A major opposition protest planned for September 1 could determine the political future of Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro. Opposition leaders say they will take to the streets of the capital Caracas to insist that a vote to remove Maduro take place before January 10, after which a recall would leave the vice president in charge for the remainder of his term, Americas Quarterly reports.
On Monday, a wave of thousands of Venezuelans descended on Caracas as part of a last-gasp effort by the country’s opposition to try to force Maduro to hold a referendum on his rule—a vote he is fiercely resisting, with polls saying it would lead to his removal, The Wall Street Journal reports:
“This is a huge event. It’s the biggest test of the opposition’s strength and the government’s tolerance of dissent in years,” said Javier Corrales, professor of Latin American studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts. “The opposition is really running out of time to achieve their goal of the referendum this year.”
Mr. Corrales said the government wants to put off the vote until next year. If the vote takes place after Jan. 10 and Mr. Maduro is ousted, a vice president of his choosing would serve out the term ending in 2019. A referendum held before that date wouldn’t only remove the president but also trigger new elections, which polls show would end 17 years of Socialist government.
Demonstrations in solidarity with the protests are taking place across the globe under the rubric #ConCaracas (above).
A promising peace accord in Colombia and the imminent collapse of the regime in Venezuela represent historic opportunities to transform these countries and invigorate the Andean region as a whole. – American Enterprise Institute (HT: FPI) analyst Roger Noriega writes.
The country’s humanitarian crisis is deepening, The Washington Post reports:
The Associated Press reports that the typical resident of Caracas, the capital, spends 35 hours a month waiting in line to buy food, and 9 in 10 say they can’t find enough … Sackings of food warehouses by hungry mobs have been reported; 50 animals in the Caracas zoo are said to have starved to death. Meanwhile, Mr. Maduro refuses to allow aid shipments into the country.