14 February 2014, 16:43

Venezuelans demand immediate action to quell crime and inflation

By Brittany Peterson
WASHINGTON (VR)—Protests have swept Venezuela this week as students, backed by the opposition, flood the streets to denounce inflation, rampant crime and shortage of basic goods seen in the country under the presidency of Nicolas Maduro. Three were left dead and dozens injured during the demonstrations. This is among the greatest problems the Maduro administration has faced since taking office after the late Hugo Chavez.

Joining us to discuss Venezuela's political climate is Mark Jones, fellow in political science at the Baker Institute professor at Rice University.

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“He has reasons to be concerned about the protests, but he also has many reasons to be concerned about an economy that is in shambles. We are seeing an overwhelming majority of Venezuelans, even some that are sympathetic to the Chavista movement are up in arms about their inability to buy basic food stuffs with inflation rates that are liquidating their salaries and the minimal savings they have, and when they look on the horizon, they only see things getting worse, not better,” said Jones.

The goal of the opposition leaders behind the protests is to sustain the demonstrations until Maduro steps down.

“The real goal is to get Maduro out of power, but through legitimate means. What they are trying to signal is that the country can’t go on this way.”

However, some are wary of this strategy, including former presidential candidate for the center-right party, Henrique Capriles.

“They fear it will play into the hands of Maduro and the hard-core Chavistas, en thus harden their resolve to stay in power, and probably lead to violence or even a worse situation for Venezuela,” said Jones

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