed into the street, hurling rocks and shouting obscenities. The guardsmen responded with tear gas and shotgun fire, leaving a man bleeding in a doorway.
“We’re normal people, but we’re all affected by what’s happening,” said Carlos Alviarez, 39, who seemed vaguely bewildered to find himself in the middle of the street where the whiff of tear gas lingered. “Look. I’ve got a rock in my hand and I’m the distributor for Adidas eyewear in Venezuela.”
The biggest protests since the death of the longtime leader Hugo Chávez nearly a year ago are sweeping Venezuela, rapidly expanding from the student protests that began this month on a campus in this western city into a much broader array of people across the country. On Monday, residents in Caracas, the capital, and other Venezuelan cities piled furniture, tree limbs, chain-link fence, sewer grates and washing machines to block roads in a coordinated action against the government.
Behind the outpouring is more than the litany of problems that have long bedeviled Venezuela, a country with the world’s largest oil reserves but also one of the highest inflation rates. Adding to the perennial frustrations over violent crime and chronic shortages of basic goods like milk and toilet paper, the outrage is being fueled by President Nicolás Maduro’s aggressive response to public dissent, including deploying hundreds of soldiers here and sending fighter jets to make low, threatening passes over the city.
On Monday, the state governor, who belongs to Mr. Maduro’s party, broke ranks and challenged the president’s tactics, defending the right of students to protest and criticizing the flyovers, a rare dissent from within the government.
Polarization is a touchstone of Venezuelan politics, which was bitterly divided during the 14-year presidency of Mr. Chávez, Mr. Maduro’s mentor. But while Mr. Chávez would excoriate and punish opponents, he had keen political instincts and often seemed to know when to back off just enough to keep things from boiling over.
Now Mr. Maduro, his chosen successor, who is less charismatic and is struggling to contend with a deeply troubled economy, has taken a hard line on expressions of discontent, squeezing the news media, arresting a prominent opposition politician and sending the National Guard into residential areas to quash the protests.
Two people were killed on Monday, including a man here in San Cristóbal who, according to his family, fell from a roof after guardsmen shot tear gas at him. There is disagreement on whether all the deaths nationwide cited by the government are directly associated with the protests, but the death toll is probably at least a dozen.
In the neighborhood of Barrio Sucre, residents said they were outraged last week when a guardsman fired a shotgun at a woman and her adult son, sending both to the hospital with serious wounds. In response, the residents built barricades to keep the guardsmen out. On Monday, after guardsmen made an early sortie into the neighborhood, firing tear gas and buckshot at people’s homes, the inflamed and sometimes terrified residents prepared to drive them back.
Across town, Isbeth Zambrano, 39, a mother of two, still fumed about the time two days earlier when the National Guard drove onto the street, where children were playing, and fired tear gas at residents. Now she sat in front of her apartment building, casually guarding a beer crate full of firebombs.
“We want this government to go away,” she said. “We want freedom, no more crime, we want medicine.” Around her neck, like a scarf, she wore a diaper printed with small teddy bears. It was soaked in vinegar, to ward off the effects of tear gas, in case of another attack.
Unlike the protests in neighboring Brazil last year, when the government tried to defuse anger by promising to fix ailing services and make changes to the political system, Mr. Maduro says the protesters are fascists conducting a coup against his government. He has largely refused to acknowledge their complaints, focusing instead on violence linked to the unrest. Here in Táchira State, he says the protests are infiltrated by right-wing Colombian paramilitary groups, and he has threatened to arrest the mayor of San Cristóbal.
Mr. Maduro’s stance is mirrored by the intensity among the protesters. While he has called for a national conference on Wednesday and some opposition politicians have urged dialogue, a majority of protesters here, most of them longtime government opponents, rejected that option.
“They’ve been mocking us for 15 years, sacking the country,” said Ramón Arellano, 54, a government worker, while a burning refrigerator in the street behind him blotted out the sky with a cone of black smoke. “A dialogue from one side while the other turns a deaf ear, that’s not fair.”
Like most of the protesters here, Mr. Arellano said he wanted a change of government. Protesters say that could be achieved by having Mr. Maduro resign, or be removed through a recall election or changes to the Constitution.
Mr. Maduro says he will not leave office, and he continues to have wide support among those loyal to Mr. Chávez’s legacy.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a “peace conference” tomorrow after opposition Governor Henrique Capriles rejected talks with…
I’m no fan of Hugo Chavez, but there is selective memory when people comment that he destroyed the Venezuelan economy. I lived in Venezuela…
I am a leftist (a Social Democrat), and the truth is the Venezuela government is simply populist authoritarian regime cloaked in left wing…
Táchira State, and especially San Cristóbal, the state capital, are longtime opposition strongholds. The opposition presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, received 73 percent of the vote in San Cristóbal when he ran against Mr. Maduro last April.
A city of 260,000, San Cristóbal was almost completely shut down on Monday. Residents had set up dozens of barricades all around town. In many areas, residents set out nails or drove pieces of rebar into the pavement, leaving them partly exposed, to puncture tires.
In Barrio Sucre, Escarlet Pedraza, 19, showed two motorcycles that she said had been crushed by National Guard troops, who drove armored vehicles over them. She recorded the event on her cellphone camera.
Later, residents burned tires and threw rocks at guardsmen, who advanced and entered a side street, firing tear gas and shotguns directly at the houses.
The guardsmen broke open a garage door in one house and smashed the windshield of a car inside. The house next door filled with tear gas and the family inside, including two young children, choked in the fumes. “I’m indignant,” said Victoria Pérez, the mother, weeping. “This is getting out of hand. It’s arrogance, it’s a desire for power.”
A student, his face covered with a cloth, kicked angrily at a house where a pro-government family lives, shouting at them to join the protest. Other residents rushed in to stop him.
Nearby, a neighbor, Teresa Contreras, 53, flipped through the channels on her television, showing that there was no coverage of the violence, a sign, she said, of the government control over the news media.
Earlier, Andrea Altuve, 38, a teacher, watched the preparations for the coming battle, with people adding to barricades and children pouring gasoline into beer bottles for makeshift bombs.
“It looks like a civil war,” she said. “They are sending the National Guard into the neighborhoods out of fear.”
Reports have emerged with accompanying footage of Venezuelan lawmakers brawling in the country’s National Assembly following the disputed election of President Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro, who recently succeeded the late Hugo Chavez, won the recent general election by a tiny margin, causing oppositionists to call for a recount. Venezuelans took to the streets to demonstrate against the election, with many injured and several killed as a result.
Members of Venezuela’s National Assembly yesterday ‘brawled’, as seen below, with one opposition assembly member badly bruised and bleeding.
Opposition assembly member Ismael Garcia told The Associated Press that pro-government legislators threw punches on Tuesday night after members of his coalition tried to protest a proposal barring them from legislative activities.
Assembly member Julio Borges appeared on an independent television station soon after with blood running down one side of his swollen face. Pro-government legislators appeared on state TV accusing opposition members of attacking them.
Borges insisted the Speaker of parliament to be held to account, stating that he, “embodies hatred, repression, Fascism of which he wants to accuse the rest of the country.” Borges accused the speaker of parliament to allow “people armed inside the Chamber, with bodyguards.”
The opposition lawmaker said that the attack was carried out by “several people” who pounced “without a word and from behind like cowards” against several MPs showed a banner that read “Beat the Parliament”.
Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, has officially won Venezuela’s presidential election by a stunningly narrow margin that highlights rising discontent over problems ranging from crime to power blackouts. His rival demanded a recount, portending more headaches for a country shaken by the death of its dominating leader.
One key Chavista leader expressed dismay over the outcome of Sunday’s election, which was supposed to cement the self-styled “Bolivarian Revolution” of their beloved president as Venezuela’s destiny. National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, who many consider Maduro’s main rival within their movement, tweeted: “The results oblige us to make a profound self-criticism.”
Maduro’s victory followed an often ugly, mudslinging campaign in which the winner promised to carry on Chavez’s legacy, while challenger Henrique Capriles’ main message was that Chavez put this country with the world’s largest oil reserves on the road to ruin.
Despite the ill feelings, both men sent their supporters home and urged them to refrain from violence. Capriles insisted on a recount and Maduro said he was open to one, though it was not immediately clear if election officials might permit it.
“We are not going to recognize a result until each vote of Venezuelans is counted,” Capriles said. “This struggle has not ended.”
Maduro, meanwhile, said, “Let 100 percent of the ballot boxes be opened. … We’re going to do it; we have no fear.”
Maduro, acting president since Chavez’s March 5 death, held a double-digit advantage in opinion polls just two weeks ago, but electoral officials said he got just 50.7 percent of the votes compared to 49.1 percent for Capriles, with nearly all ballots counted.
The margin was about 234,935 votes out of 14.8 million cast. Turnout was 78 percent, down from just over 80 percent in the October election that Chavez won by a nearly 11-point margin over Capriles.
Chavistas set off fireworks and raced through downtown Caracas blasting horns in jubilation. In a victory speech, Maduro told a crowd outside the presidential palace that his victory was further proof that Chavez “continues to be invincible.”
But analysts called the slim margin a disaster for Maduro, a former union leader and bus driver in the radical wing of Chavismo who is believed to have close ties to Cuba.
At Capriles’ campaign headquarters, people hung their heads quietly as the results were announced by an electoral council stacked with government loyalists. Many started crying; others just stared at TV screens in disbelief.
Later, Capriles emerged to angrily reject the official totals: “It is the government that has been defeated.”
He said his campaign reported “a result that is different from the results announced today.”
“The biggest loser today is you,” Capriles said, directly addressing Maduro through the camera. “The people don’t love you.”
Venezuela’s electronic voting system is completely digital, but also generates a paper receipt for each vote, making a vote-by-vote recount possible.
Capriles, an athletic 40-year-old state governor, had mocked and belittled Maduro as a poor, bland imitation of Chavez.
Maduro said during his victory speech that Capriles had called him before the results were announced to suggest a “pact” and that Maduro refused. Capriles’ camp did not comment on Maduro’s claim, though Capriles began his speech by declaring he doesn’t “make pacts with lies or corruption.”
Maduro, a longtime foreign minister to Chavez, rode a wave of sympathy for the charismatic leader to victory, pinning his hopes on the immense loyalty for his boss among millions of poor beneficiaries of government largesse and the powerful state apparatus that Chavez skillfully consolidated.
Capriles’ main campaign weapon was to simply emphasize “the incompetence of the state.” At rallies, Capriles would read out a list of unfinished road, bridge and rail projects. Then he asked people what goods were scarce on store shelves.
Millions of Venezuelans were lifted out of poverty under Chavez, but many also believe his government not only squandered, but plundered, much of the $1 trillion in oil revenues during his 14-year rule.
Venezuelans are afflicted by chronic power outages, crumbling infrastructure, unfinished public works projects, double-digit inflation, food and medicine shortages, and rampant crime – one of the world’s highest homicide and kidnapping rates – that the opposition said worsened after Chavez disappeared to Cuba in December for what would be his final surgery.
Analyst David Smilde at the Washington Office on Latin America think tank predicted the victory would prove pyrrhic and make Maduro extremely vulnerable.
“It will make people in his coalition think that perhaps he is not the one to lead the revolution forward,” Smilde said.
“This is a result in which the `official winner’ appears as the biggest loser,” said Amherst College political scientist Javier Corrales. “The `official loser’ – the opposition – emerges even stronger than it did six months ago. These are very delicate situations in any political system, especially when there is so much mistrust of institutions.”
Many across the nation put little stock in Maduro’s claims that sabotage by the far right was to blame for worsening power outages and food shortages in the weeks before the vote.
“We can’t continue to believe in messiahs,” said Jose Romero, a 48-year-old industrial engineer who voted for Capriles in the central city of Valencia. “This country has learned a lot and today we know that one person can’t fix everything.”
In a Chavista stronghold in Petare outside Caracas, Maria Velasquez, 48, who works in a government soup kitchen that feeds 200 people, said she voted for Chavez’s man “because that is what my comandante ordered.”
Reynaldo Ramos, a 60-year-old construction worker, said he “voted for Chavez” before correcting himself and saying he chose Maduro.
“We must always vote for Chavez because he always does what’s best for the people and we’re going to continue on this path,” Ramos said.
The governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela deployed a well-worn, get-out-the-vote machine spearheaded by loyal state employees. It also enjoyed the backing of state media as part of its near-monopoly on institutional power.
Capriles’ camp also complained that Chavista loyalists in the judiciary put them at glaring disadvantage by slapping the campaign and broadcast media with fines and prosecutions that they called unwarranted. Only one opposition TV station remains and it was being sold to a new owner Monday.
Maduro will face no end of hard choices for which Corrales, of Amherst, said he has shown no skills for tackling.
Maduro has “a penchant for blaming everything on his `adversaries’ – capitalism, imperialism, the bourgeoisie, the oligarchs – so it is hard to figure how exactly he would address any policy challenge other than taking a tough line against his adversaries.”
Venezuela’s $30 billion fiscal deficit is equal to about 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Many factories operate at half capacity because strict currency controls make it hard for them to pay for imported parts and materials. Business leaders say some companies verge on bankruptcy because they cannot extend lines of credit with foreign suppliers.
Chavez imposed currency controls a decade ago trying to stem capital flight as his government expropriated large land parcels and dozens of businesses.
Now, dollars sell on the black market at three times the official exchange rate and Maduro has had to devalue Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar, twice this year.
Venezuela’s Vice President Nicolas Maduro has announced that the late President Hugo Chavez will be embalmed and his body displayed forever in a Caracas military museum.
Mr. Maduro compared the late president to other revolutionary leaders whose bodies also have been preserved, including Russia’s Lenin and China’s Mao. He said President Chavez will lie in state for seven more days to give more Venezuelans the chance to pay their respect.