10 Days Of Unrest In Venezuela Come To A Head In Massive Protest

The Huffington PostDays of angry protests in Venezuela came to a head over the weekend, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets to demand the departure of the country’s unpopular president, Nicolas Maduro.

Rallies went out in cities across the country on Saturday, the largest of them in the capital, Caracas. Protesters in the capital chanted “Liberty, Liberty” and carried signs saying “Dictator Maduro!” and “Elections Now!”

While protesters say Saturday’s demonstration in Caracas started peacefully, the day ended in fierce clashes between demonstrators and security forces. Officers in riot gear used tear gas and water cannons to prevent marchers from proceeding. Some protesters threw rocks and petrol bombs and lit garbage on fire. Around a hundred protesters broke into an office of the Supreme Court. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.