Pre-cooked cornmeal is one of the most important staple foods in venezuela
Maduro promises rapprochement with the usa
In venezuela, burgers demonstrated in a poor neighborhood of the capital caracas and in the coastal city of cumana with the slogan "we are hungry" for food, which is now so scarce and expensive in the country that the government recommends urban gardening to the citizens (cf. Venezuela: urban agriculture as "productivity revolution" and government program). In cumana, this also led to violent clashes in which, according to mud deputy milagros paz, one person died. In addition, 27 people are said to have been injured.
While the food situation continues to worsen, it appears to be easing somewhat after the start of the rainy season in the energy sector of the country, which is largely dependent on hydropower: the civil service, whose working hours were reduced to two days a week in april to save electricity, now has to work five days a week again – but only six hours a day for the time being. These schools are also to resume teaching five days a week starting this week.
Because venezuela is a prasidial republic, the country’s policies are determined by president nicolas maduro and his partido socialista unido de venezuela (psuv), although the electoral alliance mesa de la unidad democratica (mud) nearly won a two-thirds majority in december’s legislative elections. On 3. In may, mud representatives submitted 1.85 million signatures to the electoral authority for a referendum on the impeachment of the president.
After a three-week delay, the electoral authority announced that of the 1.85 million signatures, 605 had been verified.727 as invalid, mainly because of shortcomings in filling out the forms. Now the signatories are supposed to sign between the 20th and the end of the month. And the 24. June with fingerprints at the electoral authority or one of its offices. Then they want the validation to be completed by 26. July and decide whether to allow the mud to collect another nearly four million signatures in a second step to initiate the referendum.
Preservation of power through referendum filibustering?
Government critics such as mud deputy tomas guanipa believe that the psuv could have instructed the official apparatus to delay the referendum approval process, if possible, until after the 10. January 2017, in order to secure rule until 2019 by exploiting an entrapment trick. In making this amption, they rely, among other things, on statements made by president maduro and vice-president aristobulo isturiz. Both publicly announced last week that there would be no referendum this year.
Violent demonstrations outside the headquarters of the electoral authority in caracas on thursday reportedly injured its head, julio borges. Also police officers were allegedly attacked with sticks and stones.
Maduro announces normalization of relations with the usa
President maduro, meanwhile, announced to his people that he wants to normalize relations with the u.S., with which relations have been very strained since the chavists took power in the late 1990s. Venezuelan politicians and pro-government media had repeatedly accused u.S. Actors of seeking a coup in the world’s richest country for economic gain and of deliberately damaging the economy there.
Maduro’s announcement is given weight by the fact that u.S. Secretary of state john kerry, after a meeting with his venezuelan counterpart delcy rodriguez on the sidelines of an international conference in the dominican republic, announced that he would soon send a senior diplomat to venezuela. In response to questions about the referendum, he said diplomatically that the u.S. Supported the "catching process".
In 2005, a referendum to depose maduro’s predecessor hugo chavez failed, and chavez died of cancer in 2013. At the time, venezuelans voted 59.25 percent to keep chavez in office. However, the former lieutenant colonel was clearly more charismatic than the former bus driver maduro, which is why one cannot necessarily ame a repetition of this result.
Moreover, the economic situation in venezuela has deteriorated significantly in the last eleven years: the gross domestic product declined by about ten percent in 2015. The inflation rate, which was over 140 percent last year, could reach 720 percent this year, according to imf estimates. And the murder rate in the capital is the highest in the world.