Venezuela in fevered political chaos and economic crisis

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By Christopher Cummins  with Agencies
Venezuela in fevered political chaos and economic crisis

In his four years in power the Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has lurched from catastrophe to catastrophe.

Food shortages, lack of medicine and now, according to the IMF, the country is “mired in a deep economic crisis.”

The mandate he inherited from the charismatic Hugo Chavez has been shredded.

Maduro went to the polls in April 2013 shortly after the death of Chavez and scraped victory over Henrique Capriles by 1.49 percent the previous, year Chavez has beaten Capriles by 11 percent.

The challenger, buoyed by his success poured scorn on Maduro:“The biggest loser today is you and what you represent,” he said.

The economy has been hit hard by the fall in oil prices since 2014. The price plummet has severely limited the country’s access to foreign exchange and the imported staples needed to supply the country. Queues are the norm looting commonplace.

The chaos has benefitted the opposition, which won an historic victory in the legislative elections in 2015. The result has increased the animosity between the two strands.

Maduro, backed by the Supreme Court is constantly blocking parliamentary legislation.

In March the opposition moved on two fronts to oust the president.

An amendment to the constitution to reduce his term from six to four years.

And a recall referendum to force Maduro to relinquish control.

That attempt looks to have been buried by the National Election Council, as the oppostion has been unable to gather enough signatures to force the vote.

After a period of relative calm the fur flew when the Supreme Court tried to shut down parliament
to the incandescent rage of lawmakers. who called for a coup.

In early April the pot becomes close to boiling over when the judges rule that opposition leader Henrique Capriles is banned from running for election for 15 years.

Waves of protest followed adding fuel to Venezuela’s flames.