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Friday, May 5, 2017

The implosion of the Venezuelan thugocracy

When Hugo Chávez rewrote the Venezuelan constitution 18 years ago, he predicted it would last for “centuries”. This week his successor, Nicolás Maduro, said he wanted a new one. More ominously, the president called for the creation of a “popular assembly”. This new “supreme” organ of power would neither require political parties nor popular elections. In theory, it could rule forever.  The proposal provoked outrage. It gave further impetus to month-long street protests, where more than 30 people have died. “This is the most serious coup d’état in Venezuelan history,” said Julio Borges, leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly. It is “a coup”, agreed Aloysio Nunes, Brazil’s foreign minister. But the power grab, the latest attempt by Mr Maduro to avoid elections, is also a sign of desperation. Regime change is a real possibility. This will have implications far beyond Venezuela. More…

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