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Venezuelan Political Situation Grows Darker This Week - But So Do Its Finances

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro inside the Miraflores palace in Caracas this month.
Ariana Cubillos
AP via Miami Herald
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro inside the Miraflores palace in Caracas this month.

Political conditions in Venezuela are growing darker by the day. But so is Venezuela’s financial situation. In the meantime, Florida politicians are calling for more help for Venezuelan immigrants.

Much of the international community now labels Venezuela’s socialist government a dictatorship. And this week the regime is doing its best to live up to that billing.

First, it said it will soon begin regulating social media in Venezuela. It seems unlikely the regime could block encrypted apps like Whatsapp, which is the most popular among Venezuelans. But the announcement seems an omen for even more government control of communications.

A more chilling development is a new campaign to prosecute opposition leaders for treason. The charge against them – which legal experts call flimsy at best – is that they support the U.S.’s new economic sanctions against Venezuela.

But critics say President Nicolás Maduro’s economic mismanagement is a bigger threat to his regime’s survival. Venezuela’s foreign reserves have now sunk below $10 billion – and its oil revenues keep falling. Worse, the country faces debt payments of almost $4 billion this fall.

Florida’s two U.S. Senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio, have now joined calls for the Trump Administration to grant Venezuelan immigrants here Temporary Protected Status, or TPS.

Copyright 2020 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.
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