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Venezuela: The Collapse of Chavismo?

Venezuela: The Collapse of Chavismo?
The Hybrid War on Venezuela is intensifying as nearly 50 people have already been killed in the latest unrest, and the situation in the socialist state looks to be spiraling completely out of control.

A demonstrator holds up a miniature copy of Venezuela's constitution in front of the nation's flag at a government rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 13, 2004. - Sputnik International
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The South American country has been wracked by sporadic violence over the past couple of years ever since the death of former President Hugo Chavez, which emboldened the pro-Western opposition to seek the overthrow of his increasingly unpopular successor, Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela’s incumbent leader has been blamed for the systemic economic failings that have occurred during his tenure, though to be fair, not everything that’s unfolded is his fault. Chavez financed his populist agenda of socio-economic reform and generous state subsidies through heavy government spending, which suddenly became unmanageable in 2014 with the beginning of the oil price slump and was further exacerbated by the US’ economic warfare.

Nowadays, what had once been the most promising country in all of Latin America is sadly the ‘sick man’ of the hemisphere, with chronic shortages of basic goods reportedly commonplace in many of Venezuela’s largest cities and crime skyrocketing beyond its already-high "ordinary’ levels. This dire state of affairs has only served to encourage more and more people to come out into the streets in opposition to the government, including previous supporters of the country’s Chavismo brand of socialism. The opposition rode a wave of anti-government discontent in December 2015 and now controls almost two-thirds of the parliament, though they’ve still struggled to implement their ‘soft’ regime change agenda due to strident resistance from the ruling party and its zealous supporters. The friction between these two camps occasionally spills over into street violence, the latest of which was triggered by the Supreme Court temporarily taking control of some legislative processes earlier this year.

Despite the judiciary backtracking on its controversial actions, the anti-government unrest has only grown in the weeks since, and some of the “protesters” are now hurling bottles of feces at the police and even shooting at them with sniper rifles. What may have begun as a series of understandable demonstrations against worsening socio-economic conditions, brought about by systemic mismanagement and American interference has inarguably turned into a Color Revolution which is horrifyingly transforming into an Unconventional War of urban terrorism that threatens to turn Caracas into Kiev and lead to the total collapse of Chavismo.

For this segment Andrew is joined by George Conyne, Professor of History at the University of Kent and Nino Pagliccia, Venezuelan author of "Cuba Solidarity in Canada — Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations" and a retired researcher from the University of British Columbia.

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