On Sunday, October 15, President Nicolás Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela won a surprising majority in 17 of the country’s 23 states in the regional gubernatorial elections over the Democratic Unity opposition party.
As Venezuela steps further away from its democratic institutions, President Maduro and opposition leaders may begin to take steps toward a solution to the political and economic turmoil in the country. Both government and opposition leaders have accepted the invitation of the Dominican Republic to make plans to begin talks to deal with the nation’s problems. Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas invited the groups and hours later on state television President Maduro declared his intention to send a delegation.
“This government is going to fall!” was the chant that echoed through almost 50 cities and towns across Venezuela as part of the nationwide movement protesting President Nicolas Maduro’s rule.
Venezuelans refer to their country’s slums and the individual improvised constructions as ranchos (ranches). These feats of engineering are ubiquitous throughout the country; they spill down the hills and mountains surrounding the capital city of Caracas, down to the port of La Guaira north of the city and south into the Tuy valleys, and dominate the periphery of even more intermediate cities like Maracay, Ciudad Bolívar, and San Cristóbal. Some Venezuelans claim that the rancho that has overtaken the colonial town of Petare
The 17th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) this September resulted in another humiliation for crisis-stricken Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro when only about 10 heads of state showed up.1 The NAM, an anti-imperialist bloc of 120 nations whose last summit in Iran in 2012 drew 35 heads of state, first convened in 1961 with the goal of combating Western domination.2 Maduro’s opposition called the embarrassingly low attendance a “devastating failure” for Maduro.3 This is just one of a slew of recent difficulties
Oil prices are rapidly falling, thus Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro decided to make an important trip this past Monday. He announced in a public address on Sunday evening, “I leave on a very important trip to deal with new projects… and the decline in revenues that are the product of the sharp decline in oil prices.”1 First stop, Russia.
For Venezuela, a country whose economy desperately depends on its oil industry, the fall in the price of oil continues to wreak economic havoc. Oil exports constitute 96% of the country’s export earnings, and according to the Venezuelan Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, the end of 2014 saw Venezuelan crude oil prices fall to USD 47.05 per barrel compared to USD 95 in September 2014.
A recent survey conducted by the Venezuelan polling firm Datánalisis reveals that the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro now stands at about 22 percent (El Universal 2014). Maduro won the presidential election in April 2013 with 50.6 percent of the vote - an extremely thin margin compared to the impressive electoral performance of his predecessor – Hugo Chavéz. Ever since, negative public assessment of Maduro is on the rise.