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Venezuela Crisis
Supreme Court Hands Maduro Another Victory

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council dealt another blow to the opposition’s efforts to oust President Nicolas Maduro. WSJ reports:

Electoral officials suspended a recall referendum campaign that opposition parties were mounting against President Nicolás Maduro, making it increasingly unlikely the president’s foes will be able to remove the embattled leader from power.

The National Electoral Council, staffed with close allies of Mr. Maduro, said in a statement Thursday night it was truncating an opposition signature drive after four provincial courts called it fraudulent and issued rulings putting a halt to the effort. Four ruling party governors, alleging fraud but presenting no public evidence, had requested injunctions from the courts earlier Thursday. […]

The opposition contends the electoral council has blocked every effort to stage a referendum, which is permitted in the constitution. The government’s adversaries say the council delayed the process, coming up with complex steps that weren’t in electoral regulations and had not been required before. The Supreme Court, staffed by magistrates close to the government, upheld the council’s rulings.

In the face of a series of large street protests across the country this year, Venezuela’s gaffe-prone President has kept a firm grip on the levers of power. This is just the latest of several decision by the National Electoral Council intended to save the increasingly unpopular Maduro from facing voters in a referendum recall vote: a prior ruling forced the opposition into another round of petition drives to gather signatures, and this decision will stop that process altogether. Maduro’s term officially ends in 2019.

With oil prices unlikely to rebound any time soon, Venezuela’s energy export-dependent economy has little hope of pulling out of its nose-dive. This presents a real quandary for the United States: managing this catastrophe will entail some level of dealing with the Maduro regime. And engagement is going to be absolutely necessary. A Venezuela left to descend into anarchy and ruin, apart from aggravating the already abhorrent humanitarian crisis, would for one also likely trigger a refugee crisis that the U.S. would have to directly deal with. Pragmatic and levelheaded policy from our next President is what we are going to need, and getting to a good place isn’t going to be easy.

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  • Kevin

    Ceausescu wasn’t removed by the Romanian Supreme Court.

    • Blackbeard

      And the Kims are still in power in North Korea despite starving their citizens to death by the millions. Let’s see if Maduro has the stomach to hang on. I suspect this won’t be settled without blood being shed.

  • Kneave Riggall

    “This presents a real quandary for the United States”

    Nah. Forget Venezuela. They elected Maduro, and Chavez before him. The result is just what H.L. Mencken predicted: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

    We’ve got more important things to do: Delenda est ISIS.

    • Tom

      Probably not, actually. Venezuela is a lot closer to us than ISIS is.

      • Kneave Riggall

        Pish, tosh. ISIS is HERE. Venezuela is not attacking us in our own country.

        • Tom

          ISIS is not here. And if Venezuela falls apart, the refugee flows will make it here.

  • charlesrwilliams

    Cuba has successfully exported its poverty and oppression to Venezuela while the evil Yankee sits on his hands.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Venezuela serves American Interests best just as it is, a failed leftist Kleptocracy. America should do nothing but continually point out that Leftist policies “always” fail.

  • wri

    How to make sense out of our foreign policy? We do a one-sided deal with Cuba in which we give much and receive nothing except the hope that American interaction with Cuba will eventually make it less hostile to the U.S. Cuba not surprisingly retains it’s oppressive anti-American dictatorship. And Cuba continues to support radical anti-American governments throughout central and south America, including supporting Manduro in his blatant affront to democracy in Venezuela. We take care to say nothing that might upset our new friends, the Castro dictators in Cuba. And we treat what is going on in Venezuela as it it was happening in some small African republic, not in a south American country with a history of (imperfect) democracy. Is this also because Cuba is more important as an Obama “legacy” item? Who knows? Who can come up with a coherent rationalization?

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