In Multipolarity

Telesur, Saturday, May 14, 2015

The 60-day state of emergency will be used against threats of intervention by the United States and Colombia, among others, in light of the political assaults on Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency on Friday due to what he called plots from within the OPEC country and the United States to topple his leftist government.

Supporters of Venezuela government and President Maduro march in support of government's housing programs

Supporters of Venezuela government and President Maduro march in support of government’s housing programs

Maduro did not provide details of the measure, but he said that it includes the ability to face outside threats, such as Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe’s demand for intervention in Venezuela by foreign troops. He added that the previous state of exception included decrees “to protect the people and the socioeconomic stability of the country”.

Earlier on Friday, U.S. intelligence officials told reporters they were increasingly worried about the potential for an economic and political meltdown in Venezuela and predicted Maduro was not likely to complete his term.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela’s opposition is seeking to recall the leader amid a worsening crisis that includes food and medicine shortages, frequent power cuts, sporadic looting and galloping inflation.

But the former union leader and bus driver has vowed to stick out his term and accuses the United States of fomenting an undercover coup against him. He pointed to this week’s vote against fellow leftist Dilma Rousseff in Brazil — followed by the U.S.’ “complicit silence” — as a sign that he is next.

“Washington is activating measures at the request of Venezuela’s fascist right, who are emboldened by the coup in Brazil,” Maduro said during a Friday night broadcast on state television. He said that a “coup virus” could return to Latin America.

Washington has had an acrimonious relationship with Caracas for years, especially following U.S. support for a short-lived 2002 coup against late leader Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party has long been a strong ally of Rousseff’s Workers Party, however, and her departure adds to Maduro’s isolation in Latin America.

He also extended a state of economic emergency over what he has called an economic war led by the United States and opposition.

Also on Telesur:
Parliamentary coups: The new strategy of Latin America’s right, May 12, 2016

While Venezuelan leftists march for housing program, opposition calls for Maduro’s ouster, May 11, 2016

Is there hunger in Venezuela? by Iain Bruce, May 9, 2016

Venezuela’s opposition says the country is facing a humanitarian crisis due to lack of food. This view has been echoed in the international media; the picture painted is one of economic collapse, with shortages leading to widespread hunger and grave risks to the population’s health. Its majority in parliament called on international bodies like the Food and Agriculture Organization and UNICEF to intervene. So is it true? teleSUR’s correspondent in Caracas, Iain Bruce, tries to get to the bottom of the question.

Read also:
Maduro threatens to seize idle Venezuela plants, jail owners, by Ricardo Nunez and Juan Camilo Hernandez, Associated Press, May 14, 2016

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Nicolas Maduro threatened Saturday to take over idle factories and jail their owners following a decree granting him expanded powers to act in the face of a deep economic crisis.

Maduro’s remarks came as Venezuela’s opposition warned the embattled leader that if he tries to block an attempt to hold a recall referendum, society could “explode.”

Speaking to supporters in the capital, Caracas, the president ordered “all actions to recover the production apparatus, which is being paralyzed by the bourgeoisie.”

He also said that businesspeople who “sabotage the country” by halting production at their plants risk being “put in handcuffs.”

Last month, the country’s largest food and beverage distributor, Empresas Polar, shut down its last operating beer plant. It says it has been unable to access hard currency to buy raw materials.

Maduro accuses Polar and others of trying to destabilize the financially stricken country by exacerbating shortages of goods from foodstuffs to medicines to toilet paper.

Meanwhile dueling anti- and pro-government crowds demonstrated in Caracas on Saturday for and against a bid to recall the president. Maduro opponents demanded that the National Electoral Council rule on the validity of some 1.8 million signatures collected in favor of the referendum and allow it to move forward.

“If you obstruct the democratic way, we do not know what could happen in this country,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said at one rally. “Venezuela is a bomb that could explode at any moment.”

Across town, Maduro ally Jorge Rodriguez vowed there would be no recall referendum. “They got signatures from dead people, minors and undocumented foreigners,” Rodriguez said.

Opposition leaders deny any fraud in the signature drive.

Friday’s decree extended for 60 days Maduro’s exceptional powers to address the crisis. Venezuela is suffering from multiple financial woes including rampant inflation and low prices for oil, the cornerstone of its economy.

Opposition leaders accuse Maduro and his predecessor, the late President Hugo Chavez, of mismanaging the economy. Maduro alleges that conservative political interests are waging what he calls an “economic war” seeking his ouster. [end news rticle]


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