Since the death of Hugo Chavez in March 2013, Nicolas Maduro has continued to run the government along socialist lines. As you’ll see, that approach still has fans in the country but recently there have been massive street protests against the Maduro government. Here are three different perspectives on what is happening.
1) Students are protesting the socialist government of Maduro because they are sick of violent streets (and also because inflation in the country is at 53%). This clip appears to have been put together by a Venezuelan student living in America. The backing music is a bit much but it gives you some visuals of the protests taking place last week along with some sense of what is motivating the students (warning, some of the images are graphic crime scene photos).
2) The main motivator is crime. Under Chavez crime rates in Venezuela rose to war zone levels with as many as 58 murders per day. That’s more than 10 times the murder rate per capita of the United States. Chavez’ socialist government responded to the crisis by not mentioning it for several years and ceasing official crime data collection. There is simply no bad news in a system run by a socialist strongman. This video is part 1 of 3 produced by Vice in 2012:
3) Meanwhile, there are still a lot of socialist true believers in Venezuela (and abroad). This final clip is an hour long documentary in favor of Venezuelan socialism. In the first five minutes you’ll see an interview with a woman who was given a new home by the Chavez regime. She proclaims “the people should see this is a reality–that yes we can live in socialism, that yes we can defeat imperialism and capitalism…the city shows that you can construct socialism.” She adds that it’s important people around the world not get the wrong idea about Venezuela. “Here there is no dictatorship. Here is happiness…supreme happiness.”
4) And the result of the clash between students fed up with Maduro and socialism and riot police defending the revolution is the kind of street clashes we’ve seen in other part of the world recently, i.e. burning cars and people using makeshift weapons to create barricades. This clip is from last Wednesday.
Sunday, Maduro ordered U.S. embassy officials out of the country. On Monday, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was being sought on murder and terrorism charges. The government claims he incited the violence
which led to three deaths last week (though at least one of those
killed appears to have been a student protester). Meanwhile, President Maduro
has labeled the protests an attempted coup and says he will defend his
power from the “Nazi fascists” who are protesting in the streets.