How Maduro Has Clung Onto Power In Venezuela (HBO)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has had a tumultuous 2019.

He’s been locked in a power struggle with 35-year-old Juan Guaidó since January, when the young opposition leader declared himself Venezuela’s rightful interim president with the backing of 50 countries, including the U.S. He’s faced several rounds of sanctions that have crippled the country’s oil sector and sharply exacerbated an already disastrous crisis, making an economic recovery all but impossible any time soon. He’s overseen one massive power outage after another, leaving entire neighborhoods without running water for days or even weeks at a time.

In spite of all this, Maduro has managed to hang on to power. He’s done so in part by maintaining control of key political institutions, especially the military, through a combination of patronage and intimidation. But he also counts on a hard core of support among the population, which has less to do with Maduro himself than with the legacy of the man who was president before him: Hugo Chávez.

Over his 15 years in power, Chávez became a national hero of near-mythic proportions by lifting millions out of poverty: He reduced hunger and extreme poverty by half, nearly wiped out illiteracy, and transformed Venezuela’s barrios by supplying them with proper housing and basic goods and services, organizing them politically in the process. And while the catastrophic economic breakdown Venezuela is currently suffering has badly weathered support for Maduro among the poor, many still have faith in the larger chavista project, and don’t see the U.S.-led opposition as a viable alternative.

“Yes, people are disappointed, but even though they’re disappointed, they’re not with the opposition — they’re passive,” said Olga Andrade, a resident of a Caracas barrio. “Because what exactly does the opposition have to offer? How long have they been fighting for this or that, and what have they accomplished? They haven’t done anything.”

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Venezuela government supporters gather for pro-Maduro rally

Venezuela’s government supporters gather in the streets of Caracas to mark the 20th anniversary of the rise to power of late leader Hugo Chavez and to back President Nicolas Maduro. IMAGES+ COMPLETES VID1298682_EN // VID1298698_EN // VID1298702_EN // VID1298706_EN +

Chavez hometown languishes after 20 years of revolution

Deserted streets and closed stores surround the imposing statue of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in his birthplace of Sabaneta, 20 years after the enigmatic figure launched the country’s revolution. But Sabaneta, in Barinas State, has not forgotten its most illustrious son and commemorates him with almost fanatical devotion

Controversial Venezuela assembly begins first session

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro installs a powerful new assembly packed with his allies Friday, surrounded by images of former president Hugo Chavez and independence hero Simon Bolivar, dismissing an international outcry and opposition protests saying he is burying democracy in his crisis-hit country. IMAGES

A Chavista’s Fears for the Future (Extra Scene From ‘The Fall of Chavismo in Venezuela’)

Venezuela’s December election was an historic moment. After exactly 17 years of dominating the country’s institutions and politics, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) — founded by the late President Hugo Chavez — was defeated at the polls.

The party, and its Chavista allies, was beaten in the congressional election of December 6 by the opposition coalition, which now has enough seats in the National Assembly to challenge President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s successor.

Indeed, Ramos Allup, the assembly’s newly elected speaker, declared on January 5 that there would be a change of government within six months. Under Venezuela’s constitution, the president can be removed with a recall referendum.

Other lawmakers have said that they would push for the release of political prisoners jailed under Maduro’s government.

Yet the president remains defiant, responding: “Let them call a recall referendum and then the people will decide.” Maduro has also said that he would veto any prisoner amnesty law.

In this extra scene from ‘The Fall of Chavismo in Venezuela,’ VICE News meets a young Chavista activist, who fears that the opposition’s victory will mean an end to the social programs that have benefited society’s poorest during 17 years of PSUV government.

Watch “Last Days of Chavez’s Legacy: The Fall of Chavismo in Venezuela” – http://bit.ly/1PpvYfm

Read “Venezuela Declares an Economic Emergency and Releases Data Showing How Bad It Is” – http://bit.ly/1RzjE2z

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Last Days of Chavez’s Legacy: The Fall of Chavismo in Venezuela

Venezuela’s December election was an historic moment. After exactly 17 years of dominating the country’s institutions and politics, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) — founded by the late President Hugo Chavez — was defeated at the polls.

The party, and its Chavista allies, was beaten in the congressional election of December 6 by the opposition coalition, which now has enough seats in the National Assembly to challenge President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s successor.

Indeed, Ramos Allup, the assembly’s newly elected speaker, declared on January 5 that there would be a change of government within six months. Under Venezuela’s constitution, the president can be removed with a recall referendum.

Other lawmakers have said that they would push for the release of political prisoners jailed under Maduro’s government.

Yet the president remains defiant, responding: “Let them call a recall referendum and then the people will decide.” Maduro has also said that he would veto any prisoner amnesty law.

VICE News traveled to Venezuela to see how the Chavistas prepared for the election, and followed PSUV candidate Zulay Aguirre during her campaign.

Watch “Gangs of El Salvador (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1SLgWUR

Read “The Hard Left Team Venezuela’s Maduro Just Appointed to Tackle the Country’s Crisis” – http://bit.ly/1SJ8QhH

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The Fall of Chavismo in Venezuela (Trailer)

Venezuela’s December election was an historic moment. After exactly 17 years of dominating the country’s institutions and politics, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) — founded by the late President Hugo Chavez — was defeated at the polls.

The party, and its Chavista allies, was beaten in the congressional election of December 6 by the opposition coalition, which now has enough seats in the National Assembly to challenge President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s successor.

Indeed, Ramos Allup, the assembly’s newly elected speaker, declared on January 5 that there would be a change of government within six months. Under Venezuela’s constitution, the president can be removed with a recall referendum.

Other lawmakers have said that they would push for the release of political prisoners jailed under Maduro’s government.

Yet the president remains defiant, responding: “Let them call a recall referendum and then the people will decide.” Maduro has also said that he would veto any prisoner amnesty law.

VICE News traveled to Venezuela to see how the Chavistas prepared for the election, and followed PSUV candidate Zulay Aguirre during her campaign.

Watch “Gangs of El Salvador” – bit.ly/1SLgWUR

Read “There Was a Lot of Yelling During the First Session of Venezuela’s New Congress” – bit.ly/1mEp6of

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Behind the Protests in Caracas: Venezuela Rising

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Earlier this year, VICE News headed to Venezuela’s capital of Caracas to cover protests that started in the provinces before engulfing the city. What began as a student movement inspired by the scarcity of basic goods and an exploding crime rate — the UN has classified Venezuela as the world’s murder capital, war zones excluded — had snowballed into mass anti-government riots.

Angry at the perceived shortcomings of President Nicolás Maduro, who replaced the charismatic Hugo Chavez a year before, thousands of mostly middle-class protesters took to the streets, tearing the city apart during pitched battles with Caracas’s brutal semi-militarized police force. Protesters also had to contend with collectivos, quasi-governmental biker gangs accused of spreading insecurity and discontent to keep Venezuela’s population frightened and indoors.

VICE News released six dispatches from the ground and live streamed from Altamira Square, the heart of the city’s unrest. In Venezuela Rising, we explain the story behind the protests, linking up with rioters, government supporters, activists, and victims of Caracas’s intolerable crime wave. In an exclusive interview, we also speak to Henrique Capriles, the leader of the political opposition.

At least 43 people have died since the protests in Caracas began, and thousands more have been injured and arrested. In Venezuela Rising, VICE News finds out why.

Watch Part 1 of “The Interpreters: Hiding in Afghanistan” – http://bit.ly/1nbif1Z

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