WASHINGTON, August 24, 2016 – Massive demonstrations scheduled for September 1 in Venezuela will test the military’s patience and could end the presidency of Nicolas Maduro.
After months of economic crisis, Venezuela is now on the verge of both economic and political collapse, and opposition calls for a massive turnout against President Maduro next week are heightening already skyrocketing tensions in the country.
The population has suffered food shortages since last year, when Maduro’s price fixing began impacting supplies. The situation now is so dire that middle class Venezuelans are relying on infusions of food and medicine from relatives in Miami to survive.
According to one Venezuelan who asked not to use her name, “Everyone here is hungry. We are down to one meal a day, and we are college educated with full time jobs. No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy food. It simply isn’t here.”
The country is also in dire need of medical supplies. Miami pharmacies are now filling Venezuelan prescriptions and shipping them to Venezuela. Aid organizations are struggling to send antibiotics, asthma inhalers, and other medications to desperate Venezuelans.
The already bad situation deteriorated since July, when the Venezuelan government closed the border with Colombia, which smugglers were using to send in supplies.
At the center of the controversy is Nicolas Maduro, hand-picked by Hugo Chavez to lead the country after Chavez’s death. Maduro further twisted the already dysfunctional economic and political situation put in place by Chavez, with irrational and unpredictable decisions that led to his defeat in the last general elections.
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