Venezuela is on high-alert as recent political conflict rises between recently reelected president Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido. In May 2018, Maduro was reelected for another six-year term with overwhelming support from the public, passing his closest opponent by millions. On January 19, Guaido claimed the inauguration of Maduro as illegitimate and challenged him for the presidency spot. Guaido declared himself the interim president in a bid to force out Maduro.

Guaido’s position was quickly recognized by the US, Canada, Brazil, and Colombia. The European Union also took a stance in the issue, where France, Britain, Spain also supported the new interim president. Maduro responded with contempt, cutting of relations with the US. He defended his stance with this statement.

“We are defending the right to the very existence of our Bolivarian republic … They intend to govern Venezuela from Washington. Do you want a puppet government controlled by Washington?”

Freedom House reports that the elections that were held in 2018 for Maduro were profoundly flawed, which just extend his authoritarian rule even further. The elections poll was accelerated in order to help Maduro’s reelection. It’s said that prominent opposition bans and voter intimidation drove the elections to fail international standards and was deemed illegitimate.

“… most prominent opposition parties and candidates were banned from participating, and record-low turnout reelected widespread dissatisfaction with the process.”

The Freedom House Aggregate Freedom Score shows 19/100 for Venezuela, with low political rights and civil liberties numbers, putting the country as ”Not Free”.

The Venezuela National Flag

Reporters Without Borders indicate a decline in Venezuela’s freedom index since last year, moving form 137 to 143. Venezuela’s freedom has been suppressed by Maduro since 2013, when he was first put as a head of the country. Independent media and news outlets are under tight and constant control. Foreign journalists have been victims of violence and arbitrary arrests by the state, reaching an all time high in 2017. Venezuela has privately-owned broadcasters, operating in parallel to state-run radio and TV. Since 2013, the
country has been in a steady decline in its freedom index, as the political situation declines.

Despite its massive oil, coal and gold supplies, Venezuela is suffering from an economical and humanitarian crisis. Maduro has done little to improve the drastic inflation, causing millions to struggle for their daily needs. This led to a wave of anti-government protests in 2016 and 2017, when falling oil prices forced the government to cut its social programmes.

Martin Nestorov is an enthusiast in conspiracy theories involving both fictional and real life events.