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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Venezuela. La droite joue la politique du pire

by Lina Sankari

Venezuela – opting for the worst right wing policies.

Translated Friday 9 June 2017, by Abbie Williams

After the death of a young protester, bringing the number of deaths to 43, the Venezuelan government have deployed the army in the west.

Juan Barreto / AFP

Health care workers protesting in Caracas on Wednesday, as the state of the country’s health situation becomes worrying. [original image caption]

On Wednesday the unbearable violence shaking Venezuela pushed president Maduro to send 2600 military troops in to the state of Táchira in the west. On Wednesday, a 15 year old protestor died, bringing the death toll to 43 since April, equal to the number of people killed during the protests to the right-wing opposition in 2014. These deaths have occurred during a volatile climate of looting and violent attacks including an attack on a paediatric hospital in Caracas at the end of April. In the early hours of Wednesday, dozens of shops were ransacked and two police stations were burnt down. Nicholas Maduro has accused a ‘paramilitary’ group of wanting to attack an army unit in the town of Grita in the west. General Padrino Lopez stated that, ‘we are not talking about protests. These are subversive actions (...) that have already provoked the armed uprising. The idea is to transform Venezuela into a Syria and Tachira into an Aleppo. We will not allow the homeland to fall into chaos.’

Videos circulating on the internet show students firing live ammunition at the police; it is reported a number of officers died from their injuries. Numerous accounts attest that pacifism is not the central belief of the ‘Guarimberos’ - the hooded anti-Maduro protestors who ambush, rob and kill civilians trying to break through the barricades. On the other hand, the police are not exempt from investigation, as a warrant of arrest was also drawn up for fifteen national guards suspected of the death of Gruseny Antonio Canelón - a 32 year old man, in Cabudare north-west Venezuela. In their desire to retaliate, the authorities sometimes cross the Rubicon. It is an illegal procedure: according to the NGO Foro Penal, 159 demonstrators have been detained by military courts.

Widespread shortages.

The war manifests itself in many forms. On Thursday the Head of State was forced to extend the state of economic emergency, which has been in place since January 2016. The extremely serious food crisis and the incessant shortages orchestrated by the government has seriously undermined the legitimacy of power. 70% of Venezuelans would now like to see Nicolas Maduro stand down before the presidential election in December 2018. According to the Bengoa Foundation, 82.8% of the Venezuelan population are today considered to be poor and 93% do not have sufficient resources to feed themselves. ‘It is, ultimately a nod to the Chavez regime, ‘Socialist-extractivist’, whereby the reduction in price is based on incomes derived from raw materials’, commented Jean-Jacques Kourliandsky, researcher at the Iris. Wrecked by the drastic fall in crude oil prices, Venezuela is crippled by the complications connected to the importation of consumer goods, medicines and the financing of social policies. On Wednesday Venezuela witnessed protests by medical professionals in Caracas, who cried ‘We do not want weapons, we want medication!’ Further worrying figures linked to this crisis have been reported, as infant and maternal mortality rate have skyrocketed by 30% and 65% respectively, while cases of malaria have increased by 76.4%. Last week, the publication of this data provoked the dismissal of the Minister of Health, Antonieta Caporale. Yesterday, the opposition called for more protests and rallies across the country on Saturday.

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