mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn bayles
Latin Lefty Meltdown
Maduro Dissolves Legislature in Venezuela

Dark days in Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro has made his most blatant power grab to date in a move that looks set to create an unvarnished dictatorship in the oil rich country. The New York Times:

Venezuela took its strongest step yet toward one-man rule under the leftist President Nicolás Maduro as his loyalists on the Supreme Court seized power from the National Assembly in a ruling late Wednesday night.

The ruling effectively dissolved the elected legislature, which is led by Mr. Maduro’s opponents, and allows the court to write laws itself, experts said.

The move caps a year in which the last vestiges of Venezuela’s democracy have been torn down, critics and regional leaders say, leaving what many now describe as not just an authoritarian regime, but an outright dictatorship.

Not content with steering Venezuela into a downward spiral of hyperinflation, food shortages, and dwindling oil production, Maduro seems determined to drag Venezuela’s democracy down with him. Maduro’s muzzling of the National Assembly is the dramatic culmination of his ongoing campaign against the opposition, from mass arrests of opposition leaders to the suspension of a recall referendum to remove him from power.

Maduro seems to have timed the move as a defiant rebuke to his international critics. On Tuesday, the Organization of American States called for Maduro to engage in dialogue with the opposition, respect the “functioning of democracy,” and recognize the National Assembly. The very next day, Maduro dissolved it.

With international pressure so far proving fruitless, Venezuela’s domestic opposition is already organizing; initial reports tell of opposition leaders blocking a highway in Caracas in the first protests since the ruling. But such street tactics have failed to produce change in the past, and enthusiasm and turnout has been dwindling since the fall. It remains to be seen whether Maduro’s power grab will further crush the opposition’s spirit or galvanize it.

One measure to watch is whether Maduro’s own allies might break ranks: on Friday morning, Attorney General Luisa Ortega said that the ruling was unconstitutional, signaling a break with Maduro that caused state television to immediately cut off her transmission. These fissures within Maduro’s government, no less than the opposition protests, should be watched carefully as Maduro seeks to consolidate Venezuela’s slide from democracy to dictatorship.

Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • QET

    Hmm, let’s see. A judiciary seizing power from one of the elected branches. Where have we seen that before?

    • Proverbs1618

      I heard RBG started to drool when she heard the news. Can’t confirm if this was normal drooling or something more sinister.

  • If we hadn’t wasted so many resources in the ME, we could have invaded Venezuela and saved the peeps from Communists, BUT, they elected them, so they can live with the results.

    • Tom

      Better this way–now they can’t wail about how the Yanqui imperialists strangled the revolution in its cradle. Instead, the socialists own everything that happens in the country.

      • Yep, now, just stop issuing (if we are) visa’s to Venezuelans and the discontent stew. Maybe Colombia and other neighbors will take care of their own…

      • Fat_Man

        Sometimes enough is enough.

    • f1b0nacc1

      They have asked for this, I wish them the joy of it.

      Not a single soldier, not one bullet, nothing….let them all rot without our help.

      • I agree, I intended to be facetious. Most cultures cannot handle self government nor democratic tools, they always vote for their own dictator. Latin America is a fine new world example, I cannot really have much sympathy. Its like inviting the vampire in the door, or committing slow motion suicide.

      • D4x

        Maduro will follow Mugabe’s example, ruling a state into rubble for 30 years. The USA could help Colombia build a wall to keep the refugees out. Might have to send the Marines to protect Grenada from Venezuelan boat people. The Netherlands still rules Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

        • Andrew Allison

          Why would we care about helping the drug capital of S. America. The big problem for the US today is Guatemalans transiting Mexico. Another argument for the Trump Wall .

          • D4x

            Colombia has made great progress in ending their 50-year drug war. Did President Santos not merit his 2016 Nobel Peace Prize?
            Venezuelan refugees threaten not just supermarket shelves in Colombia, but the stability of an important US ally.
            Really need to insert emojis when my tongue is stuck in my cheek. 🙂

        • f1b0nacc1

          Then let the Venezuelans deal with the problem themselves. They asked for this, cheered for it, and supinely refuse to take action against it. If the US involved itself in any way, shape, or form, we would be roundly excoriated and those that we rescued would lead the cries of those condemning us for ‘interfering’.

          No, let them all rot in their paradise (perhaps we could send a few of their cheerleaders from the States to join them?), and I will be quite content. If they menace their neighbors (who have tolerated this cancer for years, lest they be seen supporting the dreaded notreamericanos), let them take care of their own problems.

          Not a single bullet, not a single soldier…let their ruin and misery be an example for the rest of the world

          • D4x

            My suggestion was to help Colombia, and Grenada keep refugees/migrants out.

            I did not include refugee camps for Venezuelans. Let Maduro do to Venezuela as Mugabe has done to Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.

            Examples to the ROW do not seem to make a difference. The post-WW2 institutions designed to end wars only creates refugees fleeing failed ‘states’.

            The Netherlands has a genuine issue. Venezuelan boat people seeking Aruba would be very thorny.

          • f1b0nacc1

            We already help Columbia with security assistance, and that has worked to help them domestically. However…that support should remain explicitly confined to defensive domestic measures….no mission creep to drag us into a conflict. As for Grenada, it is an island, Helping them with a coast guard should be more than sufficient, but no further.

            With regards to Aruba…you are right, the Netherlands have a genuine issue. Fortunately I am not Dutch, so this isn’t a problem for me. Let them handle it.

          • D4x

            Venezuela is the new North Korea: “…Government officials have also been found to support members of Hezbollah. A recent report by CNN found that the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq may have provided Venezuelan passports and visas for individuals connected to terrorism. …

            Venezuela is now the leading country for U.S. asylum requests, ahead of even war-torn countries.

            The country’s imminent collapse will have far-reaching implications for the region. In addition to a refugee crisis, there will be a spread of communicable diseases. Moreover, regional criminal organizations such as Colombia’s FARC are sure to exploit the power vacuum. The situation would undermine the United States’ largest foreign aid investment, “Plan Colombia,” valued at more than $10 billion and many U.S. lives.”

            http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2017/02/21/venezuela_is_a_ticking_time_bomb_112224.html

          • f1b0nacc1

            Sucks to be them…if this is regional problem, let the regional groups (*NOT* the US) cope with it. As for asylum, we should consider carefully those asking for asylum, extensively vet them, and then *perhaps* consider accepting a limited number.

            The place is a mess, it is a tragedy, and the region will suffer. Next?

          • D4x

            Next? Not one Venezuelan should get USA asylum. As if I care. Back to Peace in the Middle East before tackling China.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Sounds fine to me…I know that it is cruel and that I am a bad person for saying it, but I honestly do not care a whit about these people. These are the same folks who cheered Chavez when I condemned the evil Yanquis and paid his followers off with loot stolen from foreign concerns. These are the same folks who condemned the US when it took any steps to protect THEIR interests in the region, because of course the motto of the third world is ‘me and my cousin against the outsiders’. Now that the bill has come due for their entertainment we are supposed to bail them out, only to get another round of abuse while doing so? Forget it….

          • D4x

            Did you mean “cheered Chavez when He…” ? because I doubt You ever “condemned the evil Yanquis”, even when it was Bush43.
            It is supposed to be safe for every American to express a formerly deplorable opinion. Be aware that Chavez did have an American constituency, because of his fuel oil charity to low-income homeowners in the Northeast. Expect deBlasio to offer asylum, once he figures out how to house the homeless at the Plaza Hotel (sarc intended).

          • f1b0nacc1

            Of course you are correct, “…when HE….” is correct…the error was mine.

            As for Chavez’s American constituency, they are far past the point of shame, so it is worthless to reason with them. No matter what happens in Venezuela, it will be the result of American interference (the CIA seems to be all-powerful in this regard, despite the bathetic incompetence elsewhere), or failing that special circumstances that can never be generalized to any other situation. The Left contemplating their own failures reminds me most of M*A*S*H’s Frank Burns, who when he lost a patient, always referred to it as “God’s will or somebody else’s fault”

  • Suzy Dixon

    Bbbbuutt Bernie. Aaannddd socialism! Bernie Sandinista radio silence.

  • Blackbeard

    Has any country ever escaped from Communism/Socialism democratically? The Maduro’s of the world and their henchmen never go peacefully because they know that if they are ever held to account their lives will be over.

    • Fat_Man

      The late Soviet Union?

      • Blackbeard

        Well, the old guard did attempt a coup against Gorbachev but it kind of sputtered out:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Soviet_coup_d'%C3%A9tat_attempt

        • Jim__L

          For a violent change of government in Russia, I’ve always been shocked just how few people died in that little incident. And most of them were the coup plotters taking their own lives…

    • Pait

      Poland? Czechoslovakia? Hungary? The Baltics? Georgia? The DDR?

      Can’t remember any. Perhaps I need to go back to my history books.

      • Jim__L

        You’re right, Pait.

        God bless Ronald Reagan! =)

        • Pait

          I forgot Ronald Reagan had been the president from 1945 until 1989, with brief interruptions for the Bay of Pigs, Watergate, and the Iran hostages period. I really need to go back to my history books.

          • Jim__L

            God Bless Pope John Paul II as well… =)

            And GHW Bush (as president and as CIA director), and William F. Buckley, and Dwight Eisenhower, and even Tailgunner Joe McCarthy when he was right (which was far more often than Alger Hiss fans care to think).

            It’s true, there’s a lot of credit to go around.

  • Fat_Man

    The US should abandon Syria to its fate. Afghanistan and and Pakistan too, although we should destroy the harmful toys we gave the Pakistani military on our way out.

    But, Venezuela is in our kitchen garden. An MEF ought to be able fix things pronto. Cuba, is on our back porch. Ditto.

    • I will concur with Koobah, which should have been liberated the week the SU fell, we could have hanged the Castro boys and their toadies in Plaza Vieja until their heads separated from their bodies.

    • Tom

      You’d need a lot more than an MEF to fix it up.

    • Jim__L

      So was interfering in the Suez crisis a mistake?

      “Back to you, London”…

      • Fat_Man

        1956?

        • Jim__L

          Yup

          • Fat_Man

            Ancient History. I really do think the US should have sided with Britain and France and told the Russians to get out. Allowing the Russians to have their way at that time led to 30 years of Communist agitation in the MENA. The baleful effects thereof are still seen. PLO/PLA was their baby.

          • Jim__L

            Sure, it’s ancient history. I’m just pointing out that it’s a bit of a reversal, our telling Europe that that part of the world (or any part of the world apart from their own subcontinent) is in their sphere of influence again.

  • Pait

    Looking forward to hearing a vigorous condemnation from the Department of State as soon as the so-called Secretary wakes up from his comatose fatigue.

    Not looking forward to a copycat coup if Bannon realizes the Venezuelan trick worked.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service