In a move that solidified President Nicolas Maduro’s position as a veritable dictator, Venezuelan security forces raided the homes of opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma last night. Before being dragged from their homes, the two men were under house arrest – Lopez for leading anti-Maduro protests in 2014 and Ledezma for allegedly plotting a coup.
Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma are both public figures in Venezuela’s opposition. Both men were former mayors of Caracas and openly supported anti-Maduro movements. The raids come a day after the Constituent Assembly election, a vote boycotted by the opposition, which was marred by violence as Venezuelans protested the clear power-grab by Maduro and his government.
The Constituent Assembly, whose task is to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution, is expected to dissolve the opposition-controlled National Assembly, extend Maduro’s current term by postponing an upcoming election and revising electoral practices to further secure and consolidate Maduro and his Socialist Party’s power in government. The turnout for the vote opposing the election was, unsurprisingly, higher than that of the actual election.
The United States issued sanctions against President Nicolas Maduro in response to the regime’s blow against the Venezuelan constitution and any democratic solution to the crisis. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has frozen all of Maduro’s assets that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction and banned Americans from doing business with him.
The Trump Administration and the Treasury Department continue to monitor the situation, and further sanctions against other individuals within the Maduro government (as well as participants in the Constituent Assembly) are on the table. More broad brushed sanctions are also under consideration, including those on Venezuela’s oil industry.
It is unlikely, however, that the Trump Administration would strike a blow at Venezuela’s economy directly. The failed petrostate is already floundering, and further stress on the economy would ultimately only hurt the people of Venezuela.
FUN FACT: The current value of the in-game currency for popular online video game World of Warcraft (WoW) is higher than that of Venezuela. The exchange rate for WoW gold is currently 8385 per U.S. Dollar. In Venezuela, however, $1 can get you 8493.97 bolivars.
This brings us, dear readers, to yet another echo of our ever-consistent warning here at Liberty Nation. Venezuela is a prime example of why Socialism does not work. State control of the economy only leads to poor decisions, the consolidation of absolute power by those in charge, and the ultimate failure and ruin of the country.