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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US urges anti-IS coalition to step up

Foreign ministers and senior officials from the 79-member, U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition are meeting in Washington to develop a way ahead after President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw American forces from Syria. (Feb. 6)

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CrossTalk Bullhorns: Syria attacked (Extended version)

The U.S.-led attack on Syria is a gross violation of international law. Furthermore, western publics still have not been presented with evidence the Syrian state used any chemical weapons. A new phase of the Syrian proxy war has needlessly been opened up. Another war of choice.

CrossTalking with Mark Sleboda and Dmitry Babich.

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Pentagon: US Strikes Hit Every Target

The Pentagon says that the U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria “successfully hit every target.” (April 14)

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CrossTalk: Hypersonic War

Both the United States and Russia have announced their nuclear weapons posture. Both countries are entering a new age of war – the age of hypersonic weapons. We are told Russia’s hypersonic weapons can render U.S.-led missile defense system ‘useless.’ Can Washington allow this to stand? Are we now in a new arms race?
CrossTalking with George Szamuely, Daniel McAdams, and Mary Dejevsky.

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DOD: US Forces Acted in Self-Defense in Syria

Department of Defense officials say actions by the U.S.-led coalition in Syria was in “self-defense,” citing a major attack on its allied forces and U.S. advisers in Deir el-Zour province. (Feb. 8)

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Blazing row: Hundreds of Palestinians injured as IDF use tear gas, rubber bullets

Clashes between protesters and Israeli police have been seen across Palestine. In Jerusalem, people have been gathering near the Damascus Gate – where there is a massive Israeli security presence.
Palestine says it will now reject any U.S.-led peace negotiations.

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City of Corpses: RT visits Mosul to witness shocking aftermath of liberation

Months under a barrage of bombs the Iraqi city of Mosul has been almost leveled. The U.S.-led operation to liberate the city from ISIL has been declared a success, but the human cost is inconceivable. It was once home to around two million people.
Murad Gazdiev is in Mosul to witness the aftermath.
You might find the content of the following report upsetting.

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‘Illegitimate coalition’ must pay for destroying Syria – Damascus to UN

Syria has written to the UN’s Secretary General demanding a halt to U.S.-led coalition air strikes. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/8ig7

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20 civilians reportedly killed in US-led airstrikes on Syria

As many as 20 civilians were reportedly killed when the U.S.-led coalition carried out air strikes in Syria’s Raqqa province on Saturday. The coalition has recently intensified its bombing campaign in the area, in an attempt to retake the city of Raqqa from Islamic State.

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