Crisis in Venezuela

Nicole Revilla, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Last May, Nicolas Maduro secured another 6-year term of president of Venezuela in an election that was widely seen as a sham.

Maduro has been president of Venezuela since 2013, since then the country has been riddled with violent protests and a ruined economy.

The 2018 re-election of Maduro proved controversial as the opposition majority National Assembly (the legislative body in Venezuela) declared his presidency illegitimate.

Several nations – including the United States and Canada – have refused to recognize his presidency, others, including China and Russia, still support Maduro.

According to CNN, Venezuela has suffered through nearly a decade of mismanagement.

The country has squandered its profound oil wealth, leaving its economy in tatters and Latin America reeling from an unprecedented mass exodus of migrants in search of food and medicine.

Migrants are fleeing due to shortages of medicine, food and staples such as milk, flour and toilet paper — along with rolling blackouts, rising unemployment and soaring violent crime.

In 2017 the country was rocked by violent and often deadly protests with protestors claiming Maduro had created a dictatorship in Venezuela.

Maduro blamed what he calls US economic terrorism for Venezuela’s ills.

Shortly after, the Trump administration has sought to pressure Maduro with targeted financial sanctions.

Earlier this month, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself Venezuela’s “acting president” on a day of massive anti-government protests.

Guiado said the day marked the beginning of an unstoppable movement to restore independence and democracy.

He also called for new elections.

As of right now, the country of Venezuela finds itself with two declared leaders, violence in the streets, and foreign powers struggling who to recognize as the real president of Venezuela.

Hours after President Trump declared Guiado as the legitimate president, an angry Maduro gave US diplomats 72 hours to leave Venezuela.

According to CNN, Maduro made an appearance before Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Thursday.

He announced in a speech aired live on state broadcaster VTV that he was closing the Venezuelan embassy and all consulates in the US and recalling all diplomatic staff.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for dialogue.

On Thursday, President Trump said in an interview with Fox News that situations are probably “going to be very bad. It’s a terrible thing. People are starving, people are dying. There’s no food, there’s no water. It’s an incredible mess.”

The country now finds itself in a heightened state of political unrest and what happens next remains uncertain.