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Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
WASHINGTON – Although Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is no extreme-left Hugo Chavez, his predecessor who once appeared at the United Nations and warned listeners he could still smell the “sulfur” from President Bush’s day-before appearance, analysts believe that he will keep a firm grasp on the nation’s power despite increasing inflation and chronic shortages of food, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
There have been massive demonstrations taking place in the country’s capital of Caracas and other locations, but these sources say that Maduro not only has the continued backing of the military but there is a lack of outside pressure – mainly from the United States – for change.
This apparent apathy over Venezuelan leadership has developed despite Maduro’s crackdown on his opposition, including the recent arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
Initially, Lopez was accused of treason and other charges, but the treason charge later was withdrawn.
Opposition demonstrations also were met with pro-government demonstrations, principally from oil workers.
At the same time, Maduro has banned demonstrations and is tightening control over the media to cut off one avenue for the opposition to mobilize.
To date, half a dozen demonstrators have been killed while scores have been injured in clashes with the national guard.
“The government came out to kill people, to try to shut up people with lead,” according to opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
Nevertheless, government opponents are demonstrating because of strict currency and price controls. The country’s inflation rate has reached 56 percent and supplies of such basic necessities as toilet paper and cooking oil are difficult to keep in stores.
Sources report that Maduro also may have shut down the borders. No air flights have been allowed out of the country.
Maduro is attempting to cast his problems as those generated from the outside, accusing the U.S. of financing teams to topple his government.
Nevertheless, there also are reports that Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina are turning on Venezuela since Caracas has stopped sending money to fellow leftist countries. At the same time, reports suggest that Cuba continues to help Maduro in his repressive measures to maintain his government.
Although Western governments, including the U.S., have been relatively quiet over the crisis in Venezuela, Maduro believes that they intend to see enough chaos generated in the country to justify outside military intervention.
“In Venezuela, they’re applying the format of a coup d’etat,” Maduro said in a speech.
Maduro specifically accused the U.S. cable channel CNN of instigating protesters, prompting him to threaten to CNN removed from coverage in Venezuela.
Analysts believe, however, that despite the mounting protests, Maduro will survive, since he acted quickly to crack down on a wider protest movement and is acting vigorously against street demonstrators.