11/20/20 By Giulia Campos
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro cracks down on former supporters who recently spoke up against his administration’s corruption and crimes against humanity. The recent surge in detentions and deaths appears as an effort to consolidate his power before the parliamentary elections in December.
Longtime government supporters who protested against human rights abuses and the crumbling of public services were shut down by security forces. Critics who persevere are harrassed by the police and charged with phoney crimes such as sabotage and illegal land occupation.
“Whoever makes any criticism is lumped with the opposition, the right, called a traitor,” said former leftists Tupamaros Party leader Ares Di Fazio.
In October, United Nations investigators implicated President Maduro and other high ranking officials of amounting to “crimes against humanity,” including killing, torture and sexual assault. Despite these serious allegations, Maduro has not stopped his efforts to suppress anyone that threatens his power.
Veteran leftist Rafael Uzcátegui claims 37 members of his party have been detained for campaigning against Maduro in the upcoming elections. Four of those detained were publicly advocating to increase Venezuela’s monthly salary, which is equivalent to $2 USD.
“The government no longer fears the right,” said Uzcátegui. “They fear the left because they know we’re telling people the truth.”
Maduro’s critics say he crushes political parties opposed to his ideals of socialism and builds his administration on “disillusioned ideological allies.”
Venezuela used to be one of Latin America’s most established democracies and this worsening attempt to seize power could transform this once thriving country into a one-party state.